Thursday, December 23, 2010

Welcoming in Winter with the Long Rod

Finally was able to get out on the water for a little while lately. I met up with David Knapp of The Trout Zone in hopes of getting my big fish fix in for 2010. The weather was just as we planned, highs in the low 40's and rainy. This should keep most other people off the water, and allow us to get close to some of the big boys. Unfortunately, TVA had other plans, and we found ourselves looking at a generation schedule that was unfavorable for the South Holston. So we made our way over to NC to try for some rainbows. I found myself driving along the dragon in 35 degree temps with snow in the ditch in some locations. Not something I ever imagined I would experience. Needless to say we were about the only two people on the road that day, so it was quite a pleasurable ride.

After spending a couple hours at our destination, it was obvious that the fishing was very slow. So, we loaded up, drove back across the dragon, over the foothills parkway, and up to Elkmont. Oh, and on the way, we had to make our required stop by Little River Outfitters to shoot the breeze with Byron and Paula. We eventually found ourselves at Elkmont, and I just left my #20 blood midge tied on and started fishing at the first location David recommended. He played spotter for me and shortly thereafter I landed my first fish of the day. I was quite surprised at how active the fish were in the cold water, and how many missed strikes I had. We only stayed in this location for probably 45 minutes because the light was fading and it was getting dark. So, we made our way downstream to another location, where this time I just sat back and watched David work a run, and I took pictures. When we realized that we had virtually no chance of satisfying our big fish fix on this day, we immediately shifted into backup mode. Backup mode was for us both to catch our required fish for the LRO message board One Fish Per Month Challenge, and for me to look for some good photo ops while David was fishing. In summary, it was a very good day to be out. Even though the weather was bad, and we didn't catch many fish; it felt good to be on the water again. And the amount of effort we put in for our fish made the day's catch very rewarding. Maybe we will get our chance to go to the South Holston next week. Until next time though, below are some pictures for your viewing pleasure:

David Working a Swift Run

David working the same run

A Bridge we came across

Getting the Perfect Drift

Making the Cast

Another Run

Friday, December 17, 2010

Unusually Early Winter Weather

Although I have been in town all week long, the recent surge of winter weather has prevented me from getting out on the water. Sunday evening was snowfall around 2" in West Knoxville, and then Wednesday night we had an ice storm roll through. Below are a couple pics from the ice storm:

Plans are underway for a trip to the South Holston next week, and maybe I can get David from The Trout Zone to meet up with me for some potentially fantastic brown trout action. David is a phenomenal fisherman, with a knack for finding large trout wherever he goes. So, when you mix David and large prespawn browns, the results have the potential to be astonishing. Check back later to see if the trip happens.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Recent Lack of Outdoor Time

It has been awhile since my last post, and that is in large part to a busy work schedule for the past two months. I spent 5 of the last 7 weeks in New Jersey working, and when I was at home I had a hard time tearing myself away from the family to hit the water. I did make it out to the Clinch one afternoon to fish in the weir pool for a relatively productive day. However, nothing of any size was landed. Also, I managed to have most of the week of Thanksgiving off work, so I spent that time with the family. During that time I put in a days worth of hunting with dad, and we both killed a buck within two hours of each other. Hopefully I will have more time in the coming weeks to either make it up to the South Holston or maybe over to North Carolina for some prespawn trout.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Much Needed Fishing Break

My work schedule has been really hectic lately. And even though I had a week of vacation in the past 6 weeks, it really didn't allow me to fully unwind because of knowing what was awaiting when I returned home. Today was the first chance to get back on the water since August 9th, which is a very long drought for me.

Leading up to this morning I saw that the weather was forecasting light showers for the morning. On top of that there was a noon football game and it was the first day of bow season. So, for my first day on the water in a long time, it looked like things were falling into place for me.

I got a late start this morning, after turning off my alarm clock accidentally. So, instead of leaving home at 7:00, it was 8:00 before I left. So, it was 8:45 before I stepped foot into the river, but found only one other person there. I slowly made my way downstream to my usual haunts, and got rigged up with my typical midge rigs. I scanned the area and found a trout that appeared to be rising in a regular pattern, and made my presentation. About 5 seconds later, and fish on. First cast and first fish. I looked for another active trout, and presented a fly to it. Second cast, and another hookup. However, this one managed to give me the shake. Fourth cast and another fish, but this one broke my 6X fluoro after wrapping me around a deep rock. At this point, I was on a roll and thinking it was going to be a fabulous day. Little did I know that it would be an hour and 15 minutes before I landed another fish.

