Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fly Fishing for Southern Musky

A 2012 Musky...But 2013 is a New Year!
For a couple weeks the water levels on the tailwaters were not the best. Christmas was in the forefront in our house and it was a good one. Then I watched some football, celebrated the New Year and tried to do the things a "normal" person would do. It was tough and eventually I was in Cumberland Transit picking up tying materials and listening to fishing stories. Then it back to the tying desk to tie some chicken feathers on the shank of a hook.

Troll Hunter or Musky Hunter...
I met Anthony early in the morning then we met Josh, who drove over from Maryville. Both were on a quest to catch their first musky on the fly. For me, it felt good to be back on the water! We loaded the boat and talked with Greg who was floating solo for the day. Greg it was nice to finally meet in person. Then we pushed the drifter from the ramp and got that feeling that only comes  when the boat first starts to float. 
High Water Everywhere- This float was on higher water than any we floated last year. The plan was simple, bomb the banks and try to coax a hot fish out of soft water.  Coax the fish off the bank like a cat going after a string. Big flies on sinking line with erratic retrieves.Did it happen like that? Well sort of...

Optimism- There was optimism in the boat as we shoved off and the guys started casting big flies to toothy critters. We tried several different patterns, different strips while fishing to structure and soft water. It didn't take too long for our first fish to show up. I heard recently that musky will generally be in the same spots at the same times of the year. Last year we boated some fish and had follows from several fish all along the float. We floated into a section where last year David had a hot fish follow but not eat. This time Anthony was in the front of the boat and the fish came off the short rock wall. It was a lazy follow and the fish wasn't as hot as we like. The fish came out but didn't want to play. We hung around and kept trying, but it was over as fast as it started. We had a follow after that and then it got a little quiet. Things were about to heat up.

Josh 1 - Musky zero
Josh was tuned in to his casting and even though the water levels were keeping us from sight casting, everyone kept a positive attitude. Then Josh dropped a cast within inches of the bank and a fish was on the fly before Josh finished his first strip. The fish ate and received a strip-set for its troubles. The hook up was a good one. Josh's questions of how a musky fights were being answered. The fish put up a good fight taking and giving as he moved around the boat. The fish even jumped at the boat, answering another question. Josh did a great job playing the fish to the net and then he was holding his first southern musky on the fly. 



  1. your post is quite edifying thanks for sharing it with all of us

  2. Looks like a fun trip! All the cold and ice out here has me recalling all the great winter floats in TN. Glad you guys were able to get out and enjoy a day on the water!

  3. Thanks ODH I hope someone reads the report and is able to gain something from it.

    David, our first follow of the day was where one of your follows were in 2012. I told the guys "David had a hot fish follow right here" 5 minutes later Anthony is saying "Oh there's one"! It appears they may hang around the same places year after year.

  4. That's good to know!!! If I get to go back sometime I won't have to relearn the whole river at least...

  5. I can't way to catch my first one of those. Great post.

  6. Thanks Kevin, the first one really is a rush. Let us know when you get one!

  7. Would it be possible for you to give me the acces points you use. I own a drift boat and fish middle and east Tennessee. As of right now I know the Colons river holds those toothy critters but as far as I know requires a motor. Would love some info on where to float for Musky.

    1. Brent if you will email me at I will try to help.