Tag Archives: fly fishing

Sage On The Water Tour 2017

Sage will be visiting Fly South on April 13th for their On the Water Tour. 2017  Check it out!

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. (March 29, 2017) –Sage hits the road once again to bring it’s On The Water Tour to a new part of the U.S. After a successful tour out West in 2016, famed fly rod and reel manufacturer, brings this fun and informative format to the Southeast.

“We had so many popular stops on our 2016 tour that we decided to replicate that in a new area of the country,” said David Lantz, Sage brand manager. “The Southeast has spectacular rivers and beaches with very passionate fly fishermen, so we couldn’t be more excited to visit them on this year’s tour.”

Starting on beautiful rivers around the Appalachia area and finishing on the flats in Florida, this tour offers anglers an opportunity to bring fellow anglers together to share knowledge and good times. The van is loaded with mountains of rods and reels to try out, and attendees can learn from casting lessons and presentations all while enjoying good food and drink. Anglers can try out new gear, pick up a tip or two or simply share good stories. All are welcome.

In addition, Sage will be stopping at Fly South (115 19th Avenue South, Nashville) on April 13th for Happy Hour.

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New Clinch River Description by Rocky Top Anglers

Rocky Cox or Rocky Top Anglers is one of the best guides on the Clinch.  He shared some knowledge with us recently.  Enjoy.

  • Species: Rainbow, Brown Trout
  • Angler Type: Wade or Boat
  • Access Type: Public or Private

 Guides

Fly Shops

  • Orvis Sevierville
  • Little River Outfitters
  • Three Rivers Angler
  • Smoky Mountain Angler

Lodges/Rentals/Hotels/Campgrounds

Good Eats

  • Harrison’s Steak House
  • Golden Girls Restaurant
  • Waffle House
  • Git’n Go market

Description

The Clinch River originates in southwestern Virginia. It flows southwesterly into Tennessee where it gains water from the Powell River as well as several smaller tributaries. The river meanders over 300 miles from its source, through the rolling hillsides of east Tennessee until it reaches Kingston TN and it’s confluence with the Tennessee River.

The Clinch River was once one of the most lucrative mussel producing rivers in the country. The pearl industry was well established in the Clinch River and its tributaries as well. These industries died out early in the 20th century due to environmental issues associated with coal mining and the damming of the Tennessee River system.

Norris Dam was completed in 1936 and was the first dam completed in the Tennessee River system by the newly formed Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The dam created Norris Lake, a large, deep lake that collects run off from almost 3000sq miles. Coldwater discharge from the dam changed the environment downstream of the dam. The new tailwater became a perfect place to stock coldwater species, such as rainbow trout. Over the years, many other improvements have been implemented for the improved habitat and health of the river. These improvements include a weir dam (located appx 2 miles downstream of Norris Dam), oxygen injection units in the lake and mandated minimum flows.

These days, The Clinch River is most well known for the trophy trout fishery below Norris Dam. Each year many anglers visit to chase after rainbow, brown and sometimes brook trout. The river is home to the Tennessee record Brown Trout, weighing in over 28lbs. The tailwater is stocked with rainbow and brown trout, with some added natural reproduction. The river produces many trophy fish each year and the average fish is 12” to 14” inches. Progressive regulations on the Clinch tailwater call for the safe release of all trout between 14 and 20 inches, and only one trout per day over 20 inches.

The tailwater flows about 14 miles from the dam to the town of Clinton Tennessee and into the backwaters of Melton Hill Lake. Water levels in the river are dictated by activity at Norris Dam. Norris has the ability to push close to 10,000 Cubic Feet per Second (CFS) when both turbines are in operation. Long periods of zero generation will make many parts of the river wadable while any sustained flows from the powerhouse will likely raise the river to unsafe levels for wading. Boaters will need some water flowing from the powerhouse for safe navigation and should be alert while under power for submerged rocks and trees.

Click Here for TVA Generation Schedule

Safety

  • Always be aware of the water conditions and changing levels.
  • Know the predicted flow from TVA via phone or internet app.
  • These schedules are 99% but could and sometimes do change without notice.
  • Boaters should wear a typeIII USCG floatation device, must possess by law enough for all occupants.
  • Pack extra dry clothes and rain gear. Cold water temperatures can cause very cold fog, even in the heat of summer.

