Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Products Review

I figured I would give a brief review of three Christmas gifts I received this year.


My mother and father-in-law got me this flask for Christmas to help with those cold mornings out on the river. I put it to the test yesterday while on the South Holston. I filled the flask with steaming hot chocolate at 7:00 AM, and at 2:30 PM it was still hot enough to burn my tongue. The insulated carry case also is very aesthetically pleasing, and also functional. The flask itself has a very handy pour spout and the cap, as expected, doubles as a very handy cup. The zipper is large, and doesn't snag. Overall a very nice product. This is my first Fishpond product purchase, and I am so pleased with it that I am looking to replace my fishing vest with a Fishpond product.


Another gift from my in-laws, this is a very comfortable pair of wading boots. I especially like the interchangeable soles. It comes with a pair of felt and hiking soles. However, Korkers offers the following choices: Aquastealth, studded Aquastealth, studded felt, and a boat sole. My cheap pair of Orvis wading boots were a studded felt, and I missed not having that option yesterday on the "rock snot" covered bottom of the South Holston. So the first upgrade I will make to these boots is to purchase a pair of studded aquastealth soles. These boots are very comfortable, reasonably priced, and are quick drying so you don't leave a puddle in your trunk if you fish out of a car.


This was a gift from my wonderful wife after my luck on the Clinch a couple times this year. I was desperately needing a larger net with a longer handle to help with some of the nice Clinch browns I have caught this year. This is one of the Ghost Series of nets from Brodin, meaning the bag is made of a clear PVC material. This causes the bag to disappear when submerged. The handle and frame are made of teak and come in at an overall length of 28". This makes for an extra long reach when fishing in that swift water and you just can't get the fish any closer. Also because the net is made of PVC, you don't have to worry about flies snagging in the bag nor the protective slime being scraped clean of the trout. An outstanding product, and I highly recommend it to anybody looking for a new net.


I don't know how the little guy got the funds, but he bought me a very nice hat. I think Daniel at LRO hooked him up, I just can't figure out how he placed the order... This is a very attractive cap and is my new lucky fishing cap. My old UT cap was in desperate need of replacing, so it has now been retired.

Stay tuned for more fishing reports, and as always....

Tight Lines and God Bless

Monday, December 29, 2008

South Holston 12-29

Well, the trip I have long been waiting for occurred today. I have been seeing pictures and reports of large browns being caught on the South Holston. Scott, Jacob, Jason, and I ventured up that way in hopes of sight fishing to some large trout. The grates and bridge were very crowded, as expected. So we went about a mile downstream to a lesser fished portion of water. Upon arrival at our fishing destination we found some spawning browns, and some of them were large. We managed to pick up a couple of the smaller aggressive ones in the area, but this activity slowed around 11:30. At this time I moved over to a deep slow run and began fishing my typical midge setup. I picked up three decent browns on three consecutive casts. My largest fish of the day came out of this deep run, and was around 15". Not the bruiser I was looking for at the beginning of the day, but a decent fight on the 7x tippet. Not long afterward other fishermen started moving into the area and started to crowd us. So we made our way out and up to the weirs for a little combat fishing. None of us managed to pick up anything there, but there was another fisherman who was absolutely killing them there. He landed a couple in the 20" range and many smaller ones. From the bridge you could see the pod of fish he was casting to, and there was probably a dozen or so in this little 6' diameter area. Of the dozen, there were a couple of large fish. He appeared to be fishing a very small egg pattern, smaller than anything I had used all day. However, I don't know if the fish were actually eating the eggs or just slapping at them. Some of the fish this guy landed were foul hooked, but I guess that is the nature of shallow water sight fishing to a large pod of fish.

I don't expect to make another trip up that way again until the spring. But check back soon, I plan on giving a brief product review of some of my Christmas gifts after using them today.

Until then, Tight Lines and God Bless

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas

With only 4 days to go until Christmas, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. This is a wonderful time of year, and it is even more so now that Trey is here. With this as my first Christmas being a dad, and my second as an uncle I am so excited. Trey is not old enough yet to understand, but my little nephew Bryce is. Amy and I are very excited to see the look on his face when he opens one particular present we got him. Trey's primary present from me this year is his lifetime sportsmans license. Not that he will know what it is, other than wanting to eat it, its benefit will be seen in future years. Right now Trey thinks everything is something that is to be eaten, even his feet. Our little guy just makes everyday that much more special, and I can't remember what life was like before him. I have attached a few Christmas pics I took this year, and you can see how much he has changed.

