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Old 10-30-2008, 12:56 AM
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milligan trout degree milligan trout degree is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: East Tn
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I've never fished the caney, so i can't answer much for that river. I have, however, fished another "midge river" full of big browns in the south holston. i would also say that the winter is my favorite time to fish the soho. one reason being that im away most of the summer because of summer break from college and im here all winter. another is that the big fish seam to become more active and willing in the winter. or maybe they just congregate more in specific areas post spawn. i can point to three or four runs i know hold big fish in late feb or march. do i hook and land this fish, often? heck no. i'll tell you my approach to this river in winter months though.

first i start with a 7.5 ft 5x leader, and tie and about two and a half feet of 5x to a san jaun. split shot above that and indicator way up high on the butt section of the leader. i drop a bwo nymph or black fly nymph or ptail off the san juan on 6x flouro. i look for fast shallow riffles, or noticeable runs and make quite a few good drifts through. i change my dropper to find what pleases the fish. if i can't fool them, i either go deeper (by adding more split shot, or adding a big heavy copper john to my nymph rig) or i go smaller and start fishing sz 20 nymphs and smaller midges or black fly larva. if that all doesnt work, i'll either scope out some flat water and look for risers to which i'll throw a cdc bwo dry with a bwo emerger of some sort or i'll throw wooly buggers or zonkers through the same riffles and runs i was fishing earlier.

i love the winter fishing. its when i catch my biggest fish most often. cold toes, nose, ears, fingers you can't feel. i love every bit of it. you see, the theory i've always heard about tailwater trout is that their metabolism stays about the same because of the near constant water temp coming from the bottom of the dams. the water doesnt fluctuate nearly as much as a freestone stream and therefore the trout are much more willing to take a fly in the winter on a tailwater than on a wild stream. i'd agree with that. the fishing doesnt slow down too bad. tactics may need to change some though. maybe go deeper and smaller. on the soho, black fly larva is a must, post spawn, these fish key in on it, and also a small biot bodied blue wing nymph is deadly. geez i can't wait to freeze to death while catching beautiful browns.
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