fishing and river reports
august 20, 2019
generation schedules are good enough to provide a sufficiently good window of fishing. early start is critical to maximizing your fishing time, but mornings and early afternoons have been consistently good. river has surprisingly good clarity given the extreme rains and generation this year, and the trout seem hungry and healthy! the slightly higher levels limit wade fishing opportunities, but are just right for drift fishing big seams and pockets along the banks. early morning fog is helping to moderate air and water temperatures and fishing conditions have been comfortable from early to mid afternoon. big water hitting about the heat of the day, and the morning fish has been more than satisfying, so have been skipping the high heat.
a variety of methods and flies have been fishing well. standard nymph patterns fished under an indicator or as part of a hopper/dropper rig have been most effective. fish are laying down in the afternoons so best to switch to a deeper nymphing rig, especially after the fog leaves and the sun starts to beat down on the river. egg patterns can also be fished deep under an indicator for consistent action. had a large hen rainbow dump a load of eggs onto my tackle bag last week, so there are surely some in the river! big fish are definitely looking up for an opportunistic cicada or hopper meal. this is my favorite kind of fishing, and summer mornings and early afternoons the best time to give it a try. bank fishing seams and pocket water most effective, much like hopper fishing on a western river. better with some flow in the river, so don’t let the high water discourage you from banging the banks at the end of the day, particularly on cooler or cloudy days. trout are also aggressively following streamers and will even eat one every now and again! this tactic most effective under the early morning fog or during days of heavy cloud cover as well.
38,000 cutthroat trout were stocked into the river in april, marking the first stocking of true cutthroats in the cumberland. cutthroats are notorious dry fly eaters so hopefully some fine times ahead! we certainly look forward to meeting some of these cutts soon! most of these fish were stocked lower down on the river, near burkesville, because of ramp access at the time of stocking. however, we have seen a few of these fish in the upper stretches of river, particularly in and around rainbow run and charcoal flat, so they have been migrating to upper reaches of the river.
here are a few helpful generalities to keep in mind. location and drift more important than fly selection! in bigger water don’t get caught fishing too far into the main channel. most fish will be concentrated near structure and along seams near the bank, particularly areas with rocky depth changes. any number of different beadhead nymphs will do just fine. most of the standard generic trout patterns will work at one time or another. plenty of sowbugs and scud looking stuff in the river too. seems that some days some flash in the nymph seems to help. just have to try a few and see what is best! most importantly, can’t catch them from the couch! so get out there and give it a try! hope to see you on the water soon