Saturday, May 29, 2010

Caney Fork River Workshop

Thursday, May 27th, TWRA and the Corps of Engineers conducted a Caney Fork Workshop for fishermen, guides and the general public. I went with a group of anglers from Calvary Outfitters, listened to the information and also took some notes. Before the meeting started Linda, from the Army Corps, told us it would be death by Power Point and she was right. There was a ton of information presented. Most of it backed up what we had been seeing on the river since the big rains in the Spring of 2009. The river was fishing very good (go back and review the reports) before that rain event. Since the rains of 2009 it has been tough catching, but improving as of late.

Over the next several posts (from fishing the Caney) I will try to inject some of the information that was presented. But, here is some electro-shocking info that was quite interesting:

>The TWRA shocked 12 sites on the river early this Spring
>The shocking was at night
>The shocking was conducted on two (2) generators (because of the size of the equipment)

Fish counts:
Spring 2008.............135 brown trout
Spring 2009.............185 brown trout
Spring 2010..............42 brown trout

Spring 2008..............229 rainbows
Spring 2009..............117 rainbows
Spring 2010..............20 rainbows
The 2010 numbers do not mean there were only 62 fish in the river at the time of the shocking.

So there you have the latest shocking information. Lately I have been listening others talk about how tough the river is fishing. I don't disagree, if the Caney 2010 is compared to the Caney 2008, it is very tough. Anglers can't throw a fly in the river just anywhere and catch a fish. We can't do that either. No, now the river is making everyone work for each it's fish. This is much harder than in previous years. But, the fishing is much easier than this time last year.

So, I say all that to say this... I figure "my" questions aren't: "is there grout in the water? ", "did all the fish drown or are they swimming in the Cumby?", "are the fish up-stream or downstream?". Although I have a pretty good idea of the answer to that last question.

I figure "my" question is- what are they eating and how do we get them in our boat? Because I like to fish and I like to help others get better with their fishing as well and that keeps me going to the rivers and trying to improve my skills.

We were on the river yesterday, the day following the meeting, and we caught a bunch of fish and missed a bunch too. In the next few days I will post that report, but for now, here is a pic of just one of the browns we landed while nymphing.

Caught and Released

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Meeting Concerning the Caney Fork

Below is the information the meeting with TWRA and the US Corps of Engineers. It lookls like I will be going with a group of folks from Murfreesboro. The plan is the attend and then report back through the blog. Stay tuned for meeting notes.

Thursday, May 27th, TWRA and the Corps of Engineers will conduct a Caney Fork Workshop for fishermen, guides and the general public. The purpose is to discuss factors affecting the Caney Fork water quality and fishery over the past year, particularly increased rainfall and generation. We will address river users’ observance of muddy flow and sediment deposits. The Corps will describe water quality treatment associated with the seepage construction. Tennessee Tech University biologists will describe the results of fish sampling over the past year. TWRA will explain the rationale for the current trout creel limits and stocking plans for the year. We welcome your participation and comments.

Date: Thursday, May 27th Where: Center Hill Resource Manager’s Maintenance Shop Facility When: 6:00 - 8:00 Who: Corps, TWRA, TTU/USGS

Workshop Agenda:

I. Welcome and Introductions

II. Trout Creel Limits & Stocking Plans- Jason Henegar (TWRA)

III. Seepage Rehabilitation Update & Other Seepage Overview & Aeration Plans- Linda Adcock (Corps) Best Management Practices- David Loyd (Corps)

IV. 2009- A Year in Review (30 mins) Water Management- Bob Sneed (Corps) Water Quality Monitoring- Richard Tippit (Corps) Recent Fish Sampling Results- Tomas Ivasauskas or Phil Betolli (TTU)

IV. Discussion – (ALL)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Caney Fork River After the Flood of 2010

We expected to go for a "Boat Ride" (i.e. fishing like mad, but not catching any fish because the river isn't fishing well). There were confirmed reports of water 10 feet over the banks down stream. The Cumberland River had backed up, flooding the entire lower portion of the Caney. The fishing was the least of our worries a few weeks ago when parts of Nashville were under water. Friend's homes were flooded, businesses closed and first hand stories of fatalities were far too many. Really a "boat ride" wouldn't be a bad thing and catching fish seemed to be a bonus.

The Hatchery Brats are Back

On the ride to the river we discussed the Army Corps response to the 500 year flood event. We reviewed the water levels in the river, the generation schedule for the day and the 20,000 + cfs release over extended periods of time. The day seemed grim, but there was only one way to find out if the river was still fishable. We unloded the boat and rigged up the rods.

Hold That Brookie a Little Closer to the Camera

The fish were rising and we fished dries for a short time. Most of the fish that were rising were shad, but on occasion, a trout splash in the big back eddy at the dam. Soon we were on streamers and the fish were flashing. The first fish to the boat was a TN Tarpon, then another, and another, and another....and on and on. The trout would have to be agressive for food not to mention the fight for elbow room. Finally, we caught a white bass. Still no trout. Not a good sign...

