Friday, August 28, 2009

Caney Fork 8/26/2009

If you hadn't read my previous post last Friday was awesome! Twenty inch fish rising to dry flies. I don't think I can imagine anything better.

Well Doug and I thought it would be a great idea to check it out again. TVA was going to generate one hour later than they had the previous trip up. Other than that it was for the most part the same conditions. We dropped the boat and were fishing by 7am. We started picking fish up on dry/dropper rigs, then switched to streamers for a bit.

At a real nice riffle section, we both got out and did a little wade fishing. Doug was fishing a dry/dropper rig and landed a few fish. I was using a double nymph rig with a zebra midge on top and a sow bug on bottom. I had landed three fish fairly quickly and the fourth fish was a really nice brook trout.

That's when I realized there was something wrong. With every flip of his tail I had a terrible pain growing in my finger. Oh no, I'm hooked, fish is hooked! I grabbed both lines and broke the fish off, so I could check the damage. He got me good, the size 14 sowbug was completely buried in my finger along the side of my finger nail. I gave it a few tugs with my hemostats, but it wouldn't budge, this was going to be brutal, I thought.

About that time Doug rowed up and I hoped in the boat. There was no way we were going to cut this fishing trip short for a teeny hook in my finger, but I had to get it out some how. Doug most graciously offered to do it himself, but I didn't go for that. Especially when he had that half grin on his face. So after much haggling from Doug and having soaking my hand in the cooler to numb everything, I man upped and with one quick pop ripped it out. It wasn't as bad as I had thought it'd be, but wow it stung!

Okay back to fishing and after all this drama we were up on the good stretch where we'd done so well the week before. It took a little time for the fish to start rising again. The only thing left now was for us to put the fly in front of them and not mess it up. We fortunately had some great success. I'll let the pictures speak for them selves.

We did have two fish break us off and I missed a few again, but was much better on my hook sets than our last trip. One of the coolest moments was when I had a really nice twenty plus inch Brown jump about three feet out of the water! It was absolutely insane.

Definitely a great way to spend the day after my birthday, with a great friend on a great river catching some great fish.

Kris Maurer

Friday, August 21, 2009

Absolutely Insane! 8/21/2009

Sometimes you get surprised by a river that you thought you knew. Doug and myself both had Friday off, so of course we had to go fishing, like there is anything else to do on a day off. The Clinch was again blown out and I had just been up to the South Holston and needed to try something else. On a whim we checked out the Caney Fork generation and to our surprise the generation schedule looked great. We had not been on the Caney since early spring, so it seemed like a logical choice.

Steve Sylvis had recently been up in Knoxville, we had wanted to fish the Clinch, but it didn't happen, so we ended up in the mountains. I gave Steve a quick call on my way home to pick his brain about floating the river. Steve runs Xtreme Trout and is probably one of the best guides on the river. Well we lucked out and Steve agreed to meet us and fish! Sweet! there is nothing better than fishing with a great friend and guide on his home water. The generation was such that we needed to meet very early to get ahead of the water. This required a 4am departure time from Knoxville. Doug gave only a few grunts and grumbles when I told him what time we were going to leave.

We arrived at the boat ramp about 25 mins early. We were scheduled to meet Steve at 6am, I always try to be early for fishing trips, it doesn't always happen, but when you are meeting up with someone that has agreed to show you the river at no charge, early is a good thing. After dropping the drift boat in and running a quick shuttle, Steve hopped on the sticks right off the bat and I lucked out with the front of the boat and Doug took the back. After pushing off the boat ramp we immediately started sticking fish. I had a grand slam within my first ten casts and not more than a hundred yards from the ramp! I thought to myself that this could be one of those days for the record books, but kept my mouth shut, not to jinx us.

Within thirty minutes Doug and I must have landed twenty fish on dry dropper rigs. We were catching mostly smaller fish, so I decided to switch over to a small streamer in hopes of catching something a bit larger. After a few quick pointers from Steve on my streamer stripping methods, I was hammering them. After three fish to the boat, Doug was giving up his dry/dropper for a streamer as well.

We continued to fish streamers until the water came up. They were doing a two hour pulse and we pulled the boat over to wait out the water and eat a little lunch. My wife had made some killer brownies the night before and I had a sweet tooth to satisfy. After lunch we noticed a few fish rising here and there, but nothing crazy. Then underneath some over hanging trees we all spotted a pretty decent fish rising.

We rowed over to get in casting position with our dry dropper rigs. First cast I missed him and it looked to be a good sixteen to seventeen inch Brown. Then Doug missed him and finally I farmed him one last time. We backed off to rest him for one last shot, then I noticed another fish farther up under the tree, which seemed to be a bit bigger. I retied with a rubber legged parachute hopper and botched the cast really bad, however this brown materialized just as I was picking my cast up and he bum rushed the hopper. We all freaked out, this was not the fish we had been casting to, he was much bigger. I of course pulled it away from him. After resting the run a little longer I threw a better cast up under the tree again and gave it one twitch. That twitch was the key and the behemoth rose and ate the hopper! This time I was on point and fish on!

