Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fishing Nymphs on the Caney Fork

The rains came to Middle Tennessee just after John's Trip. The storms were intense at times with heavy downpours. The creeks, rivers and lakes were high and off color. We waited a day and got back out on the river to see the effects of this years heaviest rain. Crossing over the first couple bridges revealed the Caney Fork was running the color of good hot chocolate, hold the whipped cream and marshmallows. So we launched the drift boat and prepared some rods, then we backed out into the flowing water of generation and drowned some flies.

Dan Hooked Up on a Rainbow

We threw streamers into murky water and Dan was the first to strike. The off-color water was making it a tough day of catching so we took an early lunch and watched multiple boats and other watercraft did their best to catch fish. Everyone who came by reported slow fishing and we agreed. We had a working plan and were stopped early for a reason.

Lunch for Me and Lunch for Fish

Up with the anchor and Anthony behind the oars. Dan and I in the casting braces and it wasn't long before we were into fish and using ______. The day was starting to pick up just a little as did the wind. The nymphs (oops it slipped) worked better than streamers for the rainbows and as we floated down the river we spotted the usual wildlife on the Caney Fork. After several fish were brought to the net it was Anthony's turn on the Hydros. He immediately picked up a real slab of a rainbow and it in front of the audience in another boat. We continued on and when we looked back that boat was fishing in the spot that Anthony had just claimed as his own. We weren't worried because we had a long way to go....

Good Colors and Healthy Weight

The new regulations of slot limits on the Rainbows and Brook Trout are helping the fishing. There are still a lot of anglers on the river. It was refreshing yesterday to see an angler on the bank catch a real nice rainbow, then he pulled out a fish measuring tool and show the fish to his friends. After that the fish went back into the water and he threw out his line again. A couple years ago that fish would have gone to the stringer, not that there is anything wrong with keeping and eating fish. The new regulations simply change the outcome, for most of us- for the better.

The fish were good with plenty of backbone. We fished the river pretty hard, but the catching was a little slow. That is to be expected after a heavy rain. The forecast isn't any better this week with the weather guessers calling for rain and storms for the better part of the week. The Army Corps is also forecasting heavy generation to keep up with the rains as Spring comes to the South.

The One That Got Away

Going Back

Caught & Released

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Caney Fork Fly Fishing Report

John wanted to put the world away for a minute, so he called and booked a fly fishing trip on the Caney Fork River. When I passed the local bank in the early morning the temperature on the bank sign read 32 degrees. Just above freezing and highs in upper 50's, this should be a good day on the water.

The Skippies Are Still Hanging Around
We launched at the dam a couple hours before the generator shut down. My favorite generator was pushing the water. Yes there is a big difference, when fishing the dam pool, with the different generators. John warmed up his casting arm with some long casts and short strips. The reward was several skip jack, but no trout...yet.
As of late the generation is slowing, which gives more time for wading and low water floats. The weather is calling for major rain + the rain we received over the past 24 hours, so the US Army Corps may be forced to release additional water due to their Water In-Water Out policy for Center Hill. We will see...

The First Brown of the Day

After most of the other boats got out of sight, we slipped off down stream too. We began trying to unlock the code for the trout sipping bugs just under the surface. We tried several different patterns and missed a fish here and there, but never really dialed in. Then John and I both agreed on a particularly fishy looking piece of water and started a slow, painful drift of a nymph. When the fly didn't produce a fish, in a spot that usually is good for at least a hatchery brat, I asked John to give the spot one more drift. John threw the fly in and got just the right mend. The reward for the second try was his first Caney Fork brown of the day. This was the start we needed.

John Hooked Up With Another One

One of Several Rainbows for John

We stayed with the nymphs for most of the float. Sure we mixed in some midges and tried some other "hot flies", but the real code crackers was the usual mending skills and proper depth. Also, getting the right fly in front of the right fish helped too. Making sure everything was right for the mending set up was critical. John wanted to use this float as a learning tool and you could see the fish come to life as he got into the zone. His mending techniques improved as did his line management as the day wore on.

Another Secret....The Rally Cap

The Results of a Good Mend, Good Fly Placement and an Ain't In No Hurry Drift
John's Best Brown of the Day
John was in the Zone, so it was just a matter of time before he was going to be rewarded with a quality fish. We started adding the "fish to the fish that are feeding" mentality. When a nice fish rose with a splash in front of the boat, John set up and took his best shot. The reward was a quality brown and a hero shot....or two.

