Photo of the Month: Autumn Slab of Gold

Photo of the Month: Autumn Slab of Gold

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Epic Smokies Trip


Another trip is in the books and was one to remember for a long time. The fishing was great and the catching was off the charts. The first afternoon was spent figuring out what the fish wanted, but once we discovered the hot combination things quickly improved. Fish would take a variety of nymphs the first day, but the clear favorite was a beadhead caddis pupa. On top, the fish were definitely interested in taking a Parachute Adams. I finally settled on a dry/dropper combo as the best way to consistently take fish.

We kicked off the fishing portion of the trip after we set up our camp at Elkmont. Instead of wasting valuable fishing time driving somewhere, we just fished out of the campground, hiking either up or down the river. With me on this trip was my cousin Nathan and his buddy JR. Nathan fishes with me fairly often, but this was the first time fishing with JR. To make things even better, this was JR's first time fishing in the Smokies.

Taking people out to a Smokies stream for the first time is always a great experience that I enjoy immensely. You watch their progression, beginning with them splashing through the stream spooking all the fish, to becoming a wily veteran utilizing every bit of cover and camouflage to approach the fish. JR had fly fished a little before so the casting was not a problem. He did just fine getting the fly to the fish and his reflexes were quick enough that he hooked his first fish within 10 minutes of getting on the water. Best of all he learned quickly. I never had to tell him twice to be sneaky. Stealth cannot be emphasized too much in trout fishing, and in particular this is true in the Smokies.

My favorite tactic for putting someone new to the park onto fish involves a beadhead nymph and an indicator. For that matter it works great for anyone not accustomed to highsticking nymphs without an indicator. We all started out with nymphs simply because it was a bright sunny day. Trout tend to be a little skittish under these conditions and sit deeper in the water column. Of course, this time of year, you can almost certainly find trout willing to rise to a dry fly if you are willing to cover water.


Playing Guide for JR, his first Smokies rainbow (Nathan Stanaway Photo)


With both Nathan and JR both set up with nymph rigs, I was ready to fish myself and tied on a double nymph rig. Once I get people catching fish, I start experimenting with patterns, quickly cycling through patterns that will likely be catching fish at the given time of year. Currently yellow stoneflies are starting to hatch and of course there are still plenty of mayflies around. Additionally, the caddis should really be turning on shortly now. The mornings feature an excellent midge hatch. If you know what time of day each of these insects are active, you can maximize your efficiency in catching fish.

I cycled through most of the standard patterns that usually work well for me this time of year. While all the flies caught fish, I still felt that things could be much better. Finally I tried a simple little caddis pupa with a beadhead. Immediately I started catching fish. At first I thought it was a fluke, that is until I moved into a small pool no larger than 15 x 20 feet. Every cast resulted in either a hookup or a missed strike. By the time I had pulled out 5 or 6 fish, I knew that I was onto something. Each fish hit the same pupa pattern. The best brown trout caught the first day came from this pool. Quickly digging through my fly boxes, I found a few more so Nathan and JR could get in on the action. Moving together upstream, one on each side and one observing, we started to nail fish left and right.


( Nathan Stanaway Photo)



After an hour or so it was getting towards dark. We fished up to one last pool, in the process catching a few more fish. As we were leaving the first mayfly spinners were making an appearance, and the fish started rising enthusiastically. On the hike out, I saw fish rising in every pool and soft pocket. Arriving back in camp, we built a huge fire and did the traditional hot dog roast. Sitting around the fire, we shared stories from the day before finally hitting the sack.

Saturday morning I got up early to hit a few pools below Elkmont in search of larger browns. Despite my best efforts, I never saw any truly large fish but had a good time looking. Before heading back to camp for breakfast, I fished a favorite pool and caught a few rainbows. Again, the bead head dropper was nailing all the fish.

