Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Diane and Sue, Dry Fly Fishing the Caney Fork

A Rainbow The Evening Before the Trip

I woke up the other morning at 2:00 a.m. and checked with the Weather Channel girl, who showed me the radar, that said the rains were basically coming up I-65 and fading to the West. So there was rain headed for Southern Middle TN, but no one could be sure it would hit the Elk. I had a trip with Diane and Sue on the Elk River for the day.

5:00 a.m. I was up and on my way to the Elk for a day of guiding. Hopefully we would also be catching lots of those nice rainbows and brown trout that the Elk has been offering as of late

6:30 a.m. a stop for that second cup of coffee and the rains begin.

6:45 a.m. pull into the parking lot at the Elk River and it is raining buckets! I pull the drifter under the bridge and take a look at the river, which is now stained and running somewhat high.

6:50 a.m. pull out of the parking lot to go find a cell signal. Stop on the hill and call Diane. We decided to go to the Caney Fork. As I am talking to Diane, Rob and Garrett come by with their new Hyde drifter, headed to the river and they stop to see what's up. After a short discussion they fall in behind me as we make our way up the highway to the Caney Fork.

9:30 a.m. (ish) Sue, Diane and I are on the water, waiting out a discolored Caney Fork generation and pulse. But, we are on the water. Rob and Garrett are stopped in a back eddy, we are stopped in some slack water as Sue practices her casting and mending. I get a text from Dan and Mark who are just below us waiting for the brown water release to stop so they can fish too.

Just After Generation (Notice Some Debris)

11:15 a.m. the water stops after the generation and we back out into the water as it begins to fall. We fish hard throughout the morning and everyone reports slow conditions. Fishing has slowed to a crawl. But we press on to lunch.

1:00 p.m. Lunch of salad, grilled chicken, cole slaw and and macaroni salad. Also, we down some rolls, talk with a couple of other friends who confirm slow conditions from one end of the river to the other. After the discussion I pull out the apple pie and then we are off again.

Diane and Sue Wait for Someone to Row

Catch "That" Fish
The water is now low as we are approaching the home stretch. Then, we spot a fish that is rising close to the bank. I tell Sue and Diane "We are going to catch that fish". For the next 20 minutes Sue took the rod and reel that her father gave her and quietly fished different flies for what appeared to be a nice brown trout. We tried a couple different patterns. I was determined to get "that" fish, on a dry, with Sue fishing.

Sue did everything right several different times. The right cast, the right mend (I know some of you understand what I mean when I say the right mend), and the right drift. A few times the fish rose to the fly, but then refused, a couple times the fish hit and then spit the fly out. Fortunately Sue did not stick the fish when it struck.

Sue Holding "That" Fish

After another switch to another dry,
Sue threw the best cast yet, she did a slight upstream mend and the fly was floating in the current without drag. The fly drifted around the stick-up that the other flies had passed so many times in the previous minutes. The fish rose, Diane was the first to see the fish coming to the fly and as it took the presentation of the #18 (no I am not going to tell the pattern, that would be too easy) Diane and I both yelled. Sue was busy setting the hook and soon she was into a fight with the brown. When the brown came to the net the fly was in the upper lip. That fly was just where we like to see it. After the hero shot Sue released "that" fish.

We hung around a little longer for Diane to throw her hopper into the mix, but the moment was over and we continued on down river looking for the next fish.

7:00 p.m. we slid into a muddy take-out at Happy Hollow and loaded the drifter onto the trailer.

The day was slow, compared to other trips this year. As the season moves into fall, the fishing on nymphs will slow even more, dries and hoppers will be the thought of next Summer, and the streamer boxes will start showing up on the rowers bench and on the ends of full sinking lines. The fish will be fewer with those streamers, but they will also, hopefully, be even bigger.

Diane and Sue, I had a great time guiding you both. The next time maybe the Elk will present a better opportunity to fish than it did this time. But, I can say "it will be hard to top fishing for and catching 'that' fish".

