Monday, August 31, 2009

Under The Weather

I am a bit under the weather, but there will be a report from the trip on Saturday in the next couple days. I can say with certainty there are fish in the Elk.....and it is fishing as good as I have seen it fish in a long, long time.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Fishing Report for the Caney Fork

eportI pulled Dan S. away from completing his most recent Brook Trout painting (but I did see a photo of the progress) and we hit the Caney for an afternoon of fishing with six different rods. We started at the dam and picked up the usual stockers on nymphs. The clouds and the high winds blew into Buffalo Valley as we dodged the usual fishing lines and canoes. Very early in the trip Dan brought a nice surprise to the net among the bait fishermen. For this nice surprise we received a few hard looks from some of the locals.

The First Good Brown of the Day

Guiding by Dan…

It was my turn to take the front casting position. We pounded the banks with a nymph/midge combo and sight fished to some browns. After a few drifts, through a nice slot, the indicator dove to the bottom (a diving indicator is something that cannot be taught). We had a good tug of war with a nice brown. Finally we got the brown out of the stumps and limbs, then it came out into open water, and the fish came to the net. I still wanted to catch a nice fish on top water, after last weeks trip with Glenn that produced those nice browns. We pounded the banks and after several misses I picked up a brown. It felt like I spent all day watching that bug, but the time I spent watching it probably wasnt as long as I thought.

"Trout Will Rise to a Cigarette Butt"

Anthony Williams

Soft Hackles, soft hackles, soft hackles…

We took turns throwing some soft hackles at shoals. We didnt pick up a double or triple on the soft hackles, but we both picked up a few on the emerging imitators. I havent fished soft hackles much this year, only a time or two. This time I rigged a 9 TFO that has a soft tip to help with the action. We were trying a new set up on soft hackles, which produced fish in the more shallow areas of the river. It did not produce fish of size but it did produce some good numbers for the short time we offered the tasty morsels.

An Old Timey Trout Photo

The Caddis Branch Motel…

This year weve noticed more caddis hatches than any other year I can remember. They have still been infrequent this year although there are more of them than usual. This time we found a swarm of caddis in some slack water, buzzing around erratically under an overhanging limb. I assume they were all trying to find another attractive caddis to continue the life cycle of a bug, but, without a flashing motel sign, how can anyone be 100% sure. I was throwing streamers at the time and could not bring myself to switch back to top water.

A few minutes later I brought a brook trout to the net on the white streamer. The brookie was just beginning to get what appeared to be its fall colors. With geese gathering and the fish getting their colors, it looks like fall may be just around the corner. The other piece of the puzzle is that Gary W. just called and told me his maple trees are starting to turn color, which is a sure sign of an early fall.

Dan Took This Photo at Just the Right Time

Shouldnt He Be Rowing…

Dan says he has endured a few sparse trips of late, both on the river and around home while wading. On this trip it seemed every time Dan put his bug on the water it produced a trout and even a blue gill once. Dan had another long drift going in the middle of the river and popped a nice brown for his effort. This wasnt a big deal except he was also rowing at the time. He was supposed to be rowing and instead he caught My Fish! But I am not bitter…

Rowing & Fishing Pays Off

The light was getting low and so were the air temps. We were closing in on the ramp with no one in sight. A loud noise came from between the boat and the bank. I didnt even have to turn around; I knew instinctively, Dan had another fish. This time it was an even larger brown. We switched positions and I began rowing as Dan moved into the front casting brace. The brown took him around the boat as we discussed the size of the fish. We positioned the net, Dan brought the head of the fish up, but this fish didnt want to give-up yet and took off for another run. Finally we got the boat in position, the fish in position and the net in position and the brown came quietly. This fish finished our evening and we both counted the day as a good one.

Has This Brown Been Tagged by a Heron or Osprey or Something?

We Pulled into Happy with a sore shoulder and cold feet. Thank God for a great heater in the truck! Dan thanks for putting me on the fish, but next time it is my turn to row and fish!

Caught & Released

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Caney Fork Fishing report, Catching On Top Water

We Boated a Bunch of These on a Partly Cloudy Day

I took Glen K. from Brooklyn, NY to the Caney Fork for a half day float. Glen proved from the first cast that he was an accomplished angler. He placed the fly within a foot of where I asked and we were off.

I Think This Brown was Trying to Bite Me!

We stayed on the upper part of the float for quite a long time as Glen made quick work of the stocked rainbows. We fished nymphs early and caught fish often. After we tested his reflexes for a while we moved down river seeing some familiar faces along the way.