In camp, after eating a hearty breakfast, I pulled out my tying equipment and cranked out a dozen of the hot fly pattern. Assured of a good supply of flies, we headed out for another day on the stream. Our destination required a bit of hiking which is always a gamble. Someone could be on the water ahead of you spooking all the fish and causing your catching numbers to suffer. However, if you are the first one on the water in a few days, the results can be spectacular.

We finally commenced fishing in a favorite pool of mine. Of course, I say that about most of the water on Little River. Still, I have had more good days in this area than any other stretch of Little River. I figured that it would probably produce at least a few fish for my less-experienced fishing buddies. What I didn't expect was how much the river would show off for us.

I started fishing up the first run while Nathan and JR got into their wading gear. Generally I hike in ready to fish, but they packed their waders. Fishing to the head of the first pool produced five fish, and my excitement was growing exponentially. Most of the fish were on the dropper, but some were rising to the Parachute Adams as well. Once I got Nathan and JR fishing, they were immediately successful as well.


Soon we developed an efficient rhythm. In stretches where it was easy to leapfrog, we spread out through a 100-200 yard section. Where the rhododendron crowded closer to the water, we fished directly across from each other in stealth mode, sneaking slowly along the edges and picking pockets for the brightly colored rainbows and occasional brown that took the caddis pupa with reckless abandon and kept rising often enough to insure that we stuck with a dry/dropper rig. In fact, by the end of the day, we all agreed that probably half of our fish came on the dry flies.

There were many highlights throughout the day, but one of the best was when Nathan caught a nice fish. I was busy helping JR to retie when I heard Nathan shout. When I looked up, I saw his rod bent and asked if it was a good one. The look on his face was priceless as he responded in the affirmative. Quickly finishing the knot for JR, I started wading back across the stream to help land the fish and take pictures. The trout started on a blistering run downstream with Nathan following in pursuit. Finally, in some dead water behind a boulder we landed the nice brown. High fives were given all around and then we took a few pictures. The fish had put up a heroic fight so I spent some extra time reviving it. When it was rested, the fish took off quickly, hopefully to grow some more before we catch it again.





Another highlight was when I happened on a pool where seemingly ever trout was out feeding. Before I was finished, I had taken 12 trout out of the pool along with my best fish of the weekend, a 12 inch brown. In the last pool of the day, Nathan and I caught 1o trout between the two of us. These are just two examples that give some idea of just how good the fishing was on this trip. Sometimes I enjoy just catching a lot of fish. Other times I am in the mood for a difficult fish or maybe a quality hatch. On this trip, I definitely got my fill of catching average Smoky Mountain trout.

(Nathan Stanaway Photo)


Sunday morning we planned on fishing for an hour or two after taking down camp. JR still had not caught a brown trout despite catching probably 40 or 50 rainbows over the previous two days. We decided to fish a section close to camp and hope for a brown or two. Again, the stars aligned and JR got his brown in the first pool he fished. This was a good way to finish an epic weekend. Both Nathan and JR had caught a lot of fish and the weather had been perfect. Things couldn't have been better...


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Smokies Weekend

Fishing was absolutely sick. The fish seem extra stupid right now. Full report to come in the next day or two...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Lull


My fishing time has been increasing significantly lately. This past weekend I was able to take the new float tube out for a short maiden voyage. The fishing was great but the catching was nonexistent. I am excited to use the tube to exploit the many untouched stillwater opportunities in the area. It will also come in handy on my excursions out west.

With the recent unseasonably warm weather has come an excellent response from the fish. Trout in the mountains are feeding enthusiastically on the bounty now constantly passing in the current. Smallmouth bass are starting to be caught again on the lower elevations of the same streams. This past Sunday found me headed for the Smokies again. My observations from the trip surprised even me.

