Saturday, October 04, 2008

More of a plug actually...


Not exactly an entry, but I finished my latest video for my Orvis Days presentation on Greenbrier Creek. Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCw6wVHaW88

Monday, September 08, 2008

Cataloochee Creek GSMNP


Since Kris, Doug, Scott, and Brett are all away at Yellowstone, I figured it was incumbent on me to post an entry. While I won't claim that I wouldn't have joined them if I could have (I am 6 weeks from fatherhood right now), you don't need to travel halfway across the country to find good fishing.



I spent this past weekend camping with Niki on Cataloochee Creek. This is without a doubt my favorite Smokies fishery. Cataloochee is less than a 2 hour drive from Knoxville, just over the NC line off I-40. However, once you make you way up the steep, winding gravel road you are in another world.


The Cataloochee Valley was once a thriving community in the days before the park. There are over a dozen historic homes and buildings still preserved for you to visit. There is a small National Park Campground (around 2 dozen sites) located right next to a section of the stream. It is also the epicenter of the elk restoration efforts in the Park, and these magnificent creatures frequently make an appearance in twighlight hours every evening for your viewing pleasure.


The stream is a true jewel. It is different than the typical Park stream in that it has a much lower gradient that you would find on the Little or Little Pigeon Rivers. It looks like an Adirondak stream in its quiet, vegetation canopied character.


All three species of wild trout can be found within its waters. Browns predominate, though there is a healthy population of rainbows as well. This is the first time I have failed to complete my slam with a brookie as well. (This brookie is from a previous trip)


Due to the predominance of foliage, and lack of large boulders to hide behind, you need to be comfortable with longer casts and stealty movement. However, your patience will often be rewarded as the fish here seem to be a little more gullible than your average park fish, likely as a result of the lower fishing pressure this creek sees.


There are an abundance of larger fish in this watershed as well. This past spring I caught my personal record for the park, a healthy 15" brown. I have also caught a number of fish in the 10-12" range, though the average fish is still about 7".


What I like best about Cataloochee though is the fact that I feel like I am in another world when I camp there. There are nowhere near the crowds that you would find on the Tennesee side of the park. In fact, I did not see a single other fisherman while I was there this weekend. There are miles of water to fish, and the solitude and beauty are truly a thing to be treasured.


As I said, I would have loved to have been able to travel to Yellowstone with my fellow TN Trout Bums, I can hardly complain. Cataloochee Creek is a gem, and you don't have to drive 3 days, or take an expensive airplaine trip to get there.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Not boxing the waders just yet! Caney Fork 08-24-08

On a whims notice we decided to float the Caney Fork today. Seeing as I'm headed out west for 9 whole days I just couldn't bring myself to box the waders up for shipping two weeks early! My father, Doug Moore and myself all toted off to the Caney. We started off early floating from the dam to Happy Hollow at around 9:30am with the generators cutting at 10am.

Lemme tell you, when there pumping full steam, they are pushing some water! A sick amount of water...Not only were they pumping water they were sluicing as well to the tune of around 5300cfs (I think). At any rate the boat launch looked like a canoe/yak parking lot and everyone was looking at us and this funny looking boat! We quickly launched and I managed to snap a picture of the release as it was teetering off....that's about a 15' wall of water coming out! The wake was rising into the gun whales of the boat!

Flows from the dam.


The hatch we had to contend with all day! The big bug riding in the film behind Doug!


Just as the dam was almost out of sight they cut the water off and the current slowed slightly. Dad hooked into the first fish of the day in the first 15 minutes of our float! It put gigantic smiles on every ones faces as he had a FAT 16'' brown tug tightly on his line!................Just about the time I started looking for my net! Oh crap, well so much for that....I forgot the silly thing at the house! You know that makes for a good day! Leave the net at home!

Here's a shot of that beaut of a fish!


I believe I manned the oars till the halfway point of the float and Doug hadn't managed anything off the back of the boat and wanted a break...So a break I gave him. I had probably been casting for around 30 minutes and stuck a pig of a male brownie. He put a nice bend in a 7wt Helios, and upon bringing him boat side he measured in at 20"! Beautiful coloration's almost in full spawn colors!