I had done everything right up to this point, but then I realized that I had just stuck my largest fish on a dry fly and I was fishing my 3wt Helios mid-flex! I came out of my haze and hear Steve telling me to take it easy, take it easy. The monster then decided he wanted to make a run and do some huge head shakes. With that the hook slipped loose and the line went limp. We all looked at each other, jaws dropped to the bottom of the boat and asking each other if that just really happened.

Okay so I just lost my largest ever trout on a dry fly. Wait, what river are we on? Oh, the Caney Fork. What fly did he eat? A hopper. Really, did that just happen? Yeah!

So the excitement was over, right? Wrong, we dropped down just fifty more yards and again found rising fish in the trash line right along the bank. Doug throws a para-adams, no luck. We start to move farther down stream and I throw a long cast up to where Doug had just been casting and Wham! Fish on, a big Rainbow. This time I was bound and determined not to loose him. Not this time brother, fish in the net! By this time we were absolutely freaking out. Steve said it was his second largest rainbow to the boat that had not been caught on a streamer.

"So, Doug do you want a rubber legged para-hopper," I asked? "What do you think" was his reply. Doug's first cast and bam! big brown on. Yeah, hopper fishing! There were a couple points when I thought he might loose the fish, but not this time.

Doug's second cast, slurp, yes another fish on the hopper, this time another big rainbow. Seriously are we still on the Caney Fork, is this really happening?

After all of this commotion we did not see any more fish rising, so we floated on out. I don't think any of us cared if we caught another fish all day. We had already had one of the best days imaginable, and left content.

Tips from the trip: Para-adams with a midge dropper on 6X floro, White streamers on Class II Density Compensated sinking line. Don't get caught with blinders on, think outside the box. Rising water, trash lines, summer, beetles, hoppers, fish the trash.

I'd like to give another shout out to Steve, he is one of the best guides I've ever been in the boat with. Check him out at Xtreme Trout

Kris Maurer

South Holston 8/19/2009

Wednesday I got up on the South Holston to fish with Randy Ratliff of Troutfishers Guide Service, . They were going to start generating around 9am and we were on the water by 9:30am. Randy has a sweet wooden drift boat that he does some of his float trips with.

We started off with some double nymph rigs and immedeatly started sticking some smaller fish, which gets the day rolling and gets the skunk off. We nymphed for a good bit early on untill we ran across a few rising fish up under some over hanging trees. We through beatles, sulphurs and soft hackles, but couldn't by a look. Then just as we started to pick up the anchor I stuck a little brown on a soft hackle.

After lunch we switched over to streamers and got some fairly consistent follows and picked up a few fish here and there. Towards the end of the day we got into some really nice pods of decent fish that were following and swiping at our streamers.

It was not a spectacular day but a very good day of fishing with a new friend.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Change of Plans

Unfortunately, fishing plans don't always work out the way you had hoped. TVA apparently decided that they needed to produce more electricity and therefore were running two generators both Wednesday and Thursday last week. Which were the days that Steve Sylvis from Nashville was planned to be here.

I had called Steve the day before and told him that things looked bleak for the Clinch or any other tailwater for that matter. Steve is a pretty easy going guy and said it was no big deal, and suggested we fish the park. I hadn't been in the park for a while, so it seemed like a great alternative.

Steve brought along his friend/website guy/producer/publisher, named Peter (Pete I'm sorry I already forgot your last name). They wanted to get some video footage of us fishing the park. I called Doug to come along and we now had a new plan.

Wednesday morning we headed to Greenbier. We went almost all the way up to Ramsey's trailhead before getting in the river. Doug, as always was the first one rigged up and stuck four fish right in front of the truck. Steve and I went down stream and landed a few. While we fished Peter bounced around between us getting a little video footage. He had positioned himself on a small bluff overlooking were I was fishing and after about ten minutes I hear him screaming and he takes off running. My first thought was snake, but when I saw him swatting at his hair I new it was hornets. I went the other way around the stream to see if he was okay. Sure enough he had crawled onto a hornets nest. He said he looked down and his waders were covered with them. Luckily he only got stung four times, and wouldn't you know it I had left the first aid kit at home. He was a trooper and stuck it out for the rest of the day.

The four of us fished almost all the way up to Ramsey trailhead. Everyone caught a few fish and I learned how tough it is to film while fishing. It is also a little nerve racking knowing you have someone over your shoulder with a camera. Doug however showed us all up and seemed to do no wrong. Peter did a little fishing and caught his first mountain rainbow and brook trout back to back. Later on the way home we tried to catch a brown on Little River, but the fish didn't cooperate.

