The flies of choice on the upper portion of the float were the usual BHPT, Tutto and a variety of midges in an assorted group of colors. Dan was hooking up with a deadly sow bug pattern which grabbed the attention of a number of rainbows. The black Zebra Midge caught the smaller rainbows in the upper part of the river, but the Tutto seemed to produce a better quality fish.
The weather pattern continued to be unpredictable throughout the day. The wind would be low on one stretch and when the boat rounded a corner the wind would pick up and out would come the gloves and knit hats. The rain came off and on throughout the float and rain clouds one minute with the sun peeking through the next.
A number of fish were holding at the entrance to the shoals and just into the runs past the shoals. With the high winds it was difficult to see the fish holding in the deeper runs, but we managed to dredge up a couple here and there to satisfy our curiosity.
The Longest Technically Perfect Drift that Produces a Rainbow.
Dan and I entered the backside of the island at Van Zant Bend and made our way through the downed tree that earlier in the year blocked the river. Dan laid out the cast and off we went drifting through the logs, shoals and rocks that make this section of the river look so fishy. Dan held the appropriate amount of slack while my job was to look ahead and make sure the boat placement was just right. After the first few hundred feet the game was on, because the fish weren’t, and we both knew we wanted to drift the bug the length of the island. Just as the bridge came into sight Dan’s indicator bottomed out and disappeared. It took us both a second to realize the exercise might have been interrupted by a fish. A hook set, a short battle for good measure and a net to scoop the prize, we both realized we were both happy as any child over an 11” inch rainbow.
A Van Zant Bend Rainbow
We picked up fish most of the length of the float with the majority coming on the many different shoals within the river. As we entered the final stretch of the float to Ferris Creek the wind was there to greet us and make the heater in the truck the highlight of the evening. Overall we had a much better than expected day….our positive talk kept the snow and sleet away, but it took every layer of clothing we brought to make it through the float.
Lynchburg Fly FishersLynchburg is famous for the whiskey that is made back in the hollow. On Tuesday night I was invited to speak at the Lynchburg Fly Fishers November meeting. This is a group of fly fishing enthusiasts who gather once a month to discuss the fishing in Middle TN as well as other destinations throughout the US. The group has a beautiful place to meet which is among the nicest club houses in the area.
We discussed fishing the Elk, the Caney Fork, Arkansas, Michigan and Florida as well as Troutfest, which is coming to Townsend, TN in the spring. The group has a strong base and I am sure if they band their efforts and resources they can make positive differences on their home river which is the Elk River.
Part of the Lynchburg Fly Fishers
Thank you for the opportunity to speak and I am looking forward to seeing everyone at the future meetings.
The weather in Florida is more to my liking this time of year; however the drive to the river is much more affordable on the weekends than a drive to the coast. Dan Sharley spent a couple weeks on the Gulf Coast working and fishing. Click on the photo to get his views on fly fishing the Gulf Coast.