Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Looking Back at 2014 Part II

The previous report took us half way through the year and with the early months behind us, Summer was in full swing. Adam and Jen have been working the Angler Magazine for several years and I have fortunate to work with them writing reports and such for the past couple years. But, let's face it the reports are a just good way for Adam and me to get out on the water. The Summer is a good time to catch falling water and while it is hard to get away from the canoes and kayaks, when we did get away the fish did not disappoint. Adam popped the nice brown above and he got behind the oars to give me a shot at some nice fish of my own.
Anglers were coming out to fish the rivers of Middle TN and along with help from a few other guides most everyone who called was able to get out somewhere. The fish along with the wildlife along the rivers were making trips more enjoyable than most expected. One of the best trips of the year was with a group of longtime friends and our annual Liar's and Tier's Summer Float It was a day of bend fly rods and lots of laughs. The day ended at a local restaurant with some big ole cheeseburgers and a group of tired anglers. Another L&T float was in the books and plans were made for the next meeting.
It was late Summer and Bill booked a couple trips on the river. He was going to spend time with family and looking for the big fish. The the river did not disappoint. Low summertime flows and painfully slow drifts were the just trick for for fishing this season. Keeping anglers from moving the fly to a new spot too early can be a tough job. Good conversation is the best way to keep the bug in the zone for longer periods of time and Bill was able to carry-on good conversation until this beauty gave Bill his place in the 20+ Club
Hopper season moved along through the later part of Summer and we brought some nice fish in the net. Some anglers were taking opportunities to get out of offices while others were getting on the local waters to be ready for trips out West. Whatever the reason anglers were on the water all seemed to be have a good time. 
The year was going by at a blistering pace. At the end of 2013 I made the decision to get out as much as possible, see as much water as possible, and help as many catch fish as possible. Not necessarily in that order, but in some order depending on what was going on at the time. It is amazing how fast of a pace that can be kept when things are going well and plans are coming together. The year was going good, the fish below sort of wrapped up hopper season, and there were still good things on the horizon. A trip up North was just around the corner...

Anthony pulled in the driveway on time. I like for fishing plans to start out on time or slightly ahead of schedule and this trip got off on the right foot. Soon we were traveling North for the salmon run. Michigan was the next state and the Pere Marquette was the destination. There were big plans with high hopes attached. Our guide would be a fishy dude who brought along a cool dog named Sage. By the end of the first day Dan had put us on enough salmon to make my arm hurt. While other guide boats had clients with fresh arms and long faces, both Anthony and I were, well, kind of tired of catching salmon. When we pulled the boat out that evening we were making plans to get some fresh fish cooked by a local establishment. We headed to one of....or should I say the only local restaurant/bar for some grilled walleye. I swear the walleye I ate was still swimming while we were rowing out to the ramp earlier in the day. Anyway, Anthony and I discussed the days events and decided we wanted to make a switch. So we talked with Dan and on day two we switched over to streamers and steelhead rigs. The second day the brown trout responded to pulling streamers and floating nymphs. And, Dan continued his work of putting us on fish.  
On the ride home from the salmon trip we recounted the events of the past few days, while dodging orange barrels due to road construction. It was a good way to wind down the Summer and again I was feeling real fortunate to spend a couple days with a good friend, catching big fish.
The colder weather was approaching quickly and we stole away to Upper East Tennessee with Calvary Outfitters for a couple days with a great group of guys. Although the weather was quickly turning we layered-up with plenty of clothes and fished through the wind, light rain and cold weather. Nymphs were the fly of the weekend and worked for most of us. The group ended the trip sitting around the table at Ridgewood BBQ, a place none of us can turn away when in that part of the state. Another good trip and another reason I am very fortunate.

As colder weather set in we made several more trips to the rivers and nice fish were brought to the net. Then the rain came. It rained for several days and raised the lakes, then the water releases began. Because of the rains and water releases we decided to chase musky for a while and left the tailwaters. We made trips to musky waters, then we went back to the tailwaters. Time and time again we would wait out additional releases, while chasing musky to pass the time.
It seems as though the skies have been raining every since we entered the Christmas season. It was good to wind down over the month of December. The boat has been in the garage for the most part and I have had the opportunity to fish with some new and old friends. The tying desk has been closed for the most part but that's OK it will get plenty of use over the following months. 

Thanks to all the anglers who have stepped on the boat, you really made our year. Also, thanks to Cumberland Transit, Echo, Airflow, Yeti, Orvis and Columbia for the help.

That was a high-level look back at 2014 and now I am looking forward to 2015. Already we are making some good plans for 2015 and people are calling to get on the drifter. After this report posts I will get the drifter out of the garage and begin getting things ready to get back on the river, while kicking-off 2015 with a good trip the first week of the year. 

To see the latest fishing report click here and for more booking information see our Homepage.  If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Looking Back at 2014 Part I

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Anglers who have been checking back to look at the report throughout the month of December have seen we had taken a few weeks off from report. The drifter has been out of the garage a few times, but not as much as other months of the year. We are a few days away from 2015 and it is crazy how fast all 360-something days of 2014 went...Before we go charging off into the unknown of the new year there is one last thing to do for 2014 and that's take a few minutes to look back.
The year began on the tailwaters with good friends and some cold weather. The fishing in Middle Tennessee had been good. But, now Howard and I were headed to the river to catch some big browns and rainbows on private water in North Georgia. It was cold, real cold that day, just like the rest of January had been. The temperature was six degrees and we were loaded with extra clothes and pockets full of hand warmers. 

