Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fly Fishing the Elk River Tennessee

Lower Water on the Elk River

After being off the river for a few weeks, because of the rains, it sure felt good to get out. Center Hill Dam was still releasing big numbers of CFS, so we decided to hit the Elk for some nymph and streamer fishing.

After discussing rods and canoes with an angler I met at the local fly shop. Mark, Dan and I launched the boat at about 8:15 a.m. The plan was to fish from Tims Ford Dam to Farris Creek with a shore lunch, at the halfway point, to break up a long day in the boat. The trip is nine miles and with a tree across the river at the Van Zant Bend Island we added another 45 minutes to an already long day. Warning- this tree is all the way across the right side of the island.

Before launching the boat we were hooked up with several freshly stocked rainbows. There were also carp and gar in the upper section of the river. The Spring and the spill, which appears to have raised the water temp, have brought a variety of species into the river.

We started out throwing nymphs and soon were hooked up with our share of browns and rainbows. The 230 CFS release was a good flow and kept us moving at a comfortable pace. The water level was just a few inches higher, but it also opened up several opportunities to fish some spots that are for the most part a bit too shallow to fish.

The rains and aggressive spilling over the past few weeks changed the river bottom in several places. The Bend Pool is about the same depth, however the hole appears to be a little further down stream. This change is causing the fish to school closer to the rock wall. Don’t be discouraged there are still fishing feeding on the flat of the upper portion of the Bend Pool.

One Trout's View of the Outside World

For the most part the river fished very well. We threw everything from #20 midges to #2 streamers. Dan-O-Magic’s and BHPT’s worked well fished about 6” apart and yellow bucktail and marabou worked very well on an aggressive sinking line.

We landed a large number of fish and had an extremely good shore lunch of Pork Kabobs, which may make it on the menu for future trips. The trips that were re-scheduled from the May rains are getting back on the books and the calendar is getting back to normal. I just looked and the Army Corps is backing down the release at Center Hill Dam and TVA is spilling 230 CFS at Tims Ford. The next two months should be an excellent time to be on the water in Middle TN.

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