Growing up in Crossville, Tennessee, trips to Cumberland Mountain State Park were frequent. We would often hike around the lake or even tackle some of the longer trails that the park offers. In fact, it was the very first place I ever went fishing at the age of maybe 5 or so. I've come a long ways in my career as a fisherman since the days of a red and white bobber and night crawlers but still enjoy heading over to Cumberland Mountain State Park to fish or even just to hike whenever I get the chance.
A couple of days ago, I made the short drive over and after rigging up a 4 weight, headed down the trail. These trips are not so much about fishing, but of course, as a good angler, I must carry a rod. On most trips, I make it a good distance down the trail before I start to slow down enough to notice my surroundings. This trip was no different. Trailside flowers eventually got my attention enough to stop and dig out the camera.
Moving on, I contemplated a favorite fishing spot, but seeing it grown up with weeds decided to skip it until colder weather when Mr. No Shoulders would hopefully not be around. Later, the trail dipped down close to the water and there were enough bass and panfish cruising to get me interested. A couple of fish as well as several rejections later, I moved on. Again, my camera was brought out. By this time I had slowed down enough to notice many things around me and enjoy them for what they are. Sadly, life moves along quickly enough that sometimes these small blessings go unnoticed. Time in the woods usually corrects that problem.
Along with a camera stop, I also observed the water enough to spot a good sized sunfish. Getting it to eat the fly was not difficult, and my camera was then employed in a quick shot of the nice redear sunfish.
By now I had caught just about all of the fish I really wanted or needed to catch and my eye increasingly wandered across and through the forest. Where I had caught the fish looked just like a jungle although, to be fair and for full disclosure, I've never actually been to a jungle.
The flowers are around all spring, summer, and fall if you know where to look.
Like all good times, this one had to end so I headed down the trail and back to my car. Living close to Cumberland Mountain State Park means I can go back again soon though.
FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 5/22/2017
Fishing is good to excellent across the area. The Caney Fork River continues to shine on both high and low water. In the Smokies, strong hatches have been keeping fish looking up.
Yesterday, Blue-winged Olives hatched for hours during the light rain and drizzle. Fish were looking up but also took nymphs well. Streamers were moving some quality fish as well. The summer hatches are well under way now. Expect Golden and Little Yellow stoneflies and Isonychia (Slate Drake) mayflies. Light Cahills and Sulfurs have been around as well.
The Caney Fork River continues to fish anywhere from good to great on high water streamer floats. Anyone who wants to target trout with streamers will find this to be exciting fishing. Low water is becoming more and more likely, and if that trend continues we will see some great low water floats. The fish are hungry and we are going into some of the best fishing months on this fine tailwater.
Cumberland Plateau smallmouth streams are rounding into fine shape now. Rain will bump flows up again, but in between the fish are hungry and willing to hammer a fly! Musky floats are about over for the year unless we get more rain.