Merry Christmas from Cumberland Bottom Ticklers!
Apologies for lack of a fishing report lately. It's been a wild Fall season in every regard. In the news, the Hatchery Creek project at Wolf Creek Dam has been progressing right on schedule. The Corps of Engineers/TVA/EcoGro recently allowed water previously diverted to begin filling the creek. I’m sure that as stabilization occurs within the creek trout will file in quickly. This unique project has been very intriguing to watch over the past couple of years. Below is a cool video released a few days ago highlighting the project. This stream is going to be very popular.
Currently the Cumberland river is rolling about as fast as it can get. Rains over the past three weeks have caused TVA to ramp up generation schedules. Fishing from a drift boat would be crazy at best. However, there are opportunities to fish from motorized boats. Some very large trout can be caught close to the dam this time of year. I talked to a friend yesterday who hooked a monster rainbow last week that rolled off the hook right at the boat. He's been upset for days. Please exercise caution if you decide to fish high water. With winter approaching, we can expect precipitation to raise lake levels and in turn spur generation. I suspect that high generation will be the norm for the next several weeks.
Previous to TVA amping up the generation schedule several trips were enjoyed in November and early December with no other boats on the river. It seems like every year once deer season begins there are lots of opportunity to fish the Cumberland in solitude. Cold weather keeps lots of people off the water. If it's not too cold to freeze your rod guides it’s not to cold to fish. I know plenty of steelhead fishermen in Northern Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania that don't even think of hitting the streams until ice starts to form on the banks.
"Winter time rainbow"
Early November I was able to attend the Fly Tyers event in Townsend, TN in the Smoky Mountains. Many of you that know me are aware that one of my passions is chasing wild trout in the Smokys. I was able to fish the day before and morning of the event and had a ball enjoying much warmer than normal water temps and weather. There were several tyers at the event and I even saw some old friends. One presenter was particulary interesting to watch. Tradd Little is a 12 year old young man that can flat out tie flies. Tradd has only been tying a short time. I spent almost an hour watching and talking to Tradd. It was cool to watch Tradd and his ability because he is so young and has been tying for so short a period. Check out his web site (Tradd Little). You'll be amazed. A big thanks also to Laura Kennerly. I’ll never look at articulation of midges the same again.
"Fly tying wonder Tradd Little"
With the Cumberland more than likely out of commission for a while, I've been turning my attention the past couple of weeks to hitting the Smoky Mountains. With the colder temps, the bite has slowed a bit. Colder weather also has made water clarity amazing. You can easily see every little rock and crevice in the streams and its beautiful. However, that means the fish can also see you. Hide behind boulders and trees and stay low. I’ve already ruined another pair of waders from crawling over boulders and sneaking up on Smoky Mountain trout. This past Wednesday I was able to fish the West Prong and Sams Creek. Nymphing was tough, but the dry fly action was great. I couldn’t believe I was catching brook trout on dries on a 70 degree day in late December. However, it did take me two hours to change my stubborn mind and switch from nymphing to dry flies.
"Winter dry fly fishing conditions in the Smoky Mountains"
Aside from fishing, time has been consumed with tying flies, recitals, basketball practice and games, orchestra, a great trip to Kansas City where I had the best BBQ of my life (Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que) and home remodeling projects. Life just doesn’t slow down and I'm glad.
I would like to thank each and every one of you that have been in the boat and kept up with Cumberland Bottom Ticklers this year. It’s been a ton of fun. From my family to yours, I hope you all have a happy holiday season and a blessed New Year!