Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Season Finale

This past week has been a blast. Not only was I able to get over into North Carolina in search of some lake run rainbows, but I also found myself in the woods a couple of days. I don't hunt much, maybe one day a year, but this year I wanted some meat for the freezer. I found myself missing a doe by 7:30 the first morning, and then with a buck on the ground by 8:30 the second morning. So, that was quite an active time in the woods.

Now to what most people who read this blog are anxious to hear about, the lake run rainbows I found on Tuesday. I use found very loosely because a good fishing buddy David Knapp over at The Trout Zone called me up and turned me onto this particular tributary. I originally had planned on going to a larger stream in NC, but a late call from David had me plotting a new course to another unfamiliar stream with visions of large bows in my dreams. We arrived to a crowded parking lot, but thankfully everybody was there for hiking purposes. It was a beautifully clear but cold 40 degrees when we arrived. Before gearing up we walked about 100 yards searching the water for signs of active fish. Shortly upstream we found what we were looking for. There were 4 or 5 large bows stacked up in one pool, and that was all the motivation we needed. The fishing was by no means easy, in fact it was quite tough. However, sight fishing to these large bows was all that was needed for us to stay positive. We threw everything we had at them, but they were not having any of it. We ended up landing two fish and had two come off. The last fish I landed was hooked outside the lower jaw, but I actually watched it swim over and take my streamer. After quickly and carefully landing the hen, we slid her back into the water to finish what she came to do.
Which Fly, Which Fly?

Tie Those Knots Securely

The Presentation

Lake Run Hen photo by Jacob Hoekstra

Lake Run Buck photo by Jacob Hoekstra

I look forward to doing this again, as it allowed for some exciting fishing. The water temp was a cold 41 degrees, and the water was running swiftly.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hopefully next week.....

I will be able to get on the water. This rainy season has dramatically reduced the number of trips to the river I have made this year. I typically fish on Friday afternoons, but this year it seems as if all the major rains come thru on Thursdays and blow the streams out for Friday and Saturday.

If everything works out, I will try to make the trip over to NC next Monday or Tuesday and try for some lake run trout and steelhead. Hopefully it will not be too crowded. This will be a first for me, but I have been wanting to try it for a long time. Not a chance at getting on the tailwaters in the area, as most of them are running all generators and some are even sluicing. I think I heard that Appalachia is actually spilling, I can't imagine that is doing much good for the fish population downstream. That was once a great tailwater, just as recently as 4 years ago. But something happened once we entered into our drought, and that river just hasn't been the same since.

I hope everyone out there has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Until next time, Tight Lines & God Bless.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Raven!?

It has been a long time since I wet a line for some trout. So I took a vacation day yesterday and drove over to Cherokee, NC to fish the trophy section on the Raven Fork. The weather was beautiful and the traffic was light. Surprisingly I found the river relatively empty. Actually two of the higher traffic areas were completely deserted when I arrived around 1:00. So, I geared up and slowly made my way to the river.

If you have never been to the trophy section in Cherokee, the palomino trout are a sight to see. Very bright yellow and easily seen by everybody. However, seeing them is like a car wreck, you can't tear your eyes away. I saw a couple feeding in a small area and before I knew it I had wasted about an hour trying to catch them. One of them was actively surface feeding, so I switched over to a stimulator. To my amazement I saw its head slowly pop up out of the water and suck my stimulator in. I was so shocked I set the hook immediately, and completely missed it. That was the end of the story for that trout, it disappeared after that.

I gave up on the palomino trout and made my way to another productive spot and began working the deep run for some of the bruiser rainbows that hang out in this area. I tried dredging the bottom with nymphs of all types and even threw an assortment of streamers at them. Nada! Finally after about 2 1/2 hours of fishing I chose to call it quits. As I was walking to my car I chose to hit one tiny little run before leaving. So, as I was stripping my woolly bugger back, I felt what I thought was a leaf on the end of my line. Then that leaf started pulling back. Somehow I managed to fool an average sized bow on my streamer to prevent the goose egg.

I am a tailwater guy, and my small stream skills are really lacking. I need to work on them more next year. Thanks to all of the rainfall this year and TVA, I have had to resort to the small streams when I would typically be on the Clinch or South Holston. It is completely different, and I am having major tailwater withdrawals.

