Sunday, January 29, 2012

There's High Water Everywhere

Suspicious Activity? We Didn't See Any...
Looks Like 3 Generators and a Sluice or Big Water
Want the water pretty much to yourself? Want a challenge? Well fish when no one else fishes or just go for a boat ride. Last week I started thinking it would be cool just to get on the water and see what fishing on 10,000 + CFS is like. Talk about new water? The side channels, islands and main channels are all different on this flow. I wouldn't really suggest getting out on these flows, but it's fun to try just once....and maybe a few more times.
Brent and I took off for a morning and early afternoon float. My shuttle wasn't answering so I gave Brent a choice, drive his vehicle or run from Happy Hollow to Center Hill Dam after dropping the truck. Brent is a triathlon competitor and he showed up that morning with running shoes. His time for the shuttle was 24 minutes...  
The Heron Was Just Hanging Around
While Brent was running the shuttle, I rigged the rods and surveyed the water. The herons seem to be growing in numbers and are becoming more colorful every trip. While I was rigging rods I kept one eye on a heron that decided he wanted to get closer than usual. The streamer rod was rigged and the gulls were flying. Before anyone gets worked up over a shad kill, we didn't see any gulls diving and no shad floating. It's tough not to wonder if the gulls aren't preparing for something. 
The Shoals at Lancaster

A Balloon Indicator Almost Ready to Use
Balloon indicators are good for fishing high water and they hold up heavy nymphs with extra weight. Also, they are inexpensive and easily adjusted. The wind was strong for most of the day and they cast pretty good, so we may use more of these this year. We used these in the side channels and parts of the main channel were we float the heavy stuff when we wanted a break from the streamers.
Fish Tails
The Caney Fork River
Waiting for a Passing Meal
So on the Caney fish are being caught on this flow. It isn't easy, but it's a change of pace. There are literally only a few spots to wade and those are at the ramps. Wading anglers should keep on tying flies until the water drops to a more normal flow. For the boaters out there, the water is moving real fast and getting in the trees and across the islands is dangerous. Drifters have an upper hand navigating the trees but it can get serious in a hurry. The ramp at Happy is clear and there were a couple boats there drifting down and running up a few hundred yards. No one was trying anything too out of the norm, except for us and that was only after thinking things through first.
The River Gauge
A Midge Among Streamers
The Elk River- The Elk is pushing water throughout the week and we are getting a window here and there on the weekends. The hatchery brats are doing pretty well surviving on midges and scavenging for other meals below the surface. The windows of opportunity are small but TVA is giving us small windows for our fix, in spite of the lake levels and continuous weekly rains. So thank you TVA.
If you are going to fish the Elk, keep an eye on the water level and get out if you think it might be rising. You can always get back in if things check out OK. Also be on the side of the river your vehicle is on when the water turns on. This river is not a river that anyone can cross when the generator begins to push. 

Elk River Operating Guide (the blue line)
TVA works the releases based on this guide. This is today's snapshot. The red line is the line that matters to us right now. The red line clearly shows the weather events so far this year. The blue line is the operating guide and when the red line and the blue line meet, we get to fish. That may be an over simplification of the operating guide, but why muddy the waters with extra theory...
Musky Waters- The musky waters have been up,up and up. The visibility has been low and we don't even get out when the water is pushing like it has been this week. Hopefully we will have a musky report in the coming days. There it is the report from Middle Tennessee. With all this water anglers are preparing for the upcoming Spring. Trips are already getting booked for the Spring and if the water gets to a more manageable level the streamer trips are just around the corner. For anyone thinking about booking just give me a call, text or send an email. This is a good time to start planning.

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