Clinch River Drain-Down and Travel Times

The River

The river can be broken up into three sections; the top, the middle and the bottom. The top section, from Norris Dam to the Miller Island boat ramp offers the best public access. Canoes and light watercraft can be launched near the dam at the Songbird Trail Canoe Launch (no actual boat ramp, requires portage to the river). The weir dam access offers portage across the weir dam and wading access. Much of the area downstream of the weir dam is wadable on low water conditions. Miller Island Boat Ramp offers access to larger vessels as well as the most wading areas on the tailwater.

The middle section begins at Miller Island and runs 3.5 miles downstream to the Peach Orchard Boat Ramp. The immediate area around Miller Island offers the best access for wade fishermen on the river during low water. Anglers can wade from Miller Island downstream for one mile to Massengill Bridge. Most all of the adjacent land is private so you must remain in the river bed below the high water mark. There are several road side pull-offs along River Rd where anglers can enter and exit the river. The next few miles has no river access for wading anglers or much wadable water for that matter and is better fished by boat. The river flows deep, even on low flows as it picks up its largest tributary near the I-75 Bridge. Coal Creek is a large tributary that will often muddy the entire downstream tailwater after heavy rain events. Peach Orchard Boat Ramp offers boat access only as all of the water around the ramp is much too deep to wade.

The lower river runs from Peach Orchard to the Hwy 61 Boat Ramp in Clinton, just a little over 7 miles. All of the land adjacent to the river is private and should be respected as such. The land owners are friendly but they don’t want to find you on their land without permission. This stretch of river offers some wadable shoals and plenty of long pools. Again, wading is only possible with low water. Public access can be found at the bottom of the lower section via the Second Baptist Church of Clinton. Anglers can park and access from their property. Much of this area is very wadable under low water to slightly higher water levels. It’s also a very popular destination due to its 4.5 hour lead time on dam generation. The final access on the tailwater is just downstream of the highway 61 bridge on the east bank. The Highway 61 Boat Ramp has a nice ramp and trash cans.

Tennessee Fishing Regulations

Suggested Rods/Reels/Lines

Angling tactics can vary greatly depending on the water flows. Low water flows will allow light nymph fishing, dry fly fishing, wet fly applications as well as light to heavy streamer fishing. Rod choices will run the entire spectrum but long rods between 9’ and 10’ feet work best as they will allow you the best line control during drifts. Four to six weight rods will cover most situations on low water, but a six weight would probably cover the most tactics in one rod. High to medium water flows are usually best covered with streamers and deep nymphs. Although, insects often hatch well on high water and fish can be found sipping them. Again, rod choice is dictated by what you want to do and what you observe. Six to eight weight rods are best when it comes to streamers and sinking lines but a five weight may cover the rising fish best. Long, fine leaders ranging in length from 9 to 15’ and in strength from 4 to 7x are required for most Nymphing and Dry fly fishing setups. The use of fluorocarbon tippets and tungsten weights are recommended for all Nymphing applications. Streamer leaders can be much shorter and beefier. I usually use 4 to 6 foot lengths of fluorocarbon ranging from 8 to 20 lbs for streamer fishing applications.

The Clinch River is a very rich tailwater and has a very healthy biomass. Midges are abundant and available year round. Trout will gorge on midges in all stages of life from pupa to adult. Sow bugs and scuds are also present in great numbers in many sections of the river. These small crustaceans (#12-#22) offer high protein meals and are also a favorite of trout year round. The largest and most sought after hatch of the year are the sulphurs which historically begin late April to early May and continue into early June. Some years the hatch can come early or even extend well into October. Several species of caddis flies emerge in the fall with the small black and green (#18-#20) being a favorite.

