I really got back into fly fishing in 2005 after taking a trip to Alaska and now I am sharing my knowledge with some beginners. This weekend I really stumbled onto something that made my trip one of the best.
We went down to the Cumberland tailwaters starting out at Helms Landing. It was partly cloudy with horrible winds that ran many people off. I started off with my 4wt 7' TFO light action rod which after 2 or 3 casts could not handle the wind. So I went back to the truck and got my 6wt 9' St.Croix Legend Elite stiff action rod which could handle the wind a little better. I had heard that the copper john or the phesant tail fly was doing well. I put on a 6' leader with the copper john and a number 4 split shot sinker. I was able to land about 5 fish working a pocket in the main current.
We went on to hit another spot that you have to use a boat to get to. We got out and I went over to the gravel/rock bar and found some small pools. I picked up some rocks and looked closely to find numerous Stone flies. We put on several nymphs that mimic'ed the stonefly with a lot of success working deep pockets with some current. There where a lot of logs in this pocket so I gave a lot of flies to the river. I have been working with some friends teaching them the early stages of fly fishiing. It was the best feeling ever to show them how to look at whats undeneath the water then try to mimic it. I pulled my buddy aside and showed him the pool. The look on his face was priceless to see things finally come full circle. It was now more than just looking at a list of what flies are hot this time of year. He saw the bait we where trying to mimic and so he put on a nymph that represented the stonefly. 2 casts later he had his first fish of the day!
My buddy landed 2 fish and caught about 6, I ended up catching close to 10 fish through the day.
Stone flies, Copper John, Woolybugga with antennas, and anything that had some legs and the split tail worked well. I am going to purchase a dip net when I get a chance so I can take this to the next level. We caught several fish in the 12"- 18" range.