I also have added a poll just to see what my readers prefer to say during this time of year. Personally, I choose to say Merry Christmas, because Christ is the reason for the season and I don't want that to be left out. I know that there is some debate right now about which is politically correct, and honestly I could care less about political correctness. So please feel free to vote in the poll and leave a comment if you feel so inclined.

As far as fishing goes, I plan to get out a couple times during the week between Christmas and New Years. The long term forecast once again is for rain/snow during that week, but I have all intentions of going unless icy conditions prohibit. Stay in touch in the coming year for more fly patterns, book reviews, detailed trip reports, and conversation.

Trey and Cousin Bryce

Alisha, Jeremy, and Bryce

Family Portrait

Merry Christmas and God Bless

Monday, December 15, 2008

Midge Season on the Clinch

Desperately needing a break from the tiresome work week, I headed out for the Clinch yesterday. This time I did check the generation schedule, and I figured I had from 11 AM till 5 PM to fish. So, I arrived at the river at 11:30 to find nobody else there. I geared up and headed down to my section where I had seen some spawning activity on previous trips.

When I made it to my destination, I found even more redds than the previous trips. However, this time there were no browns to be found. No fish at all were even around the redds, but a couple of them looked very fresh. I don't know if it was the increase in flows the past couple days or maybe the sudden drop in water temperature, but something apparently made the fish quickly leave their beds.

There were lots of midging trout around, but I could not find anything they wanted. So, I just went to my old faithful rig, a deep drifted #20 bhpt and #20 zebra midge. The fishing was slow for the first couple hours, and then about 1:30 it heated up. I started getting hits and hooking up regularly. All fish brought to hand were in the slot, but no large fish on this trip.

Nice Little Clinch Bow

I am going to restock my midge supply in the coming weeks in preparation for the onset of midge season. I know what you are thinking, midges work all year on the clinch. True, but during the spring, summer, and fall there is also a nice mixture of some mayflies and scuds in there. During the winter, my experience is that the fish's diet switches to a much greater percentage of midges.

David Knapp over at The Trout Zone has beaten me to the punch on a series dedicated to midges. However, I may still throw up a couple of my favorite patterns that compliment David's selections.

The Midge Box Looking Bare

Until next time, I wish everybody out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tight Lines and God Bless

Friday, December 12, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Well, I had planned on going to the South Holston today, but my work had other plans for me. Last week I was informed that I would be travelling over to Orangeburg, SC for the week to supervise the startup and testing of one of our units. Luckily, this time was quite different than the usual trip. Typically they like to send me to the upper midwest in the winter, oh what fun.... Last year in January and February I spent 3 weeks in Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. During the Minnesota and Iowa trips the weather never got out of the 20's and it snowed nearly every day. This week temps in SC were in the 60's and Wednesday was in the upper 70's. That was quite a welcome sight.

However, after being gone from my wife and son for the week, I couldn't bring myself to spend an entire day in NE TN fishing. So, I chose to stay at home today and enjoy my family time. If things work out, I may make the trip on Sunday. I would like to find a fishing partner though, it just isn't as enjoyable driving that far to fish by myself. The forecast is not that bad, I am just afraid that I will get into some serious combat fishing on Sunday.

As I have said in previous posts, I try to do the majority of my fishing on weekdays to avoid the crowds. It seems like fewer people than ever understand anything about fishing etiquette, and that really aggravates me. Oh well, until next time, try to get out there and enjoy the experience that is winter-time fly fishing.

God Bless and Tight Lines

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lesson Learned on the Clinch

I have been trying to get out on the water for a month now, and today finally presented an opportunity. After arriving at work this morning, I checked the weather. Forecast was for hi around 40 and partly cloudy, so I chose to give it a go. I met Jacob at the Wal-Mart in Clinton and headed for the river. When I pulled into the parking spot, I noticed that the water was a little high. That is when it dawned on me that I didn't call to check the generation schedule. I had been checking the schedule on a regular basis for the past couple months, and TVA had been consistently running the same schedule every Friday. Well, not this Friday. After some deliberation, we chose to head up to Miller's Island and give that area a shot. Having not fished Miller's Island in almost a year, I thought a change of scenery may be nice. We got in and walked down the far left side of the river and I thought I noticed some old redds in the area. That is a good thing. Once I found a little seam that I thought looked good, I threw a little BHPT out there and had a hookup on my 3rd cast. It was a very brightly colored rainbow of about 14", and it fought very hard. So, my spirits lifted thinking it was going to be a good day, little did I know that it would be the only fish I landed all day long.

