Even a couple of weeks worth of high water on my local tailwater can seem like an eternity. The last several weeks are starting to seem more like several years. The last time I was on the Caney was last November. Since then, the generation has been pretty consistent at over 10,000 cfs. That's a lot of water no matter which way you look at it. A few brave souls are still out in boats but most people have been trying other spots.
Now, Center Hill Lake is finally slipping below the magical 630 feet above sea level. Unfortunately, in the colder months this threshold has little meaning. Winter pool is much lower than that so while we might start to see TVA cut back on the generation a little, it is doubtful that there will be any wadeable windows any time soon. The active weather pattern looks like it will continue for the foreseeable future, so it is doubtful that the lake will drop very fast. In fact, don't be surprised if it spikes up again within the next week or two.
Thankfully, there are still fish that can be caught. In fact, when I stopped by the river to take a look a couple of weeks ago, there were fish rising in a very accessible spot. I doubt I'll be driving 45 minutes to fish a small section of bank, but I can take comfort in the fact that I could if I really wanted to.
The last few days have awakened the first stirring of spring fever somewhere inside. Visions of Blue Quills, Little Black Caddis, Quill Gordons, and of course rising trout, have been dancing around in my head in several spare moments. I find myself staring out the window. What I'm really seeing is not the dreary sky threatening more rain, but huge hatches with lots of rising trout. As inspiration grows, I'll be heading to the Smokies searching for fish willing to be force fed in the colder water now flowing. Some days will be phenomenal with lots of fish out feeding. Other days will be classic winter fishing with tight-lipped trout hugging the bottom, but thankfully those days will soon draw to a close as winter gives way to spring.
UPDATE: 5/14/2015 -- Streams in the Smokies are getting lower with the recent lack of rainfall. Dry/dropper rigs are accounting for a lot of fish, especially on the dropper. Yesterday was a great day with lots of rainbows and brookies and even a few browns. Fish were taking both flies but showed a preference for my favorite caddis pupa dropper.
The Caney Fork continues to fish well. On a half day trip this past Tuesday, a brand new angler had a 40 fish day with some nice sized holdovers in the mix including a few browns. Contact me about a float trip if you want to get in on this great fishing at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com or call/text (931) 261-1884. With the holiday weekend and summer coming up, expect the fishing pressure to steadily increase on this river so get out and enjoy it while you can.
Smallmouth are turning on as well now. Last Sunday, I landed my personal best smallmouth on one of my favorite local creeks. This fishing will only improve. Isonychias are hatching on the smallie streams here on the Plateau and Golden Stoneflies should be just around the corner. Over the next few weeks, the streams will transition to great surface terrestrial and popper fishing.
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