Bending that 7wt Helios!


He's forming what will one day be a nice ugly kipe!


This is for your Doug, I cropped you out of my fish picture just like you said I would!


Gosh, a trout makes anybody look good! HA HA!I relinquished the rod at this point hoping Doug would get the S word (no I'm not referring to the 4 letter version I'm referring to the 5 letter word that ends in K and stinks when you hit one with a car!) Your welcome Doug! If you all haven't already figured it out we left with him getting the S word! We floated over some really nice fish all day! Several really large browns, and bows!

Dad managed to pick up some more nice fish throughout the day, all fat and ranging around the 10 to 14" mark. Including one beautifully colored stocked tail water brookie...These guys were amazing...Everyone one that got brought to the boat was gorgeous!

Here's some of that coloration!


A little of Doug's handy work!


That fish landed dad his Caney Fork Slam! Here's his bow!


Doug got tired of ripping streamers and handed the rod back to me and I finished my slam about an hour before we took out! Landing a bow and, believe it or not, a brookie on a streamer the same size as him!

Here's one of my last fish for the day.


So all in all, we had a darn good day! We got off the river around 7ish and packed it back in to Knoxville! I immediately went and dropped the boat off then rushed to get all my gear together to ship out! We leave for Yellowstone in less than 10 days guys! I'm sure we will have some excellent reports then! We are going to be fishing the Yellowstone for 5 days and then switching to the Big Horn River in Montana (floating it) for our last three days there! My heart races faster and faster the more I think about it! I've been day dreaming about it for weeks! Until then guys!

~Brett

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

It's been a while / Gone Fish'n

It has been quite a while since I, or anyone for that matter has posted a blog entry. I think it has something to do with the fishing/guiding season going full swing.

I have spent at least 4 days a week in the National Park over the past 2 months. When asked about this, my standard answer is "I get to go to work in God's Office every day". This is more than a pet phrase I learned from Bill Perry in Guide School, it is something that I truly believe.

Back when I was on staff at Beaumont Scout Reservation during High School and College, the Program Director used to remind us that "This might be your 6th/7th/8th week out here, but it is the campers' only week".

These two phrases, while they may sound trite, make up the basis of my personal guiding philosophy. I realize that there are folks that spend 51 weeks in an office cubical, staring at screen-saver shots of fish, reading FlyFish Tennessee or other online resources, and wishing that they could be spending the day knee-deep in Greenbriar Creek or the Little River. When I think about this, the sore knees and back, the bumps and scrapes, and the mental and physical exhaustion I face after 4 straight days of guiding suddenly don't seem so bad.

There is no feeling in the world like getting a new fly-fisherman (especially a child) onto their first wild trout. A close second is the feeling I get when I point out a specific crease/seam/pocket and tell the client to place their fly in that spot - and a fish immediately cooperates by rising to the fly. And at the end of the day, when a client shakes my hand, and tells me that they can't wait to come back and do it again, I realize that I have the greatest job in the world.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cany Fork 05-28-08

Today, like most, we though would wind up to be a stellar day on the Caney. Seeing as it was our first time down for a float on the Caney our hopes were high. I had spoken with Bill Hall about fishig the Caney for the past two weeks and listened to his story of success. Bill accompanied by my father had went to the Caney two weeks prior and absolutely killed them! So after I gained a little insight from those two I figured we would have an excellent day.

They started generating at 9am and were pushing one generator till around 6pm. I've been told in the past that fishing during the genereation could be awesome. However something that I later learned was to fish this river on the fall. When they turn the generator off and the water starts to subside. So keep that in mind!

Here's a picture of the dam, I forgot to get it until we had already started our float.


The river is absolutely chalked full of fish, at least from the dam to Happy Hollow, which is the float we took. It takes about 6.5 hours to float during the generation with stopping along the way. If you wanted to take a straight float through it could easily be done in about 5 hours. Launching a boat is pretty easy and the take out isn't far away..There are also a few local shuttles, literally a minute away from the dam. This river would also easily accomodate smaller john boats with small outboard motors and would generally keep you in some really great spots on that river. We saw two or three john boats all day and I believe we were the only ones in a drift boat all day.