This time of year, the normal routine is for the insects to become active in the middle of the day. Significant hatches tend to start around noon, give or take an hour. The norm has been significantly altered however due to the very warm temperatures we have been experiencing. It appears that the Quill Gordons are just about over now. Naturally a few stray bugs are still emerging but the bulk of the hatch has passed. If my observations from Sunday are accurate, it actually appears that we are in a lull between hatches. Hendricksons have started but are not particularly heavy yet. A random assortment of stoneflies, caddis, and several mayflies are all trickling off but not in consistent all-day action. The midge hatch was actually probably the best of any type of insect I observed, but I was there to fish dries and didn't even feel like dropping a Zebra Midge under my Parachute Adams.



Fish are still more than willing to eat a dry...you just have to find the ones that are looking up. The weather featured a bright sunny day which have in turn drove the fish deeper during the middle part of the day. Fishing on Sunday felt much more like mid summer when early and late are the rule to consistent action. The fish that did rise generally did so in the shade although that was not 100% true.


One of the highlights of the day was having my license checked by a ranger. I am always glad to see them out patrolling the streams and made a point of telling him that I appreciated his efforts. I hope everyone else will do the same when a ranger or fish and game officer stops by. They have a tough job and I notice that we as fly fisherman (myself included) often like to grumble about a lack of enforcement. A little positive feedback can go a long ways towards getting better enforcement and effort from the people responsible for enforcing the fishing regulations.

If the hatches in the park were a bit on the light side, the caddis hatch below the park was more like a blizzard. I stopped on the lower portion of Little River to try and find some smallmouth bass and was amazed at the number of little black caddis in the air. It looked exactly like pictures I have seen of the famed Mother's Day Caddis on rivers like the Arkansas in Colorado. Unfortunately, trout are almost nonexistent in the lower sections so there were no fish actively rising to the banquet. The smallmouth were not very cooperative but I did manage one small fish on a Clouser. I intend to spend a lot more time this year figuring out smallmouth. Hopefully I'll find some larger ones soon...

At one point during the day, I spent some time just enjoying the beauty of a mountain stream in early spring through my camera lens. The following are a few of the shots I took. The first picture is of a nice run that produced several rises but all from smaller fish. I took a rainbow and a brown, one near the back, and one at the head of the run.


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Small Ponds Waking Up

This is one of my favorite times of year. In the mountains the trout are rising to the best hatches of the season, and at the same time the warm water scene is heating up. This past week we had an outing for the guys at the school I teach at. There would be a small lake very close by so I took a couple of fly rods hoping to get a little fishing.
Things worked out much better than I anticipated when a bunch of guys wanted to go swimming and I was assigned to be one of the people to supervise. Naturally I rigged up the two rods. At this point some of the guys were watching with a bit of interest and one came over and asked if he could try it out. I'm always glad to give my students a chance to try the sport. Last year's outing produced good results with the bluegill for all the students that tried fly fishing.

This year I was a bit surprised by the fact that only one guy, Michael, was really interested in trying it out. We both strung up our rods, mine for bass and his for bluegill, and started to slowly make our way around the pond. I fished the first spot, all the while providing commentary on what I was doing and I.
Michael K. Photograph

As I was bouncing my fly past some structure, a bass came out to inhale the offering. The guys were all impressed and I was happy. Last year we couldn't buy any bass on this lake so it was a good start. After getting a couple of pictures, we continued moving around the pond. I slowly worked ahead, constantly watching for fish and directing him to sneak up and cast when any were spotted. Still, the fish were very spooky and we were having a hard time getting close enough for his basic casting skills.

Michael K. Photograph

Finally, we were about out of time. I stopped at a small bay and proceeded to pick up my third small bass of the day while he jumped in a canoe with another guy to take a shortcut back. As I was releasing my fish, I heard him shouting, "Mr. Knapp, Mr. Knapp!!! I've got one!!!" I sent back instructions to keep the fish in the water until I arrived and then hurried on around to where he was. He had a big grin on his face and a nice little bluegill. After helping him pose with the fish, I snapped a couple of pictures and then we released the fish. All in all, it was a great outing and hopefully another young person was converted to the sport.