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Caught & Released


Monday, September 14, 2009

Raymond Sr. & Ray Jr. on the Caney (part II)

Hard at Work at Lunch Time

Ray Sr's. Brown Caught on Top

I just came in from the river, and since I have been sitting here at the computer for a few minutes, I thought I would post today's trip. Ray Sr & Ray Jr came back for another trip on the Caney. Last year they caught more fish, but this year it was the year of more quality fish.

Ray Jr. Had Lot's to Smile About

I won't bore everyone with too many details, but let me say this....They caught fish on nymphs to start, then dries, droppers, hoppers, and finished the day on streamers. It was a good day for all of us. And, as with all good trips there was the brown that straightened the hook and got away. But, we hope it will be there next time. There is always "next time".

Both Completed the Slam Early....

Ray Jr. Completes the Super Slam

I will also comment on Ray Sr. and his ability to spot fish, then, as every father should do, he would give up the fish for his son to catch. A true gentleman in the boat is as much as can say. Yes, a true gentleman! Ray Jr. did not disappoint today and caught most of the bigger fish on every rod we put in his hands. Ray Jr. was on today!

Nice Brown on a Streamer

Guys, I enjoyed the day very much. Ray congratulations on your streamer fish. Mr. Brown I am looking forward to wading the Elk with you.

There Were Not a Ton of People Today

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Caught & Released

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Caney Fork River

Guil and Clyde Ready to Fish After Lunch

I fished with Clyde and Guil who both came in from North Alabama to fish the Caney Fork. I picked them up at their rental cabin and we were floating by 7:30 a.m. The first thing we noticed was the water was still stained. It looked quite muddy and almost looked like it looked a couple years ago, about the time the lake was turning over. But, it seems a little early for the lake to turn (and I don't want to start any rumors), so we will chalk this one up to a few hard rains on the Plateua.

A Low Water Offering

We fished the usuals early and Clyde, who hasn't been on the long rod too much, was the first to boat a fish. With the low water the blue gills are out in force in the upper part of the river. Clyde boated the blue gill, which barely made it back into the water after a brief discussion of deep fried fish. Next Clyde boated a nice brook trout for his first trout of the day.

A Fish Puts a Bend in the Fly Rod for Clyde

Guil was on the long rod early but was also very good with a spinning rod and played with an assortment of spinners and plugs throughout the day. Guil was into the browns most of the day as they chased his offerings. Most of the folks we saw on the river reported slow to no fish.

The Brooks are Beginning to get Their Color for Fall

Reports of one trip earlier of "no fish between Happy & Betty's", which could be the result of the stained water. The water should clear up soon and the river should be back to normal when the water does clear a little.

Guil on the Fly Rod

When we hit the Chute, toward the end of the trip, the trout began to rise. The fish were sipping some midges, hitting mayflys and caddis. After we played with the stockers for a while we called it a day so the guys could get that steak they had been discussing since breakfast.

Caught & Released

Guil and Clyde it was pleasure fishing with you. Clyde hang in there on the fly rod your cast really looks good and hope to see you both on the Elk.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fly Boxes & Trips

After we came back from Townsend the week flew by.....I am not sure where it went, but tomorrow I am back on the river, then off a couple days and back on with a couple of repeat clients on Monday. I had a re-schedule Saturday, so I hope to slip out for an afternoon of top-water action Saturday afternoon, but we will see.

I stopped by Cumberland Transit and picked up an Orvis rod this week as a spare for the boat. The conversation came around to the Orvis Hydros and it looks like I will be putting a couple on the boat for folks to use once the rods come out, if I don't find something more appealing. So, we will see what is on the boat before we hitch the drifter up for our Fall trip to Arkansas.

Most of you who know me, understand that I am a self-confessed fly junkie. I got another batch of flies in today and tied up a hatch of my own this past week. Now I am looking in the drifter, on the bench, and in bags, oh and in yellow shipping envelopes and realized I am in need of another fly box. So, I was cruising Marshall's site and found this tid-bit of info. This has my interest peaked to say the least. Zach Matthews has been working overtime on the product reviews and comes up with some really good stuff. If you have a good system for a fly box, by all means, please let me know what you like.