We started out fishing midges dropped deep below an indicator which managed fish sporradically all day. It wasn't fantastic fishing. We kept watching fish all day and after looking at all of the nice grass beds we decided it would be stupid to keep fishing that way.....Streamer time!

Here's a shot of a FAT bow caught on a Steven "Bubba" Dark pattern. This fish took Doug into his backing three times. Made for a good morning! Put smiles on all of our faces.
Playing with Picasa (A photo uploader from Google.com). It made for a cool picture.

Doug made the switch first thwoing on a nice baitfish pattern. Instantly started getting chases. Fish ranging from 10" to 24" giving chase to Doug's fly. After that it became apparent that's what Kris would have to throw. After thouroughly searching the boat for the same streamer pattern, or even something close, we wound up short. This would prove to make an example of being unprepared. Win some lose some! We came close on a pattern Doug had in his bugger barn but it wouldn't seem to hold a candle to the fly that Doug had been casting. Yet another lesson we would learn at the end of the day was, take seven weight rods in stead of chucking streamins on five weights all day!

Once we managed the half way point we started to float along side an older gentleman in a john boat. He had just finished motoring up a run and was in the process of hooking and landing a beast. He snatched his boga grips and lifted up the pig. It was a nice fish! He said it was 8lbs, as we glared in amazement! Awesome!

Either way a short time later this nice guy came floatiing by, we think it was his fish. It was a battle trying to net him as he floated by upside down. He showed a little bit of life kicking the net. We finally netted him and tried to revive him. Doug managed to get him moving so let's hope his nose is upstream and awaiting breeding! I don't think this guy was 8lbs. though.

Anywho, we managed fish the rest of the day at a moderate pace. It seemed as if the half way point was when things started to slow down. But that's alright with me, I know what that river is capable of, and now we know what we need to do to be capable of landing them. It's always good to have a day like this. It certainly made us stop and think and the knowledge gained will go miles in helping us out from here. On a last note, when you go fishing make sure your prepared for what the day will throw at you.

This was an average fish for the day, while chucking streamers.

The Caney Fork is an absolutely beautiful river, and I will be back to fish it very soon! It's only about an hour and forty five minute drive from Knoxville. The only river closer is the Clinch! So keep that in mind. There's also plenty of wade access throughout the river.

Until the next float!

~Brett

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Watauga 4/28/2008

Mother nature did not seem to want to cooperate with us today. I awoke to rain at 6:00am. Rain however does not always mean bad fishing, in fact it was just two years ago when Doug and I fished a miserable rainy day that resulted with my biggest brown ever. With that in the back of my head I was ready and at the loft to meet Doug at 6:30am. After running to get the boat and pick up doug we were in route for the Watauga, trying to catch some of the experience that we had had last week.

When we finally got to the river to drop the boat in it was still pouring rain. The river was a bit cloudy, but not bad and we hoped the mud would hold off for the float. I was feeling good when after just five minutes we were hooked up with are first two fish of the day.

With the skunk off I moved the boat down to a good riffle that Doug and I knew held fish. They weren't taking what we had at first. I re-rigged to a soft hackle pheasant tail and a mayfly emerger pattern that had been burning a hole in my fly box for almost three years. I picked the pattern up on a visit to Jackson WY and hadn't used it since. However after seeing a pattern that Steven was fishing last week, it perked my interest again.

First cast, I hooked up! Great, we're onto them. Eric's first drift, fish on! I was now getting excited thinking I had them. Unfortunately a few more fish and they turned off. What the heck happened? I guess we just managed to catch all of the dumb ones.

The next good run drops off of a steep gravel bar to the left. After droping down it had hammered the boat into a small back eddy. Eric began casting to a good seem and instantly a good fish hit. Okay I though, we've found them. Not quite. The fishing slowed a bit and I hopped out of the boat to fish a side channel. Three fly rods at once get a bit crowded. I picked up three fish, but nothing of any size.

