Photo of the Month: Bycatch

Showing posts with label Winter Stocked Trout. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winter Stocked Trout. Show all posts

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Local Trout Update

Yesterday, I took a brief scouting trip.  The goal was to see if TWRA had stocked any trout at Cumberland Mountain State Park.  Each year, the small lake is one of many winter stocking sites to provide a seasonal trout fishery.  With the tentative stocking date already past, I figured it wouldn't hurt to at least take a walk with my fly rod.

The trip didn't last long.  Either the trout were not stocked or they did not know how to behave like trout.  I didn't spot the first rise.  Normally those fresh stockers will rise well most of the winter so it looks like the fish may be delayed this year if we are lucky.

Where does luck come in?  Well, in the process of exploring the lake, I heard what sounded like an awful lot of water below the dam.  Upon closer investigation, I discovered that the drain seems to be open.  Now, I'm not sure why, but it seems like every year or two the lake is drained for some reason or another.  If that is what is happening right now, we may not even get the winter stocking at all.  So, there goes all the luck out the window....maybe.


At least there are still a few bluegill around and willing to play.  I managed a few like this one and one small bass that flopped off before I could manage a picture.


Also discouraging was the widespread algae coating the lake bottom.  Runoff from the golf course has been altering the lake for years now to the point that I'm wondering how it is affecting the fish population.  This lake used to put out some slab sized panfish and nice bass up to 8 or so pounds.  The last few years, I just can't find any fish over 2 or 3 pounds and even those seem to be few and far between.

Currently I'm looking into the possibility that the Park is illegally polluting their own lake with fertilizer rich runoff from the golf course. As of right now I'm not sure about all the regulations on such things, but the situation is getting bad enough that something needs to be done so I guess I'll be doing some legwork over the next few days.  More on that later if anything comes of it...

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

1st Trout on a Fly

In addition to learning to catch crappie on the fly rod, Tyler had been hoping to learn to catch trout on the fly rod as well.  Knowing that the trout from the winter stocking program are now hungry and looking for a meal, I told him that we could head to the local state park and find some willing fish.  He was excited but I don't think he was convinced that the fishing would be easy.

To keep things simple, we used the same flies as we were for the crappie.  Trout that aren't picky are a pleasant change of pace.  The best trout fishing from a fly rod perspective isn't exactly where most people would expect which makes it all the more enjoyable.

We finally found my favorite warmup hole and started casting.  After some basic instructions, I let Tyler go and stood back to watch, camera in hand and expecting good things.  Sure enough, a few casts later I saw the flash of a trout as it hit his fly.  "Set!!!" I yelled.  Tyler is a great one for not asking questions and following directions and immediately lifted the rod tip.  Sure enough, there was a beautiful rainbow dancing on the end of his line.



I'm sure he will remember this fish for a long time.  We found a few more willing fish and Tyler is just about ready for a trip to the Smokies now!