Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Do you need a change?

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Turkey season is winding down.

Maybe you are tagged out on turkeys. Maybe you are tired of not seeing turkeys. Maybe the bass have shut you out. Maybe the crappie have lockjaw. Maybe you are just bored.

You need a change.

Luckily, we live close to a source of spring change. It isn't a lock, it doesn't always produce. With some research and planning, it will produce more often than not and it is fun. It is also not new nor is it some deep, dark secret. I have written thousands of words about it. In fact, about 30-years ago, I wrote a magazine article for Tennessee Sportsmen magazine that may have started the stampede. That article was called Silver Bullets of the Caney Fork.

Obviously, I am talking about trout fishing and more obviously about the Caney Fork. The Caney certainly isn't the only trout stream around but it is one of the most accessible for those in our area. I can be on the water in less than an hour after leaving the house.

I do not particularly crave trout out of the Caney as table fare, some do. But they are fun to catch. This year, I may try a couple on the smoker as an experiment. But make no mistake, I fish for the fun of it. Dave Durham and I both enjoy just catching them. And you know what? Even when the trout don't cooperate, we enjoy the trip. It is hard not to enjoy a trip down the Caney. And a two-pound brown or rainbow can make your heart palpitate. You might also catch a brook trout. Be sure and read up on the regulations.

What do you do first?

First, you check the generation schedule. You can do that by going online to the Corps of Engineers website and check for Center Hill Dam.

Even I figured out how to do that. You want no generation or at the most, one generator. No generation is best. It doesn't matter whether you fish from the bank or float it in a boat, you want low water.

Plan your trip to put you on the water at least six hours after they shut the gens off to allow the water to go down. There are several launch and takeout sites. I like to float from Betty's Island to the ramp at Gordonsville. A great short float-about 4.5-hours-is from the dam to Happy Hollow or from Happy to the Betty's. All floats are full of great scenery.

Now, what about lures? In-line spinners in a variety of colors, I prefer brown, chartreuse and silver, in 1/6-ounce or smaller will work just fine.

My number one is a blue/silver flash. We also catch some larger fish on smaller crankbaits like the ShadRap. The bait fishermen use everything from garlic cheese to night crawlers to any of the commercial trout baits. They all work.

Of the utmost importance is this. If you are in a boat, wear a life jacket at all times when over moving or deep water.

If you take a younger kid fishing, have them wear one. And if you notice the water beginning to rise, get out of the water and onto higher ground immediately.

When the days are warm to hot, the Caney is the spot.

In fact, the Judge and I are planning a trip real soon. We probably won't keep any fish. That is not what it is about. It is about a change and some fun. You never know what you are going to see around the next bend.

Contact the author at jsloan1944@gmail.com.

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John Sloan - Outdoors
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Caney Fork River, Center Hill Dam, Corps of Engineers, John L. Sloan, Outdoors
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