Sunday, April 27, 2014

Butch and David on the River

After fishing with us in November Butch returned and this time he brought David along. David previously lived in Alaska and had fished some with the long rod. Both guys were easy to float with and wanted to bring some fish to the net while enjoying this day with outstanding weather.
We started the float with a barred owl flying across the river and landing in the trees just far enough away that we were not able to get a clear shot with the camera. I snapped the picture above while trying to row and as we moved through the first riffle of the day. Anyway that wouldn't be the last of the wildlife we would see before the end of this float.
Butch took the rear seat while David stood in the front casting brace. Butch knew the Southeastern Fly style of nymphing and relied on that previous knowledge, while David had the usual short learning curve. We worked on the normal casting and mending, and more mending. David began to catch-on to our style. We floated through a likely section twice and on the second time through David began to pick up fish. First one fish then another and another. Pretty soon Butch began talking trash from the rear seat. 
Butch was dialed in pretty tight as well and we were moving along picking up a fish here and there among the goo that was in the river. The pollen has been thick and the river could use a stiff round of solid generation to move some of that goo along. When we got into the thickest goo of the day we reeled in the flies and made a move. 
David laid a fine cast into some clear water and set the hook when the indicator took a dive. The fish was good and pulling like a brown. David handled the fish like a pro and soon the brown trout was in the net. David then turned up the trash talk a notch.
It's not a good idea to leave fish to find fish... We slid into a likely pool of rising fish. There were quite a few fish in one area and those fish were hungry. The guys were hooking up and getting hits on what seemed like every cast. We put Butch on a dry and skiddered (that's a fishing term) the fly along the surface, fish began to react. When it is only small fish hitting and we know the better fish are there it is tough to stay away from a bigger offering. We floated the section again and lunch was looming. The guys made the decision to forgo a cooked lunch, grab a quick bite and float the same section a couple more times with big nymphs before racing to the takeout.
After a quick lunch we were right back at it. The fish continued to respond to both guys flies. After a couple more passes we had to leave the area and we fished our way to the takeout with hoppers. We gave the hoppers time on the water but really couldn't fish them as hard as I wanted. There were drive-by's, sniffs and a couple takes, so with the action that was produced I am ready to float nymphs in the mornings for some numbers and get on hoppers shortly thereafter. 
With a deadline approaching we rowed out the last hour or so, stopping only for the oarsman to take a break or two. Then we loaded the boat and raced the guys back to their cars. The last time I saw David he was speeding out of sight and Butch had struck up a conversation with another angler. The guys brought their fair share of fish to hand but the big-one (or Big-un) hid just out of reach throughout the float. Butch still didn't get his cedar-plank grilled salmon, but on the next trip if the daylight is long enough and the fish aren't hitting right at lunch we will get that cooked lunch done.
The weather and generation have been cooperating for most trips and if one river is generating we usually head to another to make it a good day on the water. So, if you want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Colin and Paul Spend Time on the River

Two friends on the river is a common theme on the drifter. A couple anglers who sometimes don't see each other for months and when they get together to visit, they fish. Colin and Paul are old friends and got together for several days on the river. According the guys Paul is the newer angler, therefore, supposedly, he doesn't catch quite as many fish.
As the photo above shows Paul does know about catching fish. Paul would show the catching side of his angling skills many, many, many times over. So we started the day with a couple fish at our first stop. With both guys on the board and the skunk off the boat we rowed on to stop number two. That's just about where Paul began catching fish after fish.

 ...and then Paul caught more fish. Colin was also boating fish and was using his long cast and understanding of a clean drift to put fish in the net with regularity. Both guys were having fun and we spent the morning talking, fishing and taking photos here and there. Paul kept bringing fish to the net and it was to the point where we decided to take a few more photos of Paul's considerable catching skills. 
The float was getting better and better. We stopped at the high-value areas and dropped some nymphs at likely depths. The fish responded at most every stop and Paul's nymph continually brought more fish to the net. Little did we know that late in the float Colin would score big numbers in the last 20 minutes. 

Then Colin put the first brown in the net. The fish was still growing as evidenced by the size of the tail in relation to the size of the body. We fished 20 yards of river and boated several browns at  decent sizes. Paul answered Colin fish for fish, but Colin was getting a bit better quality, then it was time for lunch.