Still Waters on a Sunday Afternoon

I put Glenn on streamers next, however we did not spend a long period of time with them because the water was falling and almost still in some places. The low water gave the bigger trout plenty of time to inspect before they struck and in my humble opinion the larger fish are easier to fool when the moving water makes them strike out of reflex.

Glen Completed the Slam with this Brook Trout

As we moved past the many shoals I switched Glen over to a top water rig with a midge dropper. Glen completed the slam with a nice little brookie, then the first good brown struck the top water fly. We keyed into the top water action for most of the rest of the trip, only bringing out the nymphs one more time.

Glen Wasn't Into Having His Picture Snapped, But This Brown Sure Seemed To Like It

The canoe hatch was heavy in the late afternoon and as you can see by the photos there were certainly people out and enjoying the Caney Fork River.

One Jumped Off & Two Fell Off...

As the the afternoon wore on we continued with the top water action and Glenn was able to land a few very healthy browns to round out the day. It was an excellent day on the river. And, although the Caney Fork is not really known for top water action, on this trip our top water offerings really saved the day in the bigger fish department.

A Nice Brown to End the Day

Glenn it was a pleasure fishing with you and I am looking forward to our next float!

Caught & Released

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Caney Fork Fishing Low Water Report

The Moon in the A.M.

Today I fished Gary W. of Nolensville, TN. Gary and I have fished together for ten years or so and while we always have a nice relaxing time on the water, we just don't get together enough.

Gary's First Brown of the Day

We left Murfreesboro at 6:00 a.m. and were on the water with the first fish in the boat by 7:30. After a few long stretches without fish, Gary got into his groove and started popping the browns & rainbows. The water was low and the fish were in the usual places which made the float even more enjoyable.

"Look, there is a fisherman for every fish"
Some guy unloading a canoe at the ramp

During one stretch Gary dropped his nymph into a nice run and momentarily had a big rainbow on, until it jumped and threw the hook. Some fish are lost to help the angler learn a lesson, for what he hopes will be an even larger fish the next time. Gary recovered quickly after the loss of that rainbow, used his new found skills and boated a nice brown for some Angling Redemption.

Angling Redemption

John it was good to see you on the river and hope your outing went well. Gary, as always it was a pleasure to get on the water and drown a nymph. Now it is time to tie some flies, do some chores and prep for the trip tomorrow.

Another Brown Caught & Released
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Just A Few Things

It has been a busy couple of weeks. I have fixed a couple holes in the bottom of the boat or really several holes and cracks. Then I had the bottom sprayed and just got back home. (Yes, Rob it was leaking some, but some of the water was from the anchor rope). I took time to write an article for the Little River Journal on nymphing as well.

We will be back on the water starting Saturday, so check back for a report from a couple floats over the weekend. I hope to do a little fishing myself as well as a trip or two in the coming days.

On a separate note the August 3rd post was post #100 for the Fishing Report and I would count pot #100 as a good Sunday afternoon of fishing. Now I am outta here to eat a Sloppy Joe then clean the boat, inside and out and get it ready for some time on the water!

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Caney Fork Stripers & Trout

The Caney Fork on One generator and a Sluice

One of Dan's Back...Brown Trout

We received some rain here in Middle Tennessee last week and the Army Corps rewarded us with some high water. Anyone who knows me, has fished with me or read this blog knows I am somewhat addicted with high water. So, I called Mark and he was in for a late afternoon float. I called Dan, pulled him away from his most recent Brook Trout painting and we all three left M'boro at 1:00 p.m. By 2:00 we were casting a nymph and streamer at the ramp while Mark ran the truck to Happy Hollow for the shuttle.

Early in the Float

Our plan was to throw Big Ugly Streamers for the afternoon and although we did not catch the big numbers of fish, we did catch some quality fish. including a bass, stripers and Dan's run of three browns in 15 minutes.

One of Mark's Stripers

Just before dark I hooked up with a screaming fish that promptly broke my 12 lb tippet. Then we switched sides of the river upon Mark's request. Dan positioned the boat just right. I was fortunate to step up to the front casting platform and after a couple casts of my 6 weight Echo 2SW was hooked up on a large fish. When we landed it, shortly after dark, we had the largest striper I had ever caught. I just love throwing those Big Ugly Streamers!

This One Took my Streamer Pattern Just Before Dark

Oh and by the way we were lucky to catch the right generation. The flow is now reducing and we caught some nice fish while the US Army Corps actually gave us what we wanted for a short time. The water should be back to normal Summer flows and good for nymphing over the next several weeks. But, if the water cooperates you can bet I'll have the Echo Rod in my hand and throwing something that grabs those larger fish's attention!

