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.