These are All Over the Dam Pool
We left the Dam Pool and started down river on one generator. We didn't have to go far before we got into trout. Then the flow slowed and the carp began to rise. These fish were huge, making big splashes, but wouldn't take the streamers (and I wasn't about to change flies yet). When the generation stopped and the water began to fall, we decided to fish nymphs and see if the hatchery brats survived the high water event.
The Water Table is Still Up....Or the Leaks are Getting Worse?
This Rainbow Hasn't Missed a Meal
We dropped the nymphs under indicators and floated a short way, then we began to pick up trout. First we caught rainbows then brook trout. We caught them up on the usual nymph/midge rig and things were continually getting better. Mark took the front of the boat after I had an extended stay in the front casting brace.

These are Way Up the River Too

Mark With His Serious Look, the Rainbow Looks Serious Too
The water continued to drop and we went searching for moving water. Every stick, rock and shoal produced a current break, but not always fish. The fish were holding in many different areas of the river and they were making us work. But, working for the fish isn't always a bad thing and it keeps the crowd off the river.

The Splashy Release
We Found Some of These
We had the pleasure of fishing the lower portion of the river with a gentleman in a canoe (we didn't catch his name). We had good conversation as he picked up rainbows and we chased browns on streamers. We picked up a couple smaller browns that completed the slam. When the slam is added to the additional species we caught, the slam becomes the Tri-fecta Slam or something like that.
So the day came to an end when we were coming down the chute and we witnessed a truck stuck in the river. A few of the locals helped to pull the truck to safety, as boats, canoes and kayaks floated to the take-out. Each craft was waiting for their turn at the ramp. We picked up a couple more rainbows before it was our turn to load the drifter and head for home.
With Summer just around the corner there is only one thing to say.... "It's On!"
Brookie Caught and Released

Monday, May 17, 2010

Troutfest and Caney Water Level

We are back from Troutfest. It was an awesome event and we met a lot of new people. Also we caught up with some old friends, which makes the trip an even better experience. Thanks to all the people who stopped by the table and introduced themselves. Hopefully we were able to show some folks some new tying tricks and help with their future angling.

Happy Hollow Boat Ramp Looking Upstream on 12,250 CFS

On the way back through we decided to take a look at the Caney on high water. I have been on the river with the flow this high and moving this fast and have even caught some nice fish. There were a couple gentlemen who were launching their power boat and going after their limit.

The future generation forecast is looking better and with the stories I heard about the water levels, it will interesting to see how the river recovers. Look for some reports in the near future. At least we hope to be back on the river in the near future, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Articulated Streamer Tying at Troutfest

It is an honor to be tying at Troutfest this Saturday. What better flies to tie than articulated streamers? Besides tying these monsters of marabou we will discuss line set-up and fishing techniques.

There will be many famous anglers including Lefty Kreh, Bob Clouser and Joe Humphreys. Also there will be casting clinics and demonstrations, vendor booths, food, music and book signings.

Here is the schedule for the weekend's events. It should be a fun morning and hopefully we will see you there.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Elk River Report

After a long Winter and Spring, Jane and I finally had a chance to hit the river. Jane is a Caney Fork angler who hasn't been to the Elk as much as some. Her preference is dry fly fishing, with streamers running a close second. Nymphs, well nymphs, are not shall we say real high on her "list of enjoyable flies".

The 240 cfs is Excellent for Wading & Floating
Before I could return from the shuttle, Jane had caught a couple fish on a Humpy pattern. She was all smiles when I returned. We had a brief discussion with a couple of 7 year old boys who were the co-captains of their family canoe. While the boys ate Rice Crispy treats and paddled that canoe on gravel, we launched the drifter and turned downstream. We stopped and fished to rising fish with dries as we moved down the river. We hit a few spots with big streamers on sinking lines, however that was not the ticket as much as I liked.

This Little Stocker Was More Than 4 Miles from the Nearest Stocking Point

We switched to nymphs, after some coaxing, and this picked up some fish at Anthony's Hole. Jane and I worked on her nymphing techniques throughout the float. Jane is an accomplished angler and she picked up and the subtleties of nymphing in a quick manner. But, she is a dry fly angler and once a dry fly angler, always a dry fly angler.

An Elk River Rainbow Caught at Anthony's Hole
The fish were holding, for the most part, in the deeper holes and at the drop-offs in the river. The water was a little stained and the recent rains had moved the shoals on the river again. Some of the shoals, created from the creeks and ditches, had moved significantly and the Bend Pool appeared to be unchanged. All the movement of the shoals and river bottom made the float much more interesting on the oars.

