Gary up Front with the Orvis Hydros
I met up early Saturday morning with Gary and Luke in Murfreesboro. After dropping the boat, then the truck, we were off, below Tims Ford Dam on the Elk River. The Elk is close to Lynchburg, Tennessee, which most people associate with Jack Daniels. Today the liquid of interest would be the cool waters of the Elk Rvier tailwater.
Luke had never cast a fly rod and we spent the first part of the day teaching casting techniques, which he picked up quickly. We also focused on the proper mend (for those who have fished with me, you understand this is a lengthy part of the instructions) and finally we discussed the best ways to fight a fish successfully.
The Hatchery Brats Came Out for Their Photo Op
The water was stained and it is possible the stain came from the heavy rains from a couple of nights prior to our arrival. The water clarity did seem to slow the fishing and even with the multiple hatches, between high winds, we still didn't see the surface activity we desired. But, the conditions gave use a chance to try a new pattern or two and to have some success on a fly Gary developed a few nights prior to the float. His recently developed bead head creation, brought some success to the boat with the addition of a brown trout to our list of fish.
An Elk River Brown Trout
The fish seemed to be holding close to structure. Not only the points of the bank and wood, but also to the bottom structure. Which meant knowing the river bottom and the currents was the best offense in the drift. The wind kept us on our toes and hard on the oars most of the day.
Water Clarity Wasn't the Best, But It Has Been Worse
The creek between the highway bridge and Tims Ford Dam was discharging slightly stained water. As with most post rain event days on the Elk, the other tributaries were pushing slightly stained water as well. This condition is normal for the Elk, but the fish were still somewhat active. A long drift was key and zero movement on the drift was a must. One of the rainbows watched the fly drift over head no less than six times before it was tempted to the fly.
Eyes of the Brown Trout
As the day went on the wind picked up and the fish continued to come to the fly, only when the presentation was at its best. We tried streamers before lunch, receiving mostly drive by's and no takers until late in the float.
The Technical Prtion of the Float
The Elk presents several different types of waters. Want to test mending skills? Try getting a drift through all the way through the the cut at General Lowes. With many different currents, logs, stumps and shoals, this is a test of the angler's ability to think out the currents ahead, while making slight corrections to the fly and challenge' the rower's ability to handle the boat . Whether a fish is caught or not caught through this section, it certainly the most challenging water on this river.
Gary and Luke were a pleasure to have on the boat. Luke will make a fine angler as he gets more time on the long rod. Gary has been fly fishing several years and has a unique ability to see the big picture when it comes to a day on the water.
Caught and Released