Photo of the Month: Moonrise on the River

Photo of the Month: Moonrise on the River

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Nothing But Busy

My fishing time has been suffering a lot lately. Unfortunately that is what happens when you get a real job. Today, I'll probably sneak off a few hours for the first time in a while. Time on the water will help ease my stress levels and also get me excited for this summer when I'll be fishing a lot more.

I have some good stuff coming. This weekend is Troutfest in Townsend, Tennessee, and all be heading up for the day on Sunday most likely. There will be several famous fly fishermen there including Lefty Kreh, Joe Humphries, and Bob Clouser. My plan is to check out some of the events and seminars for a couple of hours and then head into the park to fish a little also. There is no way I can be that close to the Smokies streams and not fish.

Mid-May through mid-June is prime time in the park for good hatches and rising trout. Many of my best days in the Park have been at this time of the year so I'll hopefully be returning often until I leave for Colorado.

Anyway, check back sometime tonight or tomorrow morning to find out how today's fishing went. I'll be chasing bass and bream on a local pond. Maybe I'll finally get that big bass I've been looking for...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Spilling Water

With the abundance of rainfall, hydroelectric dams across middle Tennessee have begun spilling recently. Yesterday, my sister kindly stopped by Center Hill dam on the way to Nashville and took a few pictures for me. All of you that enjoy fishing the Caney Fork will be interested to see the river up and out of its banks. Currently, 5 out of 7 flood gates are open making for an impressive sight after the last few years of drought. Because of the ongoing repairs to the dam, TVA is trying to draw the lake back down to target levels. As a result, we can expect lots of water for at least the next month and probably until July. The benefit is that the fish that survive will be relatively untouched for awhile and will probably grow well with the high water. Much thanks to my sister, Amy Wren, for taking all of these pictures...



Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Remembering Trips Past

Today, as I was thinking about my upcoming trip or trips, my thoughts turned to past trips to places like Colorado and Yellowstone. Some of my favorite memories have no photographic documentation unfortunately. Of course, it seems like having a camera around is the surest way to NOT have a memorable experience. Still, I've been fortunate enough to get many of my memorable moments documented. The large brown on the Taylor that was sipping PMD spinners at sunset, the day of catching big rainbows on the Gunnison, elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, and buffalo in Yellowstone. All of these together form some of my favorite memories of fishing trips past.

While thinking about past trips, I started looking back at some of my favorite pictures from past years. Here are a few examples of why I love to travel "out west:"

(All pictures not labeled as "David Knapp Photography" are by Trevor Smart)








Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Update: West Trip 2009 Planning

Right now I'm still trying to work everything out for my trip or trips out west this summer. The way things are shaping up, my first trip might be just to Colorado plus the Green in Utah. If everything goes the way we're hoping, we'll be fishing lots of West Slope streams, rivers and lakes for 2-3 weeks give or take in mid to late June. Most of the freestoners will be high from runoff at that time but the tailwaters should fish very well. This time should also give us a chance to target pike before the lakes warm up too much. Also we'll get to see some different hatches compared to what we normally see. I've always wanted to hit the Salmonflies in Colorado and maybe the Cicadas on the Green and with our schedule there's a good chance we'll get lucky this year!

Later on, I'm looking at a possible trip to Yellowstone near the end of July. If it works out, I'll be in that area for around 10 days chasing big browns, rainbows and cutts. As much snow as they have, there might even be a few salmonflies around on the Yellowstone in the Park!

Once again, if anyone has any advice on any of these streams and areas it would be appreciated. In particular, I'm interested in the Green, Yampa, and Colorado rivers in June. Runoff will be a problem but big bugs might make up for the limited wading opportunities!

Update on Middle Tennessee Weather

Just when it was looking like the lakes and rivers around here might be starting to slow down, the National Weather Service in Nashville has issued another Flood Watch for our area for Wednesday. At this rate, we might not fish the Caney again this year...at least, not with any fish in there. Late last week they stocked the river but fresh stockers plus high water is going to equal a lot of fish that vanish.

Another item of interest meteorologically is the tornado survey for the Cumberland County tornado. In addition to details on the actual survey (they rated it an EF-1), they have put lots of pictures up of the damage. If you are interested in severe weather, you should check out the survey page.

While our streams continue to be unfishable, I might have to resort to fishing lakes some more. There should be some good fishing to be had for warm water species and I also have my eyes on a lake that should produce trout for another few weeks before the water warms too much. These trout that remain from the winter stocking program by TWRA are generally destined to die once the lake warms too much but until then they should provide some fun fishing. I also still have that big bass to catch at the lake nearby so check back soon to see if I actually find a little time to go fishing...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Caney Update

The updated forecast releases on the Caney are now showing over twenty thousand cubic feet per second for the next several days. Here's hoping some of the trout actually stay in the river and don't end up clear down in the Mississippi... I'll see you on the Caney to fish, sometime next fall...:(

Severe Weather Strikes

A random tornado and way too much water made life interesting here in Crossville over the last 24 hours. May 3rd will long be remembered from a meteorological standpoint for the tornado outbreak that included the Moore Oklahoma F5 back in 1999. Here in Crossville, we celebrated with a tornado of our very own and one that no one was really expecting. To their credit, the National Weather service was on top of things and got a warning out but the storm really came out of nowhere and shortly after producing the tornado it seemingly vanished back to wherever it came from. Synoptically, the overall weather pattern favored severe weather but well to our south. In fact, the Storm Prediction Center did not even have our area outlined for a slight risk for severe weather.

