Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fly Fishing the Caney Fork

Between Weather Cells We Caught These
Some anglers like a good challenge. Most of what has been posted around the internet says, the Caney has no fish. Is it as exciting as a couple years ago? Probably not on most days. There do not seem to be as many 14-16" fish right now as there were a couple years back, which is unfortunate. The rains last year, the dam construction, the grout and on and on (insert reason here.....) had an effect on the river. But, getting out and finding the holdovers, along with TWRA bringing the hatchery brats in by truck made today another good day for us.

Lower Water Produced a Bunch of Hatchery Brats

We were on the water at about 9:00 A.M. and ahead of the storms....for a while. It was going to be a quick trip. We had four fish on before we left the ramp and a dozen more were boated before the first hour ended. By the time we heard the first thunder of the day we were already calling it a good day. The white bass complemented the normal run of browns and rainbows.
Anthony took a break from the oars, stepped up to the front casting brace of the drifter and began working structure. While I was watching for lightening and generally not paying attention, he popped a nice fish with the streamer rod. Anthony played the fish perfectly from one side of the river to the other side of the river. The fish came to the net and Anthony bagged the brown of the day. Then, a loud crack of thunder came and we were off, rowing like a mad man I was ready to get to the ramp.

Anthony With the Brown of the Day

Rowing Into the Storm

We Caught a Few of These
After rowing about as far and as fast as I could, and trying to get to the ramp, I asked Anthony to take the oars. It seemed like a couple miles of straight rowing and I was a little tired. Now Anthony was rowing and there was a break in the storms. This seemed like the perfect time for my turn to throw the streamer rod. Sometimes I feel sorry for my friends when I am in the casting brace. The reason? Because I am as picky with the boat positioning as I am with clients mending.
Anthony put the boat in the exact position that I wanted. This gave just the right distance for the right cast. After a couple short strips the fight was on. The rod bent over almost double and the fish started hard head shaking runs around the boat. When we got the first look at the fish we thought it was either a smallmouth or a grouper (OK that was a joke). Finally the fish came to the surface and Anthony scooped th fish up into the net. It was the first smallmouth I can remember being caught in the drifter on the Caney. What a nice fish it was too.

A Nice Smallie from the Caney Fork River

Some of you may be wondering if we beat the worst storms. Lets just say getting the boat on the trailer was interesting, especially with 3" of water in the bottom. And, this would be a totally different report if we didn't make it to the ramp. Overall we caught a lot of fish.
The hatchery brats kept us busy between the holdovers, the white bass are still in the river if the angler is ready and the Caney continues to produce a good fish. The Caney seems to produce for the diligent anglers and Our day was very good. Not bad for a river that most people say doesn't hold any fish...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Caney Fork River Fishing Report

Mark and I took a Sunday float on the Caney Fork. After returning from the Watauga last week and hitting the local streams for some white bass, I was ready to get back to the Caney for some more trout. A lot of people are saying the Caney is not fishing well and I will say there do not appear to be as many fish in the river as the past few years. But, there are fish in there, however angler's have to work harder to find them and make sure everything is just right with the gear to take advantage of all the "shots" that are offered.

The Prize

Mark and I also had a bet on 'when the water would hit us in the float.' The bet was easy, it was the bounty that was a little more difficult. But, with 30 minutes left in the drive to the river we decided the winner of the bet would pick one fly from the other's fly box. Selecting the fly seems easy, but just think about it a minute...would the fly that catches the largest fish be the best fly,the fly that costs the most, or the fly that the guy likes the best, be the fly to choose?

When the water hit I started looking at the flies in Mark's fly box. Never have I took such an interest, however now was my chance to select the fly with the most potential, or the highest cost... (Yes I am bragging because I won the bet, come on I don't win bets that often)

No Pebble Mine Just Watch Last Weeks "On The Rise" TV Show for an Explanation

A Hatchery Brat

There has been much speculation about the whereabouts of the stockers. The fish are in the river, but there do not seem to be as many. Mark struck first fish using a nymph under an indicator and when we found the hatchery brats we found several. The trout were responsive and this is the first float, I can remember in a while, that water was clear enough to actually see fish.

