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.

Monday, April 12, 2010

BHPT Feeding Frenzy

My mom kept Trey Friday night, so that gave me Saturday morning free. I checked the generation schedule, and TVA was turning on one generator at 7AM, so that would give me till 10:30 to fish. I also figured since the window was so small combined with the cold temperatures there would be limited numbers of people out to start the morning. I was correct, only saw two other fisherman in the two hours and fifteen minutes I fished.

I started fishing in a run that my buddies were catching fish out of on Wednesday evening using a #16 BHPT and a #20 midge larva. After the first couple of fish attacked my BHPT, I cut off the midge and continued to catch a total of 8 fish out of the first run. After about 45 minutes, I couldn't get any more takes so I moved downstream to a couple places I know that typically harbor some pigs. I managed to catch a few more on my way, also on the BHPT before reaching my destination.
Average Rainbow

Before making any casts I checked my fly and found that the last fish had completely destroyed it. So, I figured this would be a good time to try out a slightly modified split case pattern that my buddy Brett Romer had some influence in.

I spotted a fish cruising around actively on the other side of some large rocks, and slowly fished my way out to him. Eventually I made my way to within casting range, and he inhaled my nymph offering on the first drift. He vaulted out of the water, and I could tell he was a very nice rainbow. After a brief fight I landed him, snapped some pics, and released him to catch another day. The fishing was phenomenal nearly the entire time I was on the water, with a total of 14 brought to hand, two break offs, multiple misses and long distance releases.
16" Bow

16" Bow

One unusual thing I witnessed on Saturday morning was three different rainbows clearing redds at the tail of one pool. I have watched browns clearing redds on the Clinch before, but never saw rainbows doing it. I have noticed that some of the smaller 6 - 8" bows in this area are brightly colored, refer to some previous posts. I wonder if we are seeing some reproduction taking place for once. Next time out, I will look again to see if the redds are still occupied. If TVA does maintain the current generation schedule, these fish are not sterile, and people leave them alone I would venture to say that this year could have some river born rainbows added to the mix.

Weather - Sunny, Calm, 37 to 60 degrees
Water - 51 degrees, clear
Flies - #16 BHPT & #16 Split Case

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Clinch Sulfur Preparation

Fished the Clinch yesterday late afternoon, and the trout are beginning to move out of their typical winter/summer lies into typical sulfur holding spots. I also started picking up some fish yesterday on pheasant tail nymphs, whereas I have had to use midges all spring so far. Water was up another couple degrees to 50, so we are only about 5 degrees away for full on sulfur hatches. Can't wait, so I am going to tie up more pheasant tails, sulfur emergers, thorax duns, and comparaduns in preparation.

Here are a couple of my best from yesterday, around 14" each:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bagged My First Bird

On Easter we went to my parents house in the afternoon. While watching the boys playing outside I heard a turkey gobble a couple times. So, I ran inside and told my dad, changed clothes, and off we went. I had brought my stuff along just in case, but this was my first time turkey hunting so I enlisted my dad as my caller. We made our way down near it, and called for nearly an hour with limited response. We finally decided that it wasn't going to move, and walked up the logging road to see if we could find any activity. Shortly thereafter we walked up on 5 birds, 4 of which spooked when they saw us. Unfortunately for the brave one, he is now going to be dinner.

I feel a little disappointed however, because I did not call the bird in. They say that is an adrenaline rush, so I may have to give it another try soon. In the meantime "there are fish in them thar hills and cricks", and I plan on catching some.

Below are some pics:
18 pounds

Bright Red Headed Gobbler

Look at those colors!

10-1/2 inch beard

3/4" Spurs

Now it is time to get some revenge on some Clinch rainbows. Bring it on!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Clinch is Coming Out of Hibernation

Dave and I went back over to the lease yesterday to see if the warm weather over the past week has made a difference. I arrived with the water still high, and a couple of other people were gearing up. Dave showed up about an hour later. Surface activity was virtually non-existent when I got in the water, so I went with a double nymph rig.
The River

It didn't take long to hook up with my first fish, a nicely colored 8" rainbow. The coloration was much more fitting of a smokies rainbow of this size than a clinch bow. Not long afterward I tied into the largest fish I have hooked all year, and it absolutely man-handled me. I could tell that it has been a long time since I last tussled with a 16"+ fish. The 9 to 12" fish I have been catching recently really have not helped me stay on my game.
My Best Bow

Between 2:30 and 5:30, I had only landed the one little fish and had two break me off. However, at 5:30, it was like somebody flipped a switch, and there were fish rising everywhere. I was getting a take on nearly every cast, and it was a nice ending to a beautiful day. However, in the back of my mind there was still that one nice one that got away. Oh well, I know where he lives, as it isn't the first time I have had a fish break me off in this one run.

Dave Landing One

Dave Landing One

Last Fish of the Day

19" Clinch River Brown