Raven Fork Bow

Raven Fork Bow

Hopefully in the next couple weeks TVA will back off the generation schedule on the Clinch and I can renew my passion for my old friend. Until then, I hope everybody has a Happy Thanksgiving and God bless.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beautiful but Crowded Smokies Saturday

The weather was beautiful yesterday and we didn't really have anything else going on, so I headed up to the mountains for a little relaxation. I grabbed myself some lunch on the way in, and ate streamside on Little River. Afterward I put on my fishing gear and proceeded to start searching for some large browns. I did not have any definite sightings, but wanted to try a few spots anyway. Fished for about an hour in this general area before electing to move on. Next, I drove up to Elkmont and was surprised to see droves of people out on the water. Nearly every pullout had a vehicle in it, and a majority of them had people fishing nearby. I just spent some time watching the water and enjoying the scenery before making my way back to Townsend and on home. I typically stay away from the mountains on the weekends during this time of the year because the tourists really aggravate me, but I am undergoing therapy for this sickness... :) Of course, I could have probably walked half a mile and gotten away from 90% of them all, but I didn't really have the time today to walk very far before needing to head back home.

I took some photos with my little camera, but have not uploaded them yet. If any of them turn out okay, I will put them up later. I wish I had taken my DSLR along with me, the weather was perfect for some streamside photos.

I definitely need to work on my mountain fishing skills. Not being on the water much this fall combined with the skittish Smokies trout combined to provide me a skunking. I need to focus more next year on fishing the mountains, but I am in desperate need of some tailwater trout action soon.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Long Time, No Feeshin'

It seems like it has been forever since I have wet a line. Work obligations and family vacation as well as TVA's lovely generation schedule have kept me off the water. Was hoping to make it out today, but NOPE! TVA was running wide open all day long today. So much for a successful spawn this year.

On another note, just returned from a family vacation to the Caribbean. Didn't do any fishing there either, but the scenery was amazing. Trying to convince the wifely to go on a 3 or 4 day Bahamas bonefishing trip in the near future. We will see if I can sell her on it.... Also while in St. Maarten I picked up a new lens that I hope to post a review for in the near future. A couple of the St. Thomas pics were taken using the new lens.

Use the links below to see some of the scenery from the trip.

The Bahamas

St. Maarten

St. Thomas

Grand Turk

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cades Cove loop to close in March

From the NPS website:

The Cades Cove Loop Road is scheduled to be closed to all public use from March 1-May 21, 2010 for repaving. Weather conditions may affect these closure dates.

The loop is in desperate need of repair. Not only is the road extremely rough, but there is not enough room to pass when all the tourons park in the middle of the road to take pics of a squirrel. The plan is to completely repave the road and existing pullouts, as well as increase the number of pulloffs. The hope is that these improvements will also help the park by reducing the erosion caused by cars driving off the pavement.

Personally I would like to see them initiate some sort of shuttle service, but I don't expect that to ever happen. I don't go near that place on weekends, but midweek typically is very peaceful.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Recent Clinch Outings

I have been on out on the river twice in the past week now, but there hasn't really been much to report on. The first outing was immediately following a heavy shower and the river looked like chocolate milk. I only fished a little over an hour with a big wooly bugger, and managed to stick one hefty fish. However, I never saw the fish before it broke off my 4X tippet, so it could have even been a carp for all I know. Shortly thereafter I left the river and found my truck was short about 1/3 tank of gas. Apparently somebody thought they would help themselves to some free gasoline. Don't want to dwell on that for now, just know I will pay more attention to the cars around me from now on.

Also managed to get on the water yesterday morning. I took the day off work and wanted to take advantage of a little Friday solitude on the water. The water still had some stain to it from the runoff I mentioned above, but it didn't look all that bad. I rigged up with a double nymph rig and started probing the typical runs. Nada. Switched over to a streamer and fished these same runs, still nothing. I slowly made my way to the flats where I saw some big browns spawning last year, and they were untouched. So, I checked the water temp, and found that it was around 55 degrees. That is about 5 degrees warmer than this time last year, so that could account for why the fish are not where they were this time last year. I left the streamer on and went up to the slow deep water and started probing the bottom for some brownies. I managed to pick up a couple fish doing this during the heavy rainfall, but they were rainbows. So, I continued to look for that brown. I continued to stick some and miss some when just upstream from me I heard a terrible commotion. I looked up just in time to see a rainbow probably 8 or 9 inches long jumping out of the water and right on its tail was a brown trout probably 10 pounds. I immediately pulled up and fired a cast in its direction, but knew that I probably did not have a chance. Oh well, at least I know there are some big bows in there, and I think they are staging for the spawn. I hope to make one trip a week over there for the next month or so until they do start to spawn. However, I think I will shoot for afternoon fishing instead of morning fishing, as long as TVA cooperates. It just takes so long for the fog to burn off and the fish to get active in the morning, I am about to rule out any more morning fishing trips to the Clinch until next spring.

