Saturday, June 2, 2012

Quick Trip to the Hiwassee (TN)

I had some afternoon business in Cleveland, Tennessee, yesterday, and just happened to have some of my fishing gear in the trunk of my car.  I got to the river about 5:30 p.m.  The only rod in my car was my 8 weight, but they were pushing two generators, so I thought it might fun to chuck some meat.  It took me a while to get rigged up, but I finally got set up with a big Alaskan Steelhead fly.  I think it's supposed to imitate a chunk of salmon flesh.  I haven't waded the Hiwassee on two generators in a long time.
I walked across the swinging bridge at the powerhouse and then down the rocks.  The grass has really grown up in the river and I waded very carefully to a few spots below the bridge.  I couldn't get any action on the Steelhead fly, but I had a blast chucking that thing with my 8 weight.  I tried a huge articulated streamer as well.  I worked my way down the river a little ways, very slowly, and looked at my phone.  It was almost 7 o'clock and the water would be shutting off in a few minutes.  I tied on a large stonefly and waited for the water to turn off.  Once it shut down, the fish start rising and a small and slow hatch of various bugs started coming off.  I switched back to the huge flesh fly, stripping it through a big pool, but couldn't get any takes.  With trout feeding on the surface I decided to look in my pack to see if I had any dry flies.  I had a large sulphur, so I tied that on.  Presenting dry flies with an 8 weight was a little difficult.  Strange enough, the fish were largely ignoring the sulphur, so I started using a tactic that I've had work upon occasion:  I made long casts to a run that dropped over a rock and into a pool and then started stripping the dry fly under the water.  Bang!  I started getting hits on just about every cast.  I took a few fish off the top, but most were taking the dry fly when I fished it sub surface.  My guess is that the fish think it's an emerger.  At any rate, I landed about 10 trout during 30 minutes of fishing the sulphur, and then they stopped taking it.  I looked again in my pack and found a small red ass that I had picked up in Arkansas for fishing the Little Red River.  I caught another 8-10 on the red ass wetfly.  It was getting dark, so I waded out and headed back home. Although I caught about 20 trout (including a few browns), the quality of the fish was unremarkable.  A few of the bows looked rather healthy, but most of the fish were smaller than normal and some looked haggard.  I think it's about that time of the year when the Hiwassee is simply too warm for the trout to survive.  I may fish it one more time, but that will be it until Fall, unless I can figure out a way to target Stripers on the fly on the Hi.