Fall is seriously here. I know I said something about it in the last blog update but that was my late summer version. In my old age I’ve apparently forgotten what real fall is like. It’s packing an entire week’s worth of clothing for one day of fishing. In the mornings I have fleece pants, thick wool socks, waders, boots, a base layer, cotton long sleeve shirt, a thin fleece, a thicker fleece, a massive cotton hoodie, gloves, a hat, sun gloves, a baseball cap, and a BUFF. By 1:00 there’s a full load of laundry stacked next to my cooler. It’s like watching your wife pack for a weekend getaway. I guess I can’t give her crap about that anymore.
It’s almost Halloween and it looks like this year the TVA is dressing up as Hillary Clinton. You can email them to complain about the crazy stuff they’re doing but when you call them about it there’s no record of the email and the website has changed. I’m not taking a political side here folks I could just have easily made a Trump reference about using that beaver pelt on his head to tie streamers or something but the Hillary thing was easier. I digress.
The river is all over the place right now and I honestly have no idea what’s going on from one day to the next. The good news is that we’re still catching fish regardless of the bipolar TVA. We’re catching fish on dry flies near the dam early in the day while fish are eating midges. We’re catching fish on big foamy stuff in high water while fish are crowded to the banks. We’re catching fish on nymphs when we’re not forced to the banks to get out of the massive flows.
This past weekend I had good client and friend Kyle and his buddy Art out for a half day. Kyle runs an amazing outdoor lighting business here in the Lexington area called Red Oak Design. If you’re wanting to spruce up your house you need to look him up. He’s a great guy and always keeps me cracked up on the water. We did OK but didn’t put any big fish in the net. Many thanks to Kyle’s wife for the gift certificate so that we could fish again. One thing I love about Kyle is that he can almost keep up with me on dumb movie quotes. Most of my brain, what’s left of it anyway, is mostly Billy Murray lines mixed in with Airplane, The Naked Gun, and Braveheart. Thanks for the laughs fellas. Can’t wait to do it again.
If you’ve been watching the roller coaster that is the TVA generation schedule you’ve probably seen that we’ve had some less than desirable weekday flows. Our good friends Hagan and Troy are no strangers to adversity and have been having a surprising amount of success using some different techniques. I can’t give away their secrets since they’re running their own guide businesses but rest assured fish are being caught in all conditions. The only kicker for most of you reading this is that you pretty much have to have a boat when the flows are high. Hopefully you already knew that. If you don’t have a boat you know who to call and we’re just crazy enough to take you.
So here’s the skinny. If you’re out during zero generation they’re running two sluice gates. That’s 3,000 CFS. You can wade in some places but most of the gravel bars are going to be under water. It’s pretty much the same as one generator. During these flows fish nymphs deep. Use heavy flies like copper johns, princes, hares ears, etc. Fish tungsten beads if you have them. They get down to the fish faster and keep you from having to use the dreaded split shot. If you’re in a boat you might find fish slurping midges. We had some success fishing small parachute Adams and Griffith’s gnats to these fish. Streamers are working as well so make sure you bring an assortment of your favorite buggers.
It’s almost winter and you’d better get out there and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen. Aside from spawning browns and brook trout we’re seeing bald eagles almost every day as well as plenty of other wildlife. Get out and enjoy it because you’re gonna be staring at your TV for four months soon.
Mike is open this weekend. I suggest you call him and get out on the water before you find yourself at an outlet mall looking for something to buy for your mother in law. His number is 859-492-7906.
Always remember to check us out on Facebook at Cumberland Drifters Guide Service, on Twitter @kytrout, and on Instagram @KYflyfisher. If you’re hungry for more fishy stuff in the Bluegrass check out The Collective on Facebook. Alan Creech manages that one and it’s full of Kentucky fly fishing goodness.
Thanks again for reading this. I always love hearing from you crazy folks on the river. You guys are awesome. I hope to see you out there this weekend. Pack plenty of gear and get out there.