Featured Photo: Northern Lights in Tennessee

Featured Photo: Northern Lights in Tennessee

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Poll is Back!!!

Let us know how much you fish on average each year! Just respond to the poll on the right...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Black Friday

While the rest of the world was patronizing the shopping centers and malls in search of a great bargain on Christmas gifts, I was off to fish my favorite river yet again. Standing knee-deep in the quiet waters of the Caney was a great alternative to the hustle and bustle of racing from store to store in a continual search for the ultimate deal. The fishing was perfect and the catching was just a nice bonus.

The cool weather was the only downside but I was able to beat it by touching very few fish. That's another great bonus of fishing tiny barbless flies. When you get the fish in, if you are quick with your hands you can just gently grab the hook and with a flick of the wrist remove the hook. The fish is happy to not be touched and you still get the enjoyment of the catch. Of course, I had to take an occasional picture which generally required picking the fish up one way or another.

To make the day better, I had a fishing buddy from East Tennessee that wanted to check out the river. Gerry Romer has been wanting to try out the Caney and since it was his birthday (Happy Birthday Gerry!), he figured it would be the perfect time. He couldn't have picked a better day. The fishing was just ridiculous. There were at least three times that I caught fish on back-to-back-to-back casts just to give you an idea of how crazy it was out there. Nothing huge, but we each caught some nice fish up to around 15 inches.

The big browns are up on the gravel so be extremely careful when wading. It would be nice for the fish to have a successful spawn. A little caution on the part of us fisherman can go a long ways towards making that happen.

As for the specifics on the fishing, we started out downriver from where I usually fish. The morning hours until around noon were spent nailing fish after fish on dries with the normal zebra midge dropper. I was really surprised at how many fish at our dries on Friday. The rumors of good dry fly fishing from the Resident Angler blog were quite accurate and you won't find us complaining about catching fish on top.

In the afternoon, we moved up to just below the dam. This section was not as easy as the morning but we were still catching plenty of fish. After a few extended slow spells, I started experimenting and finally started tearing them up again with a large (for the Caney) nymphs under an indicator. A beadhead Hares Ear nymph in a #16 worked well as did a #14 red Copper John. My best brown came to the BHGRHE near sunset. I was working a good run and had just missed several strikes in a row. Feeling frustrated, I refocused and when the indicator sucked under, I set the hook quickly to find this guy tugging on the other end. He bulldogged for awhile but finally came to hand for a quick picture.

Overall it was a great day on the river and I can't wait until Christmas break so I can do it again!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Rainy Day

Today was the first day of Thanksgiving break. First on the agenda was a trip to the Dentist to check on my tooth I broke on the Hiwassee. As soon as that was done, I decided that I probably should go fishing. Accordingly I headed to the Caney Fork, well aware that it was supposed to rain. The fishing was decent. Not great but not bad either. I wonder how much the weather affected the fishing because it rained for several hours while I was on the water. Thankfully I remembered to bring a rain jacket so I stayed relatively dry.

The fish were a bit funny. I would tie on a new fly and quickly catch a fish but then I wouldn't catch one for awhile. The fish were actively feeding and my suspicion is that each fish in the river was keyed on something completely different.

The browns appear to be spawning (or at least trying to) now which makes for some interesting viewing opportunities. It isn't everyday you can watch big browns role around in skinny water. The rainbows were all healthy and had a lot of fight. More than once I thought I had finally hooked a good 18+ inch fish but it always turned out to be just the usual 12-15 inch fish. For their size, Caney Fork fish are some of the strongest fighting fish I've ever hooked.

Of special interest is that I caught another rainbow with a vivid red stripe. These look much different from the usual rainbows I catch and its always nice to catch something a little unusual. The picture quality is not good as the lens was fogging up but you can get the idea....