Healthy Rainbows Getting Into the Slot
One of the More Colorful Browns

Casting Into Still Water
Toward the end of the float the day was winding down. There were some short periods of sprinkles, not enough to worry about, but enough to pull out rain gear that had been stowed since Fall. The clouds were in and out most of the day and even the brief periods of sun weren't around any longer. With a push of water coming and no light to see the indicator we slowed to a stop at the takeout and put the drifter on the trailer. The day, well it turned out nice. The fish, they were healthy. The float, the float was another successful float on the Caney Fork River. So far we are making 2011 the year of getting out there.
Caught & Released

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Caney Fork Steamers and Nymph Report

Eyeballs and Teeth
Mark J, David K and myself, all showed up at the Caney Fork River and launched the drifter on one generator. The guys were soon into fish including skip jack, with hard head-shakes and quick runs and trout also with head-shakes and an even harder fight. We started out on streamers and after everyone was comfortable the guys were into fish on a pretty regular basis.

The First Fish with Lots of Color
The skipjack fishing is starting to slow just a little. These fish are a good warm-up for a fight and good casting practice that comes in handy for a day of fishing. Before we launched, Mark showed us his Streamers t-shirt and with that Mark hooked up with the first fish on a....streamer. Maybe there is something to this after all.

Mark Holding the First Walleye of the 2011

So we kept on throwing streamers to the fish, catching trout and TN Tarpon. The best was yet to come and with David catching skipjack and trout, Mark continued throwing the 6 wt BVK, while going for a fish that would rise to the fly on practically every cast. Fish rising and flashing will usually get bored and disappear or finally commit. This fish got a little too close and the fight was on. Mark brought the fish to the net and the first walleye of the year was in the boat before we knew it.

White Tips on the Fins...

We continued throwing streamers in the upper part of the river and had the usual follows, slashes and catches. But we also spent more time in the upper portion, which put us out of position for a great streamer float. We regrouped, strung up some nymph rods (that's right there are always more options on the boat) and dropped some nymphs into the fray.
The fish did not disappoint and came to the nymphs pretty quick. We continued fishing the nymphs under the indicators and the fish kept coming. They were not as active as last week, but were coming to the boat pretty regular. This began the speculation of moon phases and sun vs. clouds. Scientific theories were not determined but we did put the info in the arsenal for latter use. Angler Theories were proven and disproved.
Cooling the Work Horse

The Rainbows are Colorful and Healthy

Without a Doubt
Early in the float, with the generators running, we tossed streamers to mostly rainbows. The water up by the dam can be very dangerous with one generator running it is always best to wear a life jacket and be aware of the other boats around you. Most of the other anglers are aware and courteous and a lot celebrate those good fish when one is brought to hand.
Looks Like This One Has Seen A Hook Before

Low Water Reveals Very Good Cover

Toward the end of the day we kept floating nymphs under indicators while we fished to rising fish. The midge hatch was light but they were eating something just below the surface. The key was to find a fish that was eating and cast well upstream, then keep the best drift possible and bang set the hook. If the fish weren't feeding it usually resulted in a fishless drift. Lower water puts some nice fish down, but provides opportunity to learn the best holding areas, especially when bombing the banks, later in high water.
Learning the water is critical when fishing streamers on high water or fishing nymphs and midges on still water that has fallen out. The weather looks good this week and the generation should provide opportunities for wading as well as floating, so....make 2011 the Year of Gettin Out There.

David With a Nice Bow on a Streamer

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Caney Fork Report

This Brook Trout Just Made the Slot
Just when you thought we don't have anything to report, well here it is. The week has been busy and the Caney Fork is fishing real well for us. The shad kill has stopped for the time being. Why has it stopped? The temps are up into the 50's and 60's, so the shad are higher in the lake and not as prone to get into the generators.....right now. The trout and TN tarpon however are still hungry.

Sharing the River Early

Angling Theory- Even though the fish have an IQ of 7 (that's a guess and we are not aware of a fish taking an IQ test), think about this logically, or use your angler's logic. The fish begin to see the shad come through, they realize the high protein is good for the stomach and start to eat. The temps go up and the shad stop coming. Their stomach is used to getting lots of protein and the stomach has expanded. Then nothing, no more shad, nadda. The fish get super hungry and along comes the drifter with, you guessed it, shad patterns. What is a fish to do? Become opportunistic and hit the shad pattern...Italic

Anglers come to the river, conquer the hungry fish and the angler goes home a hero... It's a good time of year to be on the river. How long will it stay that way? Who knows, it is a roll of the dice on every trip. But it is darn well worth the effort...

