Fall is in the Air and the Water
Calvary Outfitters had their annual outing on the Caney Fork and I went along to fish.....and for the burgers. Brent and I rode up to the river together and had good discussions of various topics. One such discussion was of Fall and the leaves on the ground and more importantly in the water. The heavy leaf days are ahead of us, but there are already leaves in the water, especially when the wind picks up. Just pick your spots and cast between them...for the next few weeks it will be fine.
After we arrived at the river it took me a little longer to get my stuff together. We were all wading and my stuff was thrown in the back of the truck, so getting the wading stuff together took a little longer. The extra time also allowed for the opportunity to pick out the most productive"looking" spots, while I watched what appeared to be a nice fish rising right beside the trail that other anglers were walking along.
While living in Knoxville, I learned people sometimes overlook the most obvious fish and other times they walk right through some of the best holes and runs to get to the their favorite spot. I watched as a few people walked right past this rising fish that was feeding within inches of the bank and a couple feet from the foot path.
After getting my waders and other garb on, I was finally ready. I tied on a top water fly and slid down the hill, walked through the weeds (thinking no snakes, no snakes, no snakes) then got into position. Still haven't gotten the boots wet, dropped the fly in some moving water and bam. A swing and a miss. The fish moved out into the middle of the run, another cast and the fly was hooked up with a nice medium sized brown.
Brown Trout Was the Flavor of the Day
Then it was time to hit a shoal with some nymphs. After much searching and a few canoes, I finally found a pocket of browns and picked several out of one hole. It was good to get out and wade through an area we usually float over. Brent commented on the water clarity and how the water was so clear it was deceivingly deep in some places. Clear water is a good sign and a change from earlier this year when the clarity, in the Caney Fork, was less than a foot.
Brown on a Nymph
It was hard to resist and I finally made my way upstream to a nice pool, that holds some nice fish. The wading reminded me of some more tips I learned way back, well not way back, I am not that old....anyway, the wading reminded me to move slow, don't make waves. When an angler moves too quickly, makes waves and then stops and casts, the fly lands on the water and starts bobbing up from the waves the angler makes. One thing we have noticed on windy days is, when fishing a nymph/indicator on a windy day, the fish seem to hit the fly more often when the wind dies and the indicator stays more constant. Flies don't look as natural when they are bobbing up and down like a yo-yo.
Another thing about wading is, if given the choice (and most of the time you have a choice) wade on the softer surfaces: i.e. the softer mud, vegetation on the river bottom or even solid rocks vs. the gravel bottom. Crunching gravel can be felt in a fish's lateral line and many times they will not hang within casting distance if they feel your presence. How often has someone said "I moved closer and the fish were just out of casting range." So, they move closer and the fish are still just outside of casting range. The more stealth the better. Watching where you step, moving slower and not making as many waves are just a few tips. Tips that were tried yesterday and seemed to help me get into a rhythm...
So, the Calvary Outfitters spent the dinner part of the day at Long Hollow for some burgers on the grill. We had discussions about types of flies, both productive and not productive. We discussed tips and stories. Then I walked up to the rocks to look at the Dam Pool. There were fish rising everywhere! Some were shad, but some were trout. I hopped down the rocks, got into position and cast a nymph above the risers. The nymph settled and went under. I thought the fly was hung on the bottom, but when the rod tip came up, the line came tight and a hatchery brat rewarded my trekking efforts... Another good day on the river and good discussion with a good group of men.