Until next time,
Tight Lines and God Bless

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Be Careful Out There

I am reasonably certain that all of us have enjoyed this mild summer. However, a couple things to keep in mind for the outdoorsman is that not only do us humans enjoy the mild summers but so do our 8 legged and legless co-inhabitants. I am speaking of snakes, spiders, and ticks. Most people are already conscious of snakes when in the woods or streamside. My experience has been that they tend to congregate alongside water sources, and this year there is plenty of water to go around. Also, the frequency of venomous snakes in the Smokies appears to be on the incline this year after two consecutive years of drought. However, the wild pig population is doing their best to reduce the population of snakes in certain areas of the park. Hard to imagine that wild pigs dine on snakes, that is just hard for me to grasp.

A couple of lesser considered threats are spiders and ticks. Spiders are much more easily avoided since you can see and feel their webs, so this lends them to detection more easily. However, ticks are sneaky little buggers. Not only are they sneaky, but they can carry serious infection with them. While not as immediately dangerous as some of their spider counterparts, their damage is more of a delayed impact. Two such infections are Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, the latter of which my boss's wife just contracted after finding hundreds of seed ticks on her. All of these critters thrive in mild climates, and this past summer was the definition of a mild summer. Hopefully we will have a really cold winter to eradicate some of our creepy crawling friends, so that next year we don't have a population explosion.

Some steps to take to prevent potential disaster:
1. Wear long pants, hiking boots, and long socks
2. Wear a hat to prevent spiders and ticks from dropping into you hair
3. Spray your clothing with a tick spray like Repel Permanone
4. Watch where you are stepping, snakes typically aren't aggressive unless they feel threatened.
5. Be aware of your surroundings. If you find yourself in a tightly confined area take extra precaution. It is commonly said that you can smell a copperhead den, and that they smell very similar to a freshly cut cucumber or squash.
6. If rock hopping in the river, realize that snakes like to sunbathe just as much as we do. They like to lay on top of rocks, so please "look before you leap".

As summer comes to a close, I expect many people to get out and enjoy the typically wonderful East TN weather and scenery. However, the snake and insect activity will continue to be high until we begin to have consistent near freezing nighttime temps. So please be careful out there, and I hope some of these steps will help you prevent having a sour end to what began as an enjoyable experience. If you think of any other steps that I have forgotten, please feel free to add them in the comments section.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tremont Yesterday

Yesterday, I left work around 11:30 to meet a co-worker and fishing buddy to do some small stream fishing. Dave, who is also a ChemE and frequents the Clinch with me, had only fished the Smokies once before. So, we figured that with high water on all the tailwaters, we may as well give the mountains a chance. We took our time getting to Townsend and chatted with Byron in Little River Outfitters for awhile. While there we picked up Jim Casada's new book, which I will offer a review on at a later date due to the 400+ pages of information.

We arrived at our fishing destination above Tremont around 2:30, and surprisingly we only saw one other fisherman on the way in.

Dave Gearing Up

Middle Prong was not my first choice for a destination, but I figured it would provide much more opportunity in the event that the mountains were crowded on this holiday weekend. We got into the water, and I hooked up with a small bow on the first pocket I fished. This is one thing you don't see on the tailwaters, the very bright colors of these wild trout. Sorry for the lack of picture quality, but I left the DSLR at home and took along my el cheap-o Olympus 740.

First Fish

Dave was working a nice looking run across from me, but he was experiencing the same type results that I would for about the next hour or so. Dave was using a foam hopper pattern and I was using a yellow stimulator. We both were getting lots of strikes on the dry, but none were large enough to take it. Finally towards the end of the day, I managed to hook a little bow on the stimulator.

Green Weenie Bow

Fishing was a little slower today than I expected, but the green weenie did perform well for us. There were what appeared to be Tricos everywhere, but I did not have anything small enough to pass for one. I usually have that stuff in my tailwater box, and didn't take it with me yesterday. It is quite obvious that I need to work on my small stream skills.