Andy was our guide and he put us on fish right away. We stayed on big fish all day, only stopping for a quick lunch of hot soup. Soon we were back in the river. We were all thankful on that day. First the wind was not blowing and finally the temperatures had slowly climbed into double digits. 
We rolled through the the cold months of Winter with fly tying and working a fishing show here and there. The fishing was good and the drifter was on the water quite a bit. Wintertime fishing was picking up and despite the cold weather we were on the water making new friends while also spending time with old friends.

The rivers fished well throughout the cold months and on one particular day Jim entered the 20+ Club. This wasn't the only fish caught but it was one of the best fish. This fish took a nymph on a lazy afternoon float. We were moving toward Spring and after chunkin' streamers all Winter it seemed like a good day to relax and nymph. This fish ate the nymph, Jim set the hook and immediately came out of the water with head shakes like a metaphor we haven't thought of yet. There was still more streamer fishing to be done throughout the next several weeks, but sometimes it is good to get a day like this during the cold Winter months.
The Elk and Caney Fork continued to fish well and when throwing streamers it seemed just about anything was working. We pulled streamers using slow strips, long strips and short strips. The fish would respond to those techniques as well as a streamer dead-drifted under an indicator on high water. Some days everything just seemed to go right.
Somewhere along the way there were two trips to the Smoky Mountains thrown in to keep things interesting. Trout trips were cranking up and the fish were still eating. We were still several weeks away from the rainy season and folks were getting out on the water. Anglers from as far away as Texas and Maryland were stepping on the drifter and we were making some good friends along the way. I am fortunate to have spent time with as many nice folks as I did over the past year. One of the highlights of the year was spending time with a group of guides and the ladies of Casting for Recovery. This was a special day on the water and I am looking forward to the next outing. 
The day after the CFR event, I was on a flight to Colorado. It was an all expense paid trip to the Rockies with some time to kick around the Park and wet a line along the way. Like I said before it was a good year and I am very fortunate. It was nice to fish lakes and streams among the Elk, moose and other animals. We "did" the Estes Park side of the Rocky Mountain National Park in what seemed like record time. The heavy snowfall and uncleared roads at Rainbow Curve stopped our sightseeing to the other side of the Park, but maybe next year I can get back over there and fish that little stream we found in 2013. But, as usual the time was short and I wasn't ready to leave, but couldn't wait to get home either, if that makes any sense. Some rivers of the third new state for 2014 was fished....

Soon I was back in the rowers bench and doing my best to put anglers in a position to catch some fish. Some days were better than others but all the days were good and produced fish. The kids this year were a lot of fun and get pretty darned excited when they catch fish. Everyone gets excited when the younger crowd catches big fish and it is all the better when they do it all on their own, with just a little instruction.

Summer was rolling in and there were plenty of float trips to go around, but sometimes it is good to unplug. Our family has been going to the Gulf Coast for longer than I care to remember. I have hired guides before and had some good days as well as some not so good days on the waters along the panhandle. This year I hired David and he took me for a morning Tarpon trip. He predicted every migration of the big fish as they traveled from the bay, back to their daytime home where they slept away the day. There were three migrations of fish that morning and just like David predicted the third wave of fish was my best chance. I hooked up with one of the big fish and when the hook was set the fish turned and quickly cut the line. The fight was really over before it started, but it was a rush. 

The day ended with us chasing sharks and then getting chased by a frightening storm, as we rushed across the bay for the safety of the harbor.  With my 4th state behind me and we spent the rest of the week on the beach and eating oysters along the coast. But as all good things go there is a time to point the car North and we were headed home. This time we were getting home a bit early to spend a day with anglers from the TN Project Healing Waters event on the Caney Fork. The quick drive back to Middle Tennessee was worth it and I spent the next day on the water with Bill and Jim, then Jim and Jim catching our share of fish. What happened next? Click Here.

To see the latest fishing report click here and for more booking information see our Homepage.  If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Streamer Report

The weather is turning in Middle TN but we have a few warmer days here and there. I hooked up the drifter the other day and met David at ramp to do a streamer float. We decided to fish on high water to do some "research". The water started out on two generators and mid-way through the float reduced to one. Two generators release a lot of water and even when the Army Corps dialed the release back to one generator the water was still higher than just one running 24/7. But heck if it was easy everyone would be doing it.
Reports have been sketchy from the river and with the info from the latest trips there were hopes this had possibilities of a good day. The water had a bit of that "tea stained" color. We started the float with some unproductive deep water nymphing. This was disappointing because I brought back some techniques from the Great White North. The techniques didn't work on the trout, but hey if the salmon ever make it this far South we will be ready. (insert smiley face)
So we went to light flies on heavy sinking lines. Nothing new here other than the amount of fish responding to the light colors.  I won't say it was super exciting the first part of the float but when a couple larger fish crush a streamer or take a shot, it can get busy in a hurry. We turned up the casting throttle and dialed in the retrieves and the fish responded.
The day wore on with our fair share of hits, a drive-by or two...or three, and some hard hook-ups. I would like to have two shots back and I'd be willing to bet a Galloup pattern David would say the same. If you didn't want a couple shots back everyone would be doing it.
To see the latest fishing report click here and for more booking information see our Homepage.  If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water.