Photo of the Month: Autumn Slab of Gold

Photo of the Month: Autumn Slab of Gold

Monday, January 31, 2011

Transitional Water

Nope, this is not a post about reading water or discovering how to find fish when they are moving between water types.  Instead, remember your second grade science lessons when you learned about the difference between water in its solid and liquid forms. 

The extended cold weather finally gave way to warmer temperatures.  One of the great aspects of living in the mid-south is that we normally get a reprieve from the cold weather on occasion throughout the winter.  This past weekend saw highs soaring into the low 60s, meaning that all the snow and ice we've experienced this winter has largely melted.  Still, in sheltered gorges, large ice formations remain to remind us that the icy grip of winter is not far away. 

I hiked with a group of friends at Colditz Cove State Natural Area.  This was my second time there, and I spent more time with the camera than compared to the previous trip.  The water on the sides of the gorge was in a transitional stage.  The ice was glistening as it softened up but without completely melting all the way.  The late afternoon light was incredible as well, often combining with the natural elements of rock and ice to create beautiful compositions that I only feebly attempted to capture. 

The following are a few of my favorite pictures from the hike.  Some are all about light, others all about texture, and a few display interesting shapes front and center.  The best combine all these elements...

This ice formation was almost shaped like a claw.  The smooth texture was the result of the warm temperatures slowly melting the ice.


 The same ice formation contrasts nicely against the warm light on the roof of the overhanging rock.


The centerpiece of the hike, Northrup Falls, plunges over 60 feet to a turqouise pool below. 


A lone plant clings to the moss covered wall of the gorge. 


The shapes here intrigued the geometry teacher within. The color and texture of the sandstone is beautiful as well...

This fallen tree provided the perfect base for an unusual ice accumulation.


So is this what a squirrel sees when it climbs a tree?


Curtains of ice glisten as they hang on the canyon walls.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Perfect

With highs in the mid-upper 50s under sunny skies, the weather is about as close to perfect as one could hope for in January.  I'm planning to get out today and probably tomorrow as well.  Some fishing, some hiking, a lot of fun in the outdoors...  Today I'm going to a waterfall that I've never been to and hope to return with some good pictures.  Tomorrow, if all goes well, I'll be fishing.......somewhere.  The Smokies are calling so I might head that way or I may take the float tube down to the Caney to chuck streamers, time will tell.  Regardless, check back soon and hopefully I'll have some updates...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just Keeps On Snowing

Winter has always been enjoyable to me, especially when there is plenty of snow.  Tennessee winters are notorious for cold rain, but sometimes not much in the way of snow.  This winter I have been reminded of the winters I experienced as a kid.  Around here, 4"-6" snow is a big deal and we have had more than our share of those and even a few going a bit more.  Those of you that live in mountainous areas out west or perhaps further north probably get tired of all the snow, but it is a nice change of pace for us here in the southeast. 

Over the past week or so, I've taken a lot of pictures including some of absolutely incredible sunsets as well as frozen waterfalls (or mostly frozen).  The following are a few of my favorites. 







Friday, January 07, 2011

Back Again

The Troutmobile is now officially cured!  All fish beware and be afraid...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

First Float of the Year: "Just In Time"


When David Perry asked me late last week if I was interested in a weekend float, I was excited for the opportunity to get out on the water in what will probably be a lean month as far as fishing goes.  I asked about fishing streamers and he was game.  My interest immediately increased exponentially as visions of sticking a big fish for the new year started running through my head.  My streamers boxes were checked, but I didn't really get around to tying any new ones.  That turned out to be ok though...

Sunday rolled around, and I woke up early, ready to hit the road for the Caney.  Pulling into our take out point, I saw David P. with the drifter already there.  I got my stuff switched over to his truck and off we went.  As we put the boat in at the launch, we could see people catching a few, and fish were rising occasionally to something small in the surface film.  I had a special spot I wanted to try, and David P. was kind enough to accomodate.  This proved to be a great move as we got into several fish rather quickly including my first crappie of 2011, a few browns, and numerous skipjack. 