I currently have a new float tube sitting in my living room waiting for its maiden voyage. I'm hoping to do that tomorrow or Sunday so check back soon for more warm water action here in East Tennessee. I'll be heading for the mountains again soon as well...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Staying Warm

One of the challenges of fishing in the cooler months is staying warm, especially if you are catching a lot of fish and have to constantly be dealing with unhooking them. I have wanted to share my system for staying warm and almost waited too long. The warm months stretch ahead of us now, but hopefully this will help you plan for next winter. A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by David French from handwarmers.net about doing a product review on their hand warmers. It was a great opportunity to pick up a few handwarmers as well as motivate me to write this post that I have been planning for awhile.

First of all, I personally feel that handwarmers are crucial to my happiness when winter fishing. I always have at least one in a pocket and sometimes have two ready, one for each hand. My indicator that tells me I am too cold is simply this: if I can't tie knots then I'm too cold and it is time to spend a couple of minutes warming my hands. If I'm cold enough that I can't get warm using handwarmers, then I have a more serious problem and either need to return to my car or build a small fire.

To delay the inevitable, I highly recommend wearing a good pair of fishing gloves, at least on the really cold days. I prefer to fish without them but solved that problem by wearing it on just one hand. The main reason I have discovered to wear gloves is because they keep your hands dry. The exertion of casting otherwise keeps you sufficiently warm. However, constantly stripping line is a good way to get both cold and wet. Wearing a glove on whichever hand you hold the rold with solves this problem. I prefer to strip line with a bare hand. If I keep the line running between the fingures of my casting hand, the material of the glove soaks up all the moisture and my line hand stays dry. Naturally, when it is really cold outside the best method is to just wear gloves on both hands, and if they don't really bother you, I would wear them on both hands anyway. I just don't like the bulk...

Next, you need a way to stay dry. I never touch fish with gloves and don't recommend doing it unless you have a pair with a rubber finish to minimize the damage to the fish. There are two alternatives: either carry a net and simply never touch the fish or remove your glove each time you land the fish. I have used both and any time I want a picture of a particularly good fish I remove my gloves. Afterwords, the water on your hands and the cold air temperatures will have your hands miserable in no time. So I have started carrying a small hand towel or even a washcloth. I just keep it tucked in my wading belt so it is always there when I want to dry my hands.

After drying your hands, you need to warm them back up, and this is where the handwarmers come in. Using the handwarmer a couple of minutes on each hand is the perfect way to keep fishing for hours with minimal discomfort. I fish with this system even when air temperatures are in the teens and twenties which is about as bad as I have to worry about here in Tennessee. If you live somewhere where it is colder, then I'm sure you have to use some additional measures on occasion. One other thing I like to do is have a small fire going on shore if it is legal. Everyone has there own method, and I would be interested to hear any other ideas you may have on keeping warm in the winter...

Bugs Everywhere!!!



Like most area fly fishermen, I spend the cold months dreaming of the first significant spring hatches in the Smokies. The Quill Gordons and Blue Quills highlight the early part of the season along with various caddis and stoneflies. After trying for years to hit a good Quill Gordon hatch, this proved to be the year to hit the jackpot.


Last Sunday, I drove up to the Park on a tip from my buddy Joe Mcgroom who had fished on Saturday. His report of bugs hatching and fish rising had me really excited. The icing on the cake was that the hatch didn't start until 1:30 in the afternoon. This meant I could sleep in and still make it in time for the dry fly action.

After the usual routine of stopping by Little River Outfitters to pick up a couple of items I wanted, I drove on up Little River looking for the perfect pool. Finally I settled on the same pool my buddy had fished the day before. He had caught 10 or more fish without really moving and I hoped to duplicate his success.

Before rigging up, I walked to the water and took a few minutes to enjoy the beautiful day. The first few bugs were struggling on the surface and a couple of fish were already rising consistently to the banquet drifting downstream from the fast water above. Hurrying back to the car, I soon had my favorite rod out, an old Orvis Superfine that flexes all the way to the handle. The soft rod is perfect for a day fishing dries, and I had already made up my mind to stick with dries no matter what.

