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Thread: Tailwater Novice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    125

    Default Tailwater Novice

    Took the day off Friday and went to the cumberland for a little r n r. No boat, water was very low all day and I fished at Helms the entire time. The catching was slow, although I did bring a very nice brown to hand (16 -18 inches) before I quick released him. The last time I will fish without a net. I've fished the Cumberland several times but would not consider myself an expert by any means and the fish I caught were on midges or bead head nymphs. However, it drove me crazy that they were rising (or taking something just under the surface) nearly all day and I couldn't catch more than I did. I'm sure presentation was part of the problem, but wanted to ask if anyone has any suggestions for patterns etc. because they we hungry. There is no fly shop in Lexington any longer, so short of a guide there are not many info resources here. Any advice is much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    crossville tn
    Posts
    134

    Default

    lexfly i have never fished the cumbelrand but you may want to try some soft hackles...the work well on the clinch and the caney ,,,,dead drift it let swing in the current a bit at the end of the drift then strip it back ....or you may want to try some streamers
    dan
    i fish because the voices in my head tell me to

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Mid Tennessee
    Posts
    919

    Default

    Lexfly, need some idea of what you are seeing in the air or on the water in order to suggest a pattern. Probably this time of the year it is a midge, but it is possible could be a BWO or maybe caddis. Just guessing. Trout like to take midges hanging helpless in the film as they hatch. A zebra midge might work if that is what they are on. Give us a report when you get some idea of the bug and I'm sure you will get some suggestions. The suggestion of a soft hackle is a good one as a general nonspecific pattern. Regards, Silvercreek
    "Here fishy fishy."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    125

    Default Hatches

    The only things I could see on the film or in the air were tiny (size 22 or 24) little white or tan flies. They were all over the place and mostly looked like they had fallen back on the water. I tried a black, red and brown bh zebra midge but didn't have near the luck I expected. Maybe the bead head? Tried BWO dry but no luck. Did not try a soft hackle. I rarely fish with them. What would be a good starter selection for soft hackle flies?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2,516

    Default

    Try a PMD spinner or PMD. Hint: Try a zebra midge, but don't tie it with a bead head. It will float in the film for ya

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Woodstock, GA
    Posts
    147

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lexfly View Post
    The only things I could see on the film or in the air were tiny (size 22 or 24) little white or tan flies. They were all over the place and mostly looked like they had fallen back on the water. I tried a black, red and brown bh zebra midge but didn't have near the luck I expected. Maybe the bead head? Tried BWO dry but no luck. Did not try a soft hackle. I rarely fish with them. What would be a good starter selection for soft hackle flies?
    Those bugs you are seeing sound to me like midges. They are common this time of year and throughout winter. In the winter trout really key in on them. Try a #22 griffiths gnat or a #22-24 cream midge dry. Just make sure you are using light tippet and don't set too hard. It doesn't take much to get a fly that small hooked. If that doesnt wark, you could always try an attractor dry with a zebra midge about a foot under. That sometimes works for me when they are midging higher in the water column. Also, as the other guys said, use soft hackles! You can drift them, swing them, or strip them...just see what the fish prefer!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    429

    Default

    lexfly-

    The others have given you good suggestions, they're probably midges this time of year. On the Cumby, midges are a year round occurance. You also might try some small Yellow Sallys or Sulphurs also. This time of the year its tough. My go-to set up would be Griffiths Gnats with a zebra midge dropper. The Cumby is slow this year, probably because of the dam work, and the high CFS releases may have scoured the bottom of the river, and the vegetation that provides shelter for the bugs in the larva and/or pupa stages.

    You said that a fly shop closed in Lexington. Was it Sporting Traditions (Orvis dealer) that was downtown? Its sad, another fly shop bites the dust!

    Bill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    125

    Default Fly shop

    Thanks for all the pointers. I will see what I can do about the cream midges and soft hackles. I look forward to getting back soon. The Cumberland does seem slow, but it was better than not fishing at all. The fly shop that closed was Sporting Tradition. They had recently moved out to Lexington Green from downtown.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    crossville tn
    Posts
    134

    Default

    lexfly olive soft hackles size 14 and 16 work well for me on both the clinch the caney and also the elk..try tieing them with some rainbow, gold or red crystal flash at the bend in the hook i think the flash helps attract them when you strip them back if you use a floating line maybe add a bead head to help keep it down in the strike zone when stripping it back the bead head for those size hooks don't seem to put the fish off during the dead drift
    dan
    i fish because the voices in my head tell me to

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Fayetteville TN
    Posts
    218

    Default

    Same exact problem on teh Elk every year. The suggestions here are all that I use as well. Small soft hackles, a Reverse Spider fished on floating line with floatant on all but the last 6" of the tippet. I usually get the strike RIGHT when the tippet goes taut.


    I have also used a tiny midge dry with NO floatant on it and floatant, once again, on all but the last few inches of the tippet. If you have some sinkant put it on the fly.

    The stuff they're hitting is floating along about 1-2" and it is maddening.
    "even Jesus had a 12 man recon team"

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