View Full Version : Light Cahill Madness

David Knapp
05-18-2009, 11:22 AM
Yesterday I drove up to the Smokies to enjoy the last few hours of Troutfest but also planned on fishing. Driving into Townsend I noticed that LR was up and muddy. Thoughts of big browns were soon roaming through my head but I decided to check out Troutfest first. That proved to be an excellent choice. I got to meet a lot of great tiers including "Flyman" and "Rockyraccon" from this board and also watched my buddy "Chemeangler" tying. I also was fortunate to spend a good bit of time watching Jack Gregory tying and was able to learn some good stuff... The pinnacle was watching Joe Humphreys do his casting seminar. I learned a lot of great stuff watching a true master who is also blessed with the ability to teach!

After the seminar, I headed over to LRO to pick up some stuff I've been needing and then drove up LR road to look for some good fishing. The first few places I stopped all had a few scattered bugs coming off but nothing special. The water was very high and I tried to avoid wading as much as possible. Chucking big nymphs and streamers was the order of the day until my 3rd or 4th stop. The pool is one of the better known ones on Little River and is known for producing good fish. I was hoping to find a large brown out looking for a big meal. As I ran my streamer through the pool, I couldn't help but notice that the bugs were quickly becoming thicker and despite the high, stained water, the fish were rising enthusiastically for the banquet. I ran back up to the car and grabbed my dry fly box and a new leader and hurried back.

The surface activity was better than before and I had a hard time tying everything on and watching all the fish rising at the same time. Finally I had a parachute light cahill and started casting. I tried to remember the tips that Joe had talked about. The tricky currents required a lot of slack in both the line and leader or a reach cast with slack in the leader. Most of the fish were rising on the far side of the pool right along the current seam and into the softer water. This made getting a good drift difficult but I started getting it figured out and the fish responded.

Of course, the best activity was impossible to get to with the high water. If I had my waders with me I probably would have attempted a suicidal stream crossing because the fish on the far side under the overhanging trees looked a lot bigger than the 7-10 inch fish I was catching. Fully satisfied with the fishing, I decided to do some exploring...well, kind of anyway... I went up to another popular pool to see if the hatch was as good.

When I got there things seemed a little slower. The fish weren't rising as enthusiastically that I could see and the bugs were definitely fewer. Still, I figured, I might as well give it a shot. Over the next 30 minutes, I had some of the best dry fly action I might have this whole year. The fish were going absolutely crazy. I got some nicer fish up to around 10 inches to take the fly including a couple of browns along with some smaller fish as well.

The light cahills were hatching better than I have ever personally experienced. I think it was probably a combination of higher flow and also the cloud cover. Did I mention that NO ONE else was fishing? I could have fished literally wherever I wanted to... The fishing definitely provided the perfect end to a day at Troutfest!

Here's a few of the fish I managed to fool...




05-18-2009, 11:41 AM
Some healthy looking fish. That bow next to your rod looks like he has been feeding especially well.

05-18-2009, 11:57 AM
Nice David.

Glad you were able to turn a nasty weather day into some amazing dry fly action.

05-18-2009, 11:58 AM
Great report and pics as always David. I saw you at Troutfest yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to talk to you. Had a lady friend and dog in tow. I fished the Natahala above the DH section on Saturday and there was an awesome hatch of bugs before dark, green drakes, sallies, sulphurs. The drakes were awesome!

Have fun,


fly fisherman DK
05-18-2009, 05:44 PM
nice report!!! It makes me want to be there right now, but I guess I will have to wait until June.

05-18-2009, 06:29 PM
Good lord thats a big bow, for the park. What size were the cahills; I plan to be in the area next weekend.

David Knapp
05-18-2009, 06:50 PM
The ones I could catch seemed to be a #14-#16 or so but there were some larger bugs on the water as well. They had a yellowish tinge to them...thought they were sulphurs at first but definitely the light cahills after a bit of research...

05-18-2009, 07:37 PM
Man, you should save these and bind them together in a book.

05-18-2009, 09:37 PM
great report and nice fish. Can't wait until my next smokies trip. Probably late summer before I can get there though.


caught 108
05-18-2009, 10:03 PM
Great pictures of some Nice fish.

05-19-2009, 08:10 AM
How many tails were on your bugs?

David Knapp
05-19-2009, 09:55 AM

05-20-2009, 10:58 AM
I ran into a pretty good cahill hatch, about a mile up thunderhead on sunday also.

05-20-2009, 09:12 PM
David it was nice to finally meet you. I have always enjoyed you photos and reports as well as your contributions to the journal. Wish I had known you were going fishing. I spent about the last 90 minutes tying Cahill imitations and would have loaded you up:smile:.

David Knapp
05-20-2009, 10:09 PM
Man, I wish I had told you I was going fishing...I only had one parachute light cahill. Last time I sat down to tie them, I got bored after just one...:rolleyes: I ended up fishing some PMD patterns my buddy tied for me before last summer's trip out west... They still worked well and with the higher water the pattern didn't seem as important.

Great meeting you as well. I enjoyed looking at some of your flies and talking with you...hope to see you again sometime, maybe on the water...:cool: