Winter has officially worn out its welcome here in Kentucky. It’s like that neighbor we all have. We talk to him when we’re taking out the trash and an hour later he’s going on about synthetic versus conventional motor oil. We’re just hoping the phone rings so we can walk away. The phone hasn’t rang. Winter is still here….in my yard…looking at my frozen boxwoods and letting its dog pee on my rose bushes.
Many of you have emailed me, Facespaced, and Twittled me about putting up a report. You’re all just as bored as I am. I sympathize. It’s just really hard to keep on beating this frozen dead horse. We haven’t fished this year and that’s sad. Usually by the first of March we’re out on the lake catching some crappie or at least hitting the river for a few trout on a warm day. The lake is still frozen and the river looks like the Ohio instead of the
Cumberland. So instead of a blog about strictly fishing I guess I’ll clue you in on what the idiots at Cumberland Drifters have been up to in the past weeks.
Two weeks ago we reunited with a rather large group of rather large men in Creelsboro for a campout. We threw horseshoes. We built a rather large fire. We froze. And at the end two men jumped into the river because they lost the final match. Somehow we all walked away unharmed. There was much bratwurst.
Last weekend Mike and Chet were in Minnesota. Chet went to see his family who for some unknown reason still lives in South Dakota and Mike had a more legitimate reason…a wedding. It was below zero degrees for the entire trip for our northern friends. Chet found his way to a brewery in Minnesota for something that resembled a fashion show for guys who wear animal pelts and Mike lucked into a guy named Morey who happened to have a dog sled team. Mike said it was one of the most memorable experiences of his life. Chet doesn’t remember much of anything. Meanwhile I was back in Kentucky in a T-shirt grilling burgers as they froze.
It was 60 degrees. It was sunny and it felt like spring. Then shortly after the grill cooled down the ice began to fall and our friend’s flights began the cancellation process. Winter was once again in my yard….dropping a deuce. And I got to shovel it.
During the last few weeks there has been some good news from the Cumberland River. We have a new state record brook trout that was over two pounds and measured at 22″ long. That’s pretty impressive. We’ve also seen several pictures of some massive browns being landed. These were all landed on bait or lures during high water of course. Fly fishing at 22,000 CFS isn’t very productive.
We’re all waiting to see what they’re going to do with the lake this year. The Dusky Tailed Darter has halted the raising of the lake to normal summer pool. Somehow a fish that survived lake fluctuation since the 50′s is suddenly at risk if the lake level fluctuates. Figure that one out.
The silver lining out of this horrendous winter is that the lake is cold….very cold. With a lower than normal summer pools we’re always worried about running out of cold water. That won’t be a problem this year as many areas of Lake Cumberland actually froze over this winter. The lake is colder as a whole than it has been in years. The trout will be very pleased. We expect a fantastic year this year.
Now to appease some folks I have been asked to comprise a list of the top ten flies for the Cumberland River. Now this is a matter of opinion of course. I’m a guide but by no means an expert. I have my patterns that I stick to but there are many of you who have your own patterns and you probably catch more fish than me. It has always been my belief that you will catch fish on what you’re confident in fishing. So with that…here are my top ten flies.
#1 Zebra Midge
#2 Prince Nymph
#3 Copper John
#4 Pheasant Tail
#5 Rainbow Warrior
#7 Wolly Bugger
#8 Parachute Adams
#9 Elk Hair Caddis
#10 Foam Hopper
So there you have it. If you’ve fished with us you’ve caught fish on something from the list above. Luckily we’ve been out there long enough to know when and where to use these patterns. If you’re going without a guide you’ll probably catch fish on something I listed. If you’re going with us we’ll show you exactly when and where to fish them. We’ll also yell at you for looking at that bald eagle instead of your indicator. And if you break out some pattern we’ve never seen we’ll make fun of you for using it until you catch a fish. Right Gene?
In closing I want to thank everyone for the emails and the tweets. We’re just weathering the storm like the rest of you. Please make some time to head downtown to The Lexington Angler to stock up for the season. The guys have lots of really cool new gear that you will most certainly need for the 2014 season. Tell ‘em Brandon sent you. It won’t get you a discount but they might let me hang out without buying anything if they know I sent them a customer.
Stay warm folks. The water is warming soon.