Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring- Elk River Fishing Report

Balancing a Fly Reel on a Blade of Grass...

Here is the Middle Tennessee water report, that's right it's a water report for most of the week. There was a lot of water on the Caney Fork (thank you Capt Obvious). The US Army Corps is still releasing water from Center Hill Dam and after a weekend of rain we will see what Great Falls turns loose in the coming days. At the last look Great Falls is again on the rise. But there is hope for a slight slowdown in release for the upcoming week at Center Hill depending on the predicted rains. We will see how the weather guessers play into our recreational fun. *** Then there is the Obey River below Dale Hollow Dam . Same old story, same old song and friend (thank you Aerosmith). Dale Hollow Lake, with its abundance of crystal clear goodness, is still high. The Army Corps is cutting back the constant generation at the dam and now thy are releasing between 1575 CFS and 3165 CFS (give or take a gallon here and there. This river is a good place to go when the water levels are running high and the Army Corps has this release running on one or less generator. Take nymphs here on one generator, late in the float, even though every cell in your body is screaming streamers, this time of year.
Fuel for the Tail

This week the Elk was the river of choice. After a week of generation, or at least until Thursday, TVA dialed back the generation and we were out there. If you are going to catch fish you have be out there trying, right? Remember- Make 2011 the Year of Getting Out There (We'll talk about how that phrase was developed in a later report). So, the rain made a strong comeback over the weekend. The creeks and ditches that run through the farmlands, on the way to the river, were flowing strong and muddy. The Elk River gets stained/muddy quick and as we have reported here several times the river does not fish as well when it is stained or worse.

What Are Ya'll Lookin At?

Not as Clear as Last Week

So what's up with the underwater shots? If you have been reading this report since the first of the year, there have been several underwater photos-and not just of fish either. The reason is it is intriguing what goes on where a fish lives. There is a lot going on down there and a lot of stuff on the bottom. The Elk can run pretty clear while the bottom can get all gunked-up. There is food in the gunk and under the gunk (by the way gunk is now a fly fishing term). The first thing to remember is- if you get a snag on the bottom to go ahead and clean the fly. The slightest piece of gunk on an excellent pattern will turn a fish off quicker than a poor pattern with no gunk. Check the fly early and often.


Imagine your favorite pattern floating or being stripped just above the bottom in the picture above. The fly is doing what you have trained it to do since the day it came off the vise (I just threw that in there) anyway it is just off the bottom when it bumps the rock. The chances are the fly is going to pick up some gunk and from that point on, until you clean it or the gunk just wears off, there is an exponential reduction in chances a trout will take a second look. So, back to the original question of what's up with the underwater shots? These shots hopefully help some of you think differently and in some shots actually give you different ideas about what goes on down there.


How was the fishing? This week in spite of the water and weather the Elk was just about normal for the conditions. The photo above shows the stained water and expect the same over the next week or so. Don't fear because there is a slow down in the rain coming after this week and hopefully there will be a little more generation to clean out the creek run off. If you make a trip to the river show the fish something flashy and get the fly right in their face, because the water clarity makes their visibility difficult at best.


Anglers are getting trips on the books. Some have decided to book through the Will Call Program and some have already set their date on the river. Effective Nymph Angling Instruction is a chance to learn some of the best techniques for tailwater trout. If you are new to fly fishing or just want a different perspective this is a good way to spend an afternoon on the river.

The Nature Shot for This Report

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Elk River Fly Fishing Report

Fishing Report- The Caney Fork is running three generators and the Obey is running a couple generators. Anglers from boats can catch fish on both rivers under the current generation, but the conditions can be very dangerous and/or slow. There was a report of a very large brown caught this week. Unfortunately the fish was not released, but it proves there are still some large fish to be found in the Caney Fork. All this water and the hunt for fish bring us to the Elk River...
Gary with a Fish-on, David Yelling Strip!
The Elk was fishing good last week. There were some rains during the week, however the river cleared up when TVA pushed one generator for several days and the tributaries began to fall. The fish are very healthy and are putting up a good fight when they are hooked. The water temps are nice and cold and the water is getting more clear as the weeks go on. This will not last for the entire Spring, but for now, with these conditions the water quality is a good as I have seen in years. If you know where to look the fish are responding.
- I
This trip had been planned, scheduled, re-planned, rescheduled and finally the day came. We had two boats, five people and a lot of anticipation. The Elk fished as good as it ever has fished. Before the day was over there would be more fish than could be counted, good food and smiling-tired faces.
One of the Caves Along the Float
Lynchburg TN is known for Jack Daniels and Miss Mary Bobo's. The famous whiskey is made from natural spring water. This cave is early in this float and is a reminder of the whiskey that made this area famous. The water that feeds into the river from this cave is running clear. But if you float this section too soon after a major rain event, water from this cave only adds to the chocolate color of a stained river. For the next several days the water should only improve.
First Fish on a New Fly Rod
Gary bought a new fly rod last year, on a trip out West, and he was ready to put it to use. The fish were none too happy about the end result, but they came to the party and Gary got some action early....and often. We started on nymphs and never really got into anything else. We tried a variety of patterns and caught fish on most of them. Confidence was a big deal in the boat on this trip. If there was no confidence in the fly there was little or no action on that pattern. The theory of confident anglers proved out again.

Spring is Upon Us
Healthy & Colorful Rainbows
Was it the super-full moon that is 50,000 KM to the earth or the generation? There are so many theories about fish and why they eat, but water quality and water level are definitely major factors in fly fishing for trout. The trout in the Elk are healthy and every fish is putting up a fight when hooked. One of the rainbows on this trip took a nymph on a dead run and the take was easily seen when the fish flashed as it took off from under the blowdown to get the slow passing nymph.

