Photo of the Month: Backcountry Brook Trout

Photo of the Month: Backcountry Brook Trout

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Caney Float

First Fish of the Day (Photo by Brett Romer)


Last week during my break I had the opportunity to float with Brett (from The Trout Addiction) and Gerry Romer in Brett's sweet Hyde. It was an absolutely incredible day on the water with several very nice fish boated and a few more lost. I hooked the largest rainbow I've had on in the Caney but unfortunately lost it a few minutes into the fight. The fish would have been an easy 20 inches and possibly even a couple more. Needless to say I was pretty bummed but we found more than enough fish to make up for it.



Brett Romer Photo


Chunky Brown (Brett Romer Photo)


Brett let me have some time behind the oars since I've been wanting to give it a shot. I've gotta say that he makes it look a lot easier than it was for me. I'm sure if I have more time behind the oars it will become easier but it took a lot of thought and effort to even pretend to keep the boat pointed in the right direction.

The strange thing about the day was that fishing was best during the first half of the day. Later on things slowed down dramatically until it basically went dead up to around the last half hour or so of daylight when things picked up again.


The Caney is fishing fairly well but will be much better in another couple of months. Winter is my favorite time on the river largely because the cold weather keeps down the boat traffic. I'm thinking a wade trip might be in order for this weekend on either the Caney or the Cumberland so stay tuned for that information...




Yet Another Brown (Brett Romer Photo)

Beautifully Colored Brown (Gerry Romer Photo)

I just want to give a big shout out to the Romer's for a great day on the river! I seriously owe Brett since he did the vast majority of the rowing allowing me to fish most of the way...thanks again Brett!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cumberland River Outing: Abbreviated Report


Today I finally made the trip up to the Cumberland River for the first time. Thankfully I went ahead and got the annual license for Kentucky because I'm sure I'll be back soon. The fishing was slow at first until I figured out what was going on and then it was game on for the rest of the afternoon.



Before hitting the river I stopped by the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery to gawk at the hogs. Unfortunately they won't let you fish here but it is still a lot of fun to watch them...

While impressive, watching the pellet fed hogs soon got boring and it was time to go fishing. After wandering around the countryside for awhile I finally found a place to fish. Things started out really slow but later on I found some really nice fish and started catching a few...




All in all it was a great day and I can't wait to spend more time on this amazing river. Tomorrow I'm off to the Caney and the next day will be the beginning of my Smokies trip so stay tuned for more updates soon...




Sunday, October 05, 2008

Approach of Fall

Here in Chattanooga we are beginning to see the beginning of fall. A few trees are beginning to give us a glimpse of what is in store in another couple of weeks. The streams are extremely low as is often the case during the fall around here. Over the weekend I embarked on a hike and fish day trip with my cousin for bass and sunfish on a stream in the area. Since I'm swamped with other things right now, I'll let the pictures tell the story...

Little Smallie


Fisherman's Shadow Envelopes a Crimson Leaf


Colors of Fall


A few leaves are already falling


Tranquil Waters

Even the fish are colorful


Redeye Bass


Feisty Smallie


Yep, I caught it. All by myself...


Not much flow in the stream...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cumberland It Is

Pigs on the tailwaters and wild gems in the Smokies will be the name of the game in a couple of weeks. Based on the recent poll, it appears that many of you want to see some pigs from a tailwater. I'll do my best to indulge by fishing the Cumberland and probably the Caney Fork over the upcoming break. Also I have a potential Smokies trip in the works that will probably include car camping along with some extended day trips to the more remote sections of the park chasing big browns and native brookies. The week will undoubtedly go much faster than I would like, but at least I'll be making the most of my time.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Three Days Left

The pole will be closing in three days and I want to take a moment to remind everyone to vote if you want to see reports from a specific destination in a couple of weeks. I'll be trying to get in time on as many streams as possible but with gas prices so high I might be limited on where I can go. You have the opportunity to help me choose one of the options. I'll likely try to hit a couple of the choices and maybe even three. So far the surprise of the poll is that there are so many votes for the Smokies. The freestone streams of the Smokies will always be what I consider my home waters and also my favorite. Despite this, I didn't expect everyone to vote for the Smokies. I assumed everyone would want to see some monster fish from one of the tailwaters. The current votes just go to show that scenic beauty and feisty wild trout are often more interesting then some of our larger rivers...I'm thinking about a pack trip, perhaps before my October break so check back for more on that potential development...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gunnison Trout Part II

The Gunnison River was very good to my buddy Trevor and I on our most recent trip out west. Recall that day one involved figuring out the hot pattern and lots of good brown trout. Day two started out with a trip down to the river. While at the Gunnison, it was a guarantee that I'd be down at the river fishing at every opportunity. Great fishing will do that to me...everything else becomes unimportant including heading back to camp for the occasional snack or water break.

The real draw here was the constant possibility of a monster fish. By some point on the second morning, I had already stuck 3 fish that were easily over 20 inches and at least one of those would have cleared 24 inches. The most frustrating of these was one that towed me all over the river before throwing the hook. The other two fights were much more brief but still disappointing. During the afternoon and evening of the second day we headed back out to water. A quick trip to the fly shop in town had added to the supply and diversity of materials for the hot pattern. One hour after returning to camp I was armed with 20 new midge patterns tied up in a variety of colors to match the prevailing bugs on the water.