Mr. No Shoulders was Out in Force

Over the years I have seen many snakes on the Elk. Several years ago I was at the launch and saw a small copperhead swim across the river, eat some corn that was dropped on the bank, then swim back after filling up it's belly. The next year a water snake fell from a branch and landed about five feet from where I was fishing. That snake must have been way up in the tree, because the lowest branch was 15 feet above my head. I moved on downstream....quickly. Last year we were on a float half way down river when a snake fell from another tree and hit the water, making a splat sound. A few dozen strokes on the oars and we were out of harms way.
After many years on the water and in the woods, I have determined there are only four kinds of snakes of which to be afraid; big snakes, little snakes, live snakes and dead snakes. On this Elk float we saw a few snakes all of which met at least two of the four categories.

Blue Bird Skies Above the Elk River

As the day went along we saw more and more hatches coming off. I had just received an order for 6 dozen flies earlier in the week and we went through most of those patterns aswe played with the fresh stockers. We ended up on parachute patterns for dries, chunky nymphs for sub surface and even had a look or two on streamers. The Crane flies were out, as were the usual mayflies and midges. I even think I spotted a caddis among all the other flies. We fished most of the patterns we wanted and caught fish throughout the day.
So, if you've read this far hopefully there is some information you will find of use. If not let me say, I would not fish the evening hatch at the Elk River without some size 12-14, cream dun patterns in my box...

Click here for the latest fishing report

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Caney Fork Fly Fishing

Loading the Boat for the Trip

The morning started out with the usual routine of loading the boat, prepping lunch and large amounts of coffee. The moon was still up when I pushed the boat out of the garage and headed up to Silver Point to pick up Tom, who is an accomplished angler and Arthur, who has never fly fished. Tom came down from Massachusetts and Arthur came up from Mexico City, both were in for a family reunion. I knew the trip was going to be a good one when Tom went back to the cabin for a full box of cigars.

Blue Bird Skies & Clear Water

The weather was as good as it gets at the end of April and first of May. Temperatures in the low eighties with light breezes. The water temps were perfect for the many different species we were chasing. The plan was to use nymphs in the morning, while going for the trout and to sling streamers throughout the afternoon and go for the larger browns, white bass and hybrids.

Arthur With One of His First Trout & a Big Cigar

Arthur had never fished the fly rod, but by the time I returned from the shuttle he had gotten pretty good. We threw out the nymphs and went immediately to work catching rainbows and we also saw the return of a few brook trout. The brookies appeared to be recently stocked, however they were a welcomed edition to our species list for the day. Arthur was the first to pick up the brook trout with Tom following suit a little later in the day.

Arthur With a Bend in the Long Rod

A Return of the Brook Trout in the Caney Fork
Tom with a Walleye
During the short drive to the river Tom asked about walleye. I know a few places on the river where walleye hold from time to time, but these fish can be particularly tough on the fly. However later in the day Tom proved they are not impossible.

Some Days the Fish Just Swim Into the Net
Tom Shows Off One of the Many Rainbows of the Day
Shore Lunch, Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon & Baked Potatoes
Shore Lunch and Lunch Naps
While the shore lunch was cooking, I rigged the rods and the guys took a short nap to rest their arms and backs. The afternoon would consist of streamers on sinking lines. The sinking lines are deceiving easy to cast . They also give the angler more control when retrieving the fly, which is critical when fishing structure. Tom proved his casting ability when I asked him to hit a small rock, about the size of a grapefruit, that was on the edge of the water. He tossed the streamer toward the rock. We watched as the deer hair and marabou flew through the air and then bounced off the rock and into the water. Tom just grinned.
Those who Have Fished This Rod Know This is a Large Fish

The guys got into the white bass often. At one point in the day we all would get excited until we figured out the fish on the line was another bass of the same size as the bass before. Then we would get the fish as quickly as possible and released. After that we would move a few more boat lengths down the river and try again. Then, the Echo rod stopped and bent double. At first we thought we may have the largest brown of the year, when we looked deep into the pool and saw the fish make a huge turn, then sprint back to the bottom. Finally we got a good look at a very big buffalo. Tom fought the fish for 15 minutes and that fish put the rod through it's paces. Several times this fish would come to the boat and then go under the boat and back to the bottom putting even more stress on the rod, the angler and the guide. The fish was too large for the net, so we beached the boat and took the fight to the bank. Finally we were able to get the fish off the fly.

The Drifter Taking a Break
The Tail Appears to Show Evidence of Spawn

One of the Many Rainbows of the Day

Smiles All Around
So, the day began to wind down. The fish were happy and the anglers were happy. Arthur had many good stories of his country and the fishing he has done while visiting the states. Tom, who apparently fishes more than even I do, especially during the summer, added stories of striper in Boston Harbor before going into work in the mornings. The talk of fishing passed the time and the fish added to the excitement level. It was a pleasure to see an angler catch his first fish on the fly rod and to see a veteran angler smile on every fish. Tom and Arthur I am already looking forward to next years trip.