Barry Putting his Orvis Through Its Paces.

Another Rainbow for Barry This Time

The Daily Double
When friends get together in a boat for 8 plus hours, it can get confined at times. Gary and Barry are both laid back and fish very well over a long period of time. Both are very good anglers who enjoy a day on the river as much as anyone for who I have had the pleasure to row the boat. The conversation is always good and ranges from fishing in western states to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. After a while on long floats fish "almost" become secondary to the day.
At lunchtime we got both boats and everyone together for conversation about the morning of drowning nymphs. With the grill fired up, the refueling began.

Gotta Love Early Spring

Gary Knocks Out the Big Bow of the Day
....and a Brown for Barry
This trip ended at dark. We spotted the owls that live at the end of this float and that was our best bird watching of the day. The flowers are beginning to bloom and the trees are starting bud. The early springtime colors are just starting to make their appearance. The future generation for the Elk is showing approximately one generator for the weekdays. The Caney is showing an extended forecast for 3 generators and the Obey is showing a steady release of 5395 CFS for the next 5 days. When we get a break in the water release schedule we are booking trips.
The "Will Call Program" is a good way to get a Spring trip on the books and have shot at a good day when the water conditions and the weather are favorable. Overall this year has been good for us and the anglers we book. It doesn't matter if you are wanting to book a float trip, might be thinking about taking advantage of the Effective Nymph Angling Class or just read this report for your own angling info, make 2011 The Year of Getting Out There...


Monday, March 14, 2011

Effective Nymph Angling Instruction

There is not a more productive technique for catching trout than the nymph. Yet, without the proper techniques nymph angling can be frustrating. Tailwater Nymph Techniques combines riverside and on the river nymphing instruction to help the participants become a more effective tailwater nymph angler. Improve your catch rate and increase confidence by learning such topics as:
Fishing to the Trout Diet
Reading Any Tailwater
Leaders-Tippets & Knots
To Dropper or Not
Indicators & Fly Selection
Weight placement
Perfecting the Dead Drift
Enjoy an afternoon of nymph fishing theory and instruction with your personalized class.
The cost is $125.00 per angler and $200.00 for two anglers. The class maximum is two anglers per session. To reserve your afternoon class times on the Elk or Caney Fork email David or call at 615.692.3088 for more information.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Elk River Fishing Report

Find the Trout Food
With the recent rains blowing out most of the southern tailwaters, Brent and I were able to get out onto the Elk. TVA turned off the generators for the weekend and when we arrived at the launch we were surprised to find two things. Relatively clear water and no other anglers. We dumped the boat and I headed for the takeout to meet the shuttle.
The water clarity at the takeout is a good indicator of the tributaries and how clear they might be running. The difference in water clarity at the takeout can be significantly different from where we like to launch. The water at the takeout was running a bit more stained, but we have caught fish in much worse conditions. So why all the talk about the water clarity? As a general rule the more clear the Elk, the better the catch rate.

Brent Hooked Up Early

The Usual First Fish
We boarded the drifter and skipped the first sections of the river. We drowned some nymphs as we floated over a couple of the upper section shoals. The fish came to hand on the usual suspects of nymph patterns. We found confirmation there are fish in the Elk and put Brent on a new nymph pattern that I had worked on over the last weekend. The new fly hooked up early and Brent was into healthy fish rather quickly. When fishing a stream, river or lake- it doesn't hurt to turn over a rock or two and see what is on the menu.
Another thing, that can be easy to forgotten is- every section of river can require a change in depth while fishing indicators rigs. We changed depths a bit at a time until we found a definite pattern of where the fish were holding. For the most part the fish were not rising and for the most part they were not on the shoals. The shoals on the Elk really are not like East Tennessee shoals. Water on the Elk shoals mostly runs over smooth gravel bars and the gravel can have small bits of vegetation. The fish do not appear to like the exposure of the shoals especially on a clear sunny days. As the year wears on, the vegetation grows and fish can be found in the holes within the vegetation. However on this trip they weren't there. That narrows it down.

Reviving to Be Caught Again

One of Few Browns

Healthy Holdovers
The Elk can be difficult to fish at this time of the year. It seems a fair number of fish are taken for consumption, the water quality has not always been the best and the stocking locations are a long distance from each other. This year however the fish are in most all sections of the river and for the most part can be caught all along the float.

Brent Fishing the Anthony Hole

At the Halfway Point

The Action Just Before the Net
We made it to the take-out early, way before dark, and for those of you who know me know that is unusual. We even had time to drive back to the dam and fished one of my favorite spots before calling it a day and heading for a hamburger. The day was clear and I mean not a cloud in the sky. The water clarity was exceptional considering the conditions throughout the week and the fishing was above average. It was good to spend the day on the water with Brent and the fish too. If you are thinking about getting on the Elk, the fish are there. Don't miss an opportunity to get on the river and make 2011 The Year of Getting Out There...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Springtime Trout-n-Trash Floats

This year we are going to book trips on the Caney for Trout-n-Trashfish.
What is the trash? Well, they are not really trashfish they are stripe, smallmouth, largemouth, white bass, carp and the list goes on and on. These species make their way up the Caney in the Spring and mix in with the trout. If you want to get an idea of what the float might look like, take a look at the reports from April and May of 2010.

How will you know when the fish arrive & it is time to book the trip? Get on the "Will Call" list and we will let you know.

What is "Will Call"? It simply means when you decide you want to chase Trout-n-Trash just drop an email to or call 615.796.5143 get on the list. Once the fish are in the right location and within casting range, we will set the date for your Trout-n-Trash Float.

It is really that simple. Anglers are already getting on the list. If you want to make 2011 the Year of Getting Out There and join us to chase trout-n-trash just send us an email .