We fished at Miller's Island long enough for the water to go down at our initial destination. So, we packed up to head down there, and it just so happened that the sun was going down behind the hill when we arrived there. Once we got into the water we saw fish (some large) rising all around. It appeared to me that they were taking little cream midges, but Jacob thought he saw some tiny olive caddis. So, I tied on a tiny olive caddis pupae I have, and hooked into a decent little fish. That fight did not last long before he came unbuttoned. It was approaching 5:00 at this time, so we chose to just call it a day.

I am still very frustrated at my incompetence today regarding the generation schedule. I haven't done that before, and can't believe I did it today.

Plans are for a trip to the South Holston next Friday, regardless of weather. I have Friday off work, and need to get up that way just for the chance to hook into a pig brown up there. The spawn up there is really heating up and I have been at the vise tying up a nice little assortment of eggs. I have some glo bugs, some otter's soft eggs, and some anvil eggs. I have each of these in orange, cream, red, cheese, and pink, so surely I have something they will want.

Until then, Tight Lines and God Bless.

Weather Conditions: Partly Cloudy, Slight Breeze, upper 30's
Water Temp: Did not take, COLD
Successful fly: #20 bhpt

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Brief Update

I haven't been on the water since my last post, but that doesn't mean the fish aren't biting. Just take a look at my message board buddy David's blog over at The Trout Zone. He continues to light them up on the Caney, I really need to get back over that way again soon.

I was planning a trip to the South Holston this week for Friday, but the weather I think has other plans for me. On Monday the forecast was 46 degrees and cloudy, now it has been revised to 34, with a 30% chance of snow, and 15 mph winds. I think I may save myself a doctor co-pay and stay at home Friday. Until next time....

Tight Lines and God Bless

Friday, November 7, 2008

Warm Weather Extension

The warm weather in East Tennessee continues to hang around, so I took advantage of it. Today, I made it back out to the Clinch to see if I could continue with the success I have had this year. Within the past week or so, the foliage along the river has totally changed. The trees along the river have lost nearly all their leaves, whereas the ones away from the bank are still holding on to the lovely gold and red decorations.
Fall Foliage

Last report I mentioned seeing some active redds and big browns, today there were easily 4 or 5 times the number of redds in the area I was fishing. Lots of small 10 to 12" browns and bows hanging out downstream of the redds. I caught about a dozen fish and all but one were browns. The lone bow was the largest fish of the day, but all the browns were colored up beautifully. I continued to see some absolute bruisers cruising around, but most of the large fish appeared to be hens hanging out on the redd. I did see one fairly active male that appeared to be the dominant male in the area and he was protecting his ladies from all the smaller males. If things go well, I may be able to make it back out again next week, especially if the weather forecast holds true. Not long till the cold weather sets in and I expect to have things completely to myself then.
Small Brown

15" Clinch Bow

Until next time, tight lines and God Bless.

Weather Conditions: Sunny, Slight Breeze, 73 deg F
Water Temp: 56 deg F (up from last trip)
Successful Flies: #20 BH zebra midge, blood midge, & olive biot midge

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Spawning Time on the Clinch

I have had the itch to get out to the Clinch again and reconnect with a river that has been very good to me this year. I have been on the Clinch easily 25 or 30 days this year, and have yet to get skunked (most have been multiple fish trips). So, I got up Saturday morning and made it to the river at 10:00, and was surprised to find the lack of people on the river. Finally, maybe with hunting season being here the pressure will slack off. I had about 3 hours to fish before I had to be back home to help Amy with Trey, so I tried to make the most of my time on the water. I immediately walked way downstream to a very productive run I found on my previous trip, and immediately hooked up with a couple small bows. That was a little surprising since I usually catch very good quality fish out of this little run. I worked my way downstream picking up fish here and there on a #20 brassie. As time was drawing near for the pulse to be coming through, I made my way back up to the run I mentioned earlier. Not long into the pulse, I noticed a large pod of fish swirling just upstream. As I approached, I was very excited to see a school of browns in pre-spawn mode. There was no redd, but a group of very active male browns apparently hunting a hen brown. As I drifted my fly toward the rear of the pack I had a large fish inhale my fly. 15 minutes later I was looking at a 22" brown. However, I was unable to take a picture since my net was too small to hold the fish and its head and tail were both hanging out of the bag. While trying to take the fly out, it flopped one good time and out it went into the current and drifted downstream. Due to this, I am looking for another net. I ended up catching this little brown before having to call it quits.
Small Brown in Spawning Color