After the long dry spell, I settled into another spot and found the fly and depth that was working. I stood in this one pool and managed to pull about another 15 fish out of this one location. The average fish was around 12 - 14", with three pushing 16".

It was exactly what I needed to unwind from the stressful past 6 weeks at work. Hopefully, it won't be as long before I make it back out on the water.

Until next time,
Tight Lines and God Bless

Monday, August 9, 2010

Clinch Settles Into Typical Summer Patterns

Fog Burning Off Around 10:00

Made it out to the Clinch over the weekend, and the typical summer techniques and patterns were working well. My typical summer technique is dredging the bottom in slow deep water where midges are most often found. Sometimes I will even change it up and use a scud if there is vegetation present. The key is to be bouncing bottom, and that often requires fishing with an indicator as much as 7' above the fly and 6X fluorocarbon tippet. Also, as the day progresses, the fish tend to change from taking midge larva, to pupae, and then finally to emergers and dries. So, the fisherman needs to adapt to the changing conditions. Below are some pics from Saturday.

My First Fish of the Day - 16" Bow on an Olive Buzzer

First Victim to the Blood Worm

Blood Worm Strikes Again

Same Fish, Slightly Different Perspective

My Best Fish of the Day - 18" Bow

A Successful Release

Ended the day with about a dozen fish in 4 hours. Not what I would call a good day, but it definitely was nice to get back on the Clinch after a 3 month absence. Expect to see more reports from the Clinch now that the typical summer crowds should start thinning out. Plus in another couple months the browns will start staging for the spawn, and you never know when you will tie into a big one.

Until next time,
Tight Lines and God Bless

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Recent Warmwater Outings

Not going to post a full report, but I have been primarily fishing for smallies, redeye, and carp the past few weeks. Below are some pics. Hopefully, I will be able to make it out to the Clinch again soon for a reunion. I also picked up a new 8-wt and reel after assisting with a flyfishing class at the Orvis in Sevierville today, and I plan on posting an evaluation after using it today for some Little River smallmouth.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Greenbrier Trip 6/12

Made it out this morning to an area that I really enjoy. I had intentions of fishing Elkmont this morning, but then figured that it would probably be quite crowded. So, I switched plans and went to a stream that I don't recall ever seeing another person fishing at. I commonly ask myself why I don't venture over to the various streams around Greenbrier more often, and I remembered today why. My thoughts on Gatlinburg remain the same today as in previous years, and I consider it a necessary evil to have to endure the traffic en-route to some very good fishing.

Fished from 8 till 11:30 today, never more than about 300 yards from my car, and the fishing was productive throughout. Caught fish on a variety of flies with most success on Para Adams, Yellow Stimis, and BHPT. It took me a while to get my reaction time back to normal after mostly fishing the Clinch for the past couple months, but once I got that figured out things really picked up. Next time I will have to walk farther up the trail before getting in the water, but that is easier said than done.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Still Waiting on the Sulfur Duns

Scott and I hit the water this morning from 7:45 till 11:00. Saw maybe three sulfur duns and six rises during that time. However, the fish were taking BHPT actively once again. Well, that is until the sun burned off the fog and made it's way overhead. Once that happened I had to dredge the bottom and fish deep structure to pick up any fish. Not too big a deal since that is how I typically fish my midges during the summer and fall anyway. The water was really high, even with the pulse. We fished thru it, but I don't recall a typical pulse bringing that much flow.

TVA website shows a pulse today at 7AM of 3385 CFS as compared to the typical pulse of 1200 to 1500 CFS that I usually fish thru. Do they have one small variable flow turbine and one large constant flow turbine? Just trying to figure out how they are able to have flows in the 1500 CFS, 3400 CFS, and then 6700 CFS. Or is the 1500 CFS number just a short 30 minute pulse kind of like what I have been told the SoHo does at times?

No big fish were caught this morning, as most were in the 9 to 11 inch range with the biggest fish being around 13". However, I did land my first brookie in a long long time there, and it was a decent little one. Surprised to see four other people on the water with us this morning. However, it is a holiday weekend, and that combined with the storms predicted for this afternoon contributed to our decision to head out early in the morning.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good Morning to be out

I usually get off work on Fridays at noon, however today I flipped my schedule. I went to the river first thing and then went into the office. Note to self: just take a vacation day since you didn't feel like doing anything after an excellent morning of fishing.