 Photo courtesy David Perry

Finally, we realized that we needed to make some progress down river.  Shortly after we started drifting, I hooked an energetic rainbow, but was thrilled to see a huge golden flash behind it as it twisted and turned on its way to the boat.  Monster browns are always what we are after when throwing streamers and this fish would definitely have qualified.  Unfortunately, I only got a quick glimpse of the fish before it vanished and it didn't reappear.  We moved on down the river, moving a a few fish and hooking up with some more nice rainbows. 

Photo courtesy David Perry


 Photo courtesy David Perry

 Photo courtesy David Perry

David P. had some new patterns he wanted to try when it was his turn to fish.  His new streamer was the hot fly for the day.  Even though I had the right color, his pattern still outfished mine for the most part.  Over the course of the float, he managed the Caney Fork slam and some skipjack, while I only caught rainbows and browns plus skipjack and that one crappie.  We were both surprised at the number and variety of fish that were chasing our streamers.

Photo courtesy David Perry




A few big browns came out to chase our streamers, but we couldn't get any truly large fish to commit.  As the shadows grew longer, the temperature started dropping to the point where we were getting ice in our guides.  We became more interested in making it to the take out than slowing down and thoroughly fishing every spot.  As we took the boat out, both of us agreed that it was one of the better days either of us have had in awhile. 

I'm hoping to get out again soon, perhaps to the mountains this time.  It will depend on how busy I am but I might manage to get away one day this weekend.  The Caney will be unfishable to all but those in boats for awhile.  Heavy rain this past weekend means that Center Hill is running 2+ generators and will be for some time.  We did our float just in the nick of time.  The generators came on as our day was winding down and haven't let up since.  I expect the river to fish very well once water levels come back down...

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Years

Good luck to everyone in 2011!  I hope you get to spend a lot of time on the water...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

SoHo Sulphurs


Good numbers of sulphurs still hatching at the end of the year = unbelievable...

The drive to the South Holston is always a bit tedious, but so far it is always worth it.  This past Tuesday was definitely not the best day to be fishing a technical river, the sun was bright, the water low and clear, and the air temperature was COLD.  The majority of the day featured temperatures cold enough to ice up our guides, requiring dipping the rod in the river every few minutes.  Still, experiencing a good hatch at this time of year (of something OTHER than midges), is worth whatever minor suffering we experienced.


I got to fish with Travis again and this trip proved to be a little more successful from a catching standpoint.  We both got things started early with an assortment of soft hackles, midges, and even a couple on eggs.  As the day warmed, we started thinking about those sulphurs that the river is famous for.  Rumor had it that the bugs were still coming off in good numbers, and we were determined to get in on the hatch if at all possible.  Finally we found an good unoccupied stretch of water and slipped into the river.  Almost immediately, a few explosive rises alerted us to the possible hatch.  Sure enough, there in the slack water near the banks, a few duns were sitting bravely, trying to figure out what to do now that they were out in the cold air.  The fish were having a great time. 

Cold weather has always produced some phenomenal dry fly action for me.  Hatches are often sparse to non-existent, although any hatch that does happen is a perfect feeding opportunity for the fish.  The cold air makes it harder for the insects to fly away, so instead they sit on the water until something eats them.  This was definitely the case on the South Holston. 


All the sulphur feeding fish I caught came on a Split Case nymph.  I tied a bunch of these up months (maybe even a year or two) ago and proceeded to forget about them.  They came in handy on this day and produced the most consistent action I had all day.  The fly fished well under a generic yellow parachute that vaguely resembled the adults.  I had exactly three rises on the dry the whole time.  Each time I was so surprised that I blew the hookset.  Probably it would be more accurate to say that the cold had slowed my reflexes, and since that makes me look a lot better as a fisherman, I'll go with the second story.  Enough fish wanted the nymph to keep me happy.  For the first time in awhile I quit fishing well before it was too dark to see.  I'll go with the cold story again on that one...




I don't know when I'll get to experience another good hatch.  If all else fails, I'll be in the Smokies for the early hatches in February or March.  In the meantime, I have a big trip to the Grand Canyon at the end of February/first of March to prepare for (yes there will be some fishing involved), and I also need to continue restocking my depleted boxes for the upcoming season.  I'm working on getting out west again this next summer, somehow, someway, and that will require a lot of flies as well as some creativity in raising the funds...  Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana...........time to start tying.......

Snow


Pictures

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