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Old 06-14-2009, 04:41 PM
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Default This is the year- help a newbie out

Although my cast has improved greatly, I'm still not getting into a lot of fish. This is the year to catch my first 20"+ fish. My record is at 18", and that was on a spin rod. My largest trout on the fly was ironically my first- a 14" brown on the Caney... on a EHC. So anything you're willing to share to better my chances of the biggun, I'm all ears.
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Old 06-14-2009, 05:23 PM
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I don't know much, but I'll tell you what I know: When I first started not too long ago, I slowly pulled a larger grub through the water by winding the line with my left hand like I was gathering a rope around my fingers (because I didn't know any better), after about an hour of this, I landed an 18" rainbow. I think my net at the time was about 12" long, so I let him go in the water and I didn't even know to carry a camera at the time. After I started reading Bergman, I realized that I had stumbled on to a great technique. Of course, undercut bank and cover, like a large log, are good bets to find a big one and use this retrieve. I hear shade helps too. Also, the larger the fly, the larger the fish, in general. Also, I believe that the odds are better at night and in deeper water. I still fish for the smaller fish because I like to catch a lot when I go, but I think this is sound advice.

Last edited by BlueRaiderFan; 06-14-2009 at 07:17 PM..
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Old 06-14-2009, 06:26 PM
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Sometimes, you have to consider the use of the out of the ordinary flies for the larger trout, especially the browns. Consider some streamers or better yet, a crayfish pattern, keeping it near the bottom and drifting along the hideouts.
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Old 06-14-2009, 10:48 PM
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1. Fish where there are big fish.
2. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to fish big flies to catch big fish, especially big rainbows in our tailwaters.
3. Keep it simple in the tailwaters, don't get duped by ridiculous flies and fads. Small dark nymphs (PT's, or midge pupae) have caught more 20"+ fish then anything else in this part of the world.
4. Steer clear of any flies or techniques which call for swinging flies (soft hackles) and always maintain good drifts.
5. Very important: Areas which hold lots of avg or small fish do not hold many big fish, they are solitary many times, and do not hang with the masses.
6. If you are catching fresh stockers and tiny fingerlings, change flies and/or locations, something is wrong with one or both.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:39 AM
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The above advice is solid.

For the caney you need to either fish streamers or nymphs. Since you wade you are eliminating yourself from the majority of the good streamer fishing, unless you fish after dark. I hate fishing streamers and in the dark, so this is the extent of my streamer advice.

For fishing nymphs you need to find a very small low profile strike indicator in a natural color (white, brown, green, black, or sky blue only) and fish ONE nymph on a very long leader of at least 15 or 16 feet, 20 is better. The big fish are in the deeper holes except when the water is coming up or just starting down, or when they are spawning. Since the water coming up is more dangerous to fish, I would suggest when the water is going down. The dry fly as a strike indicator is a rookie mistake that weakens your leader and ends up using more leader material and flies with not much increase in fish catching ability for the cost. Yes, I have had a fish on the Caney in the 5-10lb range hit my strike indicator....it happens.

Get away from other people, yes there are big fish there too, but not as many, they are more weary, and the fish in other places are eating more often. Learn to walk away from the small fish. To be honest though if you can't catch a lot of small fish very easily you may not be ready to move up to hunting larger ones. Get some 20-40 fish days under your belt trying these techniques on the schoolies, then go hunting.

The first cast you make is the one that will indicate your presence, make it count. Learn to fish a drift of your entire fly line and some backing. This requires learning to have great line control both on the drift and on the strike. If the strike indicator is not just floating naturally all you are doing is scaring fish. A longer rod makes for better hook sets with an entire fly line on the water. And a lighter rod 4wt is more forgiving on the 7 or 8x tippet you may need to be fishing in some conditions. Fish the strongest tippet you can get away with fishing, the deeper the water the stronger the tippet I fish. As an example when my strike indicator is more than 8 feet above the fly I am fishing 5 or 6x tippet. The fly should never be more than 1-2 feet above the bottom in the deep spots.

Tie your fly on with a palomar or san diego jam knot. Do not use the trilene, improved clinch, or clinch knots, they are too weak. I have lost a lot of big fish due to those knots. Don't believe me test them at home with the tippet you use.


