Photo of the Month: Morning

Photo of the Month: Morning

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Is For...

...aggressive browns...


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fickle Caney

The Caney continues to be its fickle self.  Most anglers are experiencing slow to decent fishing although those with the right bugs are still catching plenty of fish.  Nice rainbows are continuing to impress me each trip.  There are lots of little stockers in the river to play with but enough nice holdover fish in the 14-18 inch range are out there as well to keep things entertaining.  The fish that have been in the river a while are beautifully colored. 

A few nice browns are being caught as well.  As we head towards the colder months, I expect fishing to pick up, especially for those out drifting.  Nymphs will be top producers but daily midge hatches will get trout looking towards the surface.  On high water (and on low water too but shhhhh!), streamers will take some nice trout and not just the larger browns either.  I've taken a good number of chunky rainbows and feisty brookies on streamers over the last couple of months.  Once December and January roll around, grab the streamer rods and take a float for some great streamer fishing.

The water visibility is slowly increasing which is a good thing.  However the water temperatures are still a little warmer than I would like, at least up near the dam.  The cold nights are helping the water temperatures down river a lot. 

Here are a couple rainbows and a brown we have taken in the last week or so. 



Monday, October 24, 2011

Big Rainbows on Small Dry Flies

This past weekend, I was able to get away for a float trip with David Perry.  We wanted to check on how the Caney was fairing.  While some people were looking for spawning browns, we took a different approach and looked for big fish chasing streamers early while the water was high.  Rainbows are really feeding heavily right now in preparation for the colder months ahead. 

Early in the float, I had just switched to one of my favorite streamers, a Stacked Blond (super easy to tie as well), when a nice little brown of about 16 inches slammed the streamer about two strips into the retrieve.  After a brief fight in which the fish was no match for my 7 weight rod and 12 lb. tippet, we quickly netted him, took a couple of pictures, and watched the first score of the day swim off into the now receding flows. 


Continuing down the river, we eventually started fishing the nymph rods, picking up the odd brookie or rainbow.  However, the best fishing was still to come.  As it got later in the day, the fish started to look to the surface for the increasingly heavy midge hatch that also had a few caddis thrown in.  Lots of fish started to rise as the sun drifted lower in the sky.


Finally, that moment all good fly fisherman are looking for arrived.  A pod of big risers was located.  The drift boat was maneuvered ever so carefully into position, and we began probing the water and switching patterns until the magic fly was discovered.  I didn't have the pattern I wanted as I haven't been tying midge dries lately.  Now is the time to change that problem because David Perry did have the right pattern and his reward was large!  A big rainbow sipped the fly ever so gently.  The next few moments were tense as the big fish ran straight for a big log, veering up and over it at the last second into open water.  Finally the beautiful fish was in open water, and I backed the drifter over to the shallows for a couple of pictures.

 


After releasing the beast, we continued through the deepening shadows, picking up another fish or two on the dry patterns.  I got back on the streamer rod, missing a couple of half-hearted hits.  Finally we got off the water just as night was conquering the last gleams of light.  This was definitely one of the best days on the water since the cicada hatch last spring.  These are the types of days that keep bringing us back in search of that next big fish...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Foggy Encounter

Deteriorating weather always makes me excited to go fishing.  Bad weather keeps the crowds at bay, and also tends to get the fish excited about eating.  Foggy weather can sometimes make for spooky fishing though.  At those times, its just you, the water, and the fish.  The memories can be a little surreal, especially when the fish you catch turns out to be a big striper that runs you a hundred yards down the river.  A cold combined with exhaustion compounds the problem, leaving behind only a hazy recollection of the events leading up to catching such a fish...


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall On Little River



Fall break has arrived and with it I now have time to go fishing. Yesterday I kicked off the break with a trip to Little River to chase the browns. The water was up just enough to get the bugs hatching and the fish feeding.

I was not as interested in hatches of BWOs and Yellow Quills though. My main objective was big brown trout and with that in mind, I promised myself that I would give streamers a fair chance before changing my rig.

The sun was just rising as I arrived and rigged up. My first choice was a small streamer that has been effective on small stream smallmouth the last couple of years. After thoroughly working the first pool, I was just about to try another spot when I made one last cast. Immediately a little brown nailed it and the day was off and running.



