Photo of the Month: Backcountry Brook Trout

Photo of the Month: Backcountry Brook Trout

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Current Poll

Please take a moment to weigh in on our newest poll. How many of you use fluorocarbon tippet? I started using it consistently this year. The cost is definitely a bit steep but worth it if you can afford it. I've been using Rio Fluoroflex Plus and am sold on the stuff. Seaguar Grand Max is awesome also but even more costly than the Rio. If you haven't tried fluorocarbon tippet yet I would urge you to give it a shot, especially on the tailwaters. I think you'll be glad you did...

Happy Thanksgiving

This time of year provides a lot to be thankful for. From a fishing perspective things couldn't be better. The cooler temperatures are keeping the crowds off the streams but the fish are still feeding heavily making a fishing trip a lot of fun. Yesterday I had the opportunity to fish the South Holston. Opportunities for large fish were minimal unfortunately but I still had an incredible day fishing with friends. The weather was great and it was fun to be on the water again. Tomorrow I'll be wetting a line somewhere else, probably on the Caney. I'm definitely thankful for good health and the privilege of fishing as much as I do.

In other things, I'm thankful to almost be done with college. Graduation will be here in another three weeks or so. I have a great family and lots of good friends. God has definitely blessed me and life is good!

I hope everyone that reads this blog has a great Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Upcoming This Week

Coming soon...some of the best fishing of the year...and according to our poll most of you will be taking advantage of the prime fishing conditions. As winter conditions become the norm, more and more people are staying home instead of getting out and fishing, at least that's what I thought. Our most recent poll would lead one to believe otherwise. Nearly 80% of respondents said that they get out and fish during some of the best fishing conditions of the year, otherwise known as winter.

Based on personal experience, I have a hard time believing that this is an accurate sample of all fly fisherman. The last two weekends of fishing on the Caney Fork seem to have reinforced this belief. While catching plenty of nice fish, my buddies and I often had large sections of the river to ourselves without putting in much effort. This is highly unusual on the popular middle Tennessee tailwater where it sometimes feels like you should have brought your own rock. Many people stay away once the air temperature drop but as many of you obviously know, this is a huge mistake. I won't complain though because it leaves lots of water for me.

This next week will be a good one for fishing. I'm looking at taking a trip up to the South Holston River. If the first trip goes well I might drive up again and fish it twice in one week. Of course I would like to fish the Caney or Cumberland also so time will tell exactly where I end up fishing. I'm encouraged by the weather forecast though. On Monday we have a cold front forecast to push through the southeastern United States bringing rain showers to most areas of middle and eastern Tennessee. The drought is still keeping area freestone streams very low so any rain we get is beneficial. By next weekend it looks like a stronger system might be moving in. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to fish during nasty weather. The fish will be very active during the day with the cloudy skies and new moon. Fisherman should be also...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back on the River

Joe Mcgroom photograph


Once again I spent some time on the river this past weekend. Unfortunately it looks like that will be my last time on the water until next week during break. The cold weather kept a lot of people off the river for a second weekend in a row. This was good for us because it meant we were able to fish all the best runs without any competition for a change.

Our first stop didn't produce any fish over 16 inches or so. Despite the lack of larger fish, the fishing was still excellent. There were several times that we were all hooked up simultaneously. The river is absolutely on fire right now if you have the correct flies and know where the fish like to feed.

The water started coming up after we had fished for a couple of hours so we headed up to fish just below the dam. This proved to be a good choice and we found the largest fish we spotted all day. After working a pod of good fish for several minutes, I finally hooked one and it immediately went ballistic. Thankfully all my knots held and I was soon admiring a beautiful male brown in the shallows. After a couple photographs, I released the fish and watched it bolt back to the dark run it calls home.

Joe Mcgroom photograph


Later on I came back to the same pod after they had calmed down and hooked a beast. The fish tore across the river towards a log on the far bank but I somehow managed to keep it from hanging up. Next it decided to head downriver. Moving quickly in pursuit, I grew increasingly nervous as the battle was becoming drawn out and I knew it was a monster. Suddenly the line went limp and I was left to ponder what might have been. Reeling in my line I discovered that it was no fault of my own. The #16 hook had straightened out partially, just enough for the big fish to gain its freedom.


Joe's big brown

My buddy Joe Mcgroom also managed to catch a pig. If he wasn't ruined last week he definitely is now.

Joe with his big brown...

We're planning a trip to another Tennessee tailwater during Thanksgiving break and this trip will include some monster browns hopefully. I'm hoping to find that 32 inch monster I mentioned in the previous post...

"Hero" shot of my big brown - Joe Mcgroom photograph

Friday, November 14, 2008

Massive South Holston Brown

Yesterday I drove up to fish the Smokies and look for big browns. While the fishing was not bad, I didn't catch any of the monsters that I was hoping for. In fact we didn't even see fish over 18" although we probably just didn't look in the right spots. There is at least one large brown somewhere in the park because Smokies guide Ian Rutter caught it last week. Most people would love to catch a fish that nice (myself included) but catching the large fish in the park doesn't happen overnight. It takes a lot of time on the water learning the stream and the fish before it happens...until I catch one of my own, I'll be looking at the pictures of Rutter's brown a few more times... I'm sure there are at least a few more to be caught, so while the tailwaters are fun I'll definitely be heading for the park again sometime soon.

Last night a quick check of some favorite websites indicated that I should have headed for the South Holston. Matt Champion from the South Holston River Fly Shop landed an unbelievable 32 inch monster. No, that's not a typo...32 inches.... For pictures and more details, check out the link. Plans are now underway for a trip up that way sometime in the not too distant future. In the meantime, I'm fishing this weekend so check back for updates in two or three days...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Current Poll

So far the overwhelming majority of you claim to fish even when the weather gets nasty. Based on my own observations, I know that this is not a good representation of the overall fishing population. For example, this past Sunday was a chilly day on the Caney. The number of fisherman on the river was definitely down from what it has been. Easily the majority of fisherman that were still out were fly fisherman which I found interesting. I'm not sure if that's always the case so I'll have to pay a little better attention from now on... Anyway, if you haven't voted yet in the poll, just look over to the right side of the page and let me know if you fish in the winter or not...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sight Fishing


Late day on the Caney...


Tiny flies, light tippet, sight fishing...this is about as much fun as you can have while fly fishing for trout in my opinion. Large flies with heavy tippet may produce explosive strikes but then it is just a tug of war. With light tippet and small flies you have to be gentle so as not to break off the fish, bend the hook or pop the hook free.

Joe's big brown...
The tailwaters have been providing some excellent opportunities for large fish lately and I've been on three separate tailwaters in the last three weeks or so. This past Sunday I fished with my buddy Joe Mcgroom of Little River Outfitters and my cousin Nathan Stanaway. Joe wanted to check out the Caney Fork River. My cousin just likes to catch fish so I've been teaching him the way of the long rod after he was forced to admit that it was superior to his beloved spinning rod. Impressively he has taken to it like a natural. This past Sunday he caught plenty of nice fish including the Caney slam of a rainbow, brown and brook trout.

Nice brown caught by Nathan

The best action lately has been on midges but other patterns are working as well including red copper johns. Sight fishing opportunities are good early in the day before the water comes up and again very late in the day once the water falls out.


Big male brown...(Nathan Stanaway photo)



Closeup of my big brown...(Nathan Stanaway photo)


The day was a success with Joe being ruined by a large tailwater brown. I warned him early in the day that it would be addicting. Even worse, fishing tailwaters tends to dull your mountain small stream skills. After catching a big male with an attitude, I'm sure Joe will be fishing the tailwaters with us again sometime soon...


The weather was frigid and we all finally gave up by mid afternoon. Not so much because we weren't catching fish as because it was really cold and we all had places to be. I'm sure I'll be fishing again soon, perhaps in the mountains and maybe on a tailwater. Check back for more on that... Finally, a few more pictures from recent fishing...






