Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fly Fishing Tennessee

Not Looking Down?
The Elk River: It is Easter Weekend and TVA has decided it best to flush some more water through the Tims Ford Dam. The release of 3700+ CFS on this small tailwater makes it dangerous to float and impossible to wade. Recently there was a release from the stocking truck and this should flush some of the stockers downstream.
Fly Fishing in the Snow, These Guys Are Crazy
Starting Monday it appears TVA is turning off the generator. The usual flies should work in the usual places. The water quality appears to be good right now. The clarity is good so fish can see your flies from a longer distance which is good. The fish can also see anglers from a longer distance and that is not so good. When wading try to position yourself and then stay put. Don't move your feet too much and when entering and exiting the water do so at a 90 degree angle from the bank (think 90 degree rule in golf). That will help a little when moving from pool to pool or run to run.
The End of a Good Day 
The Caney Fork: Shad are coming through the dam, but for the most part the only thing eating with consistency is the birds. In-spite of the fish not responding too quickly to the shad we are still presenting float shad patterns and getting some response. Streamers are also taking some fish. Bring plenty of different color streamers, but don't bother fishing anything but the white ones.
Brent Putting a Bend in the Rod
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Fishing in the Park should start coming around this week. The weather is warming a little and that in turn should begin warming the water. The unknown to this equation is the snow in the higher elevations. However, the hatches will be coming off somewhere, regardless of the snow melt. If you like to fish the small streams of the Park and want to learn some of the more intimate details, drop me an email and I can hook you up with the folks who guide the Park on a regular basis. These trips are certainly worth the time and expense.
Donnie and Brent joined me on a float the other day. The weather was Prego, everything was "in there". We started out on a cold thermometer, even the mercury was wearing fleece. Donnie has spent most of his time in the South and he, like me, isn't too fond of cold weather. But he, like me, wants to fish. Brent never really complains because well, who knows, he probably can't get a word in with Donnie and me complaining about the cold. There was some discomfort. But then the sun would come out and warm the air only to be snowing 10 minutes later. Like I said the weather was Prego, everything was "in there".
Some Slowly Retrieved Floating Shad Results
We started the day on floating shad patterns and fished them a few different ways. A super slow retrieve produce some action. Fish were busting the top and we were targeting them. When the fish stopped responding we went to streamers. Streamers produced swipes, drive-byes, hits, and then fish. We brought fish to the net on streamers and with the water falling I wanted to test some nymphs. Nymphs produced fish as well and we were in business as other boats headed to the takeout. It looked like we would be the last boat off the water...again.
Donnie, The Bearded Guy

A Face Only A Mother Could Love
We headed to the ramp eventually but not without stopping at a few more places. Brent hooked up with a big fish that took him upstream and eventually spit the hook. We kept fishing and drowning those nymphs. I took Donnie off the line Brent was fishing and put him in a riffle that falls into a nice productive hole. That's when Brent drifted a nymph where Donnie was fishing and Brent hooked a big fish... 
Full Bellies

This Fish Has Been in a Scrap With Something (Notice the Wound in Front of the Dorsal)
...while Donnie and I discussed me changing his line, Brent fought the fish and it tried all the tricks it could try. Finally I think Donnie stopped being mad at me the fish tried one last maneuver and went under the boat, Brent played the fish right away and never lost the fish's head. The Buffalo (no, not the Great White Buffalo) finally came to the net and then it was time for the hero shot. OK, I admit I wasn't going to touch that smelly thing. Brent grabbed the fish and we took the photos. Brent learned later why I didn't want to touch the smelly thing but that is a story for another day. Oh and as usual we were the last boat off the water.


  1. Nice report. The white bass here in NC seem to be confused. We'll have 3 days in the 50's then a gradual heat up to high 60's then it goes back to freezing again. I think the fish don't know when to run. That buffalo carp is really cool looking.

  2. Kevin, We are waiting for the white bass to make their way up some of the freestone's close to home too. Waiting for trees to bloom and birds to chirp and all those other things that tell us when it is time!