And don't make excuses, either follow the advice or don't.
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
1. Fish where there are big fish.
2. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to fish big flies to catch big fish, especially big rainbows in our tailwaters.
3. Keep it simple in the tailwaters, don't get duped by ridiculous flies and fads. Small dark nymphs (PT's, or midge pupae) have caught more 20"+ fish then anything else in this part of the world.
4. Steer clear of any flies or techniques which call for swinging flies (soft hackles) and always maintain good drifts.
5. Very important: Areas which hold lots of avg or small fish do not hold many big fish, they are solitary many times, and do not hang with the masses.
6. If you are catching fresh stockers and tiny fingerlings, change flies and/or locations, something is wrong with one or both.
Waterwolf's tips will get you in to some larger fish! Very good key concepts in fishing keepers...
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:53 PM
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In addition to all the good advice you have already been given. Buy a good pair of sunglasses. Locating big fish and learning the type of places they may be in any given stream is very important. Fish early and late, go when the weather is bad and the water is up and stained. Once you locate large fish make a mental note of their location. Chances are it's a prime location and the fish won't move very far, or if they do another large fish will take up residence there.


Waterwolf, can I ask you why you say to steer clear of soft hackles and techniques that swing flies? Swinging streamers and soft hackles, and using techniques like the Leisenring Lift have produced some nice fish over the years for me. Just curious about your thoughts and observations

.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:13 PM
waterwolf waterwolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gutshot View Post

Since you wade you are eliminating yourself from the majority of the good streamer fishing, unless you fish after dark. I hate fishing streamers and in the dark, so this is the extent of my streamer advice.
Agreed, and fishing streamers after dark is a great way to suffer a head injury

Quote:
Originally Posted by gutshot View Post
For fishing nymphs you need to find a very small low profile strike indicator in a natural color (white, brown, green, black, or sky blue only) and fish ONE nymph on a very long leader of at least 15 or 16 feet, 20 is better. The big fish are in the deeper holes except when the water is coming up or just starting down, or when they are spawning. Since the water coming up is more dangerous to fish, I would suggest when the water is going down.
Disagree, indicator color does not matter one iota, nor does the overall size. It does matter the way it hits the surface of the water, and therefore yarn is all that should be used.

I agree with the only one nymph philosophy, however, there is no reason to ever advocate a 15-16 foot leader for nymphs, and especially for someone who is a beginner. 20 foot is never needed not even in the most extreme circumstances.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gutshot View Post
The dry fly as a strike indicator is a rookie mistake that weakens your leader and ends up using more leader material and flies with not much increase in fish catching ability for the cost. Yes, I have had a fish on the Caney in the 5-10lb range hit my strike indicator....it happens.
Agreed, dry flies used as indicators is a poor choice, first they don't float right with weight under them, you can't hook fish well on the dry, it is a weak connection, and they do not illustrate micro-drag which can have a huge impact. Fish rarely eat the dry used as an indicator, and it is just not an overall effective technique.
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Originally Posted by gutshot View Post
Get away from other people, yes there are big fish there too, but not as many, they are more weary, and the fish in other places are eating more often. Learn to walk away from the small fish. To be honest though if you can't catch a lot of small fish very easily you may not be ready to move up to hunting larger ones. Get some 20-40 fish days under your belt trying these techniques on the schoolies, then go hunting..
Agreed

Quote:
Originally Posted by gutshot View Post
The first cast you make is the one that will indicate your presence, make it count. Learn to fish a drift of your entire fly line and some backing. This requires learning to have great line control both on the drift and on the strike. If the strike indicator is not just floating naturally all you are doing is scaring fish. A longer rod makes for better hook sets with an entire fly line on the water. And a lighter rod 4wt is more forgiving on the 7 or 8x tippet you may need to be fishing in some conditions. Fish the strongest tippet you can get away with fishing, the deeper the water the stronger the tippet I fish. As an example when my strike indicator is more than 8 feet above the fly I am fishing 5 or 6x tippet. The fly should never be more than 1-2 feet above the bottom in the deep spots. ..
Disagree, fishing the entire fly line and backing is a recipe for missed strikes and spooked fish. A much better approach is always trying to present your fly from upstream of the fish on a dead drift. NO SWINGING OF FLIES!!!! There is no reason for 7x, and never any reason to fish 8x, let me be clear, NEVER! I also disagree with the 1-2 feet off the bottom rule, fish feed all over the water column, present your fly where the fish should be feeding, rather then some preconceived idea of where you think they are feeding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gutshot View Post
Tie your fly on with a palomar or san diego jam knot. Do not use the trilene, improved clinch, or clinch knots, they are too weak. I have lost a lot of big fish due to those knots. Don't believe me test them at home with the tippet you use.