I like to keep things simple when I'm fishing assuming the fish aren't picky so I tied on a trusty Parachute Adams and waded carefully into the calm water in the back of the pool. Several fish were rising by this time and I cast to the nearest one. Three casts later I had my first fish of the day. Sometimes catching fish that fast is a bad sign, but this time it just meant the fish were dumb and hungry. I took another step out and continued casting until another fish rose to the dry. Fish after fish rose with reckless abandon to my offering including a chunky brown of probably 12 inches that threw the fly after a spirited fight.


I continued moving up the pool casting to first one fish then another. Eventually they started to catch on, or maybe I just caught all the less intelligent residents. Regardless, it was a great way to start the day. After walking back to the car, I drove a short distance downstream to try another favorite piece of water. This one was decent but not as good as the first hole. Still, I managed a few more fish.

By this point in the trip, I was excited. Most of the fish I was catching were browns. Those that know me realize I would prefer to catch brown trout above all others. Not only was I catching browns, but they were mostly 9-12 inch fish, beautifully colored and obviously very healthy. The rainbows were gorgeous as well and quite chunky.


Moving on downstream, I stopped at a pullout right beside the stream. Sneaking along the edge of the stream, I started picking off fish after fish. The best fish of the day came from this stretch and was a brown of between 14 and 15 inches. It rose from the back of a deep run populated by several rising fish. Spring is the best time to catch larger browns on a dry. One of these days I hope to find one of the truly large fish rising to a good hatch. Until then I'm more than satisfied with catching 8-14 inch fish all afternoon.



Days like this one make me wish I lived closer to the Park. However, I would probably call in sick too often if I actually lived closer so its probably a good thing. Soon I'll be back, likely within the next week or two. Right now its time to tie flies so I'm prepared for the next trip...


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Break 2010: Florida Everglades


Each year I try to do a trip for spring break. For the past several years I have been going to the Smokies to chase trout and the first spring hatches. This year some friends were wanting to do something out of the ordinary. Just a week before break was supposed to start someone suggested going to the Everglades in Florida and doing some canoeing. While I love the Smokies, I’ll usually give other things a try occasionally as well so I cleared my schedule.

We took my canoe down and rented another. There were five of us so two canoes would suffice. With just a couple of days to go before departure, I was fortunate enough to talk to Ian Rutter and gain some valuable advice on fishing the area. This trip was not specifically a fishing trip although I obviously intended to take a fly rod along.

Before I knew it the day of departure had arrived and we were driving south. We left in the afternoon and just drove through the night, arriving in Everglades City the next morning. Originally I had hoped to paddle out of Flamingo and all my fishing information was on that area. Things worked out well though from a monetary standpoint. Canoe rentals were only $25 a day in Everglades City as compared to $50 a day at Flamingo. Also, we were able to score a beach campsite that was free. The small island we spent two nights on was between 7 and 8 miles by canoe from Everglades City.

On the way out we saw porpoises including what appeared to be a young one that was much smaller than the rest. After driving through the night, we were all exhausted. Upon arriving where we were to camp, I set up my tent, crawled in and just fell asleep.


The next day we planned on doing a paddle around the area and then going back to our beach site. I had barely crawled out of my tent before one of my friends excitedly told me to come and try to catch the shark. I walked the 100 hundred or so feet over to where they had seen this fish, and sure enough, something was slowly cruising back and forth in the surf. Back at my tent, I strung up the fly rod and tied on a big Clouser. The fish was still working the shoreline when I got back so I waded out to get a little closer. Apparently, Clouser Minnows were not on the menu. After several minutes of fruitless casting, the fish vanished for a minute as it turned around to come back down the beach. When it reappeared, it was no more than 5 or 6 feet away. The murky water kept it from seeing me and being frightened. Immediately I realized it was not a shark but a nice tarpon. The huge scales gave it away. I didn’t have much in the way of other flies to try (more on that shortly) and acting on impulse, I reached out and grabbed its tail. At first it didn’t seem to notice until it tried to move. Upon realizing that something was now attached to its tail, the fish made a rapid escape towards the open ocean. I never saw it in as close again although that evening it, at least I like to think it was the same one, was rolling probably 75 yards offshore.