A Colorful Brown

The Eagle Keeps a Lookout
For the fourth fishing trip in a row we saw an eagle. From the last Caney Fork float, to the Watauga trip, to the local stream and back to the Caney, the eagles are around, if you keep your eyes peeled. We also saw osprey and turkeys on this trip too, which both came later in the day. Nothing compares to the eagle.

A Little Nicer Brown

We decided to pick through a few holes and see what was holding. About this time last year or maybe a little later there were white bass (stripe, rockfish, hybrid) in the river. This year we have been able to find them in more concentrated areas. These fish are a lot of fun and when one is found more are sure to be close behind. We threw the streamers at these fish and they responded with a hard charging side pulling fight that put most of the fish we caught throughout the day in the lightweight bracket.

This One Put a Nice Bend in the Six Weight Streamer Rod

Reminder of the New Regulations with Nice Graphics

The Pink Stripe is Noticeable on This Stocker

Mark With One of the Many

Keeping an Eye on the River

So, the day began and came to an end. If you have read this far down through the pictures here is a summary...for those who didn't read this far down, they will not know the difference.
We caught fish on nymphs, but midges did not produce as well as expected. The streamers caught the biggest brown, some rainbows and of course the white bass. We did not see or catch a brook trout all day long on anything. The water clarity is the best I have seen all year and this is encouraging. The birds are out and the birds of prey are certainly something to behold. They really are amazing!
On the ride home I remembered the bet and the bounty. I pulled off an exit, rummaged through the back of the truck and found Mark's fly boxes. I went strictly for price on the choice, that and it is a streamer (Hi my name is David and I am a streamer junkie). Mark was a good sport and I can't wait to catch a big brown on his fly...heck I just can't wait to catch another fish period.

Caught & Released

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chasing the White Bass

Dan and I hit some local water searching for what was said to be the end of the white bass run. I don't get out on the local streams as much as the tailwaters, but missing a good run of fish is something that will pull me off a trout stream from time to time. Dan has a motive of catching a big smallmouth on a local stream, which he attests to on the latest podcast.

The Local Waters

Dan scouted the stream last week a few times last week while I was at the Watauga for the Angler's Weekend. So, when we got to the river he dialed me in real quick. I fished a six weight with Airflow floating line and started with a white Clouser. The Clouser hooked up quick on a red eye and the bite was on....well it was consistent for me anyway.

The First White Bass of the Day
I stayed with the white Clouser for the first part of the evening, but after a lull in the action it was time to fish my favorite color on most rivers....yellow. The yellow Clouser brought several fish to hand including the days best largemouth. Yellow seemed to work best in moving water while white seemed to dominate the slower pools.

The Water was Pretty Clear

Another of the Local Offerings

Open Up and Say Aaaahhh
Yellow Strikes the Biggest Largemouth of the Evening

After fishing yellow and having some luck, it was time to try a theory my grandfather taught me. He says when the fish are biting real good, that is the time to try different things. With this in mind and with the sun going down on an unfamiliar waters....and the big striper dominating the pool below us, I switched to chartreuse to end the evening.
We both caught a few more fish, then we headed back to the trail for the 15 minute walk back to the truck. It was a nice evening of wading with a good friend, who is as familiar with these local streams as anyone I know. We saw lots of wildlife including an osprey and a mature bald eagle. The eagle is the third eagle I have seen in as many trips. Trips that include rivers in Middle and Upper East Tennessee. It's good to be outside again and enjoying the springtime weather!

The Final Fish of the Evening

Caught & Released

Monday, April 12, 2010

Watauga River Report part I

The Hydros' at Rest After a Stop to Holy Water

The Pool that Produced Everyday and Became Our Home Waters for the Weekend

After all the anticipation the Tri-Cities Anglers Weekend came and then went... Did the weekend turn out like I thought, nope it was not at all like I thought. But, what a great weekend for all of us who were able to go and experience what the Tri-Cities area and the company kept had to offer. I could go into detail about every little event that happened, but I won't. I'll save that for an article for the Little River Journal, and yes Byron I will also save some of the photos.