Dave Fishing a Run

On the drive out, we saw three other fishermen. That is significantly lower than what I expected. The last time Amy and I drove up to the trailhead we counted around 13 fishermen from the Institute up, and that is way too crowded for my comfort. I do need to take advantage of this wonderful resource that we have so close to home. Not just the fishing, but the scenery, history, wildlife, and flora. It truly is a very relaxing experience, and I hope to take advantage of this resource more often.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Little Saturday R&R

I have been planning on heading to the Smokies for some fishing the past two Fridays. Well, both times outside factors have influenced my plans, and prevented me from going. Yesterday, I did manage to make it to the mountains with Amy and Trey, and I even brought along my rod for good measure. At one point, Trey was asleep and I crept out to do some fishing while Amy set with him. Just as I closed the door, I heard "Daaadaaa?". So, I got back in and carried on with our driving and sight-seeing. On the positive side, I did manage to see my first ever bear in the Smokies. Hard to believe that after making hundreds of trips camping, hiking, and fishing that I had never seen one until yesterday. No pics of the bears(my 50mm lens just didn't have the reach), but maybe I will post some other pics from that trip later. Enough talking about yesterday, this post is supposed to be about today's fishing adventure.

I have been really wanting to get back out to the Clinch again after the last few barn-burner trips. The previous trips I had fantastic days, and seemed that I could do nothing wrong. Not only was the fishing good, but the quality of fish was not bad either. So, I woke up this morning at 6:00 and headed out the door around 6:20 to get to the river. When I arrived at 7:00, I found the parking lot empty. PERFECT! That is what I like to see. I enjoy fishing with friends and offering advice to people usually, but sometimes I just enjoy the solitude of the river and the fish. After gearing up and walking about 1/2 mile downstream to my favorite areas I began fishing around 7:45. There was absolutely no surface activity when I got to the river, but that didn't affect my game plan. Today my plan was to work some deeper runs in an attempt to pick up some of the larger fish that broke me off last time. So, I put on my double nymph rig, set my indicator around 5', and started probing the deep runs. The water was still extremely high since TVA did not turn off two generators until 1AM, so the water level was still a bit tricky to navigate.

Private Driveway to River

Things started off a little slow, but I managed to bring my first fish to the net around 9:00. It was a very nice fish of around 17", not fat but long. As the day progressed I began to see some other people making their way into the river well upstream of me, and another older fella who came in below me. He was also hooking up frequently as well, and they all appeared to be the average 11 to 13" bows that this area is loaded with. During the next three hours I managed to land about 5 more fish, and had a couple more break me off in the tangle of log jams that cover the river bottom in this area. My numbers were off a little today, but the quality made up for the lack of quantity. I ended up landing 6 fish today, 2 of which being 17" and one pushing 16". The others were the standard sized bows and even a 10" brookie thrown in for good measure. I really tried catching a decent brown today, but it just wasn't meant to be.

First Fish - Skinny 17" Bow

Another Good Rainbow

Can't wait to get back out there, and hopefully TVA will offer up some better schedules to allow me to fish some on Friday afternoons. Hopefully all the rain this year will not lead to a poor spawning season due to high water flows. TVA has another couple months to get things to normal before that becomes a concern.

Until next time,
Tight Lines and God Bless

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A short hike along Porter's Creek

Today Jeff and I got a house pass from the wives and went to the Smokies for a little hike. We left the house around 8:30 and hit up the Cracker Barrel to fill up before the hike. We eventually came to our destination at 11:00, and found the parking lot almost empty. This is part of the reason we chose this trail for today, is due to it not being a very crowded trail and is paralleled for a long distance by Porter's Creek. This trail is in the Greenbrier area, and is most notably overshadowed by the Ramsey's Cascade trail less than a mile away. Ramsey's is also a beautiful trail that reaches it climax with a very tall set of cascades. Similar to Ramsey's Cascades, Porter's Creek is a much more enjoyable hike during seasons with significant rainfall. Luckily this is such a year.

For this trip, I left my fishing gear at home since I wanted to concentrate primarily on just enjoying the hike and doing some photography. Otherwise, I would be too distracted by each run and trying to spot every fish holding rock. However, this is definitely a stream I would like to take a rod back to and see what I can find hiding out behind the large rocks that dot the stream bed. Until that time, some of my photos will just work to fuel the anticipation of that trip.