Caitlin Cress Photo

After the tarpon vanished, we ate breakfast and prepared for the day’s adventures. We wanted to paddle through some of the smaller channels where the opportunity to view wildlife would be greater. Over the course of the day, we saw plenty of birds and also a manatee. This was my best opportunity to get a little fishing in, and although I didn’t fish as much as I would have liked, I still had a good time. I caught what I believe was a Mangrove Snapper and also had what looked to be a baby tarpon blow up on the fly but couldn’t hook up.

Caitlin Cress Photo
Caitlin Cress Photo

In addition to seeing the wildlife and enjoying fishing, we also found a cool mangrove tunnel to paddle through. All of these elements combined to create a great total experience. That evening the tarpon was rolling offshore again but too far out to cast to from shore. After a hearty supper, we hit the sack to be ready for the paddle out the next day.

Caitlin Cress Photo

The last day on the water was the most difficult day of paddling, largely because my body was sore from the unaccustomed paddling the previous two days. The tide was mostly to our advantage paddling back, but we were paddling directly into the wind. We planned a route that would take us through smaller channels where wildlife was more likely to be found. The mnost exciting part of the paddle back was when a school of rays came swimming by. I was lucky to have the polarizing filter on my camera and got a couple of pictures.

The sky grew darker as we got closer to our take out point. It looked like a bad storm would break at any moment, but miraculously we made it back safely. After loading the gear and canoe, we started driving east. No more than 5 minutes down the road, the storm broke in all its fury with a wall of rain that caused progress to slow to a crawl. Still, we continued east with the eventual goal of heading south towards Homestead and the other entrance to the Everglades.

We didn’t move nearly as fast as we were hoping and it was after dark by the time we arrived at Flamingo and found a campsite. One of the things that Ian Rutter emphasized to me was the need to stay in after dark. I try to avoid bug repellent (at least anything containing Deet) as much as possible, but within 30 seconds of exciting the van at Flamingo I asked for the can of Deet and applied a liberal amount all over my clothes. There are showers at Flamingo so I could clean up as soon as the tent was up. After putting up my tent and getting a shower for the first time in a few days I crawled into my tent. The mosquitoes were so thick that I literally heard a continuous hum as the bugs swarmed all over the mesh of my tent as they tried to get to me for a feast. Four or five had entered the tent at the same time I did so the first few minutes in my tent were dedicated to a mosquito hunt. Only after dispatching the bloodthirsty critters could I sleep in peace, the hum of hundreds of mosquitoes still loud in my ears. The next morning, the vast majority of the bugs were gone. Apparently they only come out en masse under the cover of darkness, and that is consistent with the advice I got from Ian.

Our last full day in Florida was dedicated to checking out the areas wildlife. I got my alligator pictures and then some. We also saw a crocodile and plenty of birds including spoonbills. To cap off the trip, we drove out to Key West to see the sunset before beginning the long drive back home. The drive back was around 18 hours. Since I stayed awake with the driver for most of the night and then drove the whole daylight portion, I was exhausted and took a long nap when we got back.
Caitlin Cress Photo
Caitlin Cress Photo
Caitlin Cress Photo
Caitlin Cress Photo



The trip was awesome although it would have been nice to spend more time fishing. Someday I hope to return and do another trip in the Everglades when the fishing is better. Much thanks to everyone that responded here on my blog and also via email to give me advice on the trip. If I had just gone to fish it would have been a disappointing trip as many of you suggested, but I had a great time with friends and was able to see a lot of interesting wildlife in the process. I’m currently in the process of planning something bigger and better for next year’s spring break. Lots of backpacking and a sizable dose of fishing will be included.

