What does an angler do after finishing a couple tours over seas with the military? Ian decided to try to figure out tailwater trout. He spent a couple days on his own fishing various releases and then on Friday he picked up the phone and called. Before the trip was over we were both thankful he did!
Ian already had the basics of fly fishing and truthfully he was doing a whole lot of things right. There were just a few pieces that needed to be added and an afternoon trip would be a good way to add them. We started below the dam and with dry flies. Parachute flies were the first to get a knot to the tippet. Then we followed up with a trailing midge. The dry/dropper was our first shot at rising stockers. Those fish responded to both flies and eventually we were fishing just dries to browns and brookies. This was a good warm-up.
Lesson #1: Fish where they are. Well really Ian already knew that, but the dry/dropper was something new to Ian and he took to it within the first few casts. Ian grabbed the slam on dries, then we moved down river and the next several fish came to our old friend the nymph. Lots of anglers nymph fish, but there are subtleties to the mend that are easiest learned in a one on one setting. Ian sure caught his share of fish on nymphs.
We could have gone to the soft hackle, but this is supposed to be terrestrial time in Tennessee (yes it is close to football time in Tennessee too). So we tied on a terrestrial, because a football ain't easy to cast. We stayed with it only for a short time. With no responses we went back to a nymph for the entertainment value. Then a fish came up and blasted something on top. It is impossible to stay on a nymph when a fish goes-off hard on top water in August.
The terrestrial rod came back out and Ian stripped off a bunch of line. He dropped the terrestrial right in the feeding lane and bang! The fish was on and trying all the tricks it knew. Ian fought the fish like a pro. Larger rainbows are known for their jumps, long runs, and this one even included an old brown trout favorite when it tried to rub its nose on the bottom. Ian stayed with the fish all the way to the net and we boated his best ever tailwater trout. With the sun setting we headed for the takeout. Ian was a pleasure to fish with on an afternoon float and I am looking forward to the next time we go searching for those tailwater trout.