Here are some photos from today's hike, I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nashville and Caney Weekend

This weekend Amy and I went to Nashville for our 4th anniversary. While there we enjoyed some peace and quiet while we left Trey at home with family. We had an amazing dinner on Friday night of fried green tomatoes w/ a corn and Jonah crab salsa, oysters bienville, and antelope steak over a bed of wild grains, tomatoes, and huckleberries. Absolutely outstanding. Saturday we basically spent the day relaxing and starting to really miss the tiny kid.

On the trip back to Knoxville Sunday we had made plans to meet David Knapp from the Trout Zone and do a little fishing. We got a late start and made it to the river around 9:30. I got in the water and found David in short order. This was my second trip to the river ever, and I have to say this time left a much better taste in my mouth than the first. The first trip was way over-crowded and the bait fishermen really got me agitated. Today, the river was surprisingly empty, and I saw some sizeable browns rising right in front of the boat ramp. I only got to fish for around an hour, but managed to land 2 and stuck one that was pretty nice as well. I am already planning out my next trip to the Caney, and hoping for a chance to connect with some of those larger browns I saw today.

Above is a sample video taken on the river. Nothing spectacular, just an idea of what the camcorder can do. This was taken in full auto, so it could be optimized if it had been taken in manual mode.

Until next time, tight lines and God bless.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Some new purchases

Yesterday I splurged and made quite a few impulse purchases. Interestingly they were all photo related. I bought an external flash for my D40, to be used primarily as a bounce flash while shooting indoor photos. I also bought a new camera sling bag that can carry my D40 with a long range zoom, 2 mid range lenses, external flash, all cords and accessories and it comes with a waterproof cover for those venturing outdoors. I hope to have a review of it after next Saturday when I take it on a hike in the Smokies. The final impulse buy was one my wife and I made together. We have been thinking about getting a digital comcorder for a while now, and broke down and bought one last night. We found a full HD digicam on clearance at HHGregg lastnight for 50% off. We couldn't help but snatch it up. This will be used 90% of the time to record the little man's progress, but I imagine it may make itself out to the river with us at some future destination.

Stay tuned for the reviews.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gear Review: Korkers Kling-On Soles

I recently purchased a pair of new soles for my Korkers wading boots. My previous pair of boots had studded felt soles, and I loved the secure footing they provided on the Clinch and South Holston rivers. When Daniel at LRO told me about the new soles being released, I just had to have a pair. The new soles have rubber grippy protrusions along with metal studs. This allows the boot to dig into the Didymo covered rocks and ledges and therefore provides better grip.

I wore these boots during my last outage on the Clinch, and my footing was much more positive than when I was using the traditional felt soles that come with the boots at the time of purchase. I was shoal hopping a couple of times since I typically fish in and around deeper water that most people ignore. My foot did not slip once on any of the rock snot covered rocks. Also, walking into the river requires scurrying down a muddy cow trampled bank, and the design of these soles allows for excellent grip outside of the water as well. I can see these soles coming in very handy for people who do a lot of hiking and fishing the Smokies.

I can't say enough about the Korkers products, and if you are looking for a new pair of wading boots give them a look.

Korkers Kling-On

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Typical Clinch Summer Duldrums......NOT!

Made it out to the river today for the first time in what seems like forever. I didn't really know what to expect, except for no sulfurs to be present. So, I tied up a bunch of midge patterns in an effort to restock my supply before going, and it is a good thing that I did. The fishing was excellent, and the catching was probably the best I have had all year. The fish were in their typical summer lies, but they were very aggressive. And not just the 11 - 12" bows, I am also talking about some of the big boys. I landed 3 that were in the 16 - 17" range, and numerous in the 12 - 15" range. I also had three break me off that I didn't even get a chance to see. It was like I hooked a freight train each time. One of them managed to peel nearly all of my fly line off before I even knew what happened, just to wrap me up in a log jam and break me off. The cool thing is that all 3 of those bruisers came from the same 25 yard section of water. I will be trying that section out again. I will stop talking and share some pics.

