Photo of the Month: Autumn Slab of Gold

Photo of the Month: Autumn Slab of Gold

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Streamers Are Hot

The Caney was hot this past weekend with most all fisherman reporting good fishing.  I floated again with David Perry and the streamer bite was sick.  I started out at the casting brace with an agreement of changing every five fish.  A skipjack got things rolling but soon the nice rainbows started coming to the net.  Soon it was time to switch so I rowed while David P. fished.  After putting a few fish in the boat we switched again and found out just how good the fishing was. 

Fishing down a bank, I was literally getting a fish, follow, or strike on every cast.  The fish were all on the feed and couldn't get enough of our streamers.  Talking to several other fisherman, it appeared that lots of techniques were working well.  The only thing lacking was the big browns which didn't really every come out to play.  We did have a few follows and some hard strikes from fish we never saw, but at the end of the day, no large browns had been put in the net. 

One thing that was very exciting was the growth of the brookies.  The largest we boated was just under 14 inches and fat.  So far it seems that the brook trout are being stocked in decent numbers and are keeping away from the big browns.  There is plenty of food in the river and the fish are healthy.  If they can survive the summer we should be seeing a few in the 16 inch range this next fall. 

Hopefully the river will continue to fish well.  I have high hopes for the summer's fishing opportunities.  For now, the river is slowly getting healthier with a good range of fish sizes showing up to about 15-16 inches.  Hopefully the big browns will start showing up soon.  Regardless, it is still a good time to get out...

The following are several of the pictures from the day...

Photograph by David Perry 





Photograph by David Perry 

Photograph by David Perry 

Photograph by David Perry 


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Camping In Cades Cove

Rain.  Temps in the 30s and low 40s.  Camping.  Not normally a recipe for good camping, some friends and I decided to battle the elements as we were all free this past weekend.  We wanted to do a long hike in preparation for a trip to the Grand Canyon in another couple of weeks.  Amazingly, despite the bleak forecast, the weather actually turned out very well.  Friday night featured just some very light drizzle that quit once we set up camp.  Saturday turned out to be partly cloudy which meant we had some great views once we got to the higher elevations. 

For the most part the camera stayed in its case.  The light was a little weak, and I knew that the pictures I stored in my mind were much better than anything my camera could accomplish.  Our hike took us up the Anthony Creek Trail out of Cades Cove to the Bote Mountain Trail.  Ascending up to the AT, we then took a right turn and headed west for three miles.  In the process we took in views from Spence Field and Russell Field.  Our route back down was the Russell Field Trail which connected to the Anthony Creek trail.  Several hours and close to 15 miles later, we were back in camp, all a little sore, but everyone agreed that the hike was well worth it.

Sunday I planned to do a little fishing.  The morning dawned overcast and stayed that way up until we headed out of the Cove.  I was excited because the low light conditions increased the odds that some large browns would be out feeding.  Sadly, as we drove back down Laurel Creek Road towards Little River, the clouds thinned and soon broke completely.  The day turned out beautiful but not so good for fishing.  I still managed some small rainbows and even got a 14 inch brown to come attempt to eat.  Unfortunately I set the hook too early and missed out on pictures of the nice fish.


Hopefully I will be out fishing again soon, most likely on the Caney Fork this next weekend.  This is the time of year to be fishing streamers as much as possible on the tailwaters and I'll probably try to do that some...with a little luck, the big guys might come out and play...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Warm Respite

After a great day of hiking this past Saturday, I knew that getting out on Sunday was definitely necessary.  The Smokies have been calling for weeks so I finally made the drive over with a couple of friends.  We planned on having a relaxed day with a little hiking, a little fishing, and most of all just enjoying the great outdoors. 

The drive over was uneventful.  After a stop to pick up some sandwiches for lunch we headed into the Park.  I stopped at a couple of favorite pools to look for big browns sitting out.  Sure enough, in the first place I checked a very nice fish was out feeding.  I watched for a good ten minutes but decided to leave it for the time being.  We drove on to Elkmont and started up the trail.  After hiking for a bit, we found a nice spot in the sun to hang out and eat lunch.


Naturally I was in a hurry to sample the fishing so I rigged up and headed a couple hundred feet downstream to fish back up.  The first several pockets and runs were seemingly devoid of life, but having fished often before in cold weather I knew that it was just a matter of time.  The dry flies weren't doing the trick like I had hoped so I switched over to a pair of nymphs.  Immediately the fish started to hit a Tellico and things progressed nicely.  The first fish came right where I had left my friends lounging on a rock, and the three runs immediately above were also good to me.




The rainbows are starting to color up for the spawn which should be starting soon.  The river was in excellent shape, and I expect the fishing to be great this spring.  Right now, it looks like old man winter will hang on for at least another two weeks.  I would bet that the second week in March is a good bet for the first big hatches, but of course it is only a guess. 



After the sun started sinking below the ridge, we headed back down the trail.  I stopped in a couple of spots to catch some more trout.  Everywhere I expected to find fish produced well for me.  The fish were glued to the bottom for the most part at this elevation, but a weighted nymph and a couple of split shot did the trick. 

We headed over to Cades Cove to finish off the day watching the sunset.  The cove was basking in the warm glow of a late winter sun and the spring peepers were singing their song.  We still have some cold days ahead, but weather like this starts to ignite spring fever for me.  I'm hoping to get out again over the next few days.  I've had a cold for days, but hopefully it will ease enough that I can get out soon.  I'm hoping to return to the Smokies so stay tuned for more...


Monday, January 31, 2011

Transitional Water

Nope, this is not a post about reading water or discovering how to find fish when they are moving between water types.  Instead, remember your second grade science lessons when you learned about the difference between water in its solid and liquid forms. 

