The Suckers Are Spawning! The Suckers Are Spawning!

15 Jan

It has been a while since I have been able to bear my soul electronically, mostly due to the recent move to Asheville, but also because of my constant self loathing.  A lot has been going on and not enough of it fishing.  In my internet absence the TVA has ruined one Eastern TN river by filling it with a BILLION tons of fly ash.   I read that the TVA blamed the subsequent Clinch River fish kill on a monster wave that traveled down the river pushing fish outside the natural banks of the river, into the flood zone. When the waters receded the fish were left high and dry on the banks.  Now, I am not calling the TVA liars (incompetent, maybe?), but isn’t it the least bit plausiblethat the unholy amounts of arsenic dumped into the river could have had a little to do with the fish kill?   The damages done to the ecology of the area are nothing in comparison to the poor sons-a-bitches who actually lived in the path way of this tsunami of shit.  The most frustrating aspect of this story is the non-chalance the national media showed for an environmental disaster that rivaled the Exxon Valdese.  To all my brethren that used to make a living on that river, come on down the road and I’ll buy you a beer and listen to your plots to overthrow the TVA with nothing more than an 12 wt. rod and a four foot long articulated streamer.  Vive le Resistance!

Now that I have hugged my tree for the day I will tell you a tale of a man, a river, and a week of rain.  I found out that I was guiding a float trip this weekend and figured I would make the run across the mountain and scout the Watauga as I had not fished it in a couple of weeks.  I did not however find any reason to check the CFS before I left at 6:30 in the morning.  If I would have checked the CFS,  I would have known that due to recent storms the river was higher than it has been in a few years as far as I could tell.  When I say high I do not mean, “Oh…the water is a little off color I better throw big flashy crap.” I mean the water had deposited debris twenty feet into the parking lot of the put in.

The sign on the tree actually says, "No Littering"

The sign on the tree actually says, "No Littering"

I decided there was no need for me to pop a tire so I decided to wait.  Day after day I checked the flows.  The river did not come down for six days straight.  Well yesterday was my day come hell or high water (the pun is completely intended so suck it).  I got to the river early and found the Department of Wildlife Services had brought the backhoe to clean off the boat ramp.  This was a good thing because the snow shovel I had packed, for the very same reason, would have take a wee bit longer.

Put on your big boy pants

Put on your big boy pants

These guys in the raft were nice enough to share their secret after a slow morning.  The secret was orange eggs.  Now I hate fishing eggs, but I like getting tipped by clients.  Weighing these two sides I have decided that the suckers are spawning, so orange eggs for my clients and little American flags for everyone.  I caught fish on orange and peach beads (pinned Alaska style), attractor nymphs, and streamers.  Turns out when you triple the flow and add in the sucker spawn, the Watauga Tailwater acts more like a DH stream.  That’s the great part about what we do though, you learn something new everyday.  Well school has started and I have to go learn how to read,  Ta Ta for now bitches.

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