Released After the Photo-op
Throwing nymphs and midges will work now as well. Color is critical and there should be some huge midge hatches over the next few days. Drop a midge below a dry and hit the shoals and tailouts of the pools for feeding trout. There have been some good midge hatches over the past few weeks when the sun peeks through for a few hours.

Some of the River Scenery

Lookin Back Attcha
The generation for the rest of the week is looking pretty darn good. The wading opportunities are looking up and floating looks to be at a premium as well. The fish are feeding on the shoals and the obvious shoals will be packed. The smaller shoals are the place to be as the fish will not be as spooked and the pressure will be lighter. Knowing the river is of premium on high pressure days. It is technical angling at its finest.
This Was David Most of the Day

David Knapp, angler and author of the Trout Zone blog was on the boat Sunday. David is a very good angler and is not afraid to try some new things. He also brings some different ideas when he gets on the boat. Sunday was David's day. He had the flies, the technique and the ideas to make his day a good day on the water. He also let me get in, on the action and eventually I just took his set up and used it as my own. To read about Sunday from David's perspective check out his report.
Another of Many Rainbows

From my perspective this was one of the best days yet this year and I think it was in part due to my Streamers t-shirt. Really, I am kidding. Yes I was wearing it but I couldn't prove it made a bit of difference in the catch rate.

Different Colors
We caught several bows Sunday that were well into the slot limit. If we can get a good Spring without heavy rain events and the TWRA, who were out this week writing tickets, can keep folks honest, we should have a real nice year.
If you are thinking about booking a trip and want to get into the streamer action from the drifter just send us an email to and we can book a trip, for a chance at some hot action on the river!
Completing Another Slam

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bristol Bay

Please take a moment and review this info concerning Bristol Bay. If you agree it is easy to take action, I did...Here is the link

Also here is a picture from the river this week. A report, or should I say an interesting report to follow.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Caney Fork Streamer Report

A Real Fishtail

The Perfect Streamer Day?
The latest report from the river is- pretty darn good while under generation. With the water running, either one or two generators are fishing pretty good, from a boat. One generator is certainly better and the fish are definitely looking up for food. On Saturday Dan and I set out for our Winter hunt for fish.

Part I of a Caney Fork Grand Slam

A True Fatty
The fish have been eating well over the past few weeks. Gorging is often the term heard on the river lately. The fish are on the move when the water is running and this seems to be the time they are eating. Once the water turns off the fish turn off, for the most part, as well. Being out there at the right time is critical.

One Skippy of Many

All the Wildlife is Waiting for a Meal

Dan Hooked-up Many Times on Saturday
We tried some different methods this week. Some worked better than others and some did not work at all. Slow-painful strips worked good and made a lot of fish come out of their hiding places. Some were hungry and some were just curious, all were exciting. One fish shot off a log after an articulated fly and instead of a hook up or just a drive-by, the fish nailed the streamer at a dead run. Flat out straight up the middle crashing through the streamer, only to bounce off and keep on moving downstream. With two hooks going in all different directions anyone would have thought it was a sure hook-up, but it was a clean strike and that one got away. Don't worry (if anyone really is worried) because just a few minutes later we boated the Caney Fork brook trout that completed our boat slam.

Skipjack Tails
We also got into the skipjack again. After missing them last week, they were back on the line this week. We tried a few different patterns and settled on "any color as long as it was white". These fish fight with their heads more than anything and use their tails to propel them out of the water to help get free. They are strong fighters for their size, but they also know when to give up. They also are good about shaking free at the boat and that helps to keep your hands dry and thus...warm.
Birds, Birds and More Birds

A View From Inside the Net
Not Easy Decision...or Was It?
The water was pushing at the first of the week with more hours of two generators than one generator. Already this week there are some windows of no generation and it appears, from the rainfall amounts, we could see even larger windows. If the US Army Corps is running one or more I would suggest not wading and getting out the boat. If you find a window and want to wade, be aware that the water doesn't drop all the way out and this limits some opportunities.
Don't forget the full day streamer float at the half day price that we have going on now through the end of February. Just give us a call at 615.796.5143 to book a day and as always...make 2011 the Year of Gettin Out There.
Caught & Released