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Cumberland River Fishing Report 8-11-20

Doubles on the Cumberland!

Summer is in full swing and so is great fly fishing on the Cumberland. Recent generation schedules have been good. Early starts have become the norm. For a while now, TVA / COE have started generation schedules around lunch time with a couple of generators running for an hour, then 4 generators until just before dark and a back down to one generator at midnight before turning off. It repeats the following day. Generation varies so check the schedule diligently as it can change. Staying in front of the water from generation is key. Both weekday and weekend generation schedules have been good and very consistent. A little less generation has been the norm on the weekends, but river traffic is also increased.

Mornings are cool and comfortable, but once mid morning comes around and fog burns off, it can get warm. Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated. You’ll be able to tell by how you feel at the end of the day if you’ve consumed enough liquids. Being more tired at the end of the day than what you would have thought means you might be dehydrated. We’re also in that daily summer thunderstorm cycle. Everyday can bring a decent chance of an afternoon pop up rain shower. Lately, a few of these have been heavy. A good rain jacket is worth every penny. Be watchful of lightning, even in the distance. However, don’t cancel a trip to the river just because of a decent chance of rain. Often getting wet is well worth the accompanying outstanding fishing.

Down around the bend

Fish have been looking up for a few weeks. The defining clue of fish striking an indicator on top water is hard to ignore. Hopper dropper set ups have been catching fish regularly if conditions are right and always provide excitement. This time of year, hoppers can attract large fish if fished properly.

Nymphing is still the name of the game and the most productive way to catch fish on the Cumberland. Typical nymphs such as pheasant tails, hares’ ears, zebra midges, etc have been performing well. Sulphurs have been coming off in decent numbers usually after lunch time. Watch for swallows / martins down river. If you see them, then there is a good chance there are bugs coming off. River birds are aerial assassins and provide good viewing in how easily they can demolish fluttering insects trying to rise off. Variations of dries might catch a fish or two if you find risers. Fishing structure edge (wood) has been very productive. Remember to hug the structure edge. Fish deep and hug it. Don’t drift right over it as you will more than likely hang and possibly ruin the hold. Hug that drift close and be ready. Let those flies tickle the bottom and trot your fly through the drift. You won’t be sorry.

Buggy afternoons

Absolutely key is to fish moving water that allows for drift. Even areas with micro drift can yield plenty of fish. Pay attention to where you nymph. Sometimes feeding lanes and productive seams might be 10-20 feet from the bank. If motor boats scamp by and throw large wake on the bank, be patient and give it a few minutes. Trout will resume their normal activity quickly unless it’s boat after boat throwing heavy wake.

It goes without saying that if you fish for a while with no sign of interest, then change up. Just because a fly worked yesterday doesn’t mean it’s going to work today. Same goes with location. Just because fish were in a run last week doesn’t mean they are going to always be there. Be willing to change. When high water hits, don’t quit fishing. There is still time once water starts to come up to catch plenty of fish. When the full force of four generators hits though, its time to head for the ramp.

Driving to and from the river can be tricky in the morning due to fog. Be careful and slow down. There’s plenty of deer and the occasional dog to keep an eye out for. Lastly, be careful on those ramps. I’ve seen a few rough falls recently that could’ve been serious, but only provided good hard laughs.

All dressed up.

If you want to get out and fish or simply want to talk trout, contact me via cell, e-mail, messenger or whatever means you might choose. Thank you to all of you slightly obsessed trout bums that follow CBT’s and keep me going!

Fish hard!


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