For the next few hours, I caught several browns up to around 12 inches. The big ones eluded me though and in fact, I never really spotted any true giants. The largest fish I definitely saw was around 17-18 inches at most.  Sometimes it seems the river is devoid of large trout, and then you go another time and you spot big fish everywhere.  That's just part of the game.  Putting in your time on the water is the surest way to start finding these elusive fish and maybe even catching one.




Despite the lack of big trout, it was still a perfect day to be out, and I took full advantage of the overcast skies and feeding trout. The rainbows were on the feed as well, and when I changed to a double nymph rig later in the day, my catch quickly diversified.  A beautiful 12 inch rainbow came out of water where I was honestly expecting a large brown.  I can't complain though because a twelve in rainbow in the Park is not too common.

 
This time of year is my favorite, and not just for the fishing. The colors were awesome, and I took a few pictures to remind myself later of how beautiful the day was.  Once winter arrives with its grey skies and dreary days, I will look back and remember these perfect fall days and the great fishing they provided. 









Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tis the Season


Fish are starting to get fired up about streamers again. As we move into the colder months, streamers will be a great bet on tailwaters and mountain streams alike. The big browns are getting aggressive and will respond to streamers through the winter. The water temperature will determine the best method of presentation. On tailwaters, a fast retrieve is normally effective while in the mountains, the fish sometimes want the offering presented nearly dead drift...

This rainbow fell for an olive/pearl Zonker on the Caney last Friday. The fish hammered the fly and proceeded to give my 5 weight a workout. I was glad to have my big net handy. Photographing fish is much easier if you can protect the fish and keep it in the water until you are prepared to take the picture.


As far as the fishing goes, I caught a few small fish including a brookie and a brown. I also fished to a larger rising brown for a while but could never get it to eat. Overall the water clarity is marginal at best and I can't really recommend fishing the Caney for another month at least due to the clarity problems. The sluice gate will be in operation for some time until the temperatures come down and the dissolved oxygen levels from the generators improve. This, combined with the lake turning over soon, means that the clarity will continue to be an issue.

Right now, the hot place to be is the South Holston. Good numbers of nice fish are being caught, including some very nice fish to around 25 inches on streamers. The sulphurs are still hatching and the fall BWOs have started. Expect to find the BWO hatching best on cloudy days and the sulphurs will tend to be better on sunny days.

Water levels in the mountains are still low to extremely low. Until we get some substantial rain, fishing in the mountains will be tough at best. Fall hatches are coming on now in the mountains and should provide good fishing until we get consistently cold weather that brings stream temperatures down to winter time levels.


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Fishing For Me


After an evening of teaching, what I really wanted to do was to explore the small lake for myself, so the next day I snuck off for an hour on the water. 

When I got there, the sun was sinking fast in the western sky and the fish were on the feed.  I started with the same fly pattern that I was teaching the guys with (more on this simple strategy for bass later).  My first cast produced a bass and I was off and running.


As I progressed around the lake, I caught fish in most places where the guys had the previous evening.  Some new spots proved interesting as well when I noticed some monster bass (no joke, one was probably in the 7-9 pound range) up feeding on baitfish against the bank.  These bass know how to chase the small fish up against the bank and then pound them unmercifully. 

In one spot the previous evening, one of the guys kept hooking up only to have the fish (we never saw it to know what it was) race off into the weeds.  I was determined to catch whatever "it" was.  Dropping my fly in with anticipation, I jigged it twice and then watched the line dart towards the weeds again.  Putting as much pressure as I dared, I soon muscled a nice bluegill out of the heavy cover. 


As the evening wore on, I fished as late as I dared without a light.  The bass and bluegill just kept hitting and the big fish were making their rounds along the banks.  Finally I knew I better head back.  I'll be looking for an opportunity to go back though.  These fish are just too much fun...


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Teaching



As a teacher, I enjoy imparting knowledge and hopefully a little wisdom to young people.  Occasionally I get the pleasure of teaching more than just academic subjects.  Recently, the school I work for took our guys on an outing that included some time for them to swim, boat, or otherwise enjoy time on the lake.  Naturally I brought a fly rod along as well.  In years past, I have always had several guys that wanted to try out fly fishing.  As this small lake is private, it is the perfect place to allow them to try the sport without having to worry about such things as a fishing license. 