Alright time to load the boat, get coolers packed and throw the flies in storage and get ready to hit the river!

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mid-Week Caney Fork Fishing Report

The First Fish of the Day

The river was down when Jane W and I left the ramp at about 1:00 p.m. This is the second time this year Jane has floated the river with me. The action was not especially fast & furious and we had a a couple really long dry spells in the upper portion of the river. Everyone we spoke with today said the fishing was good, but the catching was slow. But, we were picking up fish here and there.

Jane is an outstanding dry fly angler, so we hung around some structure fooling with some browns on top. We had some on and some hits, but really didn't hook up like we wanted, so floated a long way with nymphs. The nymphs hooked up occasionally, but like I said it was slow.

You Never Know What's Next...

There were two very memorable fish throughout the day. One came with the first cast with a new dry fly. I backed the drifter up the river and moved into position. Jane took the dry and placed it right in the middle of several feeding fish we had been watching. The fly hit the water and before Jane was able to make a mend, a brown nailed the dry. It was literally less than a second after the fly hit the water. It was a great cast into feeding fish.

One Fly, One Cast, One Mili-Second, One Fish...

The second memorable fish was as memorable because it was bigger. We were still fishing on top water and Jane placed the fly right next to a couple rocks, a rainbow came up and inhaled the fly! After several minutes of tug-of-war the rainbow came to the net. When fishing on top it is critical to place the fly in just the right spot.

The Largest Rainbow of the Summer

The river was a little slow today, partially because of the water level and in part due to an off color. But, the river yielded several browns, a blue gill and a nice rainbow, which made it all worthwhile.

Thanks again Jane and I am looking forward to our next float when we can get our schedules arranged to get back on the water.

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Caught & Released

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fly Fishing the Elk River

Early Morning Fog on the Elk River

This weekend I had the pleasure of floating with Diane & Ron M of Canton GA. Diane is a very good fisher person and does environmental stream restoration in Georgia. Ron is the President of the Cohutta Chapter of TU and a very good fisherman himself. Diane and Ron were celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary on the Elk River.

One of the Many Doubles of the Day

While we did the shuttle Diane caught several fish from the gravel bar. We launched the drifter from below the Highway 50 bridge just after 8:00 a.m. and were soon into fish as we passed the wading fishermen. Diane and Ron got their first double before we made it to the Bend Pool. Then another, and another and another. The fish were keyed into nymphs early and before the day was out Diane and Ron had at least ten (10) doubles in the net.

The Fish Are Eating Well

We fished mostly nymphs and caught mostly rainbows, however the browns were out as well. We caught average sized browns most of the day, with the biggest coming just past the 2 mile mark. Later in the morning we were caught by a heavy downpour that hung over us long enough to put an inch of water in the boat while we scrambled for the rain jackets. I am not sure if I have had more than three trips on the Elk that we did not see some rain.

Diane Absolutely Slayed These

We stopped at the usual lunch spot for chops, baked potato and salad, then were were back in the boat and looking for those larger fish. After a brief stop for someone shooting a 22 rifle we headed downriver toward the second set of watercress fields.

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Ron With a Nice Rainbow

Before the trip Ron, Diane and I discussed how the upper portion of the river had been fishing well, but the middle and lower sections have been slow. This float was no exception, however it was a little better than previous trips. There appear to be two reasons these sections are fishing this way: 1) run-off from the watercress muddied the river somewhat and 2) catch and release is not practiced on this river, for the most part. There are still good fish in these sections as we had a nice fish-on toward the end of the float, but the river could use a good winter to give the larger fish time to beef up.

Ron Stretches to Get Another One in the Net

We pulled into the ramp at Farris Creek with over 50 fish in the boat. The crowds were for the most part non-existent once we rounded the corner at the Bend Pool. This trip was about Solitude, something we don't often experience on Middle TN's tailwaters.

The Fog Lifted into a Nice Day

Diane and Ron congratulations on your 38th wedding anniversary! It was a pleasure to spend the day with you both. Diane I am looking forward to the float on the Caney Fork in September!

Caught & Released
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