Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Trout Hatchery Funding Update

Below is the latest update I just received via Email from the Trout Unlimited Clinch River Chapter:

To all members and friends of the Clinch River Chapter:

For the most recent developments in the continuing controversy over funding for trout hatcheries, please see the message below from Dick Geiger, president of the Clinch River Chapter TU, and the comments from Rick Murphree, chairman of the Tennessee Council TU.

Their messages refer to a May 27 public meeting in Knoxville, hosted by TVA, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The meeting provided an opportunity for the public to comment on long-term funding recommendations to continue trout stocking programs in TVA reservoirs and tailwaters; the recommendations were developed by the Trout Hatchery Funding Stakeholder Working Group, whose members (one is our own Buzz Buffington) all benefit from recreation-based trout stocking. 


Clinch River Chapter members and friends,

Because of funding restrictions and sequestration in the federal government during the last several years, there have been potential impacts to the operation of the federal hatchery system. A letter-writing campaign to the TN delegation in Congress maintained the funding, but Congress instructed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to attempt to recover payments for operation of the hatcheries. TVA agreed to fund their portion of stocking the tailwaters below TVA dams ($900,000 per year for three years).

Please go to www.tva.gov/hatchery and download the 4 alternatives and provide comments to the working group. Your comments will show you are interested in maintaining the fisheries in the tail waters below the TVA dams.

Dick Geiger, President
Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited


From Tennessee Council Chair Rick Murphree to the Tennessee TU members, May 28:

Last night TVA held a public meeting to gather input on 4 proposed alternatives for funding for USFWS trout hatcheries.  This was the first time we had seen the 4 alternatives. Attached is my statement. I didn't read all of this but did enter it into the record. 

I addressed the panel and did not directly endorse any of the alternatives as I'd not had an opportunity to get input from the Council.  However, I did address the 4th alternative whereby TVA would use its facilities to replace the trout currently produced by the USFWS and would absorb that cost.  In reading the summary of the alternative the only substantive objection was that TVA ratepayers would bear the cost estimated at some $900K per year.  I pointed out to the panel that, using TVA's own data, this was $0.10 per TVA customer per year and this seemed to me to be very reasonable.

According to TVA you should be able today to go to their web sitewww.tva.gov/hatchery and download the summary statements of the 4 alternatives.

Rick

And a later comment, also from Rick Murphree on May 28:

As I understand Alternative 4, TVA would pay the $900K to produce the trout that are currently provided by the USFWS Hatchery system.  I assume from the text that TVA would use its hatcheries but it seems to me that it's more likely that the production would be shared between TWRA's hatchery system and TVA.

What I like about that is the we here in TN would control the future production for the tailwater systems.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Holston River - late May

Over the past couple weeks I've been hearing some good reports and seeing pictures from some great trips out on the Holston. I was able to get a taste of my own the other day and it was indeed a fun trip. 
The Holston has such an abundance of bugs which requires a variety filled fly box. Throughout the afternoon fish were rising to caddis, sulphurs, and other various mayflies. 
My experience on the holston is pretty limited. It's a terrific river but doesn't have a ton of public access in relation to the magnitude of the large river. It holds some large trout, small mouth bass, and a large carp population. 
I'm excited to learn more about the holston. It's a beautiful fishery and isn't too far from home. 
I caught fish on nymphs 14-18, sulphur dries and emergers 16, and caddis emergers 14-16. 
Also had a five lb carp eat a stealth bomber pheasant tail nymph variation. That was fun! 


Monday, April 28, 2014

Clinch River Update (Late April)

I've had a few opportunities the past couple weeks to get out on the Clinch River.  Fishing has been pretty good but sometimes inconsistent.  On the upper end of the river midges and scuds/sowbugs have been the ticket on most days.  The lower half of the river as been productive with midges, pheasant tails, and split case nymphs.
I fished the lower end yesterday and saw approximately 20 sulphurs in around 4 hours of fishing.  I'm hopeful for a good hatch in the up coming weeks.  The sulphur hatch on the Clinch River is often very sporadic and unpredictable.  Fingers crossed for 2014.

I'm planning to get out pretty consistently over the next several weeks.  I'll try and keep the reports updated.  Thanks!
Peaceful afternoon on the Clinch

Steady dose of Rainbows this size for the past couple weeks

#midgesacrifice

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

East TN Tailwaters - January 20

Like most anglers, the winter as really taken a toll on us and we haven't been give a lot of great opportunities to fish our tailwaters.  Whether is be poor wading opportunities due to water release schedules or bad weather, its seemed as though this winter has been one of the worst in recent years. 
TVA built this weir below South Holston Dam to add oxygen to the river. Oxygen-rich water helps create a sustained habitat for aquatic insects, vegetation, and fish.
 I decided to take a solo trip up to the far east of TN and visit the South Holston.  The South Holston is a truly great river and produces numerous large fish year end and year out.  Each year I make a goal saying I would like to be able to fish this river more(watagua also), but its tough leaving my mother Clinch River when its almost always fishing well and 5 minutes from my front porch.  For the past several years, I've found myself making short trips up to the SoHo during the winter(usually when the Clinch is blown out), and it always helps fix my itch to catch some fish.  This is exactly what I needed this past weekend.