On Thursday we didn't have as long to fish, so we headed up to Tremont for a while. The fishing was a little slower than the day before, but it was the middle of the day. I had a nice Bill Dance hook set on my nicest trout of the day which resulted in the fish getting to keep my size 16 Yellow PMX.

Both days were pretty good and it was great to just sit around after dinner and listen to Steve tell stories about guiding in Alaska last year. It sounds completely wild somewhere I hope to be able to visit one day.

Tips from the Trip: The flies that were productive were a size 14 Parachute Adams, 16 Mr. Rapidan, 16 Yellow PMX and Pheasant Tail Soft Hackles. Also longer leaders seemed to do better than a short one. We also caught a good number of fish at the very bottom of a pool.

Kris Maurer

Monday, August 10, 2009

One More Day to Go!

I am sitting in bed, I can't sleep because I'm anticipating fishing with Steve Sylvis from Game Fair Ltd. Doug Moore, myself, Steve and one of his friends have been planning to get together for sometime now. We're scheduled to float the Clinch Wednesday and Thursday(Generation permitting). He's got a presentation with the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited Thursday night.

Steve is about as true a Troutbum as I can think of. The first time I met him he had a beard that hung half way down to his belt and you'd swear he'd just crawled out of the mountains. I thought man he is the real deal. He dosen't have the "long" beard any longer, but still smells fishy. Last year he spent the summer guiding in Alaska and has some absolute killer stories from being out there. Besides trout he also chases Redfish, Stripers and who knows what else.

Steve manages Game Fair Ltd's Hunting and Fishing Department. I know most of the folks over there by name now and they are all great people. Seeing as how we're all in the same business it's good that we can get along. I think it is better for us all that way. Steve also runs and as recently published a killer map of the Caney Fork.

The Caney fished off the Chain last year. I made about nine trips over there throughout the fall. It gets a bad rap for weekend fishing, but if you can hit it during the week, it can be awesome.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the generation.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Clinch River August 4th

A day that we could do no wrong. It is not very often that you have a day where everything comes together perfectly. The type of day that the fish cooperate and every fly that you pick seems to be the ticket. When those days happen you need to take advantage and really enjoy them. The only thing that makes it better is being able to enjoy it with friends.

It has been a few weeks since I last floated the Clinch. The rain and high water and possibly need for increased electricity had TVA running almost constantly. The flows are back to being conducive to floating and Doug and myself had the day off, so it seemed like a good idea to float. Coincidentally I had a new associate, John, start at the store and we invited him along as well.

We got on the water around 9:00am after having to weave the drift boat in between two bait fisherman's cars. I don't have anything against bait fisherman, but wish they would practice proper boat ramp etiquette. Anyways as soon as we got pushed off we started catching fish on dry dropper rigs. We stuck fish consistently all the way to first set of riffles. So consistently that Doug had landed 20 fish by the time we got to the first set of riffles and reluctantly handed the rod over to me so I could get off the oars. John had also landed a good amount, but was still getting some of the cob webs knocked off.

Doug and I continued to switch off about every dozen fish, which on this day didn't take too long. Since John was the newbie he got the front of the boat pass. All newbies get this the first time, and if they fair well, they'll get to row from them on.

Around noon we stopped for lunch and Doug got out to do a little wade fishing. I should say wet wading and for those of you that have fished the Clinch that is a cold proposition. While I was eating my sandwich I think I must have seen him land at least 8 fish!

Just as soon as we had pushed off John hooked up with a huge fish. All I saw was a gigantic brown tail flash as John set the hook. I thought this was the brown of a lifetime, but as it streaked by the boat I saw it's big scales. It was a very nice carp. Although John had my 8'4" 3wt Helios! in his hands with 6X tippet. I honestly thought there was no way we would land it, but I did my best to keep close to it with the boat as John played it perfectly. After a good fight we brought the bruiser to the net. Nothing better than a carp on a Midge with 6X tippet and a 3wt!

Just past Cold Water we got a text from Doug's girlfriend saying that severe thunderstorms were heading our way. Honestly at this point we had caught more fish than should be allowed and we reeled in our rods and headed for the take out. We had been lucky enough all day and did not want to tempt our luck any longer. This had been one incredible day that will be remembered for a while.

Tips from the Trip: The rig of choice was dry dropper with and Adams size 14 dry fly and midge dropper. I don't know if the dropper really mattered as the fish really wanted to eat that day. We used a red midge or the new Hickey's Auto Emerger in Sulphur/PMD, both flies were size 16 to 18. Long leaders of 12ft and 6X fluorocarbon was a must.

Kris Maurer