Our first real glimpse of what Colin would bring late in the trip came from some fast water. We were fishing nymphs against the bank and running them around small points. There was some faster water coming up. Colin and I were both eyeing the water and agreed we were at a good place. Colin made a long cast with a soft landing. He mending and the fly settled in for a good drift. Then the indicator disappeared and Colin brought the rainbow to the net. We took the appropriate photos and released the rainbow. Then Paul boated another fish...

Colin was interested in learning some basic streamer techniques so we loaded the Orvis 6 wt Helios 2 up and he took his turn in the front casting brace, then he began to get some flashes. He got the timing of the strips right and we dialed in the length of the strips. A short time later Colin boated a nice rainbow and then a brown came to the fly and took the fly, then Colin, the fish took Colin for a ride through a blow-down. Colin played the fish out of the wood and into the net.  Paul caught some more fish...
For those who have been following this report for a while, this tree has been shown once or twice. But the tree has character...or it looks like a character? 
The trip was winding down and the streamer rod was stowed, but Colin was still waiting to make his comeback. We dropped the anchor just outside some faster moving water and Colin picked up the nymph rod. The first cast produced a fish, then another cast another fish and just when we thought the bite was off Colin came through again. At one point he was 5 for 5, 5 drifts yielded 5 fish. The indicator made through the riffle without a fish the next time. We called last fish and naturally Paul put a fish in the net. Colin tossed a last cast and brought another fish to the net. All things were right in the world and the guys hooked the flies on the hook keepers as we moved the drifter toward the ramp.
Colin and Paul were a treat to fish with on the river. They were good natured, knowing how to dish it out on each other and allowed me to join in when the situation allowed. When Paul comes back to Tennessee I look forward to fishing with these guys again...
The weather and generation have been cooperating for most trips and if one river is generating we usually head to another to make it a good day on the water. So, if you want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Peyton Fly Fishing in Tennessee

Peyton came in from Denver with talk of snow and cold weather. This would be his first time on the water this year and the first time fly fishing in Tennessee. The weather here has been hit or miss for sunny and mild. Winter continues to compete with Spring and the timing of a float has been critical as of late. The trees, flowers and everything that creates pollen has been in bloom around here.
Peyton was in big fish mode and we stayed in the upper part of the river "making laps" through what had been fantastic water on prior trips. We came out of the gate hitting the fish hard and drowning some big offerings under an indicator. Things were going according to the plan, except the fish were tight-lipped. So we rigged up a couple more rods and I asked "what do you want to do?"...
Peytons reply? "Let's swing for the fences." The streamer rod was soon in Peyton's hand and we were working the banks while I kept an eye toward the gravel bars for activity. Right off the bat we had a flash, then a follow, and then Peyton landed the largest brookie he had ever brought to hand. We were 1/3 of the way to the slam.
The rainbow was next as it ate the usual streamer pattern. The rainbows are usually a good filler for a day on the river and as of late they have been looking colorful as well as healthy, which brings them to centerstage. They have been responding to streamers and nymphs and this trip was no different. It is easy to stay with the regular stuff but there are times when a change isn't a bad idea... So we knotted a new pattern on the rig and began a big brown hunt.
It wasn't long before we slipped into a good spot on the river. Peyton wound up the 6 weight and lobbed the new fly in productive water.  After a quick flash on the first cast Peyton set the hook on a "head-shaker" on the second toss. The brown began bulldogging and running, while shaking its head. We were generally feeling good about the whole scene when Peyton got the head up and slipped the brown into the net.
We spent the rest of the float tossing streamers and drowning big offerings under the big round ball. Peyton picked up fish on both styles of fishing. He adapted when needed and fished intensely all day. We finished the trip and loaded the drifter up for the ride home. Peyton was a true pleasure to fish with and followed what little instruction that was offered. This was just another good day on the river.
We are halfway through April and have a couple dates still open as well as some openings in May.  The weather and generation have been cooperating for most trips and if one river is generating we usually head to another to make it a good day on the water. So, if you want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vince and Cary Getting It Done