Getting back to the boat, I reassessed the situation and once again re-rigged with longer leader and more shot. It payed off with a nice fish once again.

By this time the water had got quite a bit muddy, We picked up a few fish here and there, before switching to a streamer. I had a few follows, and turned it over to Doug, so I could eat some lunch. Doug immeadeately started getting follows, but few hookups. That is usually how streamer fishing goes. The fish has to really want it, and when they do look out.

Doug picked up some really nice fish on streamers and we managed to salvage the trip.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Watauga 4/21 - 4/22/2008

Long time coming. I had been planning this trip for a year. Last year we caught the Caddis hatch perfectly and had the best couple of days fishing that I have ever had up to that point. I was hoping to try and duplicate that trip this year. It almost didn't happen, but Steven Dark saved the day once again.

Seriously, Bubba Dark is proably one of the best fisherman I have ever been on the water with. He's got a sixth sense about knowing where fish are and how to get his fly into thier mouth. Sometimes I think he can just put the fly infront of them and make them bite. He amazes me everytime I fish with him.

Anyways, Monday, Doug and I arrived in Elizabethton around 9am. We put in at Blevins road behind most of the guides. We planned on just chilling out and having a good time. I think beverages may have been cracked open just before noon. I started with a Caddis dry and midge dropper. We started picking fish up in the very first riffle. Dry/droppers continued to work until we got to the caddis riffles. once there we switched to cased caddis patterns until a good hatch of mayflies started.

We picked up some really nice fish throwing CDC Comparadun Sulphurs, even though I'm not sure it was sulphurs that were hatching. After the hatch tapered off, we caught fish all the way to persinger bridge. Day number one was over and it was off to dinner to celebrate Mr. Dark's 21st Birthday at Outback with some brews.

Little Pigeon 4/19/2008

Unplanned success! I was supposed to teach a beginning fly fishing school, but due to bad weather my students had to postpone the school. Fortunately Doug had the day off and was planning on being in town to do some shopping or something. A quick call and the mention of some smallmouth and it was easy to convince him that is shopping trip was going to turn into a fishing trip.

Spring time Smallmouth fishing is one of my favorite times. Pound for pound a smallie will whoop almost any other freshwater fish there is. The will literaly rip the rod out of your hands. I happened to have my new 905-4 Tip Helios in the truck and thought it need a good breaking in. There is also the chance of hooking into some big carp, of which I broke 2 rods on last year.

We started off at a very frequented spot for local smallmouth anglers. Upon arriving we found suckers rising to something on the surface. I'm not sure if they were really eating off of the top or it was something to do with spawning. Anyways, on to the smallmouth. Doug started off the day picking up some decent smallies. I however could only manage to snag a few carp. Which can put up a very good fight, but aren't as prestigous as a bronze back.



Doug proceeded to go on a pretty good tear of smallies. He even managed to hook into a 18 or 20 inch Rainbow, that was undoubtedly left over from a recent trout derby. I started to just chalk it up as one of those days. Then Doug made the mistake of turning the last pool over to me before we left. I proceeded to hook smallie after smallie as Doug watched. I think I brought 3 or 4 to hand before he was regreting his descision and trying to get a cast in. My tear continued as I picked off smallies in water that he had just covered. We caught a few more before moving on to another spot that I had luck in last year.



Spot number 2 started off a really slow. We both covered about a hald mile of stream before finding the mother load. It started off as one good smallmouth under a bridge that I had fished before. Then she hit like a ton of bricks and when that ton of bricks jumped out of the water, I about lost it. I was certain this was the biggest smallmouth I had ever caught. She put up a great fight, at one point wraping the line around a submerged log, but fortunately coming out of it. The nine foot five weight Helios was doubled completly in half. I finally managed to bring her to hand for a couple of pictures




The fly of the day was a tan Becks Super Bugger. The water was a bit on the cold side and the fish seemed to be sitting on the bottom. I didn't catch a fish unless I was ticking the bottom. The fish were also in water depths of 3 to 5 feet just below a riffle, so longer leader was key to getting the fly on the bottom.


