Monday, April 12, 2010

Hiwassee River

We decided to get out of Chattanooga for an evening so we used a raincheck and booked a night at Bear Cove Lodge near Reliance. Being a family trip, I realized I would have very little time to wet a line, but I was excited to fish an area of the river I had never fished before. The river-front property at Bear Cove Lodge, while not the prettiest section of the river, presented a plethora of fishing opportunities. I suited up and tied on my trusty bugger at about 5:00 p.m. The water was down. As I was wading towards a nice run, there was an amazing hatch and fish rising all around me. I tried a few different dry flies without success, and although I thought it was a little early, I ended up trying a size 14 Sulphur that a friend had loaned me this time last year while fishing the Toccoa. Despite the fact that I didn't think sulphur's were hatching, it proved to be the ticket. It seemed like very cast resulted in a strike - even on the drag/emerged. I missed the first 10 strikes. I was frustrated at my slow hook set, so I was determined to set quick on my next cast. Sure enough, a 2 o'clock cast, a 1:30 hit, and a quick tug - suddenly, a 9 inch rainbow is flying about 30 feet through the air right at me. He landed about two feet in front of me! I continued fishing the Sulfhur for another 45 minutes, landing about a dozen SNIT before retiring to the Lodge.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tenkara fly fishing in the GSMNP

Sometimes life throws you a bone, which is why I am able to write this trip report. The spring hatch is peaking and my job is sending me to Gatlinburg for a couple of days. Of course I was able to get away for a little fishing while I was there. The Quill Gordon hatch was almost over, but I thought that I could still pick up some fish on the pattern. An old friend from high school caught a couple of 16+ inch browns on the Little River in the GSMNP this past fall. I thought that would be a good place to start. I waded out above Metcalf Bottoms using a size 12 Quill Gordon with a 14 soft hackle hair's ear off the back. It was one of those days that was so beautiful that it almost didnt matter if I caught anything.....then a couple of hours go by without a bump and all the scenery starts to fade. It's time to catch a damn fish. I took off the dry and added some weight to the SH Hairs Ear. I immediately missed 2 fish....or maybe the same one twice. Then I caught my first fish n the GSMNP and first fish on my new Tenkara rod. It was a little 6in rainbow.
I will write a post exclusively about the Tenkara Rod later. I fished for another hour with very little action so on the advice of the salesman at Little River Outfitters, I decided to drive over to the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, which will now be known as WPLPR. It was about 3pm and I had to be back in Gatlinburg at 5pm so I didn't have much time. I found a small pull off of HWY 441 and tied the Quill Gordon back on. The next 45 minutes was the best fishing I have ever experienced in my very limited years of fishing. I caught or missed a fish on almost every cast. I ended up with 8 fish to hand with at least 5 LDRs. All the fish were rainbows with the largest being a 10in and last fish of the day.

Note: I figured out that the key to setting the hook with the Tenkara rod is to not try and set the hook. If you keep the line off the water and the rod tip high, then the fish will set the hook themselves.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Floating the Toccoa

For the past several weeks the Gubna has been sending me pictures he found surfing the internet of monster trout being caught on the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge GA. It was the day before Good Friday and he said Rob had a new pontoon catamaran and they were looking for a third person to float down the Hiwassee. This was a tempting offer, but I had already planned to fish the Conasauga River in the Cohutta Wilderness. I was pretty sure that Quill Gordons were hatching and that the wild rainbows would be taking dry flies. Another email came in a few minutes later; the Hiwassee would not be floatable so they were going to drive to the Toccoa. I was sold. Less than 24 hours later I was in the back seat of an incredible boat made for the sole purpose of pampering a fly fisherman. We had just put the boat in the water below the Blue Ridge dam, approximately 45 seconds later the Gubna was reeling in a 10 inch rainbow. I thought we were going to be in for a great day of fishing, which we were, just not in the way I anticipated.