Monday, October 25, 2010

Report from the River

The Hatchery Brats Were Out in Force

Dan and I went to the Caney for the first time in a long while. He has been busy painting and doing some other long term projects and I have been sitting behind the oars. So when we both got some time off to fish, we loaded the drifter and hit the river for some fishing, catching and good conversation.

Dan Did This.....A LOT
We started off with Dan fishing some home-brew nymphs and even though we only had a few hours of daylight, we took our time and hit the likely spots. The fish responded to his offerings and made the upper portion of the float somewhat exciting.

Fall Along the Caney Fork River
The Fall colors are in their bloom right now along the river. The winds were out of the South, South-something most of the day, but to our luck was good and we did catch a few spots on the water that would float a nymph with some sense of a natural drift.

Rainbows Were the Species of the Day for Us

We drowned the nymphs between the fallen leaves and wind gusts. Then as we were bringing a rainbow to the boat, a large fish moved to the bow. The fish was a brown and it took a big slash at that rainbow. The rainbow gave up after a short run to the boat and seemed somewhat happy to get into the net safely.


Dan Hooked Up......Again

We pounded the banks with streamers the rest of the time. We noticed several redds in the river, on the shoals. There are some nice fish that are vulnerable right now and hopefully they will get finished after this full moon moves on. There were several fly anglers "babysitting" most of the large browns as we floated over the likely spots.

Light was limited, but we were able to get some action on some articulated and non-articulated offerings in the pools. Darkness comes early when you get a late start to the day and with large storms approaching, we took one last picture of the after dark midge hatch and headed to the ramp.

Update: Several large storms blew through the area last night and there is no doubt removed even more leaves from the trees. We hope this will move the river toward more clear water in the coming weeks. The fishing is still manageable and should get better over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Caney Fork Fishing Report

The river has been fishing OK over the past few weeks. As the Summer has been winding down the big browns have been busy with their yearly ritual, but it hasn't stopped the floats nor the catching. Melanie called last week and booked a trip for her family and Pamela's family on the Caney Fork.

The Result of Things Going Our Way

We put the kids and ladies in the boats and shoved off a few minutes after the generation shut down. The wind was "blowin the dog off the chain", but we knew if we could get the flies in front of the right fish, it could be a successful day.

Another Successful Angler

We fished nymphs throughout the day as we worked everyone on their mending, casting, mending and well mending. The wind worked against us early on, as it did all the other boats on the river. Soon the group got into the grove and began picking up fish.

Fish and Phones
The indicators were bobbing and weaving. However, when the wind would die off even a little and the drift would straighten itself out, the fish would respond. The group did a lot of things right throughout the day including, improving their cast and some caught trout on the Caney Fork for the first time.

A Busy Boat
The Third Fish of the Afternoon

The leaves were back again on this trip and in my opinion slowed the fishing a little. Streamers would have been clogged and the fish did not appear to be looking up like they were several weeks ago. Therefore, nymphs were the bug of choice. Pheasant tails and zebra midges both picked up fish.
So, the river is going through the usual Fall changes. Streamer season is around the corner, but nymphs and midges usually work OK throughout the colder weather as well. As long as falling water is the "flavor of the day", pretty much any of the usual tactics can pick-up fish. Some tactics will work better than others. So, just adjust the style as conditions permit and get out on the water whenever time permits!
A Nice Fall Brook Trout
Families Having Fun on the River

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fishing Report for the Caney Fork

The First Fish of the Day

Mark and I floated the Caney over the weekend and found an extension of the past couple floats. The water still has a deep green color and it is slightly cloudy as well. The traffic on the river was less than expected, however some of the shoals seem to hold more anglers than fish. The water level in the lake is holding in the 625' range and I would suspect the water level in the lake could be lending to the cloudy water.

Leaves on the Top and Leaves are Under the Water Too
There are a lot of leaves in the river right now. This happens about this time every year and slows the fishing. It appears most of the fish have stopped looking up, so catching on the dry flies and hoppers has slowed. A few hours after generation is the best time to throw the top water offerings, but riding along in the drifter, with a nymph, is the easiest and at the moment the most productive for us.

The Water is Still Somewhat Clear

The fish are still eating, but the browns have slowed for their yearly ritual. They have now moved onto the shoals, but they seem to be a little more difficult to figure out. They are much more interested in themselves than they are eating. Yes, it is that time of year and when it is over, well streamers could be the ticket as the browns begin to search out high protein to get ready for winter.