This year, three guys in particular wanted to try fly fishing.  By the end of the outing, it appears that I successfully did my job.  The guys were asking how much it would cost for them to buy fly fishing gear and where to go to purchase the equipment. 

I have a special pattern I tie specifically for fishing this pond although I use it anywhere I fish for bass and large sunfish.  After tying it on, I warmed up the rod for them by hooking a couple bluegills and a bass or two.  As soon as they were sufficiently enthusiastic, I passed the rod off to the first candidate. 

The first place I normally have someone try is where a culvert goes under the road, connecting a small, weed-filled section of the lake to the main body of water.  Bass will lay up in the deep cut waiting for any prey that happens to come by.  I placed the first guy close to the water and gave him just a few feet of line, showing him how to flip it out there and slowly retrieve it with small strips.  After mastering the presentation and retrieve, everything came together.  The fly slowly sank out of sight into the deep cut and suddenly the line twitched.  "Set!" I hollered, forgetting as always that a beginner normally has no clue what I mean by that.  Thankfully he got the idea and lifted the rod tip.  Soon, I lipped the best bass of the outing and we posed for a quick picture together.

 
The next guy up tried the other side of the culvert.  Almost as soon as the fly hit the water, it took off into some weeds were whatever had eaten promptly through this hook.  He was somewhat disappointed, but I assured him that, no worries, we still had plenty of good spots to hit. 

Next up we moved around to the dam.  Here, small indentations in the bank along with the proximity to deeper water give bass the sanctuary they need along with good options for feeding.  After helping him position, we moved to instruction on casting a bit further.  He picked it up like a natural and was soon casting the 15-20 feet necessary to catch fish.  Soon something slammed the fly and after a brief fight, we admired a nice chunky bluegill and posed for the required pictures.

 
The next guy took his place with the fly rod and we continued stalking bass.  Again, it only took a couple of tries for him to sufficiently master the art of fly casting to at least catch some fish.  The now standard twitch part way through his retrieve motivated a good hook set, and I soon lipped yet another bass. 


All three guys were thrilled with the experience.  Hopefully three more guys have been inspired to take up the hobby of fly fishing. 

Product Review: Canvas Print

I was contacted a couple of months ago by Brendan from Easy Canvass Prints about doing a review of one of their products in exchange for a free canvass.  After clarifying what their expectations were I agreed. 

All I had to do was go to their website and follow the normal process for purchasing a print.  The fee was waived by using a special one-time promotion code.  For full disclosure, Easy Canvass Prints has not provided any additional compensation beyond the free Canvass Print. 

First I would like to mention how quick and easy the website was to use, at least for me.  It probably only took a total of 2-3 minutes to upload my picture, choose the various options I wanted, type in my address, and complete the transaction.  They have implemented a user friendly design that just about anyone can navigate successfully. 

As far as the actual canvass, I received a free 11x14 print of one of my favorite pictures.  The picture is one my buddy Joe McGroom took on our trip to Yellowstone country back during the summer of 2009.  The fish was a gorgeous brown trout that fell for a streamer while we were fishing the Madison River in the $3 Bridge vicinity.  Below is the photograph that I uploaded to make the print from.


Next are a few pictures of the print I received.  Notice that one of the options I chose made a mirror image of the actual photograph wrap around the sides.




As you can see, the main difference between this and the original is that I cropped the original in a little closer when I uploaded it to the website.  You can choose any position you want on the canvass and are able to crop your picture during the process.  One thing I thought sounded cool when I was ordering the print was to have the reflection of my picture wrap around the side.  I'm glad I chose that option as it definitely does look great.  Of course, if it doesn't appeal to you there are plenty of other options. 

The original picture (as shone and what I uploaded) was a touched up version of the original.  The quality of this print is not demonstrated very well in the pictures I have shone above.  The actual print was much closer in color to the original than what the pictures show, and I was more than happy with the results and would recommend Easy Canvass Prints to anyone looking to print a nice memory from one of their fishing expeditions.  In addition to printing your own pictures, it would also make an awesome gift for a fishing friend or relative.