Load #1 was rain jackets, fleece pants, fleece shirts, base layers, and some underwear I should have probably burned. I should probably go toss some bleach in there for good measure.
Load #2 was all sun protection clothes. My Buff, sun gloves, shirts, convertible pants…and some undies I should have probably burned. Guiding is tough on undies. Maybe it’s just me?
Mike and his crew planned a fall trip months ago. They booked a beautiful cabin right on the river and planned on a gorgeous fall weekend. What could go wrong for three married couples on vacation together? Lucky for them they’re from Ohio where the weather varies from gross to really gross for most of the year so a cold rainy day didn’t stop them. As the radar showed us the impending doom heading our way I had a moment of clarity and recommended that we drop off a bail out car at the halfway point. Two of the three wives used the bail out car. Mary was the only female that zipped up the raincoat in lieu of the pajama pants and finished the day on the water. She’s been cancer free for 10 years now and pretty much refuses to miss out on anything, even if its nearly freezing to death on the river. Cheers Mary. Thanks for a fun day.
This weekend was much like the UK football game. The first half sucked but if you stuck around it finished quite impressively. While Saturday was cold and wet, Sunday was sunny and warm. It was windy so that cost us a few hundred yards of tippet but we’re guides so we pack a decade’s worth in our bag. I spend more on tippet in a year than I spend on toilet paper. I have a wife and two daughters. Do the math. That’s a lot of tippet.
The weird weather seemed to put the fish down a bit. Sunday was much slower than Saturday but we still managed to put plenty of fish in the net. The same flies worked but they just weren’t eating them like they did on Saturday. That’s fishing I guess. At least we were dry and warm and that goes a heck of a long way.
If you’ve been watching the flows you’ve probably noticed a constant 3,000 CFS flow going on during zero generation. That’s the sluice. They’re sluicing from now until whenever the dissolved oxygen levels get back to a healthy level. From what I’ve heard it’ll most likely be November. Its a good thing for the river because the fish need oxygen to live and there’s literally none to be had in the water coming out of the lake. The sluice is like a big farm pond fountain, only it’ll kill you if you’re an idiot and get too close to it. Please don’t be an idiot.
Sluicing has made life tough for the wade fishermen but it’s not impossible. It’s basically the same as one generator. The gravel bars are mostly covered but there’s still a little room to get in there and wet a line. Just use good judgement and never step where you can’t see where you’re stepping. The Cumberland is loaded with rock shelves and drop offs. If you fill your waders you’re gone. No fish is worth dying for.
Fly selection has been all over the place simply because we’ve caught fish on just about everything. Here’s a breakdown on what’s working.
Nymphs: Prince Nymphs in all sizes, Red Copper Johns in #12, #14, Copper Johns in #12 and #14, Rainbow Warriors #14, #16, Zebra Midge in various colors #18.
Streamers: White Buggers (duh), Crayfish patterns, White Clousers
Dries: #18 Parachute Adams, #18 Griffith’s Gnat, #16 Elk Hair Caddis
Before you try to tie all of this stuff for the weekend I suggest you call Mike. He’s available this weekend and will put you on the fish. All you have to do is show up. Give him a call.
Folks thanks for reading. Thanks for keeping us in business. We hope to see you on the water. Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (Cumberland Drifters Guide Service), Twitter @kytrout, and Instagram @kyflyfisher. Hashtag #cumberlanddrifters to share your photos and videos.
Be kind to one another out there,