(Nathan Stanaway photo)

(Nathan Stanaway photo)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Weekend In Pictures

I did the tailwater thing again this weekend and found some decent fish. Things are not exactly on fire, probably due to the continued pleasant fall weather. Clear days and nights with temps reaching the low 70's during the day is nice, but I would much rather get some nasty weather sometime soon. Hopefully I'll get away from the tailwaters soon as well. The Smokies have been calling my name again and despite the fact that a front will be moving through just before the weekend, I might make an effort to get up there at the end of the week...

Anyway, without any further rambling, here's a few pictures from the weekend...






Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Links and The Fly Carriage

Being short on time means that I decided to combine a couple of topics I've been wanting to post about. My fishing time has been suffering as a result of student teaching as has my writing time. Hopefully that will start to change as the end of the semester approaches. Once again I plan on looking for some big fish this weekend on either the Caney or the Cumberland. Of course you'll be the first to read the fishing report.

Those that pay close attention might have noticed that I have added some new links. The first is the Fly Fish Addiction Blog by Troutdawg. Based out of Denver, Colorado, the author has access to some of the finest water in the west and also seems to make plenty of trips further abroad in the quest for great fishing. You'll find plenty of fishing reports, excellent photography, and even how-to articles on this blog.

The other new blog is the Four Corner Fly Fishing blog about fishing in the Southwest. There is a strong emphasis on Arizona which I have a soft spot for. I spent about a year in Arizona during 2004-2005 and discovered the incredible fishing opportunities that can be had in that state. My first Apache trout (and many more) were caught while I was out there along with plenty of nice rainbows, browns, cutts, and even some brookies. This blog has fishing reports along with some great pictures and even some fly tying articles. If you've ever thought about fishing in the Southwest or enjoy reading reports from other areas, this is a great blog to check out.

You've been wondering what the Fly Carriage is all about. This summer while working at Little River Outfitters, Daniel Drake offered me a sample of a new product to test. It was called The Fly Carriage and is a new way to keep used flies. Before, I used one of two options for used flies: either a fleece patch or one of the little fly cups you get when you buy flies from a fly shop. The problem with the fly cups is that it retains the moisture which speeds up the rusting process. I've never really liked the fleece patches because I smash my barbs and the hooks seem to always mysteriously fall off the patch. The Fly Carriage is an excellent alternative. Flies don't seem to have the problem of randomly falling off due to the hard foam used for this great fly holder. The Carriage is basically a zinger with a holder (kind of like the fly floatant holder) that holds a tube-shaped piece of foam that is around an inch in diameter. You simply hook the fly into the foam and it stays put. It has been the perfect compliment to my new keep it simple approach of a lanyard and a couple boxes of flies. I just hang it off the side of the lanyard and have the perfect place to store used flies. The only downside is that people who don't like gadgets hanging off their vest probably won't like it as much. The Fly Carriage is made by Simplifly Gear which is a small company started by Edward Philpot here in Tennessee. He lives not too far from my home tailwater, the Caney Fork so he fishes some great water regularly. If you've been looking for a new way to carry your used flies, definitely give this a try...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Colors of a Brookie



This weekend provided another opportunity to go fishing here in Tennessee. I'm going to be purposefully vague and mostly just show a few pictures. Several nice fish came to hand but I didn't get too many pictures. The two fish that were worthy were interesting for a couple of reasons. The first was the brookie and I believe the pictures speak for themselves. The colors are incredible and were even better there in person. I might have to do a trip to the Smokies in the near future to catch a few more brookies because I haven't fished for them enough this year. On Sunday I was reminded why I ought to pursue them more often...


The other fish was also memorable but for another reason. Despite the pictures, I really don't count this fish because it wasn't fair hooked unfortunately. I was a little slow on the hook set by which time the fish had already spit out the fly. Thankfully I was still able to slow it down so the fight didn't last too long and I didn't have to break it off...I'm hoping to go chase some big browns somewhere to the north next weekend...hopefully they'll all eat and I'll be quick on the set...