Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Caney Fork River Fishing Report

Well it has been busy the last few weeks. We have been on the Caney Fork and the Elk River so let's just talk about both in this report. The weather here in Middle Tennessee has been nice and the foliage is coming to life again. The seasons are changing and the fish are eating. What does that mean for us? Bent fly rods, screaming drags and happy anglers. We are booking well into April right now so people are starting to stir.
The Caney Fork River: The other day I was looking out across Center Hill Lake and level was low with a green tint to the water. My assumption is the rain has the lake off-color. The Caney Fork is about the same color as lake. The clarity is not so good but the fish are eating. 
The fish are eating but it isn't like catching 'em in a barrel.  The anglers who are fishing nymphs have to put that bug right in the feeding lanes, then hope the fish makes the right decision. Water depth is also something to consider. Drag the bottom and take a chance of spooking the fish when the hook is set on a stone, don't get the fly down deep enough and the fish may never see the bug and you never had a chance. Long story short, and repeating for the added affect...put the bug on their nose and hope they make the right decision.

The fish have been eating shad most of the Winter. On the high water the shad were coming through the dam at a good rate. A 20 degree dip in temperature would send another batch through the generators to the waiting fish and birds. That's a long way around the barn to say "fish white - white streamers". The fish continue to look for the most common color in nature.
The Elk River: After the reading the review of the Caney, a description of Tims Ford Lake and the report on color of Elk River could say about the same thing. The water clarity in the Elk is not great, but the fish seem to go a little father for a meal there right now. 
Dry- dropper is a good way to fish the Elk right now.  Just make sure that bottom bug is in the face of the fish. Someone asked the other day "are the fish still eating a #18 Zebra Midge?" I am not sure they ever turn off of that bug. Don't be afraid of digging around in the fly box and picking something different and larger. 

On the Elk it is best to pick a streamer more like the color of the water. The more off-color the water the more important to move to the darker side of the color wheel. Find a pattern and stick to it. Fish it. Change the color not the pattern, as long as you believe in the pattern.
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Marc & Lawson Fish Through Spring Break

Fly fishing is about more than just waving a stick in the air and then catching a fish. Yes there is more to it than just that. Some of the additional things this pastime brings us are; lifelong friendships, relaxation, time to think, time to enjoy the outdoors and those are just a few.  So when Marc contacted me about floating and teaching his son Lawson how to catch fish on the fly rod, I knew this was going to be a good day on the water. It was going to be a good day on the water because Marc wanted his son to begin to understand a pastime that brings anglers so much enjoyment.
It wasn't hard to tell that Lawson was comfortable in a boat. After a short discussion I learned he has been bass fishing on the lake, with Marc, for some time. The good thing for Lawson was he already understood fishing. So we worked on casting and presentation for a while. Lawson began to get the cast, then the presentation of the nymph came. Soon the fish began to eat his fly. Then we worked on the hook set. After a miss here and there Lawson finally had his first fish on the fly. It was a nice fat rainbow. We were quick to take the appropriate shots of that "first" and then it was released to be hooked again.

A couple years ago Marc spent a nice Fall day on the drifter. On that day the drift had to be almost perfect each time the fly hit the water. We worked on presentation and Marc was rewarded with some nice fish. He kept those skills and was ready from his first cast. 

He brought a couple fish to the net early in this float and then settled in with a focus on the drift, which was super-slow on low water.  With the presentation where it should be, we focused on structure. Marc laid out a nice cast and began the slow drift past some rocks. Marc set the hook and this fish went to the bottom. 

Marc was well into the fight when I caught a quick glimpse of the big brown. He still wasn't convinced the fish was as big as I was thinking, but it wasn't long before he saw the size...and began to get the shakes. The fish did the usual tricks and Marc was prepared for each. To keep pressure on the hook, he kept good bend in the rod. When the fish made a run to the rocks, he kept a steady pull and turned the head back toward the boat. It was a long fight and with each passing minute we discussed things like side pressure, knot strength, and hooks wearing holes in the upper lip. Hooks wearing holes in the upper lip are a major reason angler's lose fish in the last 10% of the the fight.  But Marc kept his head in the game and soon had the head coming up. We scooped it into the net and it was his fish. 

This fish was a healthy one. We took two quick shots and then it was over. The only things left were chances to recall the story and an angler with still shaky hands. That cast, presentation, the nymph, those knots and skills in the fight earned Marc a spot in the 20+ Club. Nice work Marc! Looking forward to seeing you and Lawson again in the Summer.
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chris the Newest Member of the 20 + Club

Last year Chris came up to fish from the drifter and we had what most anglers would consider a pretty tough day. We finished the day in the dark with one last fish just before the ramp. We still had a good time while Chris was in the front casting brace. This day would end in a very similar way. One way to warm up is on schooling fish. We found a school of Skip Jack and Chris was bringing them in on a real regular basis. The trout weren't far from the skippies (yes, I am a big fan of the Skip Jack as well as the trout) and then we were trading one for another depending on the cast.
When we were prepping for drifter, for the float, the bugs were out in force. On this day during low water the fish were into subsurface bugs.  Hatches were starting to wake the fish up, although they weren't off the top they were hungry. A bent fly rod normally keeps an angler happy and with the early float action Chris was one happy angler.
So we ran through the arsenal of flies and at times the fish would just down. There were other times that we made the right decision on the bug, Chris would make a nice cast, put the right presentation with that cast and things would come together. 

