Sunday, July 1, 2012

Caney Fork Fly Fishing

Hot Action
It's been hot here in Middle Tennessee and where better to spend the day than on a cold tailwater? I have been on the river quite a bit over the past few weeks and the action has been very good some days and slow others. The hatches been good on the Elk as well as the Caney Fork, but we will get into that later. 
Before we get too far into this report, I would like to say thanks to all the folks who have booked trips so far this year. I am looking forward to seeing those anglers who are re-booking again and to meeting those folks who are thinking about and booking for the first time. It has been a good year with some nice fish and great floats! 
Stopping to Wade on a Hot Summer Day
The Elk River- After a few weeks of crazy water flows and water that was low and warm, TVA has the dam fixed and the flow is somewhat back to normal for this time of the year. The water temps at the gravel bar below the dam has been a consistent 58 degrees. The fish are much happier and the bite is on in the upper and mid section of the river. The larger fish are back in action and the last round of fresh hatchery brats keep a float interesting. 
Behind the Scenes
The water on the Elk is clear, so longer casts are a must. We try to get the fly in the zone before the fish notice the boat, which keeps the anglers on their toes when false casting and mending. The clear water also keeps the guide on his toes when putting the boat into position when fishing the pools. The fish have a lot of inspection time, so the flies need to have an appetizing look. A fly that is tied sloppy or worse yet out of proportion is a recipe for a long day. Presentation is critical too. Mending, well mending may be more critical than it has been in the past several years. Drag is easy to spot when the water is this clear.
There is More Than Just Fishing
One more thing we have been doing on the Elk is dropping a soft hackle under a dry. This has produced mostly hatchery brats, but they are fun and a good warm-up for those better fish we are taking on nymphs. The fresh brookies in the Elk and the small browns take the dry from time to time and they can be a challenge for any anglers reflexes. Dropping a midge below the dry can also produce a bent rod.
Fish Tales

The Dam After Dark
The Caney Fork River- This river will be crowded through Labor Day. The water temps are in the low 60's on the lowest water and downstream of Happy Hollow. TWRA has turned loose a bunch of Hatchery Brats that that always seem to be on the eat. We were fishing to a nice rising fish the other day. There were also other fishing rising, but the fish we were after was noticeably better. It seemed like every Hatchery Brat in the river ate or was on our fly. The nicer fish couldn't, or didn't want to, eat.  So we caught some fish on the midge but the fish we were really after never hooked up. That's OK we were still bringing fish to the net.  
Just a Little Farther
Streamers on the Caney are producing fish. The deeper holes are worth probing with a sinking line and light fly. We have been fishing some big flies and although we get follows from smaller fish, the larger fish are taking the fly. There are still some white bass in the river and they are lazy. However, they will come off the bottom for any color streamer, as long as it's white. 
Get the Point
The Caney trout still like the nymphs. When the generators are off and the water is falling, nymphs, still seem to produce better fish. Fishing from the drifter ensures a drag free drift and with the clear water drag is bad! So fishing from the boat makes life easier.  Recently, a client said there are a million things to remember and they were right about that.  Depth is as important as most everything else and is probably the easiest change to make. Get the right fly, with a good mend, far enough away from the boat and if the fish are there but not on the take, sometimes just a simple depth change will produce the fish. 
One for the Old Timers 

That Isn't a Buffalo
The scenery on the Elk and Caney are both outstanding this time of year. With the current weather there is a lot vegetation that is turning brown. The vegetation close to the river though still has a lot of green left.  We have seen some trees that are already shedding their leaves, but those trees are usually higher and on the ridges and small bluffs. 

Dan Hooked Up

Right Side Down?
How to catch a smallie. There are many ways to catch smallmouth bass. We were fishing nymphs the other day and saw a rising fish. What is one of the most productive ways to catch a fish? Fish to rising fish! We were on nymphs when a rise ring formed just off the bank. A false cast or two to gain some line speed and the fly was then landing about a rod length upstream of the rise. The fly settled, the indicator did a short dance then stopped. The next move of the indicator was a little more aggressive and the hook was set. These fish fight longer and harder than a trout of the same length, but eventually they will give up and come to the net. This fish took a nymph, which is a bit unusual, but made for a good laugh.   
Donnie Hooked Up
There it is, the report from the tailwaters of Middle TN. Pretty much everything will work right now, but the fish are a bit picky. The water clarity is as good as I can remember and that is good and bad. Right now we are setting records with these high temperatures. So, if you go fishing right now take plenty of fluids along. Drinking a couple bottles of water on the way to the river isn't a bad idea and drinking a couple more while fishing is a must. 
We are ready to book trips for hopper season and the fish are starting to look up. For now there are slams to be caught on both the Caney and the Elk. Half day trips on the Caney are a good way to spend an afternoon or morning out on the water. So if you are thinking about booking just give us a call or shoot an email. For now, it is time to go tie some more flies and get ready for the next round of floats. Thank you for stopping by!
Smallies on Nymphs?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Your right about the new hatchery brats. Couldent seem to catch anything else today. But it sure beats not catching anything.

  3. Jason, TWRA stocked this size fish several years ago and a few years later we had some nice fish. Hopefully, these little guys will grow up big in the next few years!


  4. I hope so. I'm all for stocking the fish. As long as I'm catching I'm happy.