Vince called one evening and asked about an open date in just two days. A trip had cancelled for the same day, just an hour earlier, so we filled it with Vince and Cary. Vince lives in Nashville and with Cary coming in from Chicago it was only natural these two anglers spend a day on a drift boat. 
We launched the drifter and the guys went to work bringing fish to the net while I ran the shuttle. After that we pushed away from the gravel bar and pulled out the streamer rods... With flies sailing overhead we hit some high-value areas and after more time than I wanted to spend the tally was, exactly, zero throwing the groceries. The next best thing in this situation is to pull out nymphing rods and do some deep water nymphing
Vince was the first to strike pay dirt with a nice rainbow, then he bagged a brown and it was on. Cary wasn't about to be outdone, got his drift settled in and he was bringing fish to the net as well. Before we knew it the day was getting away from us and we weren't very far into the float, so we did something I do not ever like to do... We had leave fish to find fish.

Every gravel bar and drop-off seemed to hold a fish or two. The more the guys picked their spots and dialed in the drift the better the fish responded. We were fishing the deep spots as well but it seemed most of the fish were responding to a deeply fished fly that was just ticking the bottom. With the flies ticking we had our fair share of false sets, but it was worth it when a fish was picking up a fly for an inspection.

The fish continued to eat as we made our way down the river. The water was still high and the guys stuck with deeply fished flies with lots of weight. These rigs, similar to the chuck-n-duck method, are tough to toss and timing is everything. At lunch I picked up one of the rods and quickly left a nice knot at the indicator. After rigging the rod again and finishing up lunch we were off again.
Vince was the first to boat a fish after lunch too and again Cary wasn't far behind with another nice rainbow. The good drifts continued to pay off. We continued moving picking the better spots and even stopped to wade for a bit in some likely water. The day began to wind down and we slid into the ramp after a good day on the river. Cary and Vince were both very comfortable with the streamer rods and deep water nymph rigs and guys it was fun to get out on the river with you both. Hope to see you next time you get together in Nashville.
We are booking well into April and have openings in May. The weather and generation have been cooperating for most trips and if one river is generating we usually head to another to make it a good day on the water. So, if you want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tennessee Trout Fishing

I was up in Nashville at Cumberland Transit last week and spent some time talking with Leo. We talked bamboo and he had two outstanding bamboo rods and it was the first time I ever really wanted to add one to my growing rod collection.  So with that tucked away in the back of my mind I picked up my supplies for some upcoming trips and went downstairs. There it was on the table, a brand new CT hat. 
The Caney Fork: This river is fishing good right now, at least for us. Some anglers are reporting slow fishing but we have been having good days. The generation has been up then down. The water release schedule from Center Hill Dam has been close, but not always entirely accurate. Sometimes one generator really means two generators for a few hours then back to one generator. If you are floating and see what you think is an increased flow it could be an additional generator kicking on.
When the generators turn off the fish have just been going nuts. They start busting the surface, sipping, jumping and look to be having a good time. They are eating extremely small gray midges, but aren't too interested in even the smallest dry these eyes can tie on the tippet. Not eating a dry fly is a bummer but they will eat a nymph with regularity. The fish aren't pushovers by any means and there will be some dry spells between ramps. Try a small streamer for some additional results. Wearing your lucky hat probably doesn't hurt on this river. 
The Elk: Don't leave your lucky hat at the house if you are going to fish this river either. There are a good number of stockers in the river right now. Are there holdovers? Yes, they are hanging around too. Fish deep and right at the bottom. The bigger fish are eating but the recent hatchery brats are quicker to eat, maybe a little dumb and it can be frustrating when your offering is headed to a bigger fish only to have a recent stocker intercept your fly.
Speaking of eating, the full day trips on the Elk include lunch on at a cool little gravel bar. The gravel bar overlooks a great run with a chance at some nice fish. Lunch is usually something cooked over charcoal or for the hardcore anglers who want the most fishing time we fix subs because it is faster and gives additional time on the water. Either way eating lunch mid-day'ish, keeps angler's in the game late in the float.
This a trout report, but I am hearing from a few different and independent sources the white bass are staging in local rivers. We may have some dates that can devoted to chasing these fish. These trips are a lot of fun because you never know what's going to be on the end of the tippet until the fish hits the net.

We are booking well into April and have several openings in May. The weather and generation have been cooperating for most trips. So, if you want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143.