Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ok, so that didn't work

Last friday Kris, Sean, and I decided to try a rumored spot behind the John Sevier power plant in Rogersville. Kris had heard that there were all sorts of stripers and carp that stacked up in the warm water discharge from the plant. The parking lot is located a good distance from where we were fishing and it was cold as balls, so we decided to walk down before wadering up.

It was only slightly disconcerning to see a sign by a holding pond which read "If contact with pond-water is possible or anticipated, contact plant saftey coordinator". After the expected jokes, we pushed on to the river.

We startled a nice deer along the way, and what we could see as we approached looked promising. We returned to the car, suited up, rigged, and walked back.

I know I mentioned in my last post that it isn't always about the catching fish, but in hindsight it would take some pretty solid info that the fish were in fact there (in all fairness, it was considerably warmer than the mainstream of the river, and it did look fishy as hell) to get me to go back again. Something like pictures of 20 stripers in one day...maybe.

My wading boots still smell Kris :)

I can't say that we didn't have fun, and this is the cabin-fever time of year. Any excuse to put-off the "Honey-do" list and go fishing with your buddies is all it takes. In 6 weeks or less we will be fishing pretty back in the park, or drifting the tailwaters. We have a steelhead trip coming up (more on that later), and I am sure that we will find another excuse to "stand in a river, waving a stick" before then.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Holston River 1/13/08

So Doug and I had a plan to fish the Caney Fork, and get up really early so we could make the long drive. Unfortunately it didn't happen as planned. We both apparently slept through our alarm clocks. I know that shouldn't be an excuse, but oh well. Since we ruined the possiblity of doing a long day trip, we thought we'd salvage it with a short trip up to Nance's Ferry on the Holston.

We got on the river about 1pm and fished the closest riffle to the boat ramp. We immedeately started catching fish on nymph rigs. I think the fly of choice ended up being a black zebra midge under a bead head soft hackle pheasant tail. We worked our way up to the top run catching fish the whole way up. Doug pulled some nicer fish out of the heavy water. We then focused our attention on some risers and picked off a few with dry dropper rigs.

We were off the river by 4pm and I think we landed at least 30 fish between the two of us. A bonus was the when the sun came out and turned a gloomy January day into a great day to be out on the river with a good friend.

Watauga 1/05/08

Well, I can't think of a better way to start the year off than by hitting the river with new and old friends. The day started out before light, hitching the boat up and heading out towards JC to hit the Mighty Watauga. The generators were off and reports had been coming in all week of pigs being caught...nuff said. Kris and I had planned on fishing all week...something that doesn't happen very often anymore with our conflicting work schedules. And after some arm twisting, new friend Romer agreed to come along. I'd met Brett sometime ago while working at Orvis and was more than happy to have him along. Since the recent closing of the campground at the start of the "quality zone" the usual half day trip from the campground to the bridge is no more. So, we decided to put in at the TVA access and float down to Persinger Bridge. Although I'm pretty sure that this spring with hold some insane fishing due to the closure and lower wade fishing pressure, I liked the old way, being able to fish the lower section more thoroughly. But anyway...we'll see. Back to the fishing, it was alittle slow at first. We spoke with another drifter and he said that the day before was slow until the sun hit and warmed the water alittle. He was right on. We really didn't catch much of anything until things warmed up and even after than it wasn't the typical "knock your waders off" type of action usually found there. Kris had a nice catch site fishing a slower section. There were a couple nice fish probably 18 and 20 inches respectively feeding at the bottom just behind a small shoal. Brett and I both saw the fish and the take. Kris saw the fish but has learned to just watch the indicator. Things went slow-mo, on. I had my shining moment when we anchored up just below smallings bridge. I probably caught 8-10 fish in a matter of thirty minutes. Just had the right combination at the right time. One of those times where you just, "act like you've been there." Romer tied into several nice fish throughout the day and really started to figure 'em out through the shoals. Romer is a great caster and a hell of a fisherman...and welcome in my boat any day...Just have to get him up to speed at the oars.
I don't care what anyone from a drift boat is a different ball game. Yes, it is (imho) more fun and you can more easily fish the entire river, but everything from your length of cast to mending to constantly changing flies due to the constant changing river bottom can be alittle over whelming the first time out. That being said, when everything comes together it's a beautiful thing. Just one more facet of this addiction we call flyfishing.

One side note:
Kris actually stayed awake the whole ride home!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It is not always about the fishing...

Sometimes getting out to the river is not about the fishing. Yesterday, Sean "Fish Pimp of the Year" McKay and I had a couple of errands to run down towards Seveirville and Gatlinburg.

I am not sure about Sean, but I know that I haven't been on the water since before I left town at the holidays. After we finished our errands, we grabbed a couple of beers and went off in search of some "River Chicken", stocked fish on the Gatlinburg Public water.

The scenery isn't great, when compared to fishing in the National Park, but the doughbellies are more prone to eating when the water is 38 degrees. We tried a couple of spots where we had seen fish in years past. We spooked 2 or 3 fish in the time we were out, looked at the fish in the children's section of the stream as we walked back to the car, and rolled on home. Who knows if Gatlinburg stocked as many fish this year for the catch-and-release period, or if locals are keeping them anyway, or we were not looking in the right places.

The bottome line is that a day on the river with a buddy is always a good thing, regardless of what the fish are doing.