Holston River 3/28/2008

Good times with old friends. Eric, a good friend of myself's and Doug's who had recently moved to Texas for a new job, made it back in town to do some fishing. His wife who is still living in Knoxville, finishing up nursing school. Was gracious enough to let Eric get out and play. Thanks Baby!



So the plan was originally to float the Watauga, but TVA did not want to cooperate with our fishing plans and decided to change the generation schedule on us. Fortunately the Holston generation was favorable for fishing. It also just happened that two other friends of mine were planning on fishing the Holston that day as well. Eric, Doug and myself met up with Chad and Brad around 10am at the Cherokee dam boat launch.

As soon as we pulled into the parking lot you could see fish rising all the way down to the first set of riffles, which is quite a ways. Trust me cause I rowed it. The plan was to put the drift boat in and float slowly down to the first set of riffles to fish, then row back up stream to the boat ramp.

After a bit of trial and error we figured out the fish. They were rising to small cream midges and none of us had flies to match. The were dog d--k size gnats, as ole Timmy would say. However a size 20 black zebra midge dropped beneath a parachute adams did the trick.

We used the same rig all day and picked fish up consistently. Putting the boat in was a great idea, as it enabled us to cover all of the flat water very efficiently. I think we landed about 40 to 50 fish thoughout the day and were off the water by 4pm. Can't ask for anything better than that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One Confused Guy on the Water! SOHO 03-10-2008

Actually it was two confused guys on the water! We, my brother in law (Adam) and I ascended back up to the South Holston in search of putting him on a decent fish. See, Adam and I started fly fishing together about 6 years ago. I, was the fortunate one of the two who stuck with the sport and made it my obsession. Adam has, however, managed to keep his casting skills up somewhat casting to an occasional striper or bluegill every now and again.


Adam has been reading, I should say looking at pictures, of my blog and decided it was time for him to get back into the game. Life has gotten a little easier and a little more relaxed for him allowing him time to get back to old times! He called me about two weeks ago to let me know he wanted to ride along on my next trip! "Stand by!" I believe were my choice of words. "I have the place for you!" However now, while writing this report, I feel terrible! I talked a ton of hype and didn't wind up with much to show for it!

We left early and headed up towards Bristol arriving on the water at around 9. We put in at one of my favorite spots for wading on the South Holston. I had tied up some pretty new BWO's for the trip. I rigged my fly rod and then rigged his using one of my favorite set ups, the deadly dry dropper. I spent a great portion of the morning cussing him for making casts and watching the water, not his fly. It actually got kinda funny, I kept asking him "Where's you fly?" with him replying "I don't know!" I found my self saying "If you can't see your fly, you can't use this technique!" I said cussing, maybe not, but he eventually caught my drift! No pun intended!

They are suppossed to float in the film..That didn't work...A little more tweaking and these things will be awesome! Hey, they already catch fish!
Adam's first catch of the day, average for the day! Oh, well there will plenty more where that came from!
After about 30 minutes we had him on his first South Holston brown trout. Instant smiles on his face realizing he had properly fished that technique and now understood why I was getting aggravated with his can't see the fly technique. After realizing he had it, I set out to find one of my own! It didn't take long on my new pattern, I hooked up on a decent brown! Snapping some pictures along the way. I really spent the day enjoying the bad weather, overcast and wind.
Here's a shot of that BWO I tied up working it's magic. Have confidence in your flies, I learned that quickly!
Here's another shot of that fish!

We wound up on our last spot of the day, a spot that holds several big fish, I'm talking over 28'' and one that would go well over 36"!!! Silly me I spent the whole day casting to a monster brown that just wouldn't eat what I had! I didn't have a streamer box, shame on me! Adam casted a black bugger in the pool and lost it in about 30 seconds! "Poor knot?!" I believe is what I said to Adam, while Adam sat looking at his rod I believe saying "Damn, damn, damn!" Now laughing I knew it was time to head back. We casted all the way to the take out and didn't hook set a single fish! Oh well, now I look like an idiot. Won't make the first time! I promised him a nice spring day catching fish till his arm hurt and wanting to give the fish a break. He smiled and said "That'll do!"
See if you can spot the monster in this picture...Oh, and I made it easy on ya, I tweaked the hell out of this picture to give you a clear veiw of the bottom!