Sunday, I got my buddy Scott to come along with me and we got into them once again. The brassie was still producing for me, and the first fish of the day was a 17" bow that put up an amazing aerial display.
First Fish on Sunday

Later, we checked out the pod of fish we found the day before, and over night they had fanned out a bed. There was a big hen sitting in the middle of it, and there were lots of fish downstream of the nest. I drifted the brassie downstream of the nest and into the awaiting pod of smaller fish and hooked into another good brown. This one did not fight nearly as much as the fish the previous day, but luckily Scott was there with his net to help me land it. He was only 16", but very chunky and in full spawning colors. Ended the day with decent numbers once again.
16" Clinch Brown

We did find a couple of other abandoned redds in the area, so apparently the spawn has been going on for a couple weeks now. Hopefully this year there will be a success. I had heard reports that last year there was a successful spawn, and the brookies should also be ramping up for their first attempt in the Clinch. I am looking forward to my next chance to head back up that way, but it may be a couple weeks before I get another chance. By then it should be full on midge and BWO season, so I better start preparing my fly box now.

Small Brookie

Scott Re-Tying

Saturday Conditions:
Weather - Cloudy, upper 50's
Water Temp - 53 degrees
Productive Flies - #20 brassie
Sunday Conditions:
Weather - Sunny, breezy, upper 60's
Water Temp - 54 degrees
Productive Flies - #20 brassie

Tight Lines and God Bless

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall Is Here

Amy, Trey, and I went to Townsend on Sunday to take in the beautiful day and do some leaf gazing. The weather didn't disappoint, but the leaves still haven't turned as much as I had expected. Amy's family also came along, and it was a very enjoyable day for all. The trees are still another week or so away from popping, so maybe I will fight the crowds again for some good photo ops. Anyway, below are just a few pics from the day, hope you enjoy.

Fence In Cades Cove

Old Barn

Blue Sky Day

My Lovely Wife

Amy, Trey, and Old Wagon

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Upper East Tennessee Weekend

This past weekend Scott, Jacob, and I headed up to the Tri-Cities for some fishing on the South Holston and Watauga. It had been over a year since I last fished the Watauga and about 5 months since I was last on the South Holston.

Day 1 - Thursday Oct 9th
Plan: Float from Blevins Rd access to Watauga starting at 9:00 AM.

Report: We got a late start to the day, and didn't leave K-town until around 8:15. Upon our arrival at the Blevins Rd launch area, we were surprised to see extremely high water. A quick call to the TVA lake info line, and they were still reporting no generation at that time. While standing there a local gentleman came by and informed us that they were sluicing over the top of the dam and that the schedule is very erratic. Due to this we chose to head on over to the SoHo and set up camp.

Setting up Camp

Playing With Fire

When we arrived at the river, I was chomping at the bit to get out there and fish, but we needed to take care of camp first. Weather we very comfortable and there was lots of cloud cover helping to bring the fish to the surface. I was quite surprised to find a good number of sulfurs fluttering around. I tried to match the hatch, but I was either doing something wrong or just didn't have the correct size fly on. So, I went with another very reliable pattern, the stripper midge. This was the ticket, and the browns were crushing it. I would look for rising trout and cast to them and I had a lot of success using this approach.

12" SoHo Brown

Day 2 - Friday October 10th

SoHo 180 degree Panorama (Click for larger image)

I got up around 7:45 and was once again very anxious to get to the fish. I hurriedly got into my waders and took my old faithful rig from the previous day out to see if I could pick up where I left off the day before. I did. From 8 til 11, I easily caught 2 dozen trout by using this same technique. I found that using 7x tippet greatly increased my strikes, but it also caused me to break off a couple of decent fish. Because of this I had to set down and tie up some more midges quickly during lunch.

