“The Crisp of Fall”
Finally, the temps have come down at least for a few days. There is a crispness to the air, and wild fish on the rise on the South Holston. I got a late start today, I was up most of the night with a fevered 1 year old, I was due some quality fishing time. Most of the upper stretches of the river were already covered up. So I headed downstream to my favorite place to fish. I think that there are two different kinds of trips that we take in our angling pursuits. There are those times when we try to have a brand new experience. Whether it’s trying out new fly patterns, or exploring new waters to fish, to have the thrill of it all being new again. Then there are those trips like the trip I had today. Where you go to one of your favorite waters or favorite spot you’ve been so many times before and try to tap into some of your past angling experiences. The water where you find yourself the most comfortable. The place where you’ve caught fish and had many memorable experiences. In our angling pursuits we are at times the sum of all of our experiences both situational and conditional. I was definitely in need of some solitude today. I was fortunate enough to find just that today, which is not an easy feat on a busy Saturday
There was more flow on the river today, due to the sluicing that’s been going on. There’s nothing like fishing the sluice water. It’s just enough extra flow to get the fish fired up and eating very well. I got down to the water and rigged up the 4wt with a double nymph rig. A pheasant tail nymph dropper and a small blue wing olive nymph on point under a yarn indicator. I was working my way up the first run and hooked up with 3 fish on the pheasant tail in short order.
There were some really nicely colored wild rainbows in the mix. These fish get so strong fighting this extra current. Even an average sized fish will give you a run for your money. I picked up several more fish on nymphs before making my way up to some good dry fly water. It was about 2pm at this time and there was a decent little hatch of blue wing olives going on so I tied on a bwo puff daddy and began picking of some more risers.
I made my way up around the bend to find another pod of fish working over some late season sulphurs. I swapped out to a Sulphur Puff Daddy and picked up several nicer fish from this run.
There’s nothing quite like watching a fish take in a dry. It’s during those moments when that split second of time slows down and it all comes together as the fly disappears back underneath the surface and it’s fish on.
This run has been so prolific for me and clients in the past. I’ve had people stand in this same spot for hours on end railing fish one after another. The dry fly fishing was on in a big way this afternoon. It was a simple formula really. Cast-Drift-Sip-Set-Release-Frogs Fanny- and repeat as necessary. The fish were acting like someone shouted out last call on sulphurs and they were picking off every natural that floated by. When the hatch began to slow down a little I took a break to contemplate my next move over a pack of nabs and a water.
The angle of the sun had changed quite a bit and seeing the puff daddy became more difficult. So I tied on CDC Sulphur Comparadun “Old Reliable” up top and dropped the puff daddy off the eye. I picked up several more as I worked over the end of the hatch, including this nice rainbow.
I This last fish on the dry had fouled up my dry rig, so I swapped back out to the nymph rig to finish out the afternoon and nymph fished my way back downstream to the truck. What an afternoon. No monster fish or anything but healthy wild rainbows and browns giving me a good tug on the end of the line. I’m ready to welcome fall with open arms.
Josh McFadden – Contributor