We picked up about 15 fish total for the day. A tough day on the South Holston. A day that consisted of constantly changing flies. Conditions were terrible and I truly believe the fish are still in that transitional stage. They are trying to re locate on the stream, and the hatches just aren't set for spring yet! I did manage pumping one fishes stomach that was completely loaded with midges ranging from 18 up to about a 26...Yes, they come that small and I'm convinced the fish certainly do seek them out to eat! So if your headed anywhere in the near future I'd look for alternative means of fishing. Float the Watauga, wade the Caney, Miller's Island at the Clinch, or simply just find yourself deep in the Smoky Mountains National Forest on some back county stream! I believe I'd hit the Smokies for some quill action! Just my two cents!
~Brett

Monday, March 03, 2008



Sunday brought a nice south breeze and correspondingly warm weather. It was sunny and temps reached the upper 60's.

Sean and I headed to the Holston River to "research" water for his new position with River Ridge Lodge.

We hit a riffle near Tampico that is among the most scenic I have ever seen on Holston. We tried our hand at nymphing. Sean caught one or two, but I couldn't ignore the plethora of midges flying about, laying on the water, and enticing trout to the surface.

I tied on a Griffiths Gnat with a thread/cdc midge dropper and began to work the fish. I farmed a couple before hooking and landing my first rainbow of the day.

Sean took over for me while I tried to shoot some video. I got some great footage of Sean missing a great brown trout for posterity.



video

After a while Sean went back to nymphing his previous hole. I returned to my rising fish. I saw a rise and set the hook. I had a fish on and immediately heard Sean shout "Double".

I quickly netted my fish (which was side-hooked - hey it was on a size 20, I was slow alright!)
and ran over to help Sean. His was bigger, in the mouth, and a nice holdover Brownie to boot.


I know mine was dry-fly gaffed, but it was nice to spend a Sunday afternoon in the sun, with tight lines and a good friend.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Washed out on the South Holston



Alright folks time to disappoint! Kris and had planned a days wade on the South Holston. Kris made a phone call and plans changed to what anyone woulda dreamed of. Now, the plans were to hook up with a fantastic guide from the Johnson City area who has been on these waters fly fishing since he was about twelve years old. Then spend the day in his high side Hyde for a legendary float down the SoHo, chunkin' big streamers head hunting pig trout all day from the weirs to the Boone lake launch. Steven "Bubba" Dark, is his name. Kris nor I received little sleep before calling one another, around 3:50 in the morning. Remind me again why it is we do this to ourselves!?! Any who, we hooked up at the Creel fly shop, to give it our farewell, around 4:30 and shipped off pointed noses pointed towards Bristol.

We hooked to Stevens boat promptly around 6:30, locking hitch and flooring the right pedal all the way to the weir. We were all now itching looking at the water flow boiling over the weir. We saddled up and shoved off.

I think we managed to float around 10 minutes before realizing it was going to be a bad day! As we peered over the edge of the boat, all one could see, was enormous clumps of didymo accompanied by a years worth of settlement from the rivers bottom. This being the first major generation of the new year, everything was set afloat. Extremely dinged bottom, accompanied by severe cloud cover made chucking steamers a "bad" idea! Steven rowed us downstream in some unsettling record breaking pace. The kid is just as amazing behind the oars as he is with a fly rod in his hand. We managed Jacks place in under 2 hours from shoving off. Were we decided it be best we take the boat out, grab a bite and try back at the weirs after they were done pumping around 11:00am. Hooking to the boat, off yet again, with time now needing burned. Webb's Market? Yes, I do say so myself!

Here's a few shots of the weather conditions. Pay close attention to the awful cloud cover looming over head. Also keep in mind the forecast stated 60 degrees clear skies!



Here's a shot of us coming down by the church just before crossing underneath the steel bridge.