After lunch Scott and Jacob wanted to retry our failed Watauga float trip. We launched the canoe and pontoon and headed down stream for the old River Ridge campground. During my last trip to this area, the rainbows and brookies were absolutely killing blood midges. We fished this area without any success, and because of our very limited schedule we had to press on for other water before we ran out of daylight. Eventually Jacob and I caught up with Scott downstream at another run and he had gotten into a decent little sulfur hatch and the trout were willing to eat a #18 sulfur thorax. This was a very nice section of water that would definitely warrant a future visit. It was getting dark as we approached the take out, and we found ourselves securing the canoe to the roof in the dark. Once we returned back at camp we anxiously awaited our deer tenderloin and baked potato dinner. It had been a long day, we were hungry and tired. Almost nothing tastes better than a good steak dinner when on a camping trip.

Campfire Deer Steaks

Day 3 - Saturday October 11th

I got up at 7:45, and started to the river. However, after finding the river mainly empty the first two days, I was disappointed to find fisherman everywhere. The runs that I had been slaying fish on the first two days, now had people crawling all over them. Nevertheless, this caused me to fish unfamiliar water, and it didn't disappoint. I only fished until around 10:00, but once again the stripper midge proved the best choice. At 10:00 I came back to camp to start breaking down and get prepared for lunch. Today's lunch consisted of deer burgers, and they were also very tasty. After lunch, we began the drive back home, but I was looking forward to seeing Trey for the first time in three days.

Brown Reflection

The South Holston really should start seeing the pressure in another month as the big browns start making their run upstream. I would like to make my way over there sometime in December and get into a couple large pre-spawn browns. It was nice to be out under the stars once again and spending time with good friends while fishing.

Deer Burgers

God Bless and Tight Lines

Monday, September 29, 2008

Clinch Continues.....

Made it back out again this past Friday, and the fishing is still hot. Continued with the zebra/bhpt double nymph rig that I had so much luck with last time. However, this trip the trout were keying in on the #20 bhpt instead of the zebra midge. These trout were extremely strong, just look at the size of the tail on the one below.

I did not catch the numbers I caught last time, but the quality fish were still there. Ended the day with 5 from 14" to 18", and about 10 around 12". I am giving the Clinch a break for a few weeks. The second weekend of October I have a camping/fishing trip planned for the South Holston, and hope things work out for it. When we went this time last year, it was the transition time between exciting sulfur hatches and superb prespawn brown action. I will post another update after that trip, and until then God bless and tight lines.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spectacular Saturday

This report is a little late, but at least it is here. This past Saturday, I made it out to the Clinch for a surprising day on the water. I got to the river around 9:00 and stayed until 1:00. What I found upon arrival is a large number of trout eager to eat. This was easily the most productive fishing trip I have ever had. It was getting close to time to leave, but I wanted to catch one more fish to have a nice round number to leave with. I saw a small dimple on the surface and just as I had done numerous times earlier in the morning I put my zebra midge about 2' upstream and threw a mend into my line. A couple seconds later my strike indicator went under and I landed a nice little brown. That took my total tally to 25 for the day. I secured my line and started the journey back to the truck.
Clinch Bow

I managed to catch 2 browns and the rest were an even mix of brookies and bows. The brook trout are starting to really show their colors and are putting on some size. I also managed to land 3 bows that were touching or just over the 18" mark. Never before have I caught that many fish with the quality fish included. I have had a couple other 20 fish days, but the majority of those fish were stockers.
11" Brookie

Throughout the day, I was able to locate active fish and present them with a black/silver zebra midge and they devoured it. I was constantly adjusting my indicator depth to keep my fly just a couple inches above the bottom. Also, I had my best luck targeting areas of slow moving water approximately 4' deep. The best areas also had some wood debris along the bottom and I could watch the trout dart out from under the trash and strike with a vengeance. I did not have much luck with pictures this trip. Due to the areas I was fishing, I was in deep water and did not have any way of securing my rod and snapping any decent pictures. Also, a couple of the large bows were so tired after landing them that I did not want to take the time take pictures, so I promptly released them. However, I did manage to get one decent picture of one of the big bows, and it can be seen below. I had some difficulty handling the fish by myself and taking the picture, so I had to just go with my usual grip-shot.
18" Bow

Looking forward to getting back out there again, hopefully this Friday afternoon. If I do, you can expect to find another trip report shortly afterward.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My How Time Goes By

It seems like only yesterday that we were rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night. Now Trey is over 3 months old, and we are enjoying every minute. He is really beginning to develop a personality now, and every minute brings something new. He is becoming very talkative, if that is what you can call it, and he smiles and giggles quite frequently. So, for a slight change of pace, I am going to post some recent photos of the little man. I am taking advantage of the new camera and snapping shots every chance I can get. Here are some recent photos, Enjoy!