First Fish of the day - 11" Bow

Last Fish of the Day - A hefty 16" Brown

I used them today for the first time, so stay tuned for a product review of the Korkers Kling-On soles.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Still no fishing

I haven't been on the river in 4 weeks, and I am going nuts. It doesn't look like I will be getting out there this weekend either, but Friday the 31st is game on. I just hope the article in the News Sentinel doesn't bring people out of every corner looking to get in on the action. I believe that article was a plug for Orvis Sevierville and trying to boost their guide service. It primarily talked about the phenomenal spring fishing on the Clinch and people catching 70 fish per day. Yes, the spring sulfur hatch was something to see, but most people will not have that kind of success on the Clinch. I have had some amazing days on the Clinch this past year, but days like the paper was reporting are very rare. The casual angler should not expect that kind of success. I just hope that that article doesn't have a negative impact on the fishery for a short while.

I can't wait for football season and deer season to get here and the river will be much less crowded on the weekend.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July Update

Well, most of my business trips for the month are over now, but I still am unable to head to the river. I just had sinus surgery, and need to wait about another week for everything to heal up before I venture out for an extended period. I don't see me getting onto the river before Saturday the 25th, but that is better than not fishing at all. The good news is that I am planning on taking advantage of being at home to restock my fly supplies over the course of the next few days.

Stay tuned for a report as soon as I get out, and also expect to see another lens review shortly.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day at the Park

Saturday we spent the day at a local state park where we rented out a building to celebrate July 4th. This small local park is probably the place where I officially learned to fish, and I don't visit it often enough. When GSMNP is overrun by tourists, this small park is just about perfect. Yes it does get a little crowded, but not nearly as smothering as the droves of people who swarm on Townsend and Gatlinburg.

Below are a few pics from the day, and I do plan on going back much sooner than later.

We Cooked Hard

We Ate Hard

We Napped Hard

We Even Caught Some Bluegill

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I have been using thingamabobber strike indicators for quite some time now. I have to tell you that they are by far the best indicator I have ever used. However, they do require some modification in order to get the best performance out of them. Straight out of the package they work just fine, but they do tend to slip some on your leader. I use the 1/2" size 90% of the time since they are perfectly sized for the smaller nymphs and midges I frequently use. Below is how I modify them to reduce line slippage and they even seem to reduce line twist.

First I buy a package of small O-rings from Lowe's plumbing department. The smallest size that I can find is usually just about perfect.

I then cut them and slip them through the hole on the indicator.

Finally, I super glue the O-ring back together.

When fishing I loop my leader thru the O-ring instead of the standard loop on the bottom.

Busy July Schedule

As I mentioned in my previous post, July is going to be busy. So busy in fact that I may not even be able to get on the water. I have business trips and a sinus surgery that will keep me occupied. Typically my travels take me to destinations where I can at least entertain the thought of bringing my fly rod along and doing a little fishing. However, this month I will be travelling to western Iowa. West Iowa, the land of corn, cows, and not much else. The only piece of water I have seen the past week is the muddy Missouri as it winds its way past the plant. At least the weather has been nice, but it is only the 2nd and I am ready for this month to be over already.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sulfur Season Finale

I have a busy July schedule, so I don't expect to make it to the river more than once the entire month. So today, Scott and I decided to try and get into some more sulfur action on the Clinch one last time before it ends. I have been averaging over 20 fish per trip recently, and it has gotten me spoiled. While I am not catching the large fish I caught last year, my numbers are almost 2.5 times higher this year. (I keep a log of every fishing trip, that includes weather conditions, water temps, fly patterns, and techniques.) I know that this is in large part to the fish just being overly aggressive this year during a phenomenal sulfur hatch, but I like to think that my skills are improving.

We got to the water today around 8:15 and found only one other person in the water when we arrived. We easily made our way downstream to our run of choice and I hooked up on my first cast. I also performed a long distance release that you would think I had been practicing for months. This immediately got me excited thinking it was going to be a wonderful day. Unfortunately, that was not the case. As I said earlier, I have been spoiled recently on the Clinch, and today was a little disappointing. The hatch did not pick up today until around 11:30, but the fish were very skittish today. Usually I don't have a problem spotting risers and working within casting distance and picking them off one by one. However, today, they were very line shy, and required a down and across approach. I do this quite often with nymphs, but it was a totally new experience with dries. I found that I could get a good 50 to 60' drift downstream, but I had so much slack in my line that I couldn't connect when I did entice the trout to take.

The general consensus today at the river seemed to be that things were a little slower today than past weeks. With the exception of one guy who I watched haul in fish after fish on what appeared to be a dry fly of some sort.