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Caught & Released

No Fish Were Harmed In the Making of This Trip.....other than a ripped lip or two

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Catching & Fishing the Elk River TN

The Elk River

12:00 A.M. Friday morning- trying to finish tying a couple dozen flies, that I decided....last minute, to use tomorrow/today on the Elk River.

4:30 A.M. Friday morning- get up for coffee, load the boat, pack the coolers, just generally get ready to meet Rob and Garrett G, from the Woodstock GA area to go fly fishing on the Elk River.

5:30 A.M. stop at the local market for ice and more coffee.

6:45 A.M. arrive at their motel, load Rob and Garrett’s rods and gear, then off toward the river.

7:00 A.M. we stop at another market this time for donuts and more coffee. The lady at the counter is talking about (and I promise she says) “that gullywasher was something else this morning”. I find out this gullywasher was rolling through lower middle TN as I was waking up. I note the term gullywasher, pay her $5.87, as she smiles and talks to her co-worker about her garden. I turn to walk to the truck knowing we could have a stained river ahead of us.

7:30 A.M. the rods are rigged and the guys are fishing as I run the shuttle.

Rob Doing a Little Wading

8:00 A.M. I arrive back at the boat where I find they have already caught 7 fish between them. Garrett has found the fish holding by an old log. The fish will stack here because they have cover from the log and a nice little pool to rest in while watching for their food. Rob has his fish located around a small shoal in the middle of the river and he hooks up just as I shut the door on the truck from the shuttle.

Today I put the guys on nymphs and midges. Hey what else would we do on the Elk on low water…..right? After the usual instructions…I.E. stay in the casting braces at all times when fishing and we will stop for lunch about 12:30 or so, we are off. Garrett proves his casting technique is dead-on by dropping his fly off the bow of the boat, as instructed, and he picks up another rainbow in the first set of riffles. Rob is also accurate with his offering as well and we begin to boat fish after fish in the upper section.

Garrett Hooked This One with a Fast Strip-Set

We discuss proper mending, try some dry flies, switch back to nymphs and discuss the strip set. Rob is first to learn the strip set. As he gets more proficient with setting the hook this way, the flies begin to move from being lodged in the side of the fish’s mouth to 5 fish later the flies are now stuck properly in the upper lip. Garret catches on as well and they begin to detect the strikes earlier. This produces several doubles through out the morning.

Rob With an Elk River Brown Trout

The water is stained, however not as bad as I had thought, but we hadn’t made it down to the creeks and larger watercress farms. The donuts were gone and it was time for lunch. Rob and Garrett chose the cedar plank grilled salmon for lunch and I fired up the grill. Garrett fished downstream while Rob and I discussed a few life topics. After lunch I had the opportunity to try Rob’s Orivs T3. The rod is light and requires a stroke that is slower and it makes the angler wait. I slowed my cast down and found the rod has a lot of power for such a light build. Rod testing is one of the many perks of being a fly fishing guide.

One of Many Doubles Throughout the Morning

We get back into the boat and the catching picks up immediately. Then we float into the run-off; first from a large creek and then into the watercress runoff. The catching stops and the fishing begins. My favorite stretch of river disappoints me for the first time ever. But, we charge on and I get Garrett on a streamer rod. We get him into the rhythm and he learns the jerk-strip retrieve remarkably fast. He is learning this while we discuss the finer points of a good shad kill.

Garrett With Another Brown

7:30 P.M. we load the boat on the trailer and stow the rods in the truck. Grab another shot of caffeine from the cooler and up the ramp we go. The travel from the day before and a long day of fishing has worn Rob out. But Garrett has the energy of a young person and I think if daylight would have stayed with us he would have stayed until Rob and I both passed out.

Garrett and kids like Garrett are the future of fly fishing. Rob and Garrett are members of the Cohutta Chapter of TU and were there last Thursday when I ran down to Atlanta to present Observations from the Tailwaters. The Cohutta Chapter has been around since the 1970’s. The chapter’s current membership is strong and they are making an effort to bring more young people into fly fishing. The chapter sponsors kids, kids fishing camps and makes other efforts to support the younger generation.

8:00 P.M. I drop the guys back at the motel and give them flies so they will have the right stuff to wade fish in the morning before they head back south.

It was a pleasure to fish with Rob and Garrett. Garrett has an excellent casting technique and has an open mind that is consumed by the river and fly fishing. Rob, has a lightning fast hook set, but more than an angler, Rob, a father who obviously makes it a priority to spend quality time with his son by getting them both out on the water together.

Rob and Garrett at Lunchtime

9:15 P.M. after a long drive home and several phone conversations later, concerning future trips, a couple river reports from Tennessee rivers and some Sam Bush to keep me awake, I roll into M’boro and get the boat into the garage…

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Caught & Released