This is just not true, the improved clinch is plenty strong, the rest are fine I am sure, but there is nothing wrong with the clinch for most freshwater species. They are not too weak for any trout I have encountered which is pretty dang big by most folks standards.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:19 PM
waterwolf waterwolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyman View Post


Waterwolf, can I ask you why you say to steer clear of soft hackles and techniques that swing flies? Swinging streamers and soft hackles, and using techniques like the Leisenring Lift have produced some nice fish over the years for me. Just curious about your thoughts and observations

.
Swinging flies is not the ideal way to catch quality fish in our tailwaters or really anywhere. The majority of fish are feeding on insects which are free drifting and not swimming towards the surface, at least in this part of the world. Even sulfur nymphs undulate slowly towards the surface which isn't imitated well with soft hackles and wet flies. Sure they will catch fish, but so will corn, cheese, and other ridiculous things.

The difference is some nice fish, versus lots of nice fish. I fish all the time around swingers, and they would agree there is no comparison in the effectiveness between their technique and dead drifting flies.

To each their own, and swingers are more stationary then drifters, so it opens up more water. But if the goal is lots of fish and better quality fish, then dead drifiting nymph imitations is the way to go.
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Old 06-15-2009, 03:17 PM
gutshot gutshot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
Disagree, indicator color does not matter one iota, nor does the overall size. It does matter the way it hits the surface of the water, and therefore yarn is all that should be used.
I can assure you that it does, in water less than about 5 feet deep. Stay with me here. Find a run this year that has fish that you are getting less strikes than you think you should using a bright indicator. After you are done fishing the run change to a dark or black indicator, my favorite is chocolate brown. I have done this before and turned a three fish run into a 30 fish run. The fish were showing the whole time I fished the run. The second time through I could pick off individual fish. I have repeated this process many times. This was on unpressured water a good 1.5 miles from any access point.


Better yet wait until the big fish are up shallow in the fall, run a bright indicator over them and then a dark, see which one moves them more. My best day came after a change in strike indicator color. Kept moving big fish holding in 3 feet of water. Changed color and they quit moving and started sucking down flies.

In really deep water the color does not matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
I agree with the only one nymph philosophy, however, there is no reason to ever advocate a 15-16 foot leader for nymphs, and especially for someone who is a beginner. 20 foot is never needed not even in the most extreme circumstances.
I felt the same way for a long time until I tried it at someone's suggestion. It really increased my percentages. Mind you I start beginners out with these long leaders. Casting has little to do with good tailwater fly fishing. Stand directly up river from the fish if you can't cast. Just be able to feed it to them drag free and far enough away that it doesn't spook them.

The drag free drift is the key (most important variable) to catching more and bigger fish using nymphs. My strike percentage goes way down on windy days because it gets hard to manage drag free drift. The minute the wind stops, whammo more strikes

Quote:
Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
Disagree, fishing the entire fly line and backing is a recipe for missed strikes and spooked fish. A much better approach is always trying to present your fly from upstream of the fish on a dead drift. NO SWINGING OF FLIES!!!! There is no reason for 7x, and never any reason to fish 8x, let me be clear, NEVER! I also disagree with the 1-2 feet off the bottom rule, fish feed all over the water column, present your fly where the fish should be feeding, rather then some preconceived idea of where you think they are feeding.
I'll not argue on the whole fly line. If you have a spey rod, try it on one generator fishing similar patterns on a 10 or 12 hook. Be sure to fish the whole line in a long run. You can do this wading, no need for a boat.

This is all about percentages and while you can fish all day with 5x regular mono tippet, you will catch more fish with smaller sizes and flouro in most situations. I have broken fish off on scud patterns that are 3/4 of an inch long on 4x mono tippet, but I wouldn't fish it in 4 feet of water for anything.

Fish do feed all over the water column, I agree. But when you fish in deeper holes the fly is working much of that water column like it or not. Fish too shallow and you neglect too much of the lower water column. I didn't put out the "fish the fly 1.5 times deeper than the water below the strike indicator" because that would be too controversial, but it works.


Quote:
Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
This is just not true, the improved clinch is plenty strong, the rest are fine I am sure, but there is nothing wrong with the clinch for most freshwater species. They are not too weak for any trout I have encountered which is pretty dang big by most folks standards.
Hey, I fished the knot for the longest time exclusively. Some guys who fish as much or more than me, told me this so I tried it. I can pop a fly off tied on 4-7x using the improved clinch knot with little to no effort, sitting at my desk pulling against a drawer handle. Tied with a palomar it gets harder to impossible when I get above 5x due to the line cutting into my hand. I fished the improved clinch knot forever. I still do when I am in a rush. It is ingrained in my head. I still have to think about tying the other knots.
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