I just have to tell this little story before getting to the fishing report:

Scott and I arrived at the river around 8:00, and proceeded to gear up. We walked down to the river and strung up our rods and tied our flies on. About 8:15 we heard a car pull up and didn't think much of it. I finished tying up quicker than Scott, so I started making my way downstream. About this time I look up and there is a guy walking quickly along the bank above me. He then slides down the steep bank (not at the access point I must say), quickly says I will go down here out of your way, and starts walking downstream in front of me. Keep in mind that I was already walking downstream. This guy had to have set a land speed record trying to beat me to a particular quality piece of water. Now, just for the record, I have to add that the particular location he was in a race to is a nice little section of water. It is not uncommon to have 25 or 30 fish days in this little 50 yard stretch of water. However, the vast majority of the fish there are small, in the range of 8 to 11". Scott was with me, and I wanted him to get into some action quickly before taking him down to some more technical water that tends to hold larger fish. Needless to say this guy streaked straight for this particular section without even having his rod together, and it was obvious that he had his mind set on fishing this particular location. We let him have it, and he didn't move from it for over 3 hours. I just wish the guy would have shown some common courtesy and etiquette by asking where we were going since we were there first. I wasn't even going to fish that section, I was going to send Scott there. I have met many different people on this little section of the Clinch, and this is the first time that I have encountered this type of behavior, and I hope it isn't a developing trend.

Now to the fishing:

The river bottom was covered with a thick layer of silt due to the lack of generation lately. The floating scum that was present during the last outing was not such an issue this time. I don't recall seeing a single sulfur hatch, but that didn't seem to bother the trout. They were aggressively taking BHPTs in every run we fished. We ended up catching plenty of fish, and of those a high number were in the slot. I counted 8 fish over 14", and 2 at 17". Before leaving I took a temperature reading, and it was a surprisingly high 63 degrees. I looked back on my fishing log for the past two years and don't see the Clinch hitting that temp until August during that time frame. Not only that, but the water was up over 10 degrees since my last outing just over a week ago. That is an alarmingly fast warm rate, and I feel that TVA needs to do something to slow this trend. The lake is nearly to full pool, so maybe they will start generating soon. I took a few pics, so I hope you enjoy.

My First Fish of the Day - 17" Bow

Scott with a nice 13" bow

Until next time, tight lines and God bless.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And So It Begins....

Made it out to the Clinch today for a few hours. When I arrived at 1:00 there was no surface activity, but that didn't keep the fish from actively taking a #16 BHPT in the pocket water and runs. However, most of the fish in this water was of the small variety, averaging around 10". They sure were colorful though.

Finally, around 2:00 some larger heads started poking through the surface sucking down sulfur emergers. I took this opportunity to try out a new pattern I have been working on, a cripple/hackle stacker combination. I was quite pleased with the results and eventually the fish started focusing on duns, so I switched over to a #17 sulfur thorax for those fish. Very few fish were taking dries, so I had to did quite a bit of stalking. I would take a break and have a drink and snack while watching for the most consistently rising fish. I would then coat my fly with frog's fanny and slowly move into casting range. It wasn't uncommon to make probably 10 drifts over the same fish before it would take. However, it sure made for some very rewarding fishing.

Just as quickly as they started rising to sulfurs, they quit. About 4:00 things really slowed down. Not long after that a couple other guys showed up and slowly started moving downstream toward me, so I leapfrogged them upstream into some historically less productive water. I piddled around there with no success, and so I elected to call it a day.

Until next time, tight lines and God bless.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Farm Fun With The Boys

The weather forecast for Saturday was fantastic. High's in the low 70's, low humidity, and clearing skies. Amy and I loaded Trey up to take out to my parents house to play with cousin Bryce.

When we got there I found out dad had already killed a turkey, so had to take a couple quick pics of it:

Afterward, the boys wanted to walk down to the barn and play in the stream. Along the way, they just had to stop and enjoy some dandelions:

Bryce Showing Excellent Form

Shortly after picking every dandelion around, we were confronted with our first slithering friend for the year.

This black snake was out sunning in the middle of our path, and so I took this time to educate the boys a little about snakes. I quizzed Bryce throughout the day about what he had learned and what to do if he saw a snake again while out playing. After our snake encounter, it was just a short walk further until the found the stream. What else would one expect to happen when you mix boys with water than a little rock throwing.

I figured I would take this opportunity to introduce the boys to a common resident of the stream.

Got a dirt hill, need somebody to climb or dig on it? They spent the rest of the evening playing in the dirt and throwing balls. As we were leaving I couldn't help but snap this pic as the sun was setting.

It was most definitely a boys day, and I enjoyed every minute.

19" Clinch River Brown