Photo of the Month: Ol' Gator Mouth

Photo of the Month: Ol' Gator Mouth
Showing posts with label Hiwassee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hiwassee. Show all posts

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...

Friday, October 26, 2007

I Went Fishing!!!

Shades of fall

I'm sure you have all been extremely concerned about my lack of fishing so I decided that I should probably go today. The Hiwassee has been on the back of my mind for awhile so I finally went and checked it out. The river (at least the upper part) is full of fish that are all hungry and the fishing is good...

Got to have the game face...

Unfortunately I never saw any large fish and all the fish I caught were recent stockers. On the other hand, reports from the river have indicated that the water temps stayed within the tolerance range for the trout over the course of the summer. Hopefully we'll see some better fish once we get a chance to explore a bit more over the next few months.

First fish in weeks

I mainly fished up in the vicinity of the powerhouse today and as I said, there were lots of fish in the river. They appeared to be starving to death and I couldn't keep them off my flies today. The best fish was around 12 inches but was on the skinny side in my opinion.

Nice 12 inch fish

I'll likely fish again Sunday morning early for a couple of hours so check back soon for some information on the Caney Fork...

More fall colors

A rainbow comes to hand

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stuck a Couple Nice Ones

As promised, I went fishing yesterday afternoon for a couple of hours. The rain that was falling as I rolled east gave me high hopes for a good hatch. However, it had basically quit raining by the time I got to the river. The clouds were still thick though and I figured the bugs should pour off sometime in the middle of the afternoon. I started fishing with a parachute Adams and red Copper John as a dropper. "Assuming the hatch was about to start, the fish should be looking for nymphs drifting in the current," I reasoned. The fish were feeding occasionally on top when I arrived, providing me a good opportunity to figure out where they were. I waded slowly, watching for feeding fish and as often as I saw a rise, I got a fish to eat.

It was one of those magic days when you feel that you can do no wrong. Everything happened naturally and smoothly as fish after fish succumbed to the dropper. I would cast straight ahead only to see a fish rise at a 90 degree angle away but no problem. One back cast and then a quick change of direction and my fly was floating right over the feeding fish. Unfortunately, this couldn't go on to long as the generation pulse was rapidly approaching. I saw the water rising upriver and quickly worked my way out and back to the car. A short drive upriver put me above the pulse and back into fish.

Frustratingly, the sun was making a reappearance putting an end to any hopes of a large hatch with fish slashing everywhere. Recalling something I read by Dave Hughes where he recommends using wet flies on small streams when the sun is on the water, I figured maybe it would work on a larger river as well. This proved to be the ticket and I soon was catching lots of fish again until something big broke off my fly. I quickly retied and continued slowly down the river, swinging the softhackle through every likely spot. More often than not, a fish would hit and sometimes I would catch several out of one little pocket.

I finally worked my way to a spot that has a nice deep run with some big overhanging rocks breaking the monotony. "There's got to be fish better than these little stockers in there" I thought to myself. I cast my parachute with the softhackle dropper to the top of the undercut boulder and watched as the dry sucked under. "This better not be hung up on the rock" I grumbled. The hook set provided quick proof that it was definitely NOT stuck on a rock as something on the other end started shaking its head. I immediately started putting a lot of pressure on the fish, trying to get it out from under the rock and it came out but not towards me. It rain downstream a little ways and then back up, bulldogging hard the whole time. A glance at the red flash and I knew it was a rainbow, and a bit better than the usual 8-12 inch stockers also. After a battle that seemed unusually long, I had the nice fish in for a quick picture. It was sporting what was left of a kype jaw which was interesting. While not a huge fish, this was the best rainbow I've caught on the Hiwassee and made the day worthwhile.

"Maybe, just maybe....." was running through my head as I approached the second undercut boulder. This time, my dry was soaked through and so I highsticked the unweighted flies along the rock. The leader gave a brief twitch and I set the hook, again feeling the weight of a better than average fish. After another battle, I admired a beautiful brown that was fat and healthy.

These two fish definitely made my day. I always catch a bunch of the recent stockers and while that is okay, the larger fish provide a much better challenge to land. The softhackle was easily the fly of the day and continues to produce the best fish so far this year.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Crowds Are Out

The time of year has arrived that I always dread. Last weekends excursion was probably one of the last times fishing the Hiwassee without the crowds for awhile now. Yesterday I made the routine trip to the river to fish the Big Bend with a new fishing buddy. We met up before sunrise and the river was socked in with fog. The fog slowly began lifting as the sun peaked over the ridge and lit up the banks with the brilliant colors of spring.

The fishing was okay but not great. Over the course of the day, I caught somewhere between 12 and 15 fish with several 'bows in the 11-13 inch range and the rest smaller browns anywhere from 5-9 inches. The fish were picky for the most part. I had the best luck when the generation pulse came through and I swung softhackles for risers in a large hole. The fish were definately looking for emergers and kept hammering the softhackle. The only thing preventing me from catching more fish was the fact that most were rising safely out of reach. No fish pictures to show, I find myself leaving the camera alone more and more except for the most notable catches, and none were worthy of this distinction. The scenery was excellent however, especially early in the morning and I found myself getting distracted from the fishing trying to capture the everchanging mood of the river....

Anyone interested in fishing this river, pick your time carefully. The river was packed by the middle of the day. I really wouldn't recommend fishing it for awhile unless you are hiking in or it is a weekday. Also, if the weather gets nasty it will provide good fishing again without the crowds. Until this happens, look for me to start spending more time in the Smokies which is where I'll be doing most of my fishing for the next 3 months.