Me at the Front Casting Brace of a Friend's Drifter

On travel weekends it is almost a given with all the anticipation and studying of the area, that every angler will learn something. And, sometimes those things are not related to fishing, but they are the most important. Like the Mom and Dad who show, their children's life comes before theirs. So, just go along for the ride and enjoy...

Spilling from Little Wilbur Keeps the Flow at Just the Right Level

The guy that everyone relies on for advice, not only because he has been there and seen that. But more because his wisdom is communicated in an easy to understand and reliable truth.

Anthony at Holy Water, Hooked Up at the Offering Plate

It's nice to see the guy that has a full plate and doesn't get to fish as much as he likes, gets a chance to watch a fly, set the hook and forget about life, just for awhile because he deserves it.

This Bug Traveled on My Hand for 10 Minutes, From Pool to Pool, Then Disappeared

Or, a lunchtime beverage enjoyed with a friend who speaks the same angling language (yes I just made that up, because it's this blog) and the conversation is easy to understand, because, we both like to fish "just that much". That hatch on the Elk, sounds fun...

Duck Blinds on a Trout Stream?

The enthusiasm learned from a young man who loves to fly fish, and in the words of Gary, "needs to write a book called I Was a Trout Bum at Age 12", because he is a darn good one...

Oh Yeah We Caught a Bunch of These

The lessons learned from a friend who makes good company, you've seen seen move from just getting by on the Watauga, to catching fish everyday on the Watauga, while using techniques that were discussed with each other over several years. Who is a good friend to share time with on a trip, in a boat, on the stream, in the car and just about any other time worth mentioning.

Transportation for an Afternoon Float

It would be easy to to just give the flies and counts of fish caught, the bugs that hatched and the big one that sportsmen released. I will say that we caught fish on nymphs, streamers, soft hackles and dries.....or BHPT's, Wooley Buggers, Bust-A-Browns, some fly that Garrett invented and Griffith's Gnats. The accommodations at Bee Cliff Cabins were clean and comfortable, and the food was good as usual. But, the best part of the trip, like most trips, was the company that was kept, stories that were told and the lessons that were learned...and the fire.

I learned everyone has a gift. What is that gift? Well who knows, but when you find the gift, try to use it when the opportunity presents..... Deep thoughts, yep they were and if the person reading this wasn't there, we all might say a lot was missed. There will be other trips, with other friends and clients who become friends...
Stay tuned for part II

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Trip Prep & a Visit With Some Old Friends.

First off thanks for stopping by the fishing report.

The weather has been outstanding, however I have been "under the weather" for most of the week and off the water. Thanks to several friends and clients I have been receiving daily fishing updates. The Elk is fishing pretty good right now and the Caney has just gone back to no generator, one generator, and two generators. This isn't the best schedule, but TWRA has been visiting the river in the stocking trucks, which will help pass the time between holdovers. The white bass are up in the creeks from Tennessee to Alabama and hitting clousers as well as other streamers of choice.

We are heading to Upper East Tennessee with a group to fish the Watauga, South Holston and the Doe. Also, we may have a chance at other waters that we haven't thought about yet. I do want to make a point to get some time on Holy Water, which is one of my all time favorite places on the Watauga. We will see if I can sneak away and enjoy this 100 yards of clear fish-filled water. Getting ready for this trip will take a lot of my spare time this week, but hopefully, if we can find some wi-fi, we will be able to provide daily updates from the trip.

I got up pretty early this morning and had a nice visit with a book. I have read this series of books 4 or 5 times over the last few years. I read about Jud, Henry, Sarah and Junior. Even though I have read about this cast of characters time and time again, it never gets old reading about the little town called Travers Corners... If you haven't read about Travers Corners, well might I suggest starting with the first in the series of the same title.

Today is a special day for most of us and I would like to say....Happy Easter!