That said, I have another break coming up in 2 or 3 weeks and am finalizing plans to be in the Smokies. I might go next weekend as well. This year is shaping up to be one of the best for fishing the Park that I have seen in a long time. The hatches have been quite strong and the fish are very healthy. I’m excited to see what the rest of the year has in store…

Dan Mcgrath Photo

All photos without a credit are taken and copyrighted by me.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Caney March 19, 2010

Low flows are much more common on the Caney now. A corresponding increase in fishing pressure was obvious at all the major access points this past Friday. I arrived at the river around 2:30 in the afternoon and spent the first 20 minutes checking all the main access points from Happy upstream to the dam. With all the other spots crowded I settled on fishing at Happy.

There has been a lot of discontented rumbling about the river for weeks now, and I was really curious to see for myself how the fishing was. While I can’t provide much optimism, I can report that there are still at least a few fish in the river.

The first rig of the day was my Caney standard of a dry and dropper. After fishing for a good long while without catching anything, I decided to sit on the shore and just wait for something to rise. Once, a larger fish that had already rose a couple of times swirled on the surface across the river. However, I wasn’t about to wade across the river again unless the fish showed some consistency with its rises. After waiting for around 30 minutes, a fish rose out in the middle, just out of casting range from where I was sitting. A couple of minutes passed before it rose again, and then again. Finally, a fish with a rhythm.

Wading quietly out while stripping line off the reel, I started casting. The first cast was about a foot long and the fish rose between me and my fly. The second cast was perfect and a sudden swirl proved the fish was hungry. A major battle ensued as I brought the huge 8 inch fish to hand. The fish didn’t really fight much, and I quickly removed the hook to get the little brown back in the water.

Encouraged, I started probing the water again. Blindly covering water just wasn’t the answer so I finally reeled in and started walking down the bank while thinking about just calling it a day. Just before turning to head up the ramp, I saw a rise and decided to give it another shot. Again, I fished for awhile without hooking up. Finally I found a fish with some consistency and made up my mind to catch it. For such a little fish, it proved very difficult to catch. There wasn’t a very good rhythm to its rises so I just kept casting away. By this time I had tied on a small #20 parachute pattern that was close in color to the blackflies that were hatching. I probably cast over this fish for 30 minutes. Normally on the Caney I wouldn’t waste that much time on such a small fish but there weren’t exactly tons of fish to be caught and besides, I wanted to catch fish on dries. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I hooked the little fish and decided to take a quick picture. Sometimes I’m just as proud of catching little fish as I am of big fish. It is all a matter of perspective and the little brown I caught took a lot of patience and persistence.

I fished for just a few more minutes before deciding to call it a day. It was really nice to be back on the river again. I wish I could provide more optimism about the fishing but for now things are going to be tough. The river will fish well again but it may take a few months. Thankfully it is time to really start fishing hard in the Smokies and the warm water species should be turning on soon as well. I just ordered a float tube to aid in fishing area lakes and ponds. With the price of gas creeping up again, I’ll probably spend more time this year looking for local alternatives to trout fishing.

Coming Soon

I am really behind on posting here. I have several fishing reports as well as some stories from a canoe trip in Florida and a product review. This weekend I fished the Caney on Friday and the Smokies on Sunday so check back soon for those reports. This afternoon I should have some free time and plan on doing some updates...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Little Help

I'm currently thinking about heading down to Florida for spring break to camp and fish in the Everglades. I know absolutely nothing about that area. Thus, I'm shamelessly begging for a little information to help me decide whether it is a trip I want to do. The spring hatches should be starting here in the Smokies, and I'm having a hard time being convinced that it is worth the trip to FL. Currently I don't own any saltwater gear so I only need information on the freshwater portion of the Everglades...no ocean fishing for me... If you are willing to offer advice, feel free to reply here or you can email me. Thanks!