Monday, June 17, 2019

Middle TN Fly Fishing

Nymphs on falling tailwaters- People often ask this question: Is fishing better on low water, rising water, full generation, or falling water? The answer to the water level question is more complicated than it sounds and the variables are too numerous to recite in quick conversation. Everyone has their preference and like everyone else I have mine. Falling water – Check.

We try to plan trips weeks in advance and it can be a crapshoot when it comes to generation schedules on the three different tailwaters. We take we are given and make the most of the hand we are dealt. 

Josh has fished from the casting braces of the Southeastern Fly on many occasions and when his text arrived with some dates, we set the trip for a couple weeks out. I had a tailwater in mind and was looking forward to floating it, only to find out a couple days in advance that the release was not great for fly fishing. We had a plan B which wasn’t a bad alternative. So, we agreed to meet and then off we went to enjoy a near perfect weather pattern and perhaps to also catch a few fish.

We pushed the drifter off the trailer on high water and soon Josh was fishing streamers, then when the water shut off, then we went to nymphs. Super-secret patterns were used and fish responded. After a few warmup rainbows and browns, we moved to the feeding lane in the middle of the river. Feeding lanes are important in this world we call trout fishing on the fly. Finding feeding lanes that carry oxygen and food are essential and if you add a little cover into the mix, well it’s almost a gimme. Almost.

Josh dropped the fly in the feeding lane and right at the edge of a pothole. That fly floated a few yards and the fish ate. It’s best if you are watching your fly or looking in the general direction and if you aren’t it helps to have someone behind the oars who is somewhat paying attention. I’ve been on both ends of watching the indicator and this time when the fish ate I just happened to be watching. First a grunt and then a quick calling of the angler’s name and Josh set the hook. It was a good fight and a clean fight and the fish put Josh’s H3 through its paces. We netted the fish and snapped a quick photo. We released the rainbow to grow and hopefully be caught us. 

We tried an entire stretch of the river using dries but didn’t get a look. Consistent topwater season is around the corner. Just around the corner. We were back on nymphs and Josh was fishing well. We waited for a plastic hatch to develop and pass, then we moved into some particularly fishy water. 

Dropping the fly in the right place at the right time to achieve just the right presentation is another critical piece to successful nymph fishing. Too early and the fish has time to inspect it from top to bottom. Too late and the fly doesn’t get in front of the fish. Dropping it at just the right time will essentially trick the fish into making the right decision. How many times has a super-long drift worked better than a somewhat shorter drift? Think about it.

Anyway Josh dropped the fly in that definitive feeding lane. The fly sank and the indicator rolled over. It floated a short distance before the rainbow ate. When it did Josh paused and then came tight to the fish. The rainbow jumped and made a run, then jumped several more times and made a couple attempts to throw the fly. Josh did a nice job keeping the rainbow where it needed to be, away from the blowdown, and then guided it toward the waiting net. We snapped a couple photos and revived the fish. When the fish was ready it left the comfort of the net and swam back to the blowdown from which it came.

Just like that, Josh made another appearance in the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club. A place where he is no stranger. The rest of the day brought us more fish. The numbers weren’t huge but in the double digits. A double-digit day with a bit of quality thrown in wasn’t bad for Plan B.
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.

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