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TN Jed 07-24-2013 09:57 PM

Night fishing for browns?
I picked up a copy of the August-September issue of ‘Fly Fisherman’ magazine. I don’t usually do this, but the cover picture caught my eye….it was about fishing for browns at night. I love catching browns and the bigger the better. After reading the article, I was all pumped up about going….until I mentioned it to my wife. She flipped her lid about me going fishing at night for safety reasons. I can understand that, and there are certainly some precautions to take (like going with a buddy, wearing a life vest, going to familiar waters, etc.). I let her know that I would be safe about it (and I was being honest).

So, my questions to the board are:

Does anyone around here fish for trout at night (besides the bait chuckers)? Any tips you’d like to share? Would it be worth my while to go, say at the Clinch? I’m picturing myself throwing pretty big streamers out there – would this be productive? Has anyone been crazy enough to float a tailwater on a moonlit night? I’m assuming that summer would be the best season to try it – fair to say? Are there any safety precautions to take (outside of what I mentioned previously)?

TN Jed

Don Kirk 07-25-2013 08:21 AM

Night fishing...
Some years back when I first started writing I got into night fly fishing on rivers. It's a lot of fun, but like most other fishing, success was good some times, and average other times. I did it a lot on the Chucky where I knew the shoals quite well. My experience on tailwater rivers is nil.

Rivers become different places in the dark. Shoals will sometimes crowd with enormous soft shell turtles and things you did not know frequent waters you thought you know will surprise you. It can be a bit spooky at times.

We once lost our way out of the Chucky and ended tramping through a head-high corn field for a couple of hours until we saw car lights that enabled us to find a road. We arrived home about 3:00 am to families that were about ready to kill us. Caught some nice fish though, which made it an accepatable pennance.

TylerG10 07-25-2013 12:15 PM

I read an article online that was very in depth and thorough about fly fishing at night. It covered a lot of the "safety" issues and things you should and should not do. One thing I remembered reading was about a certain color headlamp/flashlight color so you would not spook the fish.

I have never fly fished at dark but have fished plenty bass tourneys and fished for crappie at night. I think it would be pretty fun and interesting fly fishing at night. I will try to find that article again.

Bran 07-25-2013 02:22 PM

My boss is from Michegan and he has told me a number of times about how common it was up there to fish Browns at night. He said you get there and familiarize yourself early and then pretty much stay stationary after you pick your lie or run or whatever. He said that he has had big Browns slap the water within reach and splash him! Apparently another reason for being stationary besides the obvious is that its a popular sport up there and there are quite a few anglers on the river for certain hatches so you "stake" your territory before dark and stay with it until you wade in and start fishing.
One thing that stuck with me on those stories was the way he said some of the larger Brown tail slapped and it would sound like a Beaver. He said they would make you jump!

Trico 07-25-2013 03:11 PM

TN Jed I have went night fishing for large trout numerous times. I have done a little in Michigan and the rest on a spring creek near my home. It is interesting and as posted the trout stream becomes a different place at night. Sometimes a little eerie and spooky.

In my experience it has been a hit or miss deal. I have only stayed out for a few hours and not past 1:00 AM. I think everyone should try it.

I still remember one night I made my first cast and thought I cast too far and got snagged on the far bank. As I tried to pull my line free I noticed it moving to my left. As the fact hit me I was into a large trout there was a commotion on the surface and my leader snapped.

I had best luck with unweighted sculpin patterns, large unweighted wooley buggers and similar flies. I have not had much success with mouse patterns. I like something that goes just beneath the surface so it makes a wake when retrieved. Best of luck and be certain and post a reply if you go.

tnflyfisher 07-25-2013 04:04 PM

Don't let people talk you out of it or scare you away...
Browns are sensitive to light and are able to see and feed more efficiently in times of low light or even better, at night. It can be an extremely productive way to fish for them. Find a familiar stretch of water that you know holds fish and focus on that to start with. Play it safe and you should be fine until you become more experienced. I'm partial to topwater flies just because it adds to the excitement and there is no mistaking a strike. Take a good 7wt or 8wt with you to help chuck BIG flies and hold on... ;)

Tight Lines,

ChemEAngler 07-25-2013 09:53 PM

I recall a few years back that Brett Romer (Fishermansfly) did a night float on the SoHo during a full moonlit night, and think he posted about it here. The results were quite fantastic. Maybe try doing a search on here for night fishing and see what you get.

Grumpy 07-26-2013 07:37 AM

& take a leather glove with you to unhook the bat's, don't ask how i know this:redface:


David Knapp 07-27-2013 12:50 AM

Did an all night float a few years ago on the Caney. There are some creepy sounds out there at night... :eek: Caught a few fish...streamers with big heads that push a lot of water are what worked. Make sure you really know the water you will be fishing whether floating or wading for obvious safety reasons. Most of the fish you catch will be nice fish...

TN Jed 07-27-2013 09:01 AM

To all:

Thanks so much for the input! Y'all have provided a lot of info, and I appreciate y'all taking the time to do so. The first step for me is to go to LRO and get an 8 wt. rod that's been on my wish list for awhile. I figure on 'up-sizing' my leaders and tippet too. I'm really looking forward to it, hopefully catching a nice fish or two will be a bonus to seeing (or hearing) the river come to life at night. There's a spot on the Clinch that I'm familiar with and that's where I'm going to try this out. It may be a little while before I can make the trip, but I will provide a report when I do. And Grumpy, if I hook a bat, I'm just going to cut the line and run! Thanks again y'all!

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