The extended cold weather finally gave way to warmer temperatures.  One of the great aspects of living in the mid-south is that we normally get a reprieve from the cold weather on occasion throughout the winter.  This past weekend saw highs soaring into the low 60s, meaning that all the snow and ice we've experienced this winter has largely melted.  Still, in sheltered gorges, large ice formations remain to remind us that the icy grip of winter is not far away. 

I hiked with a group of friends at Colditz Cove State Natural Area.  This was my second time there, and I spent more time with the camera than compared to the previous trip.  The water on the sides of the gorge was in a transitional stage.  The ice was glistening as it softened up but without completely melting all the way.  The late afternoon light was incredible as well, often combining with the natural elements of rock and ice to create beautiful compositions that I only feebly attempted to capture. 

The following are a few of my favorite pictures from the hike.  Some are all about light, others all about texture, and a few display interesting shapes front and center.  The best combine all these elements...

This ice formation was almost shaped like a claw.  The smooth texture was the result of the warm temperatures slowly melting the ice.


 The same ice formation contrasts nicely against the warm light on the roof of the overhanging rock.


The centerpiece of the hike, Northrup Falls, plunges over 60 feet to a turqouise pool below. 


A lone plant clings to the moss covered wall of the gorge. 


The shapes here intrigued the geometry teacher within. The color and texture of the sandstone is beautiful as well...

This fallen tree provided the perfect base for an unusual ice accumulation.


So is this what a squirrel sees when it climbs a tree?


Curtains of ice glisten as they hang on the canyon walls.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Perfect

With highs in the mid-upper 50s under sunny skies, the weather is about as close to perfect as one could hope for in January.  I'm planning to get out today and probably tomorrow as well.  Some fishing, some hiking, a lot of fun in the outdoors...  Today I'm going to a waterfall that I've never been to and hope to return with some good pictures.  Tomorrow, if all goes well, I'll be fishing.......somewhere.  The Smokies are calling so I might head that way or I may take the float tube down to the Caney to chuck streamers, time will tell.  Regardless, check back soon and hopefully I'll have some updates...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just Keeps On Snowing

Winter has always been enjoyable to me, especially when there is plenty of snow.  Tennessee winters are notorious for cold rain, but sometimes not much in the way of snow.  This winter I have been reminded of the winters I experienced as a kid.  Around here, 4"-6" snow is a big deal and we have had more than our share of those and even a few going a bit more.  Those of you that live in mountainous areas out west or perhaps further north probably get tired of all the snow, but it is a nice change of pace for us here in the southeast. 

Over the past week or so, I've taken a lot of pictures including some of absolutely incredible sunsets as well as frozen waterfalls (or mostly frozen).  The following are a few of my favorites. 







Friday, January 07, 2011

Back Again

The Troutmobile is now officially cured!  All fish beware and be afraid...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

First Float of the Year: "Just In Time"


When David Perry asked me late last week if I was interested in a weekend float, I was excited for the opportunity to get out on the water in what will probably be a lean month as far as fishing goes.  I asked about fishing streamers and he was game.  My interest immediately increased exponentially as visions of sticking a big fish for the new year started running through my head.  My streamers boxes were checked, but I didn't really get around to tying any new ones.  That turned out to be ok though...

Sunday rolled around, and I woke up early, ready to hit the road for the Caney.  Pulling into our take out point, I saw David P. with the drifter already there.  I got my stuff switched over to his truck and off we went.  As we put the boat in at the launch, we could see people catching a few, and fish were rising occasionally to something small in the surface film.  I had a special spot I wanted to try, and David P. was kind enough to accomodate.  This proved to be a great move as we got into several fish rather quickly including my first crappie of 2011, a few browns, and numerous skipjack. 

 Photo courtesy David Perry

Finally, we realized that we needed to make some progress down river.  Shortly after we started drifting, I hooked an energetic rainbow, but was thrilled to see a huge golden flash behind it as it twisted and turned on its way to the boat.  Monster browns are always what we are after when throwing streamers and this fish would definitely have qualified.  Unfortunately, I only got a quick glimpse of the fish before it vanished and it didn't reappear.  We moved on down the river, moving a a few fish and hooking up with some more nice rainbows. 

Photo courtesy David Perry


 Photo courtesy David Perry

 Photo courtesy David Perry

David P. had some new patterns he wanted to try when it was his turn to fish.  His new streamer was the hot fly for the day.  Even though I had the right color, his pattern still outfished mine for the most part.  Over the course of the float, he managed the Caney Fork slam and some skipjack, while I only caught rainbows and browns plus skipjack and that one crappie.  We were both surprised at the number and variety of fish that were chasing our streamers.

Photo courtesy David Perry




A few big browns came out to chase our streamers, but we couldn't get any truly large fish to commit.  As the shadows grew longer, the temperature started dropping to the point where we were getting ice in our guides.  We became more interested in making it to the take out than slowing down and thoroughly fishing every spot.  As we took the boat out, both of us agreed that it was one of the better days either of us have had in awhile. 

I'm hoping to get out again soon, perhaps to the mountains this time.  It will depend on how busy I am but I might manage to get away one day this weekend.  The Caney will be unfishable to all but those in boats for awhile.  Heavy rain this past weekend means that Center Hill is running 2+ generators and will be for some time.  We did our float just in the nick of time.  The generators came on as our day was winding down and haven't let up since.  I expect the river to fish very well once water levels come back down...

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Years

Good luck to everyone in 2011!  I hope you get to spend a lot of time on the water...