I arrived around 11:30am and TVA was scheduled to stop water generation around 12:00pm.  I spoke to a few locals and took a couple pictures. 
Not to my surprise was the crowds of anglers ready to get some time on the water.  I walked down the trail that starts up at the weir and anglers were already lined up like a scene from a magazine for a salmon run.  I found myself a fairly good entry spot and once water levels were safe I began fishing.

Fishing was pretty fair and I managed some good fish, but nothing huge on this trip.  I caught a few on a #18BHPT and the majority of my fish came on a #20 juju midge.  I felt like the fish were really responding to the flash of wings on the juju. 

I didn't take any fish pictures on this trip.  All I had was my phone and my hands were too cold and not worth the risk of dropping ANOTHER phone in the river.

As usual, my Sage One performed great and provided some good casts in the strong cold winds.

I'm really hoping that we get some low water on the Clinch soon.  I'm sure when we get to go the fish will be really active.  This has been the case following the past few years following high water winters.

I'm also getting some of my fly tying materials stocked up and getting ready for the up coming sulphur hatches.  I have a couple new patterns I'm anxious to tie and try
Sage One 590 has been my "work horse" since I picked it up.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Clinch River - Report

I've been out a handful of times over the past couple of weeks on the Clinch.  I've had some good days on both ends of the river.  On the lower end - pheasant tails and soft hackles have worked well for me.  On the upper end I've been doing well on really small midges and cream colored scuds.

Here are a few pictures from the past couple days.

Photo credit: @troutmanbrook via Instagram

Yesterday morning I found this nice rainbow who fell to my #20 midge







Sunday, June 9, 2013

Report - Early June 2013

I was able to get in a couple trips of fishing this week.  I love getting out at this time of year, because you just never know what kind of day you're going to have.  Some Summer days turn out great, but on other days fish can be tough to figure out for a variety of reasons.

My first trip was to my home waters the Clinch River.  The Clinch can be very fun to fish during late May and into June.  My trip was indeed a good one.  I began the day up above the weir fishing some deep water as they turned off the generators.  In approximately an hour I had brought several fish to hand and lost a few others.  The fish up in the weir pool are tough, thick, and fighters.  In the weir pool all my fish came on a midge #20.

After fishing the weir pool for a hour, we decided to head down to miller island.  Luckily, their wasn't too many people out yet and we were able to jump in a head of all the crowds.  I usually avoid miller island because of the crowds, but decided I'd give it a shot since I hadn't fished that area in such a long time.  Its always a plus to be the first person to fish the island(front or back).  Fish seemed to really be stacked up on the front side.  They were everywhere and not just in the normal lies.  I didn't spot a ton of really large fish, but there were certainly many willing to cooperate.  I caught fish on pheasant tails initially in a couple different variations in sizes #16 and #18.  Towards the end of the island there are a couple different pools that I threw some soft hackles and picked up a handful of average fish.  By the time I reached the end of the island(approx. noon) I began to see a few sulfurs coming off and I was surprised to see the fish keying on them this early in the day.  Historically, the best sulfur hatches are much further down river, but this was a pretty significant hatch.  It was a lot of fun getting to fish some dry flies and some good action.


I also took a little road trip and visited Cherokee, NC to do some fishing up on the Raven Fork.  I hadn't ever fished the tribal waters and wanted to do a bit of exploring.  We didn't fish the trophy waters, but did fish the waters above and below the 2 mile stretch of the prized water.  Unfortunately the heavy storms from the previous weekend still left the waters fairly high and swift.  We had a bit of a tough time finding some manageable water to fish.  We did manage to catch some fish on nymphs and san juan worms.
Caught this little guy on the first cast of the day

This was the most productive stretch of water

    
My little brother Cobie laying out some line into a deep pool



 The waters up in Cherokee are very nice.  Once we had finished fishing, we did some scouting in the trophy section.  We spotted some really large fish.  Next time we visit that area we may try and get into some of those big uglies.  It appeared to be a nice area to do some camping. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Elkmont Trip





Campground Parking Lot at Elkmont
Rod and I decided to battle the Memorial Day crowds and venture into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and fish up above Elkmont.  We hiked about half way up Little River Trail and began fishing. 
It wasn't long until we each had hooked up
After picking up some fish, we ran into a fellow fisherman who recommended we hike on up and fish around the bridges.  This was about another two miles up the trail, but he ensured us it was worth the efforts. 
By the time we got up to the top of the trail we were quite tired, but determined to fish some of these fine looking waters.
Rodney at the Husky Gap Trail Sign.  Look tired?

Neither of us are too skilled when it comes to fishing the smokies.  We would definitely be considered "tailwater guys".  We were hoping to see some nice hatches, but it never happened.  All of the fish we caught were subsurface on nymphs and green weenies. 

Caught on a Weenie

Rodney after our long hike up Little River trail

Standing on the bridge of Little River Trail
All in all, we had a good time.  Weather was great, crowds weren't too terrible, and we were just happy to get out and enjoy the day in the solitude of the Smokies.