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By woolly bugger
#700549

September 15, 2020 #41*

I have not been up here in quite a while. I went up yesterday and checked out one of my old favorites. It was like visiting an old friend, who had aged, but is no longer in the prime of life…
Damn, two cars parked in the lot…

I forgot how beautiful this little gem is and I stopped at the “casting pool” took some photos, crashed a couple of cairns, and caught a dace. Didn’t see anybody on the lower reaches and didn’t want to fish behind someone so I took the fork less traveled and went up the side creek. It’s been decades since I was up there. It all looked new, I only had vague memories of the water.

Caught more dace and one trout before getting to this spot, sat down had a snack and a beer before turning around and then going up #4 on Bullhead. Caught a few dink browns mostly on the surface but some took the Tellico dropper.

Photo dump…

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Lobelia puberula downy lobelia, blue lobelia

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Fall is coming

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I like this X-IPA

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I may go back again, but arrive earlier to hit up higher…
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700575

September 7, 2020 #40


Gas $1.95

The new has gone down to below 400 cfs for the first time this year!

Yesterday it was at 418 and pretty damn clear. Being a holiday I wanted to avoid as much clusterfuckery as possible and headed to the water above Bridle Creek Access in VA. The River is a bit narrower hear at about 240 feet as compared to 420 at Farmers Fish Camp. That 400+ cfs was pushing pretty hard down the rapids and I didn't catch any fish, so after 90 minutes I gave up and headed back down to the usual spot at FFC.

I didn't see any anglers as I crossed the bridge, so I rigged up the spey and headed upstream. Only then did i notice a spin fisherman rib deep in the big pool casting a large white fluke. Plenty of water here but I stayed low instead of working up past him. Worked a lot of water, caught a couple of small bass.

After I while the other guy came down and reported catching a couple in the deep slow pool he was fishing. I headed up to the upper rapids and he headed home. The water is still a bit pushy and as the sun was setting I didn't venture out too far of deep and failed to get to the best spots. I really wanted my "old man stick" to navigate the ledges. Maybe the river will get down to 300 or 250 where I'm more comfortable wading.

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The bright sun early in the day didn't help any.

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When ya ain't catchin' fish photograph flowers...

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You try catching a bass this size while swinging an intruder... p;-

New Belgian Hopppy Variety Pack saved the day.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700581

September 4, 2020 #39

Gas $1.95

Three cars at the trail head as I pulled in, another fisherman pulled in before I hit the trail. He started down low and I later found out he fished up to the campground while I headed up to the bridge.

The first thing I encounter was a slew of cairns and rocks placed on fallen trees. I’m going to make some stickers “Don’t Stack Rocks” to plaster at trail heads… Gofund my sticker campaign..



The fish were looking at the fly and after a few misses I started hooking them. Brookies and Rainbows, no browns today. I took a lot of photos and videos. The iPhone live photo takes a 3 sec video which can be manipulated in camera for long exposure. Who knew, besides Raymond? I also changed the setting on video file format to most compatible instead of high efficiency, which has some compatibility issues. And I thought I had changed the video to 4k but it didn’t “stick” and the videos were shot at 1080P 60fps. Shooting with the Oly TG-6 on this stream I didn’t really notice how little light makes it through the canopy and with ISO set at 100 the exposure was 1/10 sec at f/2.0, slow enough to get noticeable camera movement blurred photos. I’ll have to modify my settings for this stream.

I continued with my Royal theme and tied on a freshly tied Trude #16, but the wing was a little long,

Photo dump…

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Fished up past the homestead for a bit but the bite was off and I called it a day after 4 hours. Back at the trailhead, the other fly fisherman was packing up and reported a good day. As I was eating my snack another fisherman pulled in driving a Town Car and rigged up a pink rod and was planning to fish trout worms. Not entirely sure but aren’t those considered bait?
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700631

August 28, 2020 #38

Gas $2.05

Snuck off Friday morning to raid a friend's playground and mess with his fish. I was the fourth car there but before I got geared up three more pulled in.

Stuck with the same fly still rigged up on the 3 wt., a royal wluff. Might have had better luck with a green weenie but it’s too much fun catching them on the surface.

Had to leave early so I started fishing about ¾ of a mile in and up to the first bridge. A few more trees were blown down, some very recently.

