Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Perfect Day on the Caney Fork

A Blue Heron Wings over the Caney Fork

Click the pictures to enlarge

Yesterday my buddy Jim and I floated and waded the Caney Fork river in search of trout. It was a very auspicious day - no wind, cloudy, low 80's, and a nice cool breeze coming down the river canyon from the cold water releases from Center Hill dam. The water was low, and there was not another planned release until 3pm. We were in good spirits and happy to be on the water again.

Jim's boat, equipped with a new motor, took us upstream of the Happy Hollow landing. The fishing was slow so we tried a run farther up. Still slow. Jim suggested a spot farther up the river. Once there, we tied up the boat and waded in the river. Jim caught two fish on a #18 soft hackle. I had a few strikes on my zebra midge, but no hook-ups. I waded downstream and soon found a slot in the middle of the river where the rainbows were stacked and hungry. This was around 2:45. I was fishing a #16 BH rainbow prince (as an attractor) with a #20 zebra midge dropped about 14 inches below the attractor. Bam! Bam! I worked the slot downstream for about 50 yards and it was great fun. Jim was back in the boat and floated downstream while riggin up his zebra midge. Downstream from me I saw Jim make several hook-ups and he seemed to be doing equally well if not better. He came back, picked me up, and we floated the run several times, catching a multitude of trout. At the end of the day, we both had caught triple plays (rainbow, brown, and brookie) and I am sure if the river had any cutthroat in it we'd each have hit a home run. The biggest fish I caught was a 15" rainbow. All the fish looked very healthy and fought like hell. I guess after fighting all the heavy releases from the dam, the fish were very athletic. Jim caught one rainbow that twice jumped a foot out of the river.

I was fishing a nice 4-5wt bamboo rod Jim lent me. The rod cast like a 4 wt, but was as stout as a 5wt with a fish on. We both lost many fish. The fish would "sip" the midge and just about every hook-up was in the very front of top teeth ridge. The small hook on the midge combined with it being set in the toughest part of the fishes mouth - well, we just lost alot of fish. But the action was more or less non-stop and alot of fun.

We saw a deer, an otter, blue heron, and something that looked like a mink.

Unfortunately, I took no pictures of fish. We practice catch and release, so there are no stringers. Next time, I'll get some action shots..this time, it was just too much fun to catch fish to consume time with picture taking.

Captain Jim Beasley: Master Bamboo Rod Maker & Fly-fisherman

You can see the #20 zebra midge nymph just to the left of my hand on the rod's fly hook.

The "reflective fish" came back once again (see below). He was only there for one day and gone again....

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