After nabbing some pumpkin spice pancakes drenched in cinnamon syrup, of course with a side of bacon I was fit to be tied. Kris, a non pancake lover, decided to try a bite of what I had left on my plate. Well, lets just say my plate left with little needing cleaned. Not to stay away from fishing but those guys at Webb's can make you like your most disliked food. They are truly master's of the culinary in my book! That's right folks, you all get the whole experience from a days fishing with me food and all!

Now rolling our stocked bellies back to the car, we headed off back to the weir to manage some wade fishing. We arrived just in time as the water had been down for around 15 minutes or so. Both Kris and Steven stood atop the weir while I strolled on off to fish the first bend just down from the weir. I struggled with re-rigging my flies and adjusting to wading with a bunch of new equipment. After a few fly changes I managed a take on a split back sulfur nymph. Nice! Now, I officially have a four hour skunk off! Was starting to break a sweat. One, for just being nervous about getting skunked and two, for consistently changing flies for about 10 minutes. I'm a firm believer in changing flies.

Trout will always eat a meal that they want. Explained. It's just a matter of finding out what they want, or simply just finding the hatch, then find out how they are taking the hatch. Do they want a ripe nymph, an emeger floating to the surface, an emerger on the surface, or simply just a dry? All of which may change depending on what kind of water your fishing it in..It can change several times within a few short steps! Faster water, for me, is the best place to throw a nymph (this will generally produce better fish as well/faster water equals cover). Emerger's in a tail out and slower water, and dry's in between! None of which is set in stone! Water depth always comes into play.

Here is the skunk off fish of the day! He took to a bottom bouncing sulfur in skinny water of around 6".




Kris and Steven wandered off of the weir, after managing a couple of fish a piece, down below where I was standing. I stood in frustration, struggling to find the right fly. I had caught and landed around 4 before moving downstream where Steven and Kris were. I passed a gentleman spin fishing from the bank who had just spilled his freshly caught trout out of his 5 gallon bucket. He said to me "I believe I'm done for the day" as he smiled and threw his days work back in the bucket.

I put in just down from where the old man had been, and watched another older gentleman getting frustrated with Steven. He was standing with a spin rod in his hand watching Steven intently, while Steven rolled in the fish. It was a sight. The guy didn't need say a word, it was written all over his face! I started working across and upstream of this gent, slowly landing fish until he became disgusted with his spin outfit and decided to spend the day at home.

I managed to constantly catch about 4 or 5 more fish on my sulfur nymph before heading down to Kris to give him one to try. It's now around 1:00 in the afternoon and the sun is about another 15 minutes from poking it bright little face out. I was intently watching the cloud cover wishing I could speed the process up. Knowing when it popped out the sulfurs would make a "dry" appearance! Well, needless to say 15 minutes later I was right, but completely wrong on thinking a fish would eat what I had to offer. Steven was taking fish on a BWO dry pattern consistently, while Kris was also managing decent numbers on a similar pattern. When the stray clouds covered Mr. Sun the BWO hatch would go into full swing and teeter off when the sun came back out bringing the sulfurs back to surface. It was frustrating! No, sooner would you tie on then have to go and change again! Thinking back on it I should have fished a tandem nymph rig with both a BWO and sulfur pattern on. Live and learn! I believe I managed a meager 10 while Kris and Steven managed about 30 a piece!

Shortly after we decided to try and hit the church access just off of Sand Bar Rd. I'm still, trying to fight off the effects of that section of water. Miserable! It's a gorgeous section of water that normally produces very well! Steven set off tagging fish with regularity, while Kris and I struggled to bring a fish to hand. Kris managed a few while I was getting skunked in this section. We made it about 300 yards upstream of the bridge, where I decided I was going to find the ticket. Sadly mistaken yet again. Kris and Steven wandered upstream while I set pouting, looking intently at my fly box and watching the water for bug activity. I watched some amazingly large sulfurs come off as the light started to dwindle. Sulfurs ranging from a size 20 up to a size 14. Smaller trout were sipping and practicing there acrobatic skills while the other grouchier more selective trout sat eating away on something entirely different.