Ceiling Fan Results

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Return to the Clinch

Morning Fog

First Fish of the Day

It has been a while since I was last on the Clinch, and I thought it was time I made a visit to my old friend. During the Fall, I find that the number of fisherman drops thanks to football and hunting season. Because of this I chose to sleep in some, so I got on the water around 8:30. True to form, I only saw one other fisherman on the water this morning when I arrived. He was working a decent little run upstream, but that was no problem; I was more interested in what was downstream. I got in and walked downstream about 1/4 mile to a familiar run. On about the third cast I caught a small rainbow. Fished a couple more runs that I was very familiar with picking up a couple here and there, and thought I should try out some new water. There were lots of fish rising all around, and it looked like they were taking some sort of micro-caddis (olive). I tried a tiny elk hair caddis without much luck, so I went with old faithful. I rigged a black zebra midge and a size 20 bead head pheasant tail in tandem with 7x tippet and that was the trick. I immediately starting hooking up. However, I lost quite a few fish thanks to my downstream approach, but I managed to land good numbers. Ended up landing a dozen fish, with 3 being in the slot. The best fish of the day was a 15" rainbow that I had seen rising to the micro-caddis and tempted him into striking. I have talked very disrespectfully about the brookies stocked in the Clinch, but today I caught the most brilliantly colored one yet. It was 11" and had very bright yellow and blue spots, I wonder if they will attempt to spawn this year. There is a home football game next Saturday, and I am already chomping at the bit to get back out there. Hopefully everybody will be at home watching the ballgame, and I will have the water to myself. Until next time....

God Bless and Tight Lines

15" Bow

Small Stocker Bow

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Little Fishing And Some More Hiking

Fish Camp Bow

This past Saturday, I made it back up to the Smokies for another hike. This time I took along the fly rod hoping to catch a couple brookies. We headed to Elkmont, and hiked in about 3 miles before deciding to wet the line. This was my first time in this area, and I was completely amazed at how peaceful and easy of a hike it was. The grade was very shallow and the trail was wide. This will probably be one of the first trails we take Trey to when he gets older. The weather was slightly warmer than the previous weekend, but it was still a nice day to be out and enjoying this wonderful resource we have so close to home. The water was scarily low, it was in desperate need of rain. I only managed to fish for a little over an hour total time, but caught 2 bows. I missed more strikes than I care to recall. As fall approaches and water temps cool down, I look forward to making another trip to this area looking for spawning browns.

This area has had some recent bear activity, and I am hearing many more reports this year of bear sightings. Also, supposedly there have been lots of rattlesnakes present above Elkmont in the previous weeks, and luckily I didn't run into one while climbing in and out of the river. That would be a perfectly dreadful end to a wonderful day. Until next time, God Bless and tight lines.

Warning Sign at Goshen Prong Trailhead

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hiking to Charlie's Bunion

Charlie's Bunion

Charlie's Bunion Trailhead (The AT)

Today, my neighbor Jeff and I headed up to the Smokies for some hiking. We expected to see lots of people out and about since the weather was wonderful, so we wanted to go with a less popular destination. We originally wanted to go to Spence Field, but after looking at the length and elevation change, we chose to go to Charlie's Bunion. Neither of us had ever done this hike and it was extremely relaxing. I hadn't been out on a hiking trip without a fishing rod in a couple years, so this was a decent start. A website that use to learn more about some of the trails in the park rate Charlie's Bunion as a diffulty of ~11.5. Just for comparison here is how this trail rates with some other more popular trails: Chimneys - 6.7, Alum Cave to Mt. Leconte - 16.5, and Ramsey's Cascades - 12.7. When we arrived at the Newfound Gap trailhead we were surprised to find the parking lot relatively empty, especially since the Chimneys and Alum Cave trailheads were overflowing with vehicles and people. Shortly into the hike we encountered a couple other hikers coming toward us very rapidly. They informed us that there were a couple bears up ahead in the middle of the trail munching on berries. We waited around for awhile and then started making lots of noise before we restarted our hike. As we rounded the bend we could hear sticks breaking just down the bank and some small trees moving. So, our noises must have worked because we never actually saw the bears and so we continued on. It was in the low 70's and overcast all day, making for a very comfortable hike. Once we arrived at our destination we sat down for lunch and to take in the views. Looking at the barren almost sheer slopes, one could almost imagine how this landscape was formed by a raging fire and flashflood that scalped the surface of all vegetation and soil. This hike is one I look forward to making again, maybe on a low humidity very clear day. The views would be even more spectacular.

