Sunday, July 12, 2009

Caney Fork Fly Fishing Report

Chris and Jason F.

I had the pleasure of being on the boat with Chris, from Thompson Station, and Jason of Knoxville, on the Caney Fork. We met at 5:30 a.m. so we could catch the first round of falling water. Chris and Jason are brothers who live in Tennessee and as kids spent some of their summers living in Florida. They were certainly no strangers to fishing; however this would be their first time fishing with a fly rod.

The Army Corps shut down the generator but left the sluice running at 250 CFS, which is hopefully helping cool the river. They have been doing this for several days and it is already helping with the water clarity. The fish seem to like it too as they were responsive to the offerings the guys presented.

First Fish on a Fly Rod

Quality vs. Quantity

This trip would be about quantity on one end of the boat and quality on the other end of the boat. After some instruction we started down the river and Chris hooked up with his first rainbow. Then he caught another and another before Jason hooked and landed his bow. Brotherly banter started early and was heard often as Chris took to fly fishing like he was born with the Sage rod in his hand. He was able to cast pretty well and he perfected the strip-set before we passed the wooden stairs. We changed to an Echo rod, which has a little more backbone, for Jason and his casting improved significantly on the first cast. Then we drifted with the current, stopping at a good hole here and there and backing up to hit some of the better shoals a time or two. The two brothers settled into

a good routine by the time we passed Where Cows Walk on Water.

Combat Fishing and Contrast

Being that it was a Saturday we knew the canoe rentals would be turning loose a couple rounds of canoes, add that to the usual traffic on the river and you get Combat Fishing. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to deal with it. There were two large church groups on the river, who were enjoying the day and who were pleasant. On the other end of the river traffic were the small group of twenty-somethings, whose manners and actions we all pray our kids never participate. It was quite an interesting contrast on the river.

Combat Fishing at its Finest

The trip was about nymph fishing and within the “rules” of nymph fishing is a no drag policy. Drag is a killer when fishing nymphs and drag can come from anywhere. One thing that can cause drag is waves. It is difficult to achieve the proper mend when waves from other boats come into the picture. With all the traffic in the morning we had our share of waves, but the guys paid attention to line management and kept a good drift going as much as possible. Jason had a large brown on, in between boats, but lost it when it jumped eye level as we stood in the boat. There was nothing he could do when the fish jumped that high, but it gave us an idea of what could come our way….

Good to See a Brook Trout

Just before lunch Chris had a good drift going over one of my favorite shoals when his indicator went to the bottom. Chris set the hook; a large rainbow rocketed to the surface and made a heroic jump, again to eye level, then threw the hook. The guy’s reply was a calm….”That’s why they are big”.

No Slouch Brown

We stopped for lunch and waited out the midday round of generation. They tried some wade fishing and then we rowed back up river to hit the shoal again. Jason turned on the quality and boated a couple nice browns, one of which he played for several minutes before he was able to bring it to the net. It was obvious these two guys have experience when it came to fighting fish. They told the story of a young Jason landing a 90 pound tarpon from the bank one summer in Florida. This brown was no 90 pound tarpon, but on a 6 weight fly rod it was no slouch by anyone’s standards.

This Rainbow Has Been Midging

The Wrap-up

Chris took the largest rainbow, which measured 14 inches as well as the high fish count for the day. We rounded out this trip heading down the home stretch with Jason taking care of the Grand Slam after netting a brook trout. It was a pleasure fishing with these two brothers today, hopefully they will remember the good times of this day for a very long time.

See the Latest Fishing Report from Southeastern Fly and Click Here for Regional Travel Information

Caught & Released


  1. Dave - We had a fantastic time! Thanks for the instruction, the attention, the patience, and the time....(Not to mention, the lunch - you could have a future in the catering business.) Jason F.

  2. jhgjlkhuihd[hfjphhghoohgb