It is Hard to Beat the Scenery

All "Colored-Up"
So, the rainbows kept us somewhat busy throughout the day. The river was not"on fire", but it was consistent. We saw some large browns and large rainbows, which kept things busy. The fish are in the usual places and eating the usual nymphs at the usual times. Falling water is productive and makes for a nice float. Don't be afraid to try something different, especially if you find a pod of rising fish. Check back later this week for another update on the river conditions.

Sunlight & Sluice

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fly Fishing the Caney Fork for Project Healing Waters

This report actually started on April 11, 2009. That was the date Erik bid on a trip for two anglers on the Caney Fork. The donated trip was for the auction at Nabours & Friends for Project Healing Waters. Erik was gracious enough to bid and won the trip.

We began the “Will Call” program and began setting dates for the trip. Then it would rain and the generation would start. I would get an open date and he couldn’t get away. He would get an open date and I would be booked. So it went on for over a year. Last week Erik sent a text and asked what date is open for October? I responded back with the date and we set up the trip right then. So, Erik and Jackie met me at Happy Hollow and we were off to float the upper portion on the Caney Fork.

Jackie Hooked Up First

We started the trip off with the right attitude, plenty of laughs and some heckling. The weather was close to perfect and we launched as the Army Corps shut down the generation and sluice. With talk of rods and other gear and prior trips we began this one with the nymphs. The water was slightly off color. The lake level is below 626 and the color is a bit on the green side. Some will call it water level in the lake, some will call it lake turnover, but who really knows what causes the off color water?

The First Fish, Just to Prove We Were There

Another Brat

Early on the fish didn’t seem to mind. They were looking for flies that might taste good and Jackie was the first to score with a hatchery brat . Then she boated another and it was on. Erik wasn’t far behind with a few brats of his own. We stopped and switched to a high protein fly and Jackie boated a nice rainbow on her first topwater cast.

Erik is Hooked Up....Again

We dropped the anchor to fish dries to a pod of feeding fish. These fish are always in this spot and seemingly always feeding. However, they are not the easiest fish to catch on a dry fly. We started Erik on parachute flies and went through the box. Jackie hooked up, but Erik was intensely fishing to the first few fish in the pod. I grabbed the big box of dries and pulled out a Purple Passion, no not the drink, the Purple Passion fly. Some people swear by the color purple. Some say it is the first color fish see on the color chart. After a few fish refused the fly, I began to select a smaller fly. A rainbow came up and nailed Erik’s offering, he set the hook and the fish began to run. The fish ran around the boat and promptly tangled the fly line in the loading hook on the drifter. After much scurrying by the guide, the fish made the right move and the line came loose. Erik boated the fish and we decided to leave the pool so we could make the takeout sometime before dark.

Fished Hard for This One
Notice the Color of the Water

Erik Strikes with the Nymph Rod

The day continued on with both anglers seeing and catching fish here and there. Then we drifted into a section of water that seemed to be holding every nice brown in the river. It appears the large browns are in full pre-spawn, pairing up and staging for the upcoming event. Hopefully they will get through their ritual, get on the shoals and get it over with, before they are caught when they are the most vulnerable. We moved on...

The Shadows Were Getting Long

Caught & Released

At the end of the evening I had lost count of the fish and certainly lost count of the laugh count, which seemed to be high on the fun meter. We cashed in a bunch of fun tickets on this float and I am looking forward to fishing with these two accomplished anglers in the future.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fishing Report from the West Prong of the Little River happened, I turned to the right and went up the road towards Cades Cove. This evening of fishing had to be quick. So, I went up past the tunnel and found a pull-off. I have fished this section before and although the rainbows are mostly small, there can be a surprise or two as well. The evening started with the #10 Parachute Adams, but these fish were not of the size to take this big bug. Sure, a couple came to hand, but there were far more refusals than fish.

The View From Our Cabin Deck
I rummaged through the makeshift fly box and pulled out a fly with a yellow body, brown hackle and yellow wings. The wings were hi-vis yellow and made for easier angler viewing. About a size #14, traditional dry fly. This should be the ticket. I advanced to the next run and immediately hooked up with a feisty rainbow. Then another and from then on each pool and fishy looking run gave up fish.

A Fishy Looking Run

One of Many Rainbows

The evening continued with more fish. The decision earlier in the day, to turn right at the Y was the right one. The decision was a no-brainer considering the availability of decent water and the limited travel time. Before I knew it the sun was gone, the light was getting lower and the hi-vis fly wasn't so hi-vis any longer. I made my way back down the road to the truck, cheap victory cigar in hand. I cannot recall the Smokies fishing better for me.