Chris made a cast at the end of the day and as the bug came across the gravel bar he had a hit...actually it was a major hit. I knew it was something different because Chris stopped talking mid-sentence. He was fighting the fish and it began execute a series of jumps. Chris was cool but focused. I tried some of my best jokes just to see how he would respond, but the focus was there and he wasn't having any of the stand up routine while such a nice fish was on the line. 

After several minutes Chris got the head of the fish up and it came quietly to the waiting net. That fish put Chris in the 20+ Club and also the first angler in the 20+ Club for 2016. We had our ups and downs through out the day and this was the "up" we needed. After the quick photos the fish was placed in the net and revived, then let out to be caught on another day. A couple kicks of the tail and it disappeared into the off-colored water.
So the rainbows and browns responded to Chris and his presentations. The different species of fish, including a few bluegill, kept us busy at times while they were elusive at others. The weather was good, the flows were high and low, but overall good. It was nice to be out and it was nice to see Chris have a good time while standing in that front casting brace.
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Greg and Brian - Determined Anglers and Correct Answers

Greg and I were talking via text and the last one I saw was at midnight. That text said "my partner backed out, I'm still going".  Greg is one of my favorite types of anglers. He was still determined to fish even when everything isn't going as planned. So we met and began transferring rods, jackets, and all the other accouterments that would be needed throughout the day of fishing. And, that's just about the time a car rolled into the parking lot... 
The car slowed to a stop when Greg recognized the driver. The driver got out of the car with the look of someone who was glad to be at the river...he was just like the rest of us. Greg said hello to Brian, who seemed to be a pleasant guy, and then after some small talk Greg asked the question any angler wants to hear. "Hey, want to float with us?" (How cool is that!) Brian was quick to respond. That response? He would need to notify some folks that he would be late getting home. Yep, that's the exact answer for anyone who is ever asked.
The float started on stained water. The bite is normally slower on stained water but, on this morning, the fish forgot their normal practice. The guys were dialed in pretty good and were bringing fish fish to the net, where the nymph was removed, and then the fish was sent back to grow and hopefully be caught again and again.
The mornings have been the best opportunities for numbers and have yielded the best results. It has been critical for anglers to be "ready" early in the floats. Good casts and almost perfect presentations have been a must. Greg has been on the boat enough to know the routine. He also had fished enough to understand where the fish will be holding. Greg was bringing a good number of fish to the net early. Greg is a lot of fun to fish with and everyone likes it when a nice guy catches fish. 
The fish have been holding close to structure. Brian was getting acclimated to fishing from a casting brace. Then we spotted a nice run close to a log. Brian dropped the fly in the upper range of the log and when the fly floated about half way down the length he got a hit. Brian set the hook just as we started to float into the faster part of the shoal. The boat picked up a little speed but he kept the fish coming toward the boat. It wasn't long before he got the head up and the fish came quietly to get the nymph removed.

So we floated our way through the rest of the way the afternoon. The guys tried streamers for a while but the afternoon was just not as exciting as the morning. So just before the sun went down we slipped into the gravel bar on low water with a couple relaxed anglers.  Greg, looking forward to see you and Brooke in a couple months...
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Family Fly Fishing Outings

The water levels are getting back to a more normal level and it's a good time to get on the water. Steve and Karen came in from Texas for a visit and of course to wet a line. Wetting a line is always good and to make it even better they invited their son Ben and Gray to fill the second boat. So after we got the right flow first one then the other boat slipped out into the current.
Right away the fish began to respond. With nymphs dredging deep it wasn't long before each angler brought fish to the net. Each angler was getting better with their presentation and as everyone who fly fishes knows, presentation is everything in this game. 
Fly depth adjustments. Those adjustments are critical as the water level changes and they are one piece of the puzzle. Knowing the area of the river bottom, that is being fished is, another piece of the puzzle. Can't put those together and it can get, well, quite puzzling. 

It is critical to get the fly in the face of the fish. With the current pushing the fly closer and closer that fish has to make a decision...yes I know the fish has a brain the size of a Del Monte pea, but think about it for a moment. Fly depth adjustments, they are critical.
Karen, Steve, Ben and Gray made a lot adjustments as the water level changed throughout the day. Those adjustments and improved presentations helped to pick up fish along the way. Lunch was about catching up with everyone's life and then the boats were backed into the current. Anglers and guides slipped back in the flow of the river. The morning was pretty busy while the afternoon we were all working hard for the fish that were brought to the net.  

Finally the sun forced us to the takeout and then the rods and boats were loaded. The river was a long way from Texas, but it provides a great way to catch up on life. 
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.