First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Hopefully you're enjoying the day stuffing your face and enjoying your time with friends and family. Some of you may not be enjoying your time with friends and family. So, what's been happening on the river? Change and more change. First of all, the sluice gate(s) is finally turned off. The dissolved oxygen level within the lake has finally reached a desired level to where DO levels from generators is sufficient for supporting fish in the river.
The Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Authority have also made some changes to the generation release schedule that may or may not be to your liking. The typical flow now is higher water during morning hours and then a brief period of no generation for 4-5 hours mid-day followed by more generation. The key to fishing the river this time of year is being flexible. Sure there is high water at times, but use it to your advantage. Now is a great time to chuck streamers at the banks. Don't forget to strip em in from the middle of the river from time to time too. Johh Barr, one of my favorite fly guys at Umpqua states that he catches more fish with streamers from the middle of the river as opposed to fishing streamers at the banks.
You may have to adjust where you start your day on the river, but there is usually always an option to get ahead of the generation. Take the time to study both the TVA schedule and the Corps of Engineers schedule before you go. This will be time well spent.
Sure the weather is cold and the generation schedules are a bit weird, but do not let that keep you from fishing. Traffic on the river has subsided substantially since school students are back in class and fair weather fisherman have been staying at home due to colder temps. If you can sneak away and fish during the week, you may not see another boat on the river. My last three trips with clients have been in near solitude and plenty of fish have been netted.
What's been working? Egg patterns have been really producing. Peach with a blood dot has been working very well. With different water conditions, try different colors and sizes. Lemon Roe, Oregon Cheese, and orange eggs in 10mm, 8mm, and 6mm have all been producers. I much prefer to use McFly Foam as opposed to Glo Bug Yarn. Wooly buggers and Princes have also netted plenty of fish.
Eggs are hot on the Cumberland this time of year.
If you can't get out on the river, hit the fly tying bench and start stocking up those fly boxes.
If you're a steelheader, right now is game time. I've heard from a few steelheaders that fishing has been very good the past few weeks and plenty of fresh chrome has been coming in from the lakes. The Pere Marquette, my favorite place to chase chrome has been on fire. If you need any info, I can put you in touch with an extremely reliable guide and personal friend.
No matter what, just keep fishing. If you want to get out on the Cumberland River give me a call, text, or e-mail. And again. thanks to everyone for following Cumberland Bottom Ticklers!