With about an hours worth of light left I decided to re-vamp my entire method of fishing which took about 10 minutes to re-tie and re-work my leader! First cast, snap, that son of a gun (much profanity was used here) took my double surgeon and made a fool out of me. Now, thinking I've got you figured out big boy, I re-tied in an attempt to get my flies back. You can try, but it never works! No, repetition doesn't pay off if your asking yourself! Nor does persistence in the same hole. If you find your self frustrated, move to different water. One day I'll remember that when I'm not trying to out do myself! I looked at the same "hole" for about another thirty minutes or so before heading just slightly back down stream.

After watching some activity along the bank, I though I'd try something a little different. Moving proved to pay off when I hooked into a really nice brownie laying right up against the bank. He rolled and I decided I would long distance release him, you all believe me! I played the bank for a few more minutes finally bringing this absolute beaut to hand. Rosy red, and beautifully colored and a dorsal fin that just wouldn't lay flat. This trout said, he wanted his picture taken. I obliged him! I set him back in the water, revived him and then proceeded in finding out exactly what he had been eating.

Here's a few shots of the coloration I'm talking about!





Now a mention of the trouts stomach contents. Let me add a few things about pumping one's stomach. I always pick a decent size fish usually around 12", I try not to take a picture of the fish and pump it's stomach. You have to really watch how quickly you manage your fish. I felt confident in being able to pump this fishes stomach and release it back to be caught another day! You can gain a tremendous amount of knowledge from pumping but I recommend it as a last resort. I certainly wouldn't go buy a pump starting off fly fishing. It's a tool that helps us learn on days such as this. Tools are great but sometimes yield us away from the obvious! There were two obvious things going that day...Sulfurs and BWO's! Neither of which really seemed to produce for me! One good pump and this fish was sent on his merry way, splashing a bit of water in my face as he made waves back to his designated hole to fill his belly back up!

Here's the result and here is what I learned! Out of about 25 flies pumped out of this fishes stomach most of which were BWO nymphs in about a size 20 with some around 22. One gorgeous specimen and friend of mine, the black fly! This lil guy was around a size 24 and alot different looking than the pattern I normally throw. Hmmm? I also retrieved what I believe to be is a very small Sulfur nymph (though I'm no expert entomologist). Accompanying it were several size 24/26 green midges. The star of the day was a cress bug, the picture is a little fuzzy, and I forgot to mention around a size 18. This I didn't expect, but should have. Seeing as this fish was lying right up against the bank, right next to a clump of grass. Knowledge gained! Now, off to the vice with this knowledge! Now maybe the next time I'll be armed with something they will take a little more liking too! Either way here's the pics!

Black Fly Adult


A definite black thorax, but an olive green/brown abdomen! Hmmm?


Another good hatch to fish, if you can understand what's going on! The Midge! On top you will see the adult Midge and just below you will see it in it's larval form. I begin to wonder if this midge broke it's shuck in the trouts stomach. Some things just make you wonder.


I'm still not sure why I decided to pair these two. I'm not positive on what's up top...I'm going out on a limb here and I'm going to say midge. But with those big crumpled up dun colored feather's I'm hesitant to say that. Possibly a BWO, but where are the tails? Beneath is definitely a BWO shuck which proved to be the vast majority of what the fish had digested.


Yes' that is a knife and there is no such hatch. However that pretty little guy attached to it is a cress bug! Olive/brown and probably one of the bigger meals of the day for this fish!


Here's one of the best shots of the day. I'm not 100% sure of the id but I'm going with BWO. Three tails it's what's doing it for me. It did have a very yellow appearance when photographed, and appeared pretty big for a BWO. I've been playing with this picture adjusting the lighting on it and I've come up with some pretty interesting colors when tweaking the picture.


So once again knowledge gained, and off to the vice I go to better prepare for a bad day on the water. All said now, I had a great day! Spending it with and meeting new friends. Steven seems like a great guy and for certain a fantastic guide. Look him up, though I hear he's booked solid for about 2 months, starting in the spring. Though you never know when a client just can't make his water date! Tough conditions, and tough days on the water make us better fisherman. It's all about learning and catching a fish or two while your at it! As always remember that a bad day on the water beats a good day at the office!

~Brett