  • 4 to 6 weight rods, 9 to 10’ in length for dry fly, Nymphing or light streamer fishing.
  • 9 to 16 foot leaders, tippets from 5x to 7x. Fluorocarbon for Nymphing and streamer fishing.
  • 6 to 8 weight rods for streamer fishing.
  • Short 4 to 6 leaders in heavy fluorocarbon weights 8 to 20lbs.
  • Tungsten bead nymphs; Pheasant tails, midge pupa & larvae, sow bugs. Sizes from #12 – #20
  • Sulphur dries, emergers and nymphs (#14-#18), Midge emergers (#18 – #22), Black Caddis (#18-#22)
  • Terrestrials, Ants, Beetles and Hoppers.
  • Streamers

Public Access Points

  1. Songbird Canoe Access
  2. Clear Creek Access
  3. Wier Dam Access
  4. Miller’s Island Ramp
  5. Peach Orchard Ramp
  6. Second Baptist Church of Clinton
  7. Highway 61 Bridge Ramp

Getting There

The Clinch River tailwater is located just Northwest of Knoxville TN off of Interstate 75. All public access points can be reached in 5 to minutes from exit 122 (Clinton/Norris). The upper river and Miller Island accesses can be reached travelling east on hwy 61 to hwy 441. Turn left onto 441 and travel 2 miles. Turn left onto River Rd to reach Miller Island Boat Ramp and various right of way access closer to Massengill Bridge. Continue on 441 to TVA access at the Weir Dam and along the river via the Songbird Trail. The Peach Orchard access can be reach off of hwy 61 onto Hillvale Rd. Peach Orchard Road is on the left with signage to the boat ramp. Highway 61 Boat Ramp and the Second Baptist Church of Clinton are along the river and just off of highway 61 in Clinton TN, 3 miles west of I-75.

Purchase a Tennessee Fishing License

Local weather forecast.

Clinch River posts and reports!

 

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Updated Caney Fork River Description

We’ve been working with local guides to get the best river descriptions possible.  This one is from Susan Thrasher of Southern Brookies guide service.  Give it a read.  This description will be posted on the site from here on out.  Hope you enjoy.

Caney Fork

by Susan Thrasher of Southern Brookies

Species: Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout
Angler Type: Wade or Boat
Access Type: Public or Private

Guides

Southern Brookies
Southeastern Fly
Trout Zone Anglers
Tennessee on the Fly

Fly Shops

Orvis Nashville
Fly South
Cumberland Transit
Jones Fly Co.

Lodging

Long Branch Campground – below Center Hill Dam
Edgar Evans State Park – on Center Hill Lake

Description

The Caney Fork River begins near Crossville, Tennessee and is impounded twice over its approximate 140 miles before reaching the Cumberland River. Most notably for trout anglers is the final stretch of river below Center Hill Dam. The dam is located approximately 70 miles east of Nashville, Tennessee. The 16 miles immediately below the dam is the primary stretch of water supporting trout. This section of the river is stocked annually by the (TWRA) Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency at four main locations: just below the dam, Happy Hollow, Betty’s Island and Gordonsville access areas.

TWRA stocks, on average, 220,000 rainbow, brown and brook trout March through November. Due to heavy generation and continually changing water levels, the river does not support any measurable, natural reproduction. However, hold over trout and the occasional stocking of large brood trout, offer opportunities to hook into fish measuring well over 20 inches. Brook trout rarely exceed 14 inches, but the new state record was caught on the Caney Fork in 2016, measuring just over 20 inches.

Generation Schedule

The daily generation schedule at Center Hill Dam is based primarily on power needs and flood control. The frequent releases provide enough cool water to support trout fishing year round. It is important to check the schedule before venturing out. Water levels can rise suddenly and become dangerous. The schedule can be found either by calling TVA #800-238-2264, #4, #37, or through the TVA website. https://www.tva.gov/Environment/Lake-Levels/Center-Hill

Fishing Access

The river is suitable for wading during periods of non-generation; however, the current is too strong for wading under generation. Fishing from kayaks, canoes and drift boats is also very popular during periods of non-generation. Extreme caution should be used when drift fishing during periods of generation and is recommended for experienced boaters only.

