UPDATE: 3/13/2015 -- Quill Gordon and Blue Quill mayflies were hatching well on high water in the Smokies today. With the high flows, there were not many fish rising though. This next week is going to be awesome with good weather forecast and dropping water levels.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Low and Slow
Those two words sum up my Caney Fork experience late this afternoon. Rumors of minimal numbers of fish in the river needed to be tested, and I found it to be true, sorta. The river still has fish in it, but overall I would say that the fishing was as slow as I've ever experienced there. The water was unbelievably low. I have no idea why the Corps is not at least running a 200 CFS sluice but something clearly needs to be done.
Information from reliable sources suggests that trout stocking has not really been taking place much over the winter months because of poor water quality. The water seemed unusually warm to me for this early in the year, and I can only hope there is enough cool water in the lake as we head into the warm months to support trout through until next winter. At least some big fish have survived but the larger rainbows in particular seem to have taken a hit.
The good news is that the fish will still eat. Good midge hatches are happening on the upper river. You will notice right away that the birds are working above the water for their food. The other thing you will notice is the distinct lack of rising fish. If you go, focus on the deeper water and on the shoals where faster water funnels into the deeper runs. Midges and sow bugs will catch some fish...
If you really want to fish, there are still fish to be caught but until the flows improve, expect to work hard for every fish. The low clear water produces some very spooky trout. The fish you do catch will all be healthy looking fish with their fins intact, at least until the stocking truck shows up. Don't expect big numbers of fish, but at least you're out on the water.
Posted by David Knapp at 9:18 PM