When Poppers Fail—Part 2

Today’s title is appropriate for this post because simply put no popper produced today on Smith Lake. The daylight trip started with a couple of true and tried poppers that usually get hits but the bass and bluegill were not interested. Smith Lake is o…


Today's title is appropriate for this post because simply put no popper produced today on Smith Lake. The daylight trip started with a couple of true and tried poppers that usually get hits but the bass and bluegill were not interested. Smith Lake is on the draw down right now causing the fish to move to deeper water. In fact before the draw down is complete Smith will fall at least 12 to 15 feet before the water levels start to rise again after the first of the year.
Overhanging limbs hanging from huge trees growing on the top of the rock walls; small bushes and even small trees rooted in the rock walls produced a tremendous amount of food for the fish. In other words this kind of bank is the Walt-mart super market for all the fish species waiting below.
This healthy spot exploded on the Moth as soon as it touched the silk smooth water surface. Notice I said Moth, not Muddler; my reasoning is it mimics the small moths I've seen stationed on some of the tree limbs here. The fight this fish put forth was worth getting up at 4:30 AM. He was released to fight another day!!!
These four gills nailed the Moth in different ways making me think a couple were annoyed with the fly and a couple really wanted a meal; one will make the quest count.
I've fished a lot of waters in my years of fishing but when it comes to beauty and an abundance of fish Smith tops them all!!!  

The Bluegill Quest Continues

My bluegill quest has been lacking lately. I decided to see if I could add to the numbers Friday by fishing before a weather front coming in on Saturday. Your fish-catch ratio can improve fishing before a front. I couldn’t ask for a better morning with…


My bluegill quest has been lacking lately. I decided to see if I could add to the numbers Friday by fishing before a weather front coming in on Saturday. Your fish-catch ratio can improve fishing before a front. I couldn't ask for a better morning with cloudy skies and very low humidity to fish the popper and black gnat on Smith Lake. In fact I had clouds overhead until 10 AM after that the sun took over and the bite practically stop.
One of my favorite banks in Ryan Creek to fish, I've landed numerous bluegills and spots from this area.
This bluegill was taken using the Barr Nunn popper letting it sit motionless for what seemed like forever for a hit----but the patience paid off. This was the way the bluegill wanted the fly the first hour of the morning; a complete contrast from the spawn where the fish will kill the fly as soon as it touches the water.
 The bass wasn't as active as the bluegills, which was alright with me, because the mission today was to improve on my numbers. This spot give the 4 weight quite a workout making me think he was much larger.
Worthy of the count
The prize of the morning was this monster bull gill taken using the black gnat fishing with the sink-tip line. The last spawn ended the first week in August on Smith Lake and this bluegill showed the signs of that spawn. He was not in good shape as far as body weight. He would have weight in at a pound before the spawn but today he tipped the scales at 12 ounces. Both big bulls deserved their freedom after an epic fight against the 5 weight, both will count towards the quest, I'm 13 away from reaching my goal------GOT TO LOVE LANDING THESE BIG BLUEGILLS USING THE FLY ROD!!!


Dead Drifting the Nymph

As I made my way down the steep steel steps and long ramp of access six I notice the leaves are already turning. By the way its easier going down than going back up. The dog days of summer is here and Fall will soon follow. As I get older the seasons s…


As I made my way down the steep steel steps and long ramp of access six I notice the leaves are already turning. By the way its easier going down than going back up. The dog days of summer is here and Fall will soon follow. As I get older the seasons seem to appear quicker now, causing me to squeeze in as much fishing time as I can. Wednesday was my squeeze day, to wade the crystal clear waters near access six on the Sip.
What I like about access six and seven aside from landing the trout there is the amount of shade both areas have on into the morning hours. Shade is the ally of the fly fisherman weather its fishing warm water lakes or cold water streams.
First connect after experimenting with different flies and techniques. No surface activity at all which cause me to work nymphs the three hours I was there. A fly Alan at Small Streams Reflections tied for me got the attention of this injured rainbow. I don't know what caused the cut on its gill plate but it didn't affect his fight.
After the bite slowed with the indicator nymph, I switch to the dead drifting technique. I fish nymphs this way sometimes on this tailrace and the Caney in Tennessee. Its a simply way to present the fly giving the angler an advantage of adjusting the depth of the fly without using an indicator.

I was making long cast across the water column so I could work the nymph slowly letting it drift in the current. Watching the end of the fly line for the slightest movement let me know to set the hook. Sometimes the take can occur after the fly has drifted a short distance or as you retrieve it back as the fly line forms a half moon sharp on the swing. Today I had a number of takes on the short distance drifts and as the fly approached the swing pattern and even as I retrieve the fly slowly back to me. Don't give up on your cast until you've worked the fly back to you within the length of the leader. I've had trout to take the nymph within eight or nine feet. There is mistaking the hit as you work it back against current. The dead drift is a fun way to fish most any nymph without the aid of an indicator. This rainbow nailed the nymph working it back against the current within ten feet of where I was standing. It was determined to have its way with the 3 weight, but after a number of runs it landed in the net.
 I ended today's trip where I started in the shade of access six and thinking how lucky I am to have another day to land trout below the dam of beautiful Smith Lake.