Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caney Fork River High Water Fishing

High Water Up On One of the Cliffs

Dan and I got away Saturday afternoon for some high water Caney Fork River streamer fishing. The weather started out overcast, windy and cool, but as the day wore on we began to enjoy fewer layers, only to put them back on as the sun came and then fell behind the ridges.

The Smallest of the Stripers

After I got back from the shuttle we pushed off from the ramp. The water was extremely rough coming out of the sluice, while we made our way to left side of the river. The water coming from the generator was pretty clear, considering the rain. But the water from the sluice had an all too familiar stain, that helped to cloud the entire river. The 4' foot of visibility we enjoyed during the last week was reduced to only a couple feet.

Dan Going After a Striper

Dan stepped up to the front of the Hyde and began to work on the bigger fish. He was hitting the banks and was rewarded quickly with a nice 20+ striper. We floated for just a few more minutes and he hooked a much bigger fish. The fish took line and put the drag through the paces, only to throw the hook after a couple blistering runs. The only thing left on the hook was a big striper scale... Next Dan advised where he thought another striper would be laying, he cast and began bringing his offering back to the boat. Just when it dropped into the current and over the ledge a big striper came up and the fight was on. Calling a fish and then catching that fish is very exciting, that is for sure.

Another Nice Striper

We had a good day on the Caney, but the action from the usual browns was slow. The brook trout chased some streamers, but the browns were noticably absent. Hopefully they are getting their spawn behind them and will move off the shoals before the water is cut back. (Yes, I know I am hoping for the best here). The water could be a little warm still, but there are several reports circulating of the bigger fish in their spawning areas.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Caney Fork and Elk River Fishing Report

You Never Know What is Going to Show Up at the River

Let's start with the Caney Fork report: Anthony and I hit the Caney Fork on Saturday. The river was high, actually a couple feet higher than I usually like, but the Army Corps as usual didn't ask my opinion. OK, really in their defense it rained like crazy here in Middle TN over the past week and raised the lake level back above 630'. With the lake level above where they wanted it, the Army Corps continued the sluice and turned the one generator back on 24/7.

None the less Anthony nor I could wait to get on the river and we fished streamers in the current and nymphs and streamers in the back eddy's. The usual colors (white and yellow) produced the fish. I tied up a cross between a Sex Dungeon and Circus Peanut and hooked up with a respectable brown.

There were some bass in the back eddy's too and they responded to our usual offerings.
The most interesting catch of the day was the crawdad we caught at the ramp. There were also reports of huge walleye and large stripers by the dam.

The water is still 60 degrees at Stone Wall and like I said it is very high as well. Wading is not recommended. but the lake is finally leveling off. It may be a couple weeks (barring a rain event) before we all see the lower water we are wanting. The good thing about all this.....the larger browns do not seem to be leaving the river on the stringers like we saw last year. Hopefully they will do their spawning dance and go back their usual hangouts before the high water is finished.

The Elk: What can we say about the Elk. TVA is apparently trying to lower the lake level and they are spilling/sluicing at Tims Ford Dam. The lake however has other ideas and remains constant. Again it appears we may be looking at a couple more weeks there too. The river is probably not safe for wading and floating would be pretty quick. If you decide to float the river, be careful at General Lowe's Island with the downed trees and higher water.

So, I am going to tie flies and book trips for November. All this while hoping the lake levels and river levels get back to a more "normal" stage so we can get back onto the water for some productive fishing.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Caney Fork and Elk River Fishing Report

The changes are starting to come around for the water releases on the local tailwaters. With Fall in the air it is time to pull the lakes down and get the levels to Winter pool. This week is already seeing some changes and before the week is out, I hear rumors of more changes to come.

A Few Fall Colors

The Elk River & Tims Ford Dam
Today TVA changed the water release at Tims Ford Dam. The release went from 480 cfs to 1000 cfs starting at 12:00 p.m. I haven't heard or seen the results, but wading is not recommended with this flow. I have a friend who has an inside scoop on the generation, but I haven't been able to get in touch with him concerning how long the release will last. In the meantime make sure to check the schedule before driving down to fish the Elk. Hopefully no one was caught off-guard by the changes today. If you have ever been caught by generation you know what I am talking about..

Mark Skates a Trout Toward the Boat on a Sunday Afternoon

The Caney Fork River & center Hill Dam
The latest rumor from the ever evolving water release at Center Hill is that the sluice will be turned off sometime tomorrow. After checking the newest generation schedule it appears something is abrew by the US Army Corps. They have split the schedule again, similar to earlier in the Summer, and are releasing twice per day. Tomorrow will tell if the sluice is off for the season or if the Army Corps thinks the oxygen level needs more attention. Stay tuned...

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Caney Fork, Elk River & Obey Fishing Report

S.N.I.T (Standard Nine Inch trout)

The Caney Fork:
The water on the Caney Fork is still running high in the daytime hours. But, it is also slowly beginning to clear. The lake levels are running pretty constant around 628 and with the recent rain I would guess (it is a guess) that the Army Corps will continue this schedule for a while.