It took awhile to get going again and strangely the first fish took a bright orange scud. I had been creeping ever so slowly down the bank when I looked down. Nearly at my feet was a nice rainbow facing downstream into a small back eddy up against the bank. After gently backing up so the cast wouldn't spook the fish, I made a couple casts. The fourth cast was perfect but I was surprised to see the fish move towards the scud instead of my new magical midge pattern. Arguing with a fish that wants to eat your fly is useless so I set the hook and quickly played the fish to the net for a quick picture. Later on it would take much longer to land my best rainbow of the day.


I had been nymphing in my favorite run in the East Portal vicinity when the indicator dove under. Gently lifting the rod brought an explosion from the depths as the big rainbow took the the air. After gaining a bit of control I figured the fight might not be too bad. These hopes were soon dashed as the brute tore out into the main current with another spectacular leap. I gave chase and soon found myself a around 200 feet downstream from where I originally hooked the fish. With a huge midstream boulder blocking downstream progress if the fish went on the far side of it, I decided to make my stand regardless of what happened. Thankfully all the knots held and I soon released a gorgeous 19 inch Gunnison rainbow.


As evening approached we returned to the best two runs on the river and continued to slay the fish. The strange part about day two was that the frequency at which we caught brown trout was plummeting while the percentage of rainbows was up sharply. This would be the pattern for the rest of the trip. We still caught browns on the Gunny but the majority of the fish were rainbows after the first day. As darkness fell, we stumbled wearily back to camp, exhausted from catching fish in the hot canyon all afternoon. Oh what a tough life...


Headwater Streams and the Perfect Fly Store

James Marsh is at it again. In addition to many updates for his sites on fly fishing in the Smokies and Yellowstone, he has started an online store to sell the patterns that are demonstrated in his "Perfect Fly" series on tying. Those that have checked out the DVDs on tying the "Perfect" fly know that he has developed a system of tying that allows one to learn a few basic fly patterns and adapt them to any specific species by just altering the color and size. His new site will allow those that don't tie their own to purchase these patterns for the first time.

In addition to the new store, updates to the "Headwater Streams" portion of his site continue to roll out frequently. The most recent is an interesting one on Enloe Creek. I've never fished this stream but have been close while fishing Raven Fork. This is one of the most beautiful places I've been in the park and the grueling hike up and over a ridge to get there insures that you won't have huge crowds to contend with once you arrive. The hike in makes this a better overnight option although I have done it as a day trip. If you want to look for larger than average brookies, this is one of the better places to try. Beware though that the area is extremely rugged and if you run into trouble you can't count on help any time soon...


A Quiet Pool On Raven Fork

Sunday, September 21, 2008

School Is Now In Session


Student teaching has been going well so far with my one complaint involving how ridiculously early schools start these days. Despite enjoying being in the classroom, I still enjoy my weekends and would not want to spend them at school. The exception to this is when I decide to school some fish.

This weekend was a blur of driving, visiting friends and family, cutting down a couple trees, and just when I thought that was enough, I decided that I better throw in some fishing. Spending the weekend at Nashville has advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage being that it is a bit farther then I really like to drive on a weekend but that mainly stems from pure laziness. The most obvious advantage is that I can swing by the Caney Fork on the way back to Chattanooga and only be going slightly out of my way.

I arrived on the stream somewhere around 2:00 pm Central time and quickly got into some brookies. Quickly growing tired of these easy targets, I decided to take the game into some technical slow moving water where nice browns like to sit and feed just above the lush weedbeds. My Legend Ultra 7'6" 3 weight was the perfect tool for stalking these wary fish, and in the end they proved to be no match for the deadly zebra midge. I caught several nice browns to about 15" or 16". Strangely all were females and as fat as they were, I strongly suspect they are full of eggs or at least getting there as the spawn is most likely just around the corner.


Several of the fish buried themselves in the thick weeds on the bottom of the river and it was only through a lot of effort that I wrestled them back up and to the surface. As a side note, I am extremely impressed with Rio Fluoroflex Plus tippet material. It is cheaper than the Seaguar Grand Max that I like so much and is also exceptionally strong. I didn't lose a single fish today and I believe that a lot of that is because of the quality of the tippet.


Days like this are fun, because for every day where I catch plenty, there are lots of other days where I work hard for just a handful of fish at best. Eventually all good things must come to an end. I had to hit the road on towards Chattanooga, but it had been a great day! Next weekend may include some more adventures. This time of year I really like to go camping so I may try to do that. Of course, some fishing is a given and it will most likely be an east Tennessee freestone stream in the mountains...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunset Beats the Fishing

Monday evening was spent down on the river somewhere below Chickamauga dam. The fishing was great although the catching was slow. Sometimes what makes a trip is unrelated to the actual fishing though...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Where Should I Go Fishing?

Our latest poll will allow you to decide what kind of fishing report you want to see. My October break is just around the corner and I'll have a week off to do whatever I want. I'll probably try to fish at least two different locations over this break. Help me decide at least one of those locations from the options provided or reply here to suggest another that is not far from East Tennessee. Just vote in the new poll to let me know where I should go...