As is tradition with my writing I will begin this report with an apology. I’m sorry I haven’t updated in a while. I have no excuse. I haven’t been on the river in almost two weeks and all I have to show for it is a truck that’s still full of fly rods, mildewed rain gear, and empty pie jars. That’s right…pie jars. If you haven’t fished with me you have no idea what I’m talking about. If you have fished with me then know this…..those jars are now in the dishwasher. Yes….I actually wash them. Most of the time anyway.
Before I begin I feel it is my duty to speak about something that happens on every river that simply must stop. We’re all out there for the same purpose. We’re all there to have a good time and we MUST get along and play by the rules. Now there’s no book of laws that govern what’s cool and what’s not but there should be. It’s simply about respecting space and giving other fishermen the right to the water they’re on. I’m talking about Low Holing. We’ve probably all done it at some point when we didn’t know better but we’re all grown up now so let’s be clear on the subject. If you’re fishing and drifting down the river it is NOT COOL for someone to motor past you and begin fishing the water directly downstream. I’m talking a few hundred yards. If you can hear what we’re discussing in our boat you’re way too close. If you’re wading and there’s a fisherman upstream of you, politely ask if it’s OK for you to fish there. If you’re in a boat and someone is wading ask them which side they would like you to pass on if that’s an option. On a recent trip two fishermen motored past me in a very narrow section of river and immediately dropped anchor in the middle of the channel 50 yards downstream. Troy was right behind me. I’m very non-confrontational so I told my guys to bring in their lines and we’d row down river. I knew Troy was livid. He speaks his mind. When he’s angry his words are like his coffee….unfiltered and very hard to digest. Luckily he anchored and calmed down before explaining to the guys what they had just done. As it turned out they were unaware of the faux pas and apologized. So let’s all get along out there guys. It’s a big river and there’s room for everyone. If the guys who did it are reading this I assure you all is well. Thanks for apologizing and we hope to see you back out there.
I feel better. Now for the main course.
Fall is here and that usually means dry weather and beautiful blue skies draped across a canvass of orange, red, and yellow like the spots on a spawning brown. It began much in that fashion. We had days of 80 degree weather where we sipped coffee on the cabin deck in t-shirts and Speedos. (Don’t judge) We would wake up the next day to frost on the windshields and cold waders. Few things suck like putting on cold wet waders. I remember as a kid I would try to put on my pajamas without properly drying myself. It’s kinda like that only now I’m way fatter and my PJ’s are cold and not made of super comfy cotton. Waders also have no glow in the dark batman logos on them. That’s something Simms needs to work on if you ask me.
Late September and early October showed us that the browns and brookies are getting their fall colors. Everything was falling into place for a great October. We’ve been catching lots of nice sized rainbows in the slot with a few fat browns here and there. Personally I’ve seen more brook trout over 15″ this fall than I’ve seen since they’ve been introduced into the Cumberland and that’s a very good thing. We were primed and ready for late October to finally give us the icing on the proverbial cake. Then cousin Eddie showed up, fell on the cake, and punched the best man.
Six inches of rain in one week. That’s sorta normal in May when the Gulf of Mexico sends a billion gallons of water our way every spring. It’s also OK in May because that’s when they’re filling the lake to summer pool. It’s not OK in October when they’re drawing the lake down to winter pool. Not cool Nature…not cool at all. Sure as guides we like working and making a few bucks in the fall but it’s way more than that. We like fishing in October because we don’t have to drink 65 gallons of water to keep from pulling a Chris Farley pass out move on the cooler from heat exhaustion. We like fishing in October because any idiot with a camera can look like a pro by simply saying, “Oh that looks cool” and clicking a picture of an amazing backdrop on the river. We like fishing in October because it’s the most beautiful time of year to float the Cumberland and the fish put on colors that rival the leaves on the multitude of hardwood trees that canvas the banks. Unfortunately we’re not going to experience that this weekend…maybe next weekend, but not this one it seems.
Luckily for us the forecast is dry for the next week or so. Maybe the lake will drop quickly and we’ll be back in a week. I sure hope it does. I’m supposed to fish with Winston from All Water Guides out of Texas next Friday and I sure don’t want to miss that. Winston is a good friend and has family roots in the bluegrass. It would suck to send him back to Cowboyland without a few fish pictures.
Before I tell you the recipes for success I have to give a big internet hug to my boy Steve. Steve may not know it but he was my first repeat client way back in the day. We’ve been through a lot together over the years. I forgot the lunch in the truck once and he had to eat potato chips. Steve is one of the hardest working folks on Earth and deserves every second of river time he can get. Steve also fishes with Rocky down in TN from time to time so he obviously has good taste. Cheers buddy!
Flies: Red copper johns have been the top fly of the fall. We’re using 12′s and 14′s with a black or red midge dropped below. We’ve also heard news of a few locals getting them on big foamy stuff on top. It’s a little late for that but who cares. Bring some Chernobyl ants and drop a midge below them. Pheasant tails and princes are working here and there but the copper john is the overall winner. Make sure you have them in your box.
The Lexington Angler has all the stuff you need to get the fall fish into the net once the water recedes. Go support your local shop.
If you’re bored at the office I highly suggest reading the latest Southern Culture On The Fly. www.southerncultureonthefly.com It’s a great magazine and it’s free online. We’ve fished with them and they’re just as crazy as we are.
As always thanks for checking us out and supporting us. Tell a friend. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @kytrout. Keep on fishing.