On the way out a young hiker stood off the trail to let me pass and then a group of 6 put their masks on – new normal.

Six mostly different cars parked at the trailhead. Dude pulled in and asked about the fishing, he walked in carrying two spinning rods…

First fish…

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Biggest fish

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fungi

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What is the purpose of these badges

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Bad photo day for some unknown reason things were blurred or out of focus

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Big craw

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Mostly brookies and browns but I got a few rainbows for the slam.

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ahhh

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Later.. hope Laura didn't dump too much rain on y’all.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700652

August 26, 2020 #37

Gas $2.09

TN Fishing License $101/10 trips = $10.10/trip

I had been talking about hitting the SF but when they announced the soho dam would be sluicing at 350 I made a quick call to the fly shop at 3 o’clock on Tuesday to ask about conditions and the reply was, “get over here now”! There was a four-hour hatch on Monday that started at 11 and a two-hour hatch on Tuesday that ended at 5.

I arrived at 11 not wanting to take a chance missing the morning hatch if it came off. Not too crowded, a few were fishing below the grates and on down to the power lines. Grabbed some water, a couple of beers and a snack before heading down the trail. I found a clear area and hopped in. I did wear waders this time, it would have been chilly without them.

Nothing but midges coming off in the morning. A few fish were rising but I couldn’t get them to take a bug on the surface.

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the bank while waiting on the hatch to start and drinking the second beer that I realized that the Fantastic IPA was an imperial IPA, IIPA, at 9% ABV.
I had a slumpbuster with me and tied that on and swung it through the run for a while without attracting any fish. Oh well, I’ll crack open a beer. It was only later after sitting on

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Many of the anglers called it quits early, I guess the heat and lack of success drove them off the water. I couple of spin guys snuck in below me but didn’t stay long. I had plenty of open water to choose from but didn’t wander far from the run I had picked out.

Bugs began to pop off around 2:30 and fish were rising regularly by 3:00 and the game was on. Not a prolific hatch but enough to get a lot of fish looking up.

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It was over all too soon, the bugs slowed way down and the fish stopped taking dries around 4:00

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700682
August 22, 2020 #36

Gas $2.09

TN Fishing License $101/9 trips = $11.22/trip

Plan was to get to the dam as the morning pulse was receding. Stopped in at the SoHo Flyshop to check intel and pick up some comparaduns. Sign at the door says masks required and they were worn by shop rat and customers. I took my selection of four #16 flies and when they were rung up and the total was announced, I uttered, “Jesus” in exclamation on the $10.93 price.
Lot was looking packed but I found a spot, geared up, no waders, and headed on down the trail. Put in at an empty run and braced myself for the cold water. There would be no waist-deep wading today! Soon more and more angles staged up and down the river, hemming me into a short run. No bugs at first but eventually fish rose as little yaller bugs popped off.

I counted 27 anglers on the water from my spot in the river.

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I had just caught several fish in quick order, and was retying a fly when a douche walks right into the far side of my run. “Really?” I blurted out to him. “I’m going down there,” he replied as he pointed to the run below. “I had fish rising right there!”, I informed him as I pointed my rod a him. He walked on down and right into the middle of the fish in his claimed spot. I wanted to yell at him that if you were planning on fishing down where why didn’t you walk in below me, but I bit my tongue and went back to fishing.

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The hatch petered off the fishing slowed down. I hooked a couple of rainbows and one was pushing 16”, I was going to take a photo of that one but as I brought it close to net, it fought vigorously to get under a submerged branch and broke me off.

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The warning sirens went off at three and I worked the now deserted river and made my way back up to the parking lot passing two women in small tube rafts. They were waiting on the dam water to ride downstream. When they asked if I caught any I replied, “of course!”

“Any keepers,” they inquired.

“I put them back,” I replied, and then added, “sort of like women!”

That had them laughing and I wished them a safe float.

Back up at the lot it was snack time.

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I watched the rafts and drift boats stage up in the river and at the ramps. 14 in all, perhaps more would come along a bit later. Talking to the guides they lamented that the sulfur hatch this year was pretty sparse with the exception of some major bug activity down low on the river earlier in the spring. As we talked about their drift, a four hour float to Big Springs, I mentioned that the river isn't the same as it was 20 years ago, The guide got wide-eyed and said, "20 years ago? I was born 20 years ago!" Guess that makes me an old-timer..

