Monday, April 23, 2012

Elk River Report, Warmwater Report & Caney Fork Report

Other River Residents
Hatchery Update- For those who are wondering about the fate of the Hatchery Brats, I called and talked with the folks at the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery this week. They advised there was a water quality problem over the Winter and a portion of the rainbows died, also the fish that did survive are not growing at the usual pace. Therefore, the hatchery did not begin stocking and they may not be able to make up what was lost in the die-off. The browns were not affected nor were the brookies, but apparently those species were not growing at a normal pace either. So, that explains why the rivers do not have the usual Hatchery Brat numbers, which we have all grown accustom. 

There are Some Hatchery Rainbows in the Caney
The Caney Fork- The Army Corps turned the water off, for the most part. Well, let me explain in a little more detail. Over the Winter we saw releases of 10,000 + CFS, remember? Yep, so do I, and we all went to other venues and chased different fish while waiting to get back on the tailwaters. Then the rain slowed and the Army Corp continued the releases, finally backing off and then... the generators were backed off more and the sluice was shut down. After that we saw releases of one generator for a few hours a day and no releases additional releases, other than the water by-passing the dam through the waterfall and other cavities in the limestone that have not been filled by the repairs. So, essentially anglers had the low water, but it was so low there was not a lot of moving water. If you found moving water, you would find a fish. 
Recently, the Army Corps decided to release water through the sluice to supplement the generator releases and continued running the sluice 24-7. This is helping with the dissolved oxygen and giving everyone's flies some drift. The result? The fishing is picking up. Oh, and the folks from Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery made a stocking run to the Caney and dumped in some small browns and some rainbows that just barely made the size limit for stocking. We measured the water temps and they are running 59 degrees by our thermometer. 
The water remains pretty darned clear, which is good. Anglers need to work on "their stealthy" because if you can see the fish, the fish can probably see you too. So anglers shouldn't go marching through the water like they are on a combat mission.   Nymphs are working as well as midges. The river is showing hatches of caddis, a variety of mayflies as well as some sulphers.  Long tippets help and dry/droppers are worth throwing.
Fish Tails
 The Elk River- The temperature of the Elk is running at 49 degrees. The water is cool and the water clarity looks good. Rain events, even the smaller ones, have an affect on water clarity. But, catch this river after several days of no rain and it can be gin clear.  The stocking truck has been a little slower to get to the Elk. There are still some holdovers that can be caught and don't be surprised if you end up with a brook trout on the fly. 
The fish are taking nymphs fished deep. A hopper/dropper will work on this river, but expect many, many more fish on the dropper. The hopper is really more for show. The fish will come up and take a look from time to time, then they turn and take the nymph. It is easy to mistake the turn of the tail for strike on the hopper.  When a fish eats a hopper, they do not miss!

Warm Water Report- The freestone rivers in Middle Tennessee could use some additional water too. The low water conditions make it easy for the fish to see poppers and even dries. Try some large dries in the evening and you never know what will come to the top and take the offering. Cumberland Transit has a good selection of warm water flies. Grumpy and Leo will help you with your selections. Girdle bugs are working as a dropper for us and I would say they will bring your catch rate up as well.
This Bow is Very Healthy

David K. in the Trout Zone and Hard at Work with a Nice Brown

Transitions From Clear to Cloudy
David and I hit the river this week and had a good day. We had a discussion about an Orvis Clearwater that I brought along. I had it on board the drifter for some recent trips. Anglers who haven't fished a lot or who have never fly fished before, sometimes do better with this rod. The reason, in my opinion, is because the rod softer and this slows down a beginners cast.  Now I am not saying that it cures every casting habit, but it does suit some anglers better than other anglers. David and I were using the Clearwater rod for a single nymph rig, under an indicator. As usual we had several rods on the boat, and even caught fish on them, but eventually we went mind-numb watching the indicator bob up and down in the wind.  

As we floated along David tried to remember where a log was located, a log that last year he picked a trout from on a nymph. We located the log, David gave a false cast and dropped the nymph just upstream. The indicator settled in and floated along. The tungsten bead had plenty of time to send the fly to the end of the line. Just when I thought it was going to bottom out on the gravel, the indicator dove and pulled a bit sideways. David set the hook and pulled the fish into open water. The fish came to the net, changed its mind and started back to the log. After a short game of tug-of-war, David got the head up and into the net. The fish didn't look like a monster, possibly because of the head, but we measured the fish and David is again on the 20 + Club page. 
The Orvis Clearwater Single Nymph Rig
Fishing is picking up here in Middle Tennessee. We are booking tailwater trips into May and some dates in June are starting to get looks as well. If the weather and water hold, this could be a great hopper season. If you are thinking about booking a trip, give us a call, send an email or text and we can start looking at available dates. Don't forget about the warmwater trips either as those species are coming on strong as well.

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