Use the link below for public access points and boat ramp locations. http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Portals/49/docs/Lakes/Center Hill/Caney Fork Access Area Map.pdf

Center Hill Tailwater (Caney Fork River) Public Access Points

  1. Buffalo Valley Recreation Area, USCOE, with ramp
  2. Long Branch Recreation Area, USCOE, with ramp
  3. Pull-offs along 141, TDOT right-of-way, river access, no ramp
  4. Happy Hollow Access Area, TWRA, gravel parking area with ramp
  5. Betty’s Island Access Area, TWRA, gravel parking area, no ramp
  6. Pull-off along Kirby Road at I-40, TDOT right-of-way, no ramp
  7. Stonewall Bridge, TDOT right-of-way, river access, no ramp
  8. South Carthage Ramp, gravel parking, with ramp

Creel Limits

For detailed information on trout stream fishing regulations, see the trout section of the Tennessee Fishing Guide. http://www.tnfish.org/files/TennesseeFishingRegulationsTWRA.pdf

The regulations for the Caney Fork River are:

  • One Brown Over 24” may be harvested (under 24” protected; must be released)
  • Rainbows and Brookies under 14” may be harvested (14”- 20” protected; must be released)
  • One Rainbow and One Brookie over 20” may be harvested
  • Total Creel Combined – 5 Trout

Tennessee Fishing Regulations
Please be sure to check current regulations if you are unfamiliar, many of our tailwaters have unique regulations.

Equipment Suggestions

Rod: The most common outfit for fly fishing the Caney Fork River is a 5 or 6 weight rod in lengths ranging from 8.5 to 9 feet.

Fly Line: Weight forward floating lines are recommended during times of non- generation. Sinking lines are necessary during generation to ensure the flies are able to reach the fish due to the swift current.

Leaders: Fluorocarbon leaders and tippet with overall lengths between 9 and 12 feet and sizes tapering from 3X to 6X (depending on fly size) are recommended.

Suggested Flies

Flies: The majority of flyfishing is subsurface with midges heavily favored. Dry fly activity is limited; however, the occasional midge, mayfly and caddis hatches are seen a number of times during the year. Terrestrials, such as spiders, grass hoppers and beetles, are used during the summer months. Streamers produce fish year round.

Patterns to take along:

  • Eat at Chucks soft hackle
  • Zebra midges in various colors
  • Bead head pheasant tail
  • Scuds and sow bugs
  • Woolly Buggers in various colors
  • Guacamole stick bugs
  • Griffith’s gnat
  • Adams
  • Elk Hair Caddis
  • Streamers

Purchase a Tennessee Fishing License

Getting There

Take Interstate 40 to exit 268, then south on Highway 96 to Center Hill Dam. Buffalo Valley and Long Branch Recreation Areas are on opposite sides of the river just below Center Hill Dam.

Weather forecast for Lancaster, TN

Click here for all old Caney Fork River Reports

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Fried Chicken and Butter

FriedChickenThere is nothing better during a long day of fishing than fried chicken and beer. This tradition started in my teens when I would canoe with my parents and friends in southern MO. I carried the tradition with me to college, which typically also included a frosty beverage or two. Ten years ago I brought this tradition with me to TN and most of my friends  have experienced it at some point or another. I’m sure this is not out of the ordinary as we are in the south. Give it a shot and add some fried chicken to your next fishing trip menu.

DrivingRainYeah, so this was a supposed to be a fishing report so let me get to that. We fished the South Holston on 11/09. I think we were as wet as the trout were as it dumped rain most of the day. Weather like this is the reason that we buy expensive wading jackets, but it isn’t fun fishing in a total down pour. The Brown Trout on the South Holston are getting ready for their annual spawning rituals and TWRA has closed the two normal spawning areas of the river. I typically don’t fish that much in the fall due to a hectic work schedule. However the opportunity arose and I figured one more streamer fishing trip before the end of the year was a good idea.