I have plans to be on the river again Friday despite the forecast cold temperatures so check back for more in a couple of days...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Hiwassee Recently

School has finally started to slow down a bit. The bulk of my semester projects and papers have already been finished and turned in. This has freed up a little time for more important things like fishing and catching up on some fly tying. This weekend I tied several dozen flies and today I got in a few hours today on the Hiwassee. The fishing is decent, but not great. The fish are transitioning into cool weather mode where midges become one of the more important bugs to match.

Dry flies are still working fairly well though. Fish were rising well when I arrived on the river in the early afternoon. I tied on a Neversink Caddis for an indicator and the trusty Zebra midge underneath. My first fish soon came to hand thanks to the midge but then I proceeded to nail several on the dry. I also spotted some larger fish so at least a few made it through the summer (and I'd be willing to bet there are quite a few). Until we get a bunch of rain the river should be wadeable most of the time and will continue to provide consistent action. The midge fishing will only get better as we move into winter. Some of my favorite memories on the HI are of cool January or February afternoons where I'm the only one on a river full of fish gorging themselves on the massive hatches of tiny bugs.

I should be able to fish some this upcoming week and will hopefully get in a float on the Caney. Stay tuned for more on that...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Danger of Fishing Nymphs

This weekend on the Hiwassee, I had a profound and potentially life-changing experience while fishing. First, I discovered firsthand the danger of fishing subsurface. Then, as if to reinforce the lesson learned, I stumbled across some risers that were delicately sipping something microscopic on the surface. Of course, that in itself is not unusual but the fact that I decided to tie on a small dry and then had success with it was very unusual.

I'm sure you're wondering at this point what in the world I'm talking about. Understanding that I love fishing subsurface flies, you are probably doubting my sanity. It would all make sense though if you were able to see my tooth. That's right, I chipped off the entire top of my tooth.

For as long as I've been fishing nymphs, I pinch on my weight by using the good old set of chompers in my mouth. There was always the vague unease created by knowing that something bad could result, but I always shrugged it off and gnawed on yet another split shot. Yesterday, the routine was rudely interrupted (and just after I had caught a nice 13 inch brown no less) by a frightening crunching noise coming from somewhere under my nose and above my chin. I didn't feel any pain though and began to think that my teeth were so powerful that they had shredded the small split shot. When I examined the weight and saw that it was in perfect condition, the light came on and I was horrified to feel rough edges on a formerly perfect tooth. Subdued, I managed to pinch on the weight with my pliers and continued fishing. I finally moved upriver above the powerhouse to look for the risers that I was sure would be there.

Sure enough, there were several fish working the pools immediately above the powerhouse and I soon had a rainbow and a smallmouth to hand, still using subsurface flies. Knowing things could be much better, I decided to try a small zelon midge that I had tied several weeks ago. I diligently took out the 6x and tied on a generous piece and finally attached the small midge. Moving upstream in stealth mode, I spotted a rise on the other side of the stream just behind a rock. Two casts later, I dropped the small dry just upstream of the fish and had the satisfaction of watching the fish inhale the fly. Suddenly, everything seemed right. This was how fly fishing was meant to be. Nervously I pondered how this might affect my future fishing as I envisioned myself fishing dries upstream and to rising fish only. Then I realized, it wasn't the time for that kind of thought, I needed to just savor the moment. There would be plenty of time later for constructing my own philosophy as it pertained to fly fishing and its methods.

Now, as I look back on that short time fishing, I am forced to wonder if perhaps I'm on the brink of a new phase in my fly fishing. I know deep down that I'll never completely give up on fishing subsurface. If it brings more enjoyment, I might focus on fishing dries more for awhile. One thing is certain and that is that I will not be chewing on any split shot for a long time to come. I'll probably be visiting the dentist to remedy the problems that have already occurred...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Upcoming Fishing

Some more fishing appears to be in my near future. Also, as Thanksgiving approaches, I'll be ready to fish some over the break from school. The Hiwassee is calling me this weekend and I'll probably try to get in a couple of hours. Check back in a couple of days for an update on the HI...