Mark and I did a quick float yesterday afternoon from the Dam to Happy Hollow and the water temp was warm (warmer than the air at 6:00 p.m. We caught a few (OK mark caught a few) but none of the bigger fish we have been landing most of the Summer. We turned some big fish on streamers, however none of those were brought to the boat. Yellow, white and some olive streamers moved the bigger fish.

The forecast is more of the same with periods of rain and then a day or so of dry weather. This appears to continue to be the trend for the Buffalo Valley area for this week.

The Elk:
TVA has been releasing a steady 480 cfs over the past few days. Some of the water is coming through the sluice (hopefully cooler) and some of the water is spilling. We are hearing conflicting reports of the water temperatures on the Elk, but we will be down there this week and will have first hand knowledge of the temps.

Nymphs and midges continue to take care of the stocker population and the smaller browns are keyed into dry flies from time to time. The watercress farms have been releasing water from the fields which makes viability hard to come-by downstream. But with the constant flow, maybe this will clear up over a period of time. Keep those fingers crossed and use some flash in those flies while the water sorts itself out!

The Obey:
Kentucky got pounded by the rains this weekend and Wolf Creek is turning loose of some water through heavy generation during the daylight hours. This has a direct affect on the water levels on the Obey. TVA is running one generator 24/7, so look for the Obey to be high with a swift flow at least down river for several miles. Then expect the flow to slow some when the water reaches the water level that is in the Cumberland. I would hit the banks with streamers and if you have the luxury of an outboard drift a nymph (w/splitshot) over the shoals, while making several passes to find where the fish are holding. Wading is not really a good option right now.

There is the report on the Middle Tennessee tailwaters as I know them. The Fall weather and water conditions are making for some technical fishing, but the right fly, presented the right way, to the right fish will still produce results.

Troutdawg, thank you for the nice comments and stop by when you can!

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Use caution near dams. A large amount of water may be discharged without warning at any time. Your safety depends on obeying all posted safety regulations and warnings. Learn more here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Caney Fork, Elk and Obey River Report

The Caney Fork:
The Army Corps just release d the latest schedule and have backed down generation in the overnight hours. The lake level is back to approx 629 which helps slow the generation somewhat. The water clarity is still stained and the water has been high over the past few weeks. This should give us some streamer floats for browns and striper (that make their way up river on heavy generation). Be careful of the sluice!

The Elk:
TVA runs the Tims Ford Dam and TVA has 470 cfs coming over and (hopefully) out of the sluice gate. Reports of streamers, some nymphs and a little dry fly action too are coming in from various sources. The water is still a little high, but wading is certainly not out of the question. This flow should be very good for floating, so those of you with float trips on the books with us be ready for a little more flow. Like I said the flow should be very good.

The Obey:
Dale Hollow Dam has been running one generator for a while now. When they have one or more generators running it is not the best for wading. The floating on one generator is OK, but not as good as floating on falling water. Wolf Creek is releasing over 9400 cfs, which raises the level of the Obey and brings the water up to the brim of it's banks. Try nymphs across the shoals in the upper part of the river and of course streamers, streamers , streamers. Look for rising fish along the banks and spend your time tricking those rainbows and browns that show themselves with a dry. Look for risers that are showing along the bank especially if they are in slower water.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fishing the Obey River


Behind the Brush & On the Guide Seat
While I have been on the river guiding, Dan has been working on a new painting, which he has named "Seventeen". I had an open date on the calendar and he had finished Seventeen, so we decided to hit the river. I've been on the Caney Fork a lot lately and the Elk too. We decided (OK I decided) we would go to the Obey for the second time this year.

The Trip
We loaded up the drifter and headed across I-40, then turned north toward Celina. The first time we saw the Cumberland River it looked like bad chocolate milk. It also had logs and debris floating down the center and the buoys that mark the channel showed very little current. We discussed going back home to watch football, but the argument ended, when we determined, heck we had come this far, why not just press on and we did.

We entered the Celina city limits and crossed the Obey for the first time. The Obey was high but relatively clear. A quick stop for food at the gas station (yes gas station food is good every once in a while) and then we were off to the river. The weather was Fall like with blue skies and a slight breeze.

There Are Some Big Flies on the Fly Rack

So What Kind of Flies Worked?
We fished streamers out of the gate and had several flashes and near misses on yellow, white and even on lighter green. The first rainbow came on a BHPT just after we stopped and ate a bite in the warm sun. Then we pulled out the streamers again and caught fish on the lighter colors on the color chart.

Which Way Is Up?

Photo Tour/ Fishing Trip
The day was a good day for photos and Dan has an excellent eye for the unique. So while I was fishing he was snapping shots in the boat and along the river as well. We saw some uncommon sights throughout the day. We turned several fish and boated some too. The Obey is not a trophy stream, but we did get some looks at bigger fish. The fish seemed healthy and the water was clearer and cold. Like I said it isn't a trophy river, but once or twice a year it is a good place to get away from the crowds and enjoy the day.

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Someone Caught & Released This 20 Foot Log