The Hi-Vis Traditional Dry....Nope, I cannot recall the name of this fly?

By the time this report is out, we will be back home and prepping the drifter for another tailwater float. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at the report. Hopefully, there is some information that can be used for fishing in the Park and if you go I hope your afternoons are as enjoyable as mine were.. Thank you for stopping by the fishing report.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fishing Report from Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Another New Favorite Stretch of Water
The days have been cloudy in Townsend and the afternoons, down on the streams, in the park have been getting dark too early. Each day I have been lucky and have been able to get out on the water. I have been turning left at the Y and heading up Little River Road. On this day, I went up past a couple of my favorite holes, fought the urge to go back to the pool where the nice rainbow came and headed for brown trout water. The reason? I cannot remember catching a brown in the park. Everybody needs a mission, the brown trout was mine. I slowed to a stop at the roadside.

Now You See It...

Now You Don't

And, so the fishing began. It wasn't long before the trout began rising to the Thunderhead. There were several refusals in a row. Several is more of a general term, in this case I began to count refusals vs. counting caught fish. There were some bigger fish refusing the fly, which made me question if I should go smaller in size? I also thought about cutting the bottom hackle off the fly, lowering the fly more into the water. Sometimes fish don't seem to like those, pretty, out of the vise flies. In the end I switched to a big parachute Adams. Then the catching really began.

Man Made Cover
Because time was limited, I fished up Little River instead of a more remote stream. The road actually provides structure in many places. One of the rainbows came from some slow water where the current was restricted from the rocks in the wall. The fish was laying right against the wall and I was lucky when I saw him come off and hit the Adams. It was a classic take, there was no inspection time, there was no hesitation. The fish shot out of the slower water and nailed the fly.

Another Rainbow
The afternoon consisted of hunting the traditional dry fly seams. The seam might be in the middle of riffles or against the outsides of a run. Anywhere the fast moving water comes together with slower moving water. Also, there was another thing that I finally remembered. Highsticking, for me anyway, means don't let any tippet touch the water, if at all possible. Any drag, even a little from the tippet, many times, meant the difference between a refusal and a hook-up. The rainbows began to come with some consistency and the brown, the brown still was not showing up. The brown didn't have to be big, it just had to be a brown.....although a big one wouldn't be a bad thing.

The Other End of My New Favorite Stretch of Water
The fly was tuned in, there was no doubt the Parachute Adams had proven itself for the many anglers who had used it in the Smokies before me and it had proven itself this afternoon.
The drift was finally coming around, leaving the body of the fly drifting just in the surface.
There was a seam between two riffles. The rocks were dark from shadows and the bottom was somewhat deep between them. The fly landed, the tippet came off the water, the fly perked up and the fish shot off the bottom. I could see the fish turn downstream and it hit the fly on a dead-run (if fish could run it would have been a dead-run). Anyway, the fish hit the fly and turned to go back to its cover. Just like that the fish was hooked and when it came to the top, I saw the butter color on the fish's underbelly. It was the fish I came for, so I took the photo, reeled up the line and headed for the truck.

A Wild Brown Trout in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Tomorrow, I may turn right at the Y in Townsend...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Little River Report

Up in the Smokies this weekend the weather is mild. The water level has been increasing and the other evening I made it ouy for the evening hatch. The wading was good and so was the catching. It is nice to be in my old stomping grounds (well I am not stomping, but trying to be stealthy), while fishing some old haunts.
A Pool Holding Some Nice Rainbows...on the Far Side
The fish are holding in the riffles and against the ledges, close to safety. So, what else is new? Wading in stealth is critical, as is a proper high stick. The pools are running somewhat quick and with the amount of vegitation, on the banks, a good roll cast certainly helps.

Getting Late
The fall sun sets a little earlier than I like, but that can be overcome by an even earlier mid day start. I tried nymphs the other day and eventually ended up on an old favorite, a Thunderhead. Since there was a hatch going and the bugs were about a size #18, I decided to match it with a size #10. I never said which hatch I was matching and wanted something worth coming to the top for, a reward as such. It wasn't long before the highsticking skills came back and.....

The Tools for the Evening Hatch
...and then there was more highsticking. I took the minimal approach with just a few things that seemed worth taking. The riffles and shoals were holding fish and only the best fish were taking the time to come up to the Thunderhead.

Just Before Dark
After much wading and dabbing, the pool just up ahead looked inviting. The wading was deep, deeper than I like and a god rollcast worked for the bigger water. After some missed opportunities and just before dark, this fish came up and made my day!

Fly Box Orginization