Version 2My third cast of the day would prove to haunt me for the rest of the trip.  I threw a bad cast and instead of fishing it out I tried to pick it back up and as I did the biggest brown of the day decided to eat.  I had the rod straight up in the air and when I felt her head shake twice it was over, I blew it. It seemed like slow motion, but happened in a split second. Just long enough to haunt me for the rest of the day.  I haven’t throw big streamers in quite some time so I was a little rusty, but I know better than that. You don’t get mistakes when streamer fishing, every cast must count and you have to fish every cast as if that cast is the one. When you BenBentRodstreamer fish you are fishing for the biggest fish of the day. Some days it works out but most days you blow it and miss a true monster. Those are the days that keep you coming back. They are the fish that haunt you in your sleep and are topics for many a tackle and fly tying discussions. I guess if I caught everyone it wouldn’t be fun, as hokey as it sounds it really is about the chase and the eat. I prefer to throw streamers more than anything else. I have seen some true monsters swimming in our East TN waters and the opportunity of landing one on the fly keeps me coming back.

We did catch some nice fish throughout the rest of the day, but that fist one was “The One”.

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A Double Dose of John Gierach

I thought this video was really cool. I pulled the article off of Orvis’ Fly Fishing Blog and it seems like the Trout Underground posted a great interview. I’ve read every Gierach book except his new one “No Shortage of Good Days” and I can’t wait to read it this winter.

A Double Dose of John Gierach
Posted by: Phil Monahan Date: 09/02/11

It’s no secret that fly fishermen, as a whole, love John Gierach. He has served as the sport’s philosopher for almost 30 years, during which time he has published 16 books and countless magazine articles, yet he has never sought to become one of those fly-fishing “celebrities” who travel from sports show to sports show soaking up the admiration of the masses. Instead, he fishes…a lot. And then he sits in his house in Colorado and writes about it. I’ve met Gierach a few times, through my friends Jim Babb and Ed Engle, and he seems like he’d make an excellent fishing companion—self-deprecating, full of great stories, and quick to admire a fish of any size.

The video above is a short from the Fly Fishing Film Tour, and it features Gierach expressing his philosophy of life and angling in plain, often humorous terms. Over on the Trout Underground blog, Tom Chandler has posted a great interview with Gierach that touches on everything from why he loves to fish for steelhead, to the ins and outs of his writing process, to his views on modern “extreme” fishing. As usual, his words are not fancy, but his descriptions are spot-on:

When I fish small streams, I tend to catch a lot of fish and that’s great, but steelheading is very different. I know my local small streams pretty intimately and I’ve got the timing down, but with steelhead, you’re suddenly playing chess against somebody who really knows what they’re doing.

Both the film and the interview make it clear why Gierach has remained so popular over the years.

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How it all started

On the Clinch River in East Tennessee, west of interstate 75 as it bridges the water at breakneck speed is a mass of T.V.A. power lines that keep the City of Knoxville and points beyond supplied with electricity.  The water beneath these lines is deep and clear, full of large rocks and twisted deadfall.

Wading isn’t an option in this stretch of the river, but the bank is often cluttered with corn cans that linger until high water flushes them further down stream.  If you want to work the river from the bridge to the power lines a water craft of some sort is mandatory.

The Clinch isn’t a world class span of water, but it does hold a respectable population of browns, rainbows, and recently they added brooks to the foray.  The size of the fish caught is usually in the mid sized variety though an occasional leviathan is spotted.  This river in all its normalcy is special to me because it was in this place that I discovered my love of fly fishing.

It was the summer of my 40th birthday.  Up to that point in my life I had been a basic bank fishing worm dunker.  The most exotic angling I ever ventured to do was cast a Jitterbug or Hoola Popper to pond bass.  The overall vision of river fishing in my mind was sitting on the bank pitching chicken liver for catfish.

My best friend had been fly fishing for a while and despite his persistent urging that I give it a try, I remained resistant.  It seemed like to much work to catch a tiny fish, and frankly it just looked to hard to be fun.  His consistent assurance that I would love it was respectfully dodged till my birthday.

With some money I had been given as a gift, I bit the bullet and purchased some gear.  The rod was a nine foot five/six weight Phlueger combo with double taper line that I got for thirty five bucks at Wal-Mart.  This seemed to me like a total waste of money, but I guessed that I could put a spinning reel on it and bluegill fish.

When I got home I called my buddy and set the fishing trip for the following Saturday.  He told me to pick up some flies, we set the time, and my fate was sealed.

