Monday, April 29, 2013


The Elk River: TVA is currently releasing 4100 + CFS and tomorrow the release will be 5100 CFS. They are releasing down the spillway, which is quite a sight. The generation release is 0 but don't be fooled 5100 CFS down the spillway is as high as I can remember. On a positive note the banks will get a good cleaning.
The Caney Fork: The Army Corps is predicting 2 or more generators and currently releasing 6500 CFS. Tomorrow and the next several days it appears they are going to more the release to the "or more" and get the release up around 10,000 CFS. We will see what happens.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

High Water (Big Bend.... Parliament)

High Water Browns
We caught the fish above while deep water nymphing. The higher water opens up a lot of places that normally are too shallow to effectively fish. I must have gotten lucky and dropped the nymph right in front of the fish. The nymph had been hanging up on the bottom so it made sense to wait before setting the hook. Once the fish felt the pressure, the fight was on. After several trips up-river, downriver and around the boat a time or two the fish finally came to the net. There are several things about this fish. The fish was fat, the photos just don't do the fish justice. It appeared to be healthy in the tail section and around the midsection. But, the inside of the fish's mouth was white and just beginning to turn flaky. It appears the fish is still eating well, however the days may be limited do to the condition of the mouth and teeth. Hopefully others will catch and release this fish before it goes and hopefully it will die of natural causes instead of finishing it's time in a cooler. It sure was a pleasure getting an opportunity to catch a holdover of this size.
Barry Putting a Bend in a Rod

A Wet Spring- It has been a wet couple months here in Middle Tennessee. The rain has been coming down it seems like every other day. The temperature has been mild as well. Right now as I type this report we have cancelled today's trip. This week tailwaters have been pushing but creeks and rivers have provided some short windows of opportunity This opportunity has helped some anglers get their fix.

Pulled Over for a Break
Even as TVA and the Army Corps release water to keep the lakes in check and make power, the fish continue to eat. Anglers are not getting as many shots and hook ups as they do on the lowest of water, but thinking out of the box helps. There is just plenty of water to go around right now. The release of the Middle Tennessee dams may depend on the downstream releases. Guess we will just have to wait and see how the releases fall into place.
A Gutsy Rainbow

High water nymphing has proven effective but it is not for the weak at heart. The boat has to be in just the right place and anglers are having to work to keep the evil's of drag from showing up at just the wrong time. It is not an easy way to fish and takes concentration. Streamers can be effective on these flows as well. Working the gravel bars and shoals is a good way to stir the larger browns that are chasing shad and those yummy fresh hatchery brats. 

Dan Hooked Up. Life is Good
Fishing on the area rivers and creeks is beginning to pick up. The white bass are making their annual run to spawn and such. They are taking a white, chartreuse or yellow anything when angler's find them schooling. Lot's of chases, nips and eats is what make these fish exciting. From time to time a larger fish will come to the net and that really picks up the heart rate.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Clinch River, Caney Fork and Elk River Fly Fishing

Healthy Colors on the Rainbow
The Elk River- The water level on Tims Ford Lake is above the flood guide. So, we have seen some morning and evening releases on the Elk for the past several weeks. This flow makes for a good float but the gravel bars are still eating the bottom of most boats throughout the float. This flow also provides opportunities to fish water that was previously off limits to most heavy nymphs. 
Stopping at a Gravel Bar Near You
There have been a couple of stockings so far this year. We have been searching for the holdovers, but grateful for the Hatchery Brats when they suck down a fly. Wading anglers will need to review the release schedule before heading to the river and most days can sleep in a couple hours before getting ready to go to the river. The flows are going to be a little faster, be careful wading where you would normally not think twice about going. We tried streamers on falling water without much luck. Nymphs still produced fish over our streamers. 
Why Do They Run to the Boat?

Four Great Things That Go Great Together
The Caney Fork River- The release prediction over the next several days says more of the same. The mid-week rains are driving the lake levels up and driving the higher generation. We have been out on the high water and the fish are eating, but the catching is tough. Slow rowing the boat while angler's fish sinking lines and heavier than normal flies is about the only way to get the offerings in the strike zone. When a big fish comes to the fly and comes into view, the heart rates go up. A strike gets an even bigger reaction and a fish to the net gets...well you get the picture.  
Don't let the water and weather get you down. Summer is on the way. Relief is in sight and all that jazz. This weather pattern will be over and we will be wading and floating, while saying hello to old friends we mostly see on the river.
It's Not All About the Fishing. 
The Clinch River- Norris Dam is running one generator around the clock as this report is written. As the repairs to the weir continue it is important to keep an eye toward the generation schedule. The fish are fat and happy with a touch of a prizefighter attitude.  Wading opportunities are plentiful, but the best way to fish the Clinch under generation is from some type of boat and the best boat is a drifter. If you have been waiting to float the Clinch or book a future trip, now is a good time to get a date on that tailwater. Nymphs fished on one generator is a good way to pick up fish and streamers offer a shot at a nice brown or rainbow. For angler's wanting to book a trip on the Clinch give us a call or send an email. We can get you in touch with a guide who takes very good care of anglers and who is a fun host for your day on the river.
"High Water Everywhere"- Joe Bonamassa

