Whew, I never knew that kids these days had so much to do. When I was a kid it was just ride your bike and build stupid ridiculous ramps to jump and then get hurt when it was your turn with all the other neighborhood kids. Softball, dance, more softball, sleepovers, camps, more softball, basketball, etc, how much can these kids do during the summer? School has started back for us and it feels like vacation.
Summer has obviously taken a turn. Daytime temperatures are cooling, days are getting noticeably shorter and clients are starting to call about autumn fishing. Since local schools have started back, the number of fishermen on the river are way down. I've been guiding primarily during the week and have had a couple of trips where another boat hasn't been spotted all day. I've recently noticed that more and more sycamore leaves are drifting down the river. This is a sure sign that fall is not far off. Fall means spawning on the Cumberland. It's that magical time of year when the big boys loose their minds and are hungry for anything. Piscivorous eating runs rampant and choosing not to swim streamers is a mistake.
Water clarity on the river has been good. We've been using 6X and 7X tippet material to combat water clarity. Making the move from 5X to 6X, then 7X seems to have become an annual ritual. In October and November 5X and 4X will return. Then 20Lb and 12Lb Maxima will be the norm as serious streamer fishing starts.
I usually devote several days of fall fishing to the Smoky Mountains, but this year I think I'll be throwing streamers for some of the monster browns in the Cumberland. There is nothing like seeing a predatory brown trout follow and hammer your fly. Sure you might throw a thousand casts and have 200 follows, but the one fish you hook up with is more than likely going to be a very nice one. Streamer fishermen know what I'm talking about here. If you are a stupid sick streamer junkie then you are automatically on my friend list.
Flows on the Cumberland have been a little finicky over the past three weeks or so. The Corps of Engineers has been pushing the water through the gates, but will add minor changes to the schedule which is a little aggravating. You just have to adjust that's all. At times its been a chore to get on the water early enough to take advantage of the release schedule. There is a little truth to that 'the early bird catches the worm' saying.
We've been catching fish on WD-40's, Shop Vacs, Skull and Bones, PT's and of course the zebra midge. I actually met a fly fisherman on the water over the weekend that only uses zebra midges on the Cumberland. He simply changes sizes and colors until he figures out what they want. Nothing wrong with that. If you have a system that works, stick to it.
The successful flies lately have been on the small side ranging from 18-22. With small tippet and small flies, be sure to let the rod tip and tippet work for you unless you want to loose fish. When generation begins and water starts to hit your location you need to be thinking about throwing streamers. Don't fool around with little stuff. If you are going to be working hard and pounding the banks you need to be chucking large flies like Tommy Lynch's Drunk and Disorderly or Johnson's Sluggo. Your hard work will be rewarded.
I've heard reports that there is starting to be a little hopper action. If you like to throw foam, fall on the Cumberland can be good. Tie on two hoppers instead of one and increase your chances of a take.
I'd like to say thanks to the Louisville Trout Unlimited Chapter for allowing me the honor of presenting a program last month. You guys were awesome, thanks again.
Enjoy this cooler weather and get out there and chase some trout. Call, text, or e-mail if you want to schedule a trip. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about fishing the river and as always, visit and like us on Facebook!