Selecting flies for my first trip was the equivalent of trying to translate the Magna Carta into Mandarin.  The Friday before my trip, I went to a fly shop on the west end of town.  It was a small place tucked at the very back of an old strip mall.  Several trucks were parked out front, I pulled in along side them and peered through the mosaic of stickers adorning the window. 

Gathering my nerve, I walked in the door and was immediately greeted by and old black lab who bumped me with his graying muzzle.  I rubbed his head and walked on in, trying to look like I knew what I was doing.  I am quite sure that I looked as lost and out of place as a Nascar fan at a performance of Swan Lake.

“Can I help you?”, the guy behind the counter asked.  He was polite enough, but his voice held a hint of indifference which implied either I had walked into the wrong store, or I was as lost as a ball in high weeds.  It didn’t take him very long to get me figured out.

“I’m heading up to the Clinch.  What are they hitting?”  Let me just state now for the record that if you go into a fly shop and ask that question, you might as well have a red flag dangling over your head.  I am sure the guy behind the counter could see the donkey ears and buck teeth protruding from my face.

“Pheasant Tail”

  He may as well have said Pig Ears.

“Do you have any?”  Oh, this was getting bad.  By now the donkey tail had emerged from my back and a Hee-Haw was welling up in my throat.

“Over there in the flies.”

“What size?” 

“Twenty.”

I looked around and found the tray that said Bead Head Pheasant Tail size twenty.  It was the only slot that was nearly empty.  Just a small was of very small hoods with tiny gold beads.

At this point I was sure that this guy was playing me.  I could hardly see the eye of the hook let alone try to fish with this thing.

Embarrassed, I picked up a few, put them in a cup, paid my money, and walked out with my donkey ears drooping and my fly swatting tail tucked meekly between my legs.

The lab looked up at me sympathetically from his spot by the t-shirt rack.  I felt like he had seen this all happen many times before.

To be continued…

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Dreaming of Reds, Oysters and Backing

I’ve had this dream for a while of going down to the coast and kayak fishing for red fish.  Living for the week out of the jeep and eating oysters on the half shell by the bucket.  There may also be some corona or red stripe to wash everything down.  Shoes would not be  allowed only chaco’s or flip flops, but bare-feet preferred.  One day this dream will come true, I have faith.  Heck, I’ve already got the rods and reels, just need to get the kayak, lines and flies.  No big deal, yeah right.  Maybe we could bum the kayaks.  I promise you’ll get them back the same as we left.  Check out this vidfrom Shallow Water Expeditions, it’s cool.  I took a trip with these guys this past summer and had a blast. Enjoy and if anyone has any other cool vids or pics send them this way.

January 4th WESTBAY from SHALLOW WATER EXPEDITIONS on Vimeo.

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Eye candy for the soul!

Since the southeast is being bombarded by the cold weather and too much rain, I figured there may be others like me that are sitting at home with nothing to do. Grab your favorite beverage, sit back and enjoy.

The 2011 International Fly Fishing Film Festival ( IF4 ) Commercial from Nick Pujic on Vimeo.

An Epic Tail (Walk) from firebird media on Vimeo.

468 x 60 Fly Fishing

Stalking Reds from firebird media on Vimeo.

Fly Fishing short from John Griber on Vimeo.

Giant Tackle Clearance Sale 468x60

To fortapte menn -Fri flyt from salmo trutta production on Vimeo.

EASTERN RISES | TRAILER from felt soul media on Vimeo.

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Sage Fly Rod For Sale! SOLD

Hey guys, I picked up this fly rod a few years ago and have never had it on the water.  To think about it I’ve never even had a reel on it.  So this is basically a new rod.  I’ve got the original travel case and warranty card as well.  I will ship it to the lower 48 only, for free only!  No sales out of the lower 48.  Get a great deal on a new fly rod and help me pay a few bills.  Thanks!

The rod is a Sage Flight 9′ 5wt 4piece rod.  Cabela’s has them on sale right now for $330.  I’m asking $250 with free shipping to the lower 48 states. 

Sorry Sold

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