Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Quick Trip With My Wife

Before our kids were born, my wife enjoyed going on fishing trips with me.  Not to fish, but to just enjoy the peace and quiet while watching me fish.  So, when she recommended we do that today, I immediately took her up on the offer.  Knowing it was going to be a busy weekend, I needed a stream that would offer the following:
  • Convenience of trail by the stream
  • Relatively short hiking distance
  • Typically overlooked fishery
I have three such streams that I keep in my back pocket for such days as this.  Unfortunately, one of these is over in North Carolina, and another was right in the middle of an area that was going to be busy this weekend.  So, that left me with only one option.  We got to the trailhead around 10:00, much later than I originally intended.  On the drive in, I was concerned when I saw lots of color in the water, and remembered that storms crossed the mountains yesterday evening.  So, I was beginning to question my decision for the day, until we got our first glimpse of the water.
Water Looking Perfect
We walked in a distance, then realizing that we may have gone too far, turned around and backtracked looking for a good spot.  We found a spot with good pocket water, and a convenient place for my wife to sit.
Amy Trying Out my Alite Monarch Chair
We packed along my new Alite Monarch Butterfly chair for my wife to sit in, and she put it to good use while reading something on her Nook.  I didn't see any fish rising or any flies dancing above the water, but I chose to go with my recent go-to Yellow Sally pattern.  It didn't take long to find a willing participant:
Beautifully Colored Bow

After a couple more takers, my fly really started to get water logged and I needed to switch.  Now, keep in mind that this is the very same fly I used almost exclusively on my last backpacking trip, and the trip last weekend.  So, this one fly was on its third trip, and had landed numerous fish.  It was about time to retire it because I was having difficulty floating with all the fish slime on it.  I switched flies a few times, and got a few slashing strikes but overall success was much less than with their predecessors.    Finally, I did manage to land one on a extended body yellow sally pattern.

He came out of this really nice run underneath overhanging branches.

Unfortunately, the fishing continued to be less productive than previously, and I was contemplating calling it quits.  So, I did a quick change of location and tried my best to revive the previously retired fly.  Right on cue the fishing began to pick up, so I began to think that maybe there was something about the patter that was special.  I flipped through my fly selection and discovered that this was the only pattern I had like it in my box, so I quickly snapped a picture so that I could try my best to replicate it later.  

I tied this pattern a could years ago while tying up a batch of foam neversink caddis patterns.  I didn't like the blocky foam body sticking out the back, so I thought I would see what one looked like if I wrapped a thin strip of foam around the body.  I then hackled the fly with brown whiting saddle hackle, added a wing of sparkle flash and bleached elk hair.  For some reason I used black thread for this fly, whereas I would probably normally use yellow.  Whatever it was, the fish definitely seem to like this fly.  It has easily outproduced other commercially available yellow sally patterns 4 to 1 in recent weeks.

The water was looking just absolutely fantastic in this area, and the fish were quite aggressive.  Although, many were very small, around 3" to 4". 

We decided to call it quits around 12:30 since we needed to make our way back to Knoxville to collect the kids from the grandparents, most likely loaded with sugar and caffeine by now...

On the walk out we saw lots of butterflies, more dayhikers, and even some dayhikers taking pictures of butterflies.  Kind of like this... :)

Amazingly we saw probably 50 - 60 hikers today, but not another fisherman.  That is why I love this area.  There are two streams in this vicinity that see lots of day hikers, but most likely go for days without seeing a fly drift by.

On the way out, our stomachs were really rumbling, so we stopped in at a small BBQ joint for some amazing food.

It was nice having my wife with me riverside again.  It had been over two years since our last trip, but this is something we should try to do every so often again. 

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19" Clinch River Brown