Monday, April 15, 2013

Casting With Either Hand

As I was shutting the door Brent was standing by the boat casting. I commented to Rhonda that Brent had a nice cast and I also noted he's a lefty. With that we set up the shuttle for the next trip and it was time to get on the river. Brent and I skipped fishing the first part of the float while we discussed fishing from the drift boat. We were on the same page until Brent stood up and made his first cast with his right hand. Somewhat confused I waited a few more casts and said "I thought I saw you casting with your left hand earlier?" Brent said I probably did see that, but he could cast with either hand. I commented on how people like that really pi are few and far between and he said it opens up a lot of opportunity. See most people would just be jealous... 
We Picked Up a Bunch of These
Our plan for the day was to fish nymphs deep and then fish streamers where it seemed appropriate. There is a mud bank,early in the float, that has a slight current. There are almost always fish holding there waiting for a slow moving meal. This little nugget is a good place to judge an angler's drift and of course an opportunity to exam mending skills. Brent has both a good mend and clean drift. We sent a nymph down the lane and Brent popped a couple fish that were waiting at the drive-thru. 
The morning was fairly consistent. The difference between this day and a "normal" day was the fish were apparently holding in schools on this day. Or possibly they were just a little tighter to current than usual. Where we would pick up one fish we would boat two and sometimes three on this trip. That ran the numbers higher but there were some slower periods to deal with too.
Brent could cast well and was open to recommendations. We made our into some of the better streamer water and pulled out the streamer rod. We tried several different patterns as well as retrieves and finally landed on a Louisiana Toad Fly. That's right a saltwater fly that works on Louisiana red fish can also be effective on Tennessee brown trout. Color is always important and we tried a couple variations of color as well. We boated this brown just as I was reaching into the streamer box to get the next color on the chart. The next color didn't come out until well after lunch.

We stopped for lunch and slowed the day down just a little more. It was a nice to be outside. Although there was just a little more wind than we wanted. The temps more than made up for the wind and we took advantage of an early Tennessee spring like day. We wound down the day with good numbers and a couple nice fish to top things off. When the day was done Brent's left and right hand casting did open up a lot of opportunity.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mark Throwing Streamers on the River

Crappie on the Fly
The phone rang and Mark was calling. He was coming in from St. Louis and wanted to get on the water. I started explaining the recent rains and how they have had an affect on generation and if he wanted to nymph fish we would have to reschedule. To my surprise, and I was darned glad of it, Mark wanted to throw streamers. Mark was working on streamers, single-hauling and double-hauling and of course he wanted to catch a fish.
High Water Everywhere
We left the dam and immediately we worked on the single-haul. After Mark found his timing we worked on his double-haul. It wasn't too long before the rod was bent and Mark was bringing the first fish to the boat. Water was rolling as the generation continued throughout the day. We kept at it, throwing streamers and looking for soft water. We would get an occasional drive-by, flash and a hit here and there. On this day it appeared the secret wouldn't be connected to the banks.  
Large Pockets of Soft Water
The beginning of the day found fish rising on the gravel bars in the middle of the river. We went to the middle of the river and a large brown took a swipe at a Zoo Cougar. The fish didn't commit but it did bring our excitement level up. We stayed on the lighter side of the color chart and went more for depth. Mark worked deer hair headed flies and got the speed just right. He was walking the dog almost right away as he learned to swim the fly. We went back to the banks working the soft water and the fish began to respond with more of everything but takes. 
The fish were still rising in the middle of the river on gravel bars. A fish rose off to our right. I told Mark we needed to go catch that one because the fish looked very similar to the "big one" we had been chasing all day. I back the drifter over in the area, Mark hauled the big streamer and dropped into the zone. The fish responded immediately and the fight was on. Mark played the fish perfectly as we chased it around the river. Finally we gained control and fish came to the net. We ended the day on that fish and another entry in the 20+ Club. Mark was accurate before he stepped in the drifter and he came a long way in his hauling skills. Mark put in the work and grabbed the reward.