The main threat to middle Tennessee was from flooding. Here in Crossville, we went from a flood watch, to a flood advisory, to a flash flood warning. Area creeks, including the headwaters of the Caney Fork, where well out of their banks. Center Hill Lake on the Caney Fork has come up over 10 feet in 2 days which is truly incredible.

Despite all the water, I didn't really expect much in the way of flood damage. Last night, something strange happened which would make a lot more sense this morning. Our water pressure suddenly dropped off, not all the way but much lower than normal. As I drove to work this morning I found the road closed. Immediately I guess what had happened but wanted to see for myself. After teaching my first class I have some free time so I headed down to check it out. The people manning the barricades kindly let me drive around so I could take some pictures. What I found surprised me even though I already had assumed what happened. The road bed was completely gone and the debris line showed that the water had been within a couple of feet of coming over the road before washing it out.

No one had started repairs yet so I got some great pictures of the damage and then headed over to get some tornado damage pictures. Thankfully, most houses were still in good shape. The tornado knocked down a lot of trees and damaged some outbuildings but it could have been much worse. Anyway, here are some pictures, first of the washed out road and last of the tornado damage.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bluegills Galore

The rain does not want to stop but that's just fine as far as I'm concerned. Foul weather just seems to turn the fish on. The obvious downside is that our tailwaters will be generating for several more weeks, but I'm okay with that as well. After 2+ years of severe drought, too much rain is definitely preferred over not enough rain.

This afternoon I made a quick run over to the nearby lake I've been hitting more frequently lately. When I arrived, a gentle rain was breaking up the surface so it was hard to spot fish. I decided to try something different today. Instead of just carrying one rod I carried two, one for 'gills and one for bass. My four weight was rigged with two simple flies, a #10 white Wooly Bugger variation and trailing behind was a #16 purple Simi Seal Leech. The rain began to taper off and I started spotting a few fish in close to the bank. After varying the retrieve, I settled on fairly fast 6 inch strips and the fish were soon jumping all over my flies. Early on, the white fly was killer but as the afternoon wore on, the fish became increasingly keyed on the smaller leech pattern and wanted it fished slower.


I never landed any good bass although I did hook a couple on the little leech. A bass on a #16 hook and 6X tippet doesn't stay on long without a lot of luck and while mine was good, it wasn't that good. I had to be satisfied with a bunch of feisty bluegill which were actually a lot of fun since most of them were caught while sight fishing. One of the large specimens of the afternoon had been gorging on earthworms. When I landed the fish, it commenced spitting up worm after worm. I finally got it to stay still long enough to get a picture with a nice juicy worm dangling out of its mouth.


Now I know why worms worked so well back when I was a little kid with a cane poll and bobber. Apparently all the rain brought the worms out and they got washed into the lake where the fish were waiting for the feast.

As the rain came down harder, I started thinking about how nice it would be to go home and dry out. Finally I gave in and called it a day. Not a bad way to spend a few hours in the afternoon!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Just In Time

Yesterday's fishing trip was taken just in time. The Caney Fork is back to running 2+ generators 24/7 again after heavy rain over middle Tennessee has caused Center Hill Lake to start rising fairly quickly again.

Releases
Date Time (Central) Generators
5/2/2009 6pm - midnight 2 or more
5/3/2009 midnight - midnight 2 or more

The 5 day generation forecasat is not showing any relief in sight. With flood watches posted across the area and more rain on the way, it could be June before the Caney is wadeable again. Hopefully by then I'll be headed west to Colorado. Until then, I'll be doing most of my fishing in East Tennessee and will also be chasing area bass and bream. Most of all, I need to start tying a LOT of flies. Every year I say that I'm going to tie my flies ahead of time but invariably I end up tying on picnic tables at the campsite I'm staying at. Maybe this will really be there year. With all the water we're getting I won't be making any trips to the area tailwaters for a long while so I should have plenty of time on my hands...

Friday, May 01, 2009

Silver Rockets

Here in Tennessee, TWRA stocks more than one strain of rainbow trout. While not as beautiful to look at, the lightly colored fish that almost resemble steelhead go absolutely ballistic when hooked. Sure, I enjoy catching a big colorful rainbow but when it comes to straight up fighting power, the silver rockets cannot be beat...

Today I took advantage of a few hours of wader friendly water on the nearest tailwater. My timing was good because it appears that the generators will be coming back on for the next few days. This will be good for those with boats, but all of us that wade will have to wait awhile again.

Thunder and lightning made the trip interesting, but in between those electrifying close calls I actually caught a few. The fish were feeding very heavily to the midges that were having a hard time becoming airborne with all the water falling out of the sky. After getting a few on the standard dead drift, I started stripping my flies and quickly picked up this acrobatic freight train...errr, silver rocket...