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I hope to avoid weekend clusters in the future...

Ready for the next trip with a 6, 3, and 4 wt…

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User avatar
By Lando
#700683
Twenty-seven?

All for trout?

I have tippet that's 20 years old......should work, right?
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700694

August 19, 2020 #35

I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up some supplies, there was a line of about 30 waiting to get in. Covid capacity rules, and they were in the one out, one in saturation. I thought about it for 10 sec and decided to go somewhere where a mask wasn’t necessary and I know I wouldn’t see many people.

I switched it up a bit this time with a Royal Wulff, the white wings were a plus in seeing the fly on the water. Lots of dinks hit the fly, a few were about to eat it and still fewer came to hand.
My mission today was to do some slow shutter speed photography of the moving water. It’s pretty damn dark, photo wise, on this stream and I may have had too much ND, so I wasn’t thrilled with the results… but here they are anyway…

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I've since learned to use the iPhone live photo for long exposures....
User avatar
By sarmulminnow
#700699
You got my attention with the olives, sardines and hot sauce...the tripod takes it way over the top!
It is admirable to have patience in a crowd, don’t know how you do it, and thanks for sharing
Gas prices=timelessness
:cool
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700701

August 18, 2020 #34

Up the creek I go, continuing with the Royal Humpy but this time on the 3 wt. One fly rule, fish it till it falls apart… Had a brizillion hits, didn’t land them all. Fished slowly took some pics, drank a few beers. Not crowded at all.

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700737

August 10, 2020 #33

Gas $1.89

I tied up several royal humpies a few weeks ago. They look serviceable, not great, but I figured they would catch small stream fish. After taking care of some banking issues, I headed up into Virginia to the closest freestone creek. There were only two cars at the trailhead and one family was just leaving. I hiked up a ways and gave the RH a try. It floated ok, but I realized I was going to need the good ole shake n bake desiccant, so back down to the car and back up the trail, this time with everything that I had forgotten.

I hiked up a little over a half mile and jumped on in. It wasn’t long before the RH was attracting attention. The little wild fish hit it in a flash, most of the time not getting hooked in the process and it was a little while before one came to hand. The one and only brown was the first fish. Then it was brookies and rainbows about 50/50. The glare on the water made it difficult to track the fly, and I thought of changing it up but in the end stuck with the one fly. It’s a little chewed up now, but I’ll keep fishing it till it falls apart or gets stuck in a tree.

I used the iPhone SE with a Rogue Fishing Co. phone protector tether

I felt much better using the phone to take fish pictures as the silicone around the phone made for a sure grip and the coiled tether clipped to my belt stretched enough to get any shot I wanted.

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I had passed through a couple of thunderstorms on the way up and the air was thick with tension. I felt a storm could break out, so when I heard thunder form over the ridge I wasn’t surprised. But it did make me anxious as I didn’t bring a rain jacket, I had thought about it, but left it in the car anyway, so much for packing everything I needed.

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#700750

August 09, 2020 #32

$101/8 = $16.63

Gas $1.95 although I passed $1.77 at Love’s on the VA/NC border

Couldn’t get going in the early morning.. I really hate the drive now. Indecision. Finally left home around 8, scoped out the dam area… decided to try for the 44 bridge… that was a CF with anglers all over, went back to the middle section of big springs, flat water, worked several risers who were eating midges, no luck there, put all of them down. Looked down stream, didn’t see anybody down past the flats. Walked on down and damn if there weren’t a couple on the far side. Went on down further. Took some punes on the dry. The switched over to a split case/rs2 combo and whacked them for a while.

Went back up to the car ate some lunch and then hit the runs above the flat water and worked the puff daddy to risers. Caught them here and there. Watch a big fish rise and cast to it, saw it rise ever so slowly and open its mouth on the fly. Did I wait for it to turn? Hell no, I set the hook and pulled it straight out of the fishes mouth. Watched it turn and slap its tail, Damn it. Shortly after that I had the opportunity on another larger brown but put too much pepper on the set and broke that one off on 6.5x. Pune rainbows and browns continued to entertain me until my back said it had had enough and I left the water at 6:30 and it was really slowing down and I didn’t think I could hang until dark.


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Richard Herrington's Barn Paintings have me looking for them as i drive around. This handsome one caught me eye.

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