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Cumberland River Fly Fishing Report 10-18-17

Fun times on the Cumberland River right now.

It’s been a while since the last fishing report. My apologies for not posting a report in a while, but life has just been busy. I'll try filling you in on current Cumberland River happenings the best I can below. Has the fishing been good? Yeah, the fishing has been good. Some days it's been really good. Of course some days have been better than others, but that's just how fishing works. The generation schedule from the Corps of Engineers and TVA has been pretty routine for a few weeks now especially on the weekends. Recent generation schedules have basically been the same during both weekdays as well as weekends. Fly fishermen have been able to take advantage of a generation schedule that allows for good morning fishing until mid-afternoon. Generation has typically started mid-morning, so the farther downstream you are when you start your trip, the longer you will have until higher water starts to find you and the longer you will have to fish. When the water hits you, break out the streamer rod. Sure you can catch a few on nymphs when the water rises, but if you hit faster water areas with a streamer pattern you’re likely to tie into a nice fish. Of course, If you can get on the water during the week you will enjoy much more solitude than on the weekend.

Jim getting it done!

While on the topic of generation I should mention that the dissolved oxygen level in the river is not quite where it needs to be just yet, so expect those sluice gate(s) to continue to be open for 2-3 more weeks and maybe longer. Some conditions that effect dissolved oxygen (thermocline) in the lake have to occur before generators can supply proper amounts of dissolved oxygen and sluices get turned off. Rest assured, our State wildlife officials are completely on top of the dissolved oxygen issue and how it effects trout in the river. I'm appreciative that our officials are working hard for the betterment of the river.

Two sluices operating simultaneously. Two sluice gates in operation is roughly equal to the same amount of water that comes from a single generator while in operation.

If you’ve been on the water lately you've noticed that leaves are starting to find their way onto your hooks more and more. If you do catch a leaf, just bring in your line and remove it. Don’t cast again thinking you can force it off, unless you want a tangled mess. Those sycamore leaves are the worst. Leaves are just a small hassle to endure during fall.

Recently I’ve spotted several larger browns in shoal areas. It’s that time folks. If you catch a male brown trout right now, the chances are good that he will be full of milt and very colorful. Now is when you may see some larger fish that normally would only come out at night. If you have the time, just sit and watch a shoal or tailout for a while. You might be surprised at how many fish you see working in the area.

These guys fished hard and were really fun to spend the day with. Father/son trips are the best! Thanks Jim and Jay.

Something that has caught everyone’s attention for the last few weeks has been sightings of albino trout in the river. The hatchery recently had an excess of these fish and as they continued to grow larger, the decision was made to place them in the Cumberland River. I’ve seen several of them above the Bell Harbor area and in a couple of runs below Rock House. They are easily spotted and fun to watch as they swim around. There may never again be an opportunity to catch an albino trout in the Cumberland tail waters again. Being around the 2 pound range, they will be a great photo opportunity if you land one.

This past weekend the river was as low as I’ve seen it all year. All generators as well as sluice gates were stopped at 6:00 in the evening and weren’t turned on again until the following day at 10:00. This allowed the river to do a full dump and expose shoals, root wads and timber that hasn’t been seen in a long time. I really enjoy the river when it’s super low as it refreshes my memory of where runs and timber are located which are usually underwater. Pay attention to the river and it’s features when it’s this low and it will serve you well when the water returns to higher flows.

So what’s been working? First of all you’ve got to find moving and active water. Fish those tail outs and hit those boulders and root wads located just above or below riffles/shoal areas. You can still catch fish in slow stagnant water around structure, but if you want to increase your catch rate, you need to fish moving water. Successful fly patterns right now include the old standards of PT’s, San Juan worms, Hares ears, etc. Those of you that fish with me know my main go to pattern that's been very successful lately. I’ve not started fishing any egg patterns just yet, but am sure that they are going to be a 'go to' fly very soon.

Yuhi slammed them last weekend.

Fall weather has already started and it’s a beautiful time of year to be on the water fishing. Fall foliage will really start to change soon with the cooler temps were experiencing. Fall trout colors are also kicking into high gear. Many of the fish caught recently were displaying some very nice colors which are apparent much more during the fall.

In all, get out there and fish! It’s a great time to be on the water. I still have availability if you want to fish. Call, text, or send an e-mail to set up your trip. Some of the best fishing of the year is when the weather starts to turn and winter starts to march into view. Thanks to everyone who follows this report, Facebook and Instagram postings. I really enjoy interacting with all of you.

Thanks and Fish hard!


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