View from the AT

Lots of flowers along the way

Cool Looking View

Sunday, August 10, 2008

First Smallie Attemp

Well, I have been hearing lots of reports about amazing local smallmouth fish, so I thought I would give it a try. The weather was absolutely phenomenal, beautiful blue sky, low 80's, and not much humidity to speak of. We don't get many days like that in August. I got off work on Friday around noon and headed for Townsend. Since this was my first attempt at smallies, I was somewhat lost as to where I should begin my search. I knew of a public access area just past Walland, and figured that would be as good of a place to start as any. When I arrived there were some people there playing in the water and another guy just upstream fishing. I got geared up and made my way into the water fishing downstream as I went. Not long into the day, using a tiny chartreuse popper, I hooked into my first rock bass. Not big, about the size of a bluegill, but a decent fight nonetheless. So, I continued to work my way downstream and picked up a couple more rock bass on the popper. When things began to slow down, I checked the water temperature and it was around 79 degrees. Wow, I couldn't believe it was that warm. I chose to move farther upstream looking for cooler water and a little more privacy. Unfortunately, I found neither, and needless to say no smallies. Well, after talking to Daniel and Bill at LRO, I learned that I was probably out there at the worst time of day. They suggested that I give it a try during the two hour window around sunrise and sunset when the smallmouth are most aggressive. Well, the opportunity to get out and enjoy the mountain scenery was nice, and I am looking forward to my next smallmouth trip. I plan to do some more research into locations and how to approach this wary fish.

God Bless and tight lines to all.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's Been A While

It has been a while since my last post, so here is an attempt to catch up somewhat. I have only been fishing once more this month, and the guys I went with made me promise to not tell the river we went to. The fishing was quite nice, and all my fish were caught on dries. Not only that, but all the trout were in the 13 - 16" range.

I have a hiking trip to the Smokies planned in the coming weeks, my first such in a long time. I am planning on leaving the rod at home so I won't be tempted to fish. I plan on just enjoying the scenery and spending time with friends hopefully experiencing new trails that I have never hiked before.

The rest of the month has been devoted to the little man. He is growing so quickly, and we are just trying to enjoy as much of it as we can. I am spending lots of time behind the camera taking pictures of him and various other scenes. Below are a couple photos of Trey and a couple more where I am playing around with Depth of Field with my camera. In two of the photos shown, I was intentionally trying to induce as much blur as possible to make the item in the foreground standout. I had to buy a particular lens to accomplish this task, and it also works very well for portraits by causing the same effect. I am also working on my white balance skills. My point and shoot camera that I take fishing has preset white balance settings, and it is often not correct. My D40 allows me to fine tune my white balance or even measure it for each manually before taking lots of pictures that are incorrectly colored. I think I am making pretty good progress considering I have never had any classes and have basically taught myself how to do all of these techniques.

I also need to update my fly pattern of the month. I hope to be able to get to that this week, but with it being our 3rd anniversary and the little boy, I may not make it that far.

Depth Of Field Practice

Play Time

The Fruits of Our Labor: Blackberry Jelly

Silly Boy

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Slow Morning on the Clinch

13 inch Clinch Bow

Sunrise on the Clinch

Well, I haven't done an early morning Clinch trip in a long time, so I thought today would be a good day. My co-worker, Dave, and I got to the river around 7:00 and fished until 11:15 when the pulse started to come thru. I usually stay away from the river on the weekends to avoid the crowds, and maybe I should have today as well. When we got to the water, my two favorite runs already had somebody fishing them, so it was off exploring. We walked way downstream and fished some new shoals and had some success. However, it was quite a frustrating day today. I let 8 fish get off today, and I had two break my line. I managed to bring two to hand, but the number that I let get off really was getting to me. I hooked fish on sulfur thorax duns, midge larvae, and olive slumpbusters. I believe I know why I was having trouble keeping my fish attached today. I was fishing downstream the majority of the day, and it is hard to get a good hookset if you are pulling upstream. This pulls the fly up and out of the fish's mouth as opposed to into the side of the mouth. I should have been using a sidearm hookset to maximize the sideways pull into the trout's cheek. Next trip will probably be to the Holston river with Scott. He has a little hot spot that he has been asking me to give a try. Plust they are catching them on caddis dries, that is hard to beat....

19" Clinch River Brown