Looking back on my log, it was this week last year that the sulfurs started to dry up on the Clinch. You could somewhat tell it today, as the fish seemed to be stuck somewhere in between typical sulfur holding places and midge holding places. When they are actively taking sulfurs they are stacked up on shoals. Typically downstream in the seams and eddies, but I find the larger ones to be upstream sucking in the emergers before they reach the shoal. Today they were not in those places like they have been the past month or so. I also tried going to my typical midge locations, and only had minimal success there too. My midge locations tend to be deep and have very little current, where I can bounce my larva along the bottom picking up nice sized fish hugging the bottom structure. I think in the next couple weeks the fish will move to the more traditional midge locations, once the sulfurs have completed their season finale.

Trip Summary
Weather: 90 deg and Sunny
Water Temp: 53 deg
# of fish landed: 7
Size Range: 10 - 13"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dad's First Fly Fishing Trip

I was planning on taking dad to the South Holston for a weekend long camping trip for Father's Day. However, the generation schedule did not look favorable, so we opted to fish this morning. The only other time dad had a fly rod in his hand was at Big Ridge State Park, and that was only for about 15 minutes. I spent quite a bit of time trying to help him with his casting, and once he got over the fear of breaking the rod he started getting the hang of it. His casting motion was so slow and careful since he was afraid that he couldn't put much oomph behind the cast. I rigged him up and put him in a run that typically is loaded with easy fish, and walked below him to do some coaching and a little fishing of my own.

On my second cast I hooked into this colorful guy, and dad got all excited.

He could see the fish swimming around and rising, but just could not get the distance on his cast. Eventually he managed to get enough distance and the correct drift and hooked up with his first fly caught trout.

A little while later he caught his second, and he ended the day with about half a dozen. I told him that those were pretty good results for a first timer on the Clinch.

Dad kept wanting to see a brown trout, and I managed to bring this guy to hand just before leaving. He was just as excited, you would have thought he had caught it himself.

As we were leaving, he was telling me that this is something that he could get into. I hope he does, it was a very enjoyable day, and I look forward to many more with him and hopefully someday my son.

Weather: Mostly Sunny 93 degrees
Water Temp: 53 degrees
# Fish Landed: 20+ (4 in the slot)
Very crowded river. Numerous waders and at least 6 boats drifted by while fishing.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

One Year Birthday

This past week we celebrated Trey's one year birthday. Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday that I was rushing Amy to the hospital. What a wonderful year it has been, and my little buddy is getting so big. Unfortunately I had to travel for work this past week, but luckily I was able to come home on his birthday. Below are some pics from his birthday. I am one proud daddy, and I am at a loss of words to explain the emotions I have experienced the past year.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Back on the Clinch

I took a vacation day today, and Scott and I hit the Clinch after a long absence. We got to the water around 9:00 and fished thru the pulse until 3:00. Needless to say, had the water not been coming up on us, we would have stayed even longer. It was perhaps the most outstanding day of fishing we have ever had. The fish were stupidly aggressive feeding on sulfurs. And it was good to see a very good hatch coming off today, after much debate as to whether there would be any present due to the high generation flows.

The trout were absolutely crushing pheasant tails, sulfur thorax duns, and sulfur wulff patterns. Most were in the 12-14" range, however we did catch our fare share in the slot. I also had four fish break me off today on 5X fluorocarbon tippet, I guess it is time to upgrade to some Seaguar GrandMax fluoro. Even using the 5X tippet, the fish were not line shy like they typically are. By lunch time I had already lost count of the number of fish caught, and as we were walking out all we could do was talk about how good of a day it was. Our estimation is that we easily caught 50 fish between the two of us, and that isn't taking into consideration the fish that either broke off or came off during the fight. I have to travel to Nebraska for work next week, but I will try to get out on the water shortly afterward.

Today also marked the first time I took my D40 to the river with me. I was quite pleased with the pictures I got, and there is a sample of some below. I was limited in the number of fish pictures I got since I took along my 50mm f/1.8 lens that is a manual focus on my camera. Next time I will bring along my kit lens so that I can get more fish shots.

# of fish caught: 50+ (between the two of us)
Weather: Cloudy and upper 70's
Water Temp: N/A
Fly Patterns: #16 BHPT, #16 Sulfur Thorax, #14 Sulfur Wulff

Gearing Up

Early Morning Fog


Waiting out a Storm

Scott working a run

Sulfur Dun

Decent Brown with Bite Marks

19" Clinch River Brown