Please join 3 Rivers Angler, Sweetwater Brewing Company, and the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited Thursday June 25th from 6 to 8 as we support the third annual Big Clinch River Cleanup.
If you're interested in learning more about how you can volunteer for the Big Clinch River Cleanup or just want to support the cause while raising a glass then please join us June 19th from 6 to 8 at 3 Rivers Angler.
First beer is free with a $5 suggested donation after that. 10% of store sales that evening will also be donated to the Big Clinch River Cleanup. 3 Rivers Angler's Cheers for Charity program helps to raise awareness of local non-profits.
Phenotypic Plasticity: the capacity of a phenotype to vary, owing to environmental influence on the genotype (e.g. the shape of a plant or the color of its flower).
Carp, like all aquatic vertebrates, are products of their environment and their size and shape varies accordingly. Phenotypic plasticity in invasive species, such as the common carp, has been suggested to increase the range of environments and habitats under which they can establish or invade. The common carp, Cyprius carpio, are habitat generalists and have spread to the waterways of all of North America, which is good news if one is a carp aficionado who loves to pursue them with a long rod. Due to the variation in habitats and prey, one must be mindful that the flies and tactics used vary according to where you are pursuing them.
I am fortunate to live in East Tennessee which possesses an abundance of major and minor aquatic habitats from freestone streams in the mountains to large meandering rivers and reservoirs in the valley; the common carp inhabits nearly every one. If pressed for time, naturally any body of water with carp will do. Given a preference, however, you will nearly always find me on one of the major tailwaters that flow into Knoxville in search of twenty plus pound fish. More specifically, I search out transitional zones on these waters where deep waters border flats which offer both a refuge from the variable flows generated by TVA and shallow water zones where the larger fish forage during periods of low flow.
Both the French Broad and Holston Rivers, whose confluence sits on the eastern edge of the city limit of Knoxville, represent the ideal habitat for carp due to an abundance of forage for the fish to pursue. Both rivers are bucolic in nature meandering through pastoral settings prior to converging in an urban environment to form the Tennessee River. Cultural eutrophication throughout their post-impoundment course below Douglas and Cherokee Dams (respectively) insures a high biomass and TVA’s oxygen diffusion systems in both of the reservoirs above the dams ensures dissolved oxygen levels well above what the species requires to thrive. The result is a Frakenwater environment conducive to growing extremely large specimens.
Unlike their lowland cousins, tailwater river carp are plagued by a constant but variable flow rate and their bodies adjust accordingly. Pectoral fins are broad, tails are dinner plate sized, and foreheads slope down towards the mouth as a result of constantly feeding within the benthic zone. The current that results in these unique morphological characteristics can be both a hindrance and an advantage to the fly angler. On the one hand current permits a means of transference by which to convey your fly to the feeding fish, on the other it also creates a scenario where you are somewhat at the whims of the flow.
Nearly all flies I utilize in the rivers east of Knoxville are heavier than what I might choose in the still water associated our larger lakes. The weight is required to account for the current and to get the fly down quickly to the fish. When casting to cruising carp on a river one must consider simultaneously the depth of the water, the movement of the fish, the distance to the fish, and of course the speed of the flow. Because river carp virtually always feed in an upstream orientation, the fly angler is presented with the problem of how to present the fly to the fish without the fish either seeing or bumping into the leader. For this reasons most of my shots are either from the side or, more frequently from upstream.
While it is generally believed that smaller flies are required in riverine environments due to the abundance of aquatic invertebrates, I’ve found that once carp are in excess of 15 pounds they are capable of consuming much larger prey items such as crayfish. My favorite fly these days is Barry’s Carp Fly which is a hybrid between a swimming nymph and a clouser minnow. The fly is heavily weighted so it gets down quick, and like the clouser minnow it rides hook up and slides at an angle through the water. The end result is a fly which can both be fished on the bottom mimicking a crayfish or swum through the water column mimicking an invertebrate.
Unlike carp in lowland lakes, river carp are visual predators. The typically clear waters of both the French Broad and Holston facilitate this tremendously and as a result the number one problem I witness from lake fishermen in a river environment is a propensity to impart too much action on the fly. Once you have made a cast to a feeding fish, slight movement is required to gain the fish’s attention, but once the fish has spotted the fly it is important to let it drift or sit naturally. Reading the attitude of the fish is paramount to success. Once the fish moves towards the fly, it is a slow painful wait for the fish to flash its gills indicating it has sucked the fly into its mouth. After that, it’s up to you land the thing.
Please join 3 Rivers Angler on March 26th for a special Orvis and Scientific Angler Demo Days. During the event you will be able to test drive Orvis' latest rods and reels and see their new line of waders and clothing. In addition, Scientific Angler will be offering a trade in deal. Bring in any old fly line and Scientific Angler will give you a $20 dollar discount toward the purchase of a new SA Fly Line. This deal is only good during the day of the event from noon until 7pm.
Questions? Give us a call at the shop, 865-200-5271.
Now entering its ninth year, The Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) has become the entertainment event of the year for America's diverse fishing community. The goal of F3T is to energize the community and inspire film makers to create new cutting edge films that both entertain and educate outdoor enthusiasts while supporting a great cause. This year's tour will be held at Relix Variety Theater on N Central St in Knoxville.
All proceeds will benefit Legacy Parks Foundation. The Legacy Parks Foundation works to ensure that our community enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces, and that those assets exist for generations to come. Visit Legacy Parks for more information.
Tickets are available now at 3 Rivers Angler for $12. They are also available for $15 through 3riversangler.com, F3T online, and at the door on the night of the event.
Fri, Mar 27th, 7:00 PM, EDT
Relix Variety Theatre
1208 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917
As I sit here and type this Knoxville is yet again under a winter storm watch and it's 67 degrees outside. Spring is making a valiant effort to get here but it looks like we will have to endure one more dip of arctic air before it officially arrives. The long range forecast looks fantastic and the prospects for fishing this weekend are extremely favorable, particularly for the mountains.
While we've got some lower flows on the tailwaters today, we are expecting anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow and ice plus an additional 1/4 inch of rain prior to that. That's enough water in the system to make TVA nervous and I expect that the tailwater flows will be relatively high through the weekend. Point in case, Cherokee's expect outflow on Friday bumps up to an impressive 13,290 cfs.
That's the bad news. The good news is that the temperatures on the rivers in the park are almost up to that magical 50 degree mark. Reports of hatches are already beginning to trickle into the shop and we can hope that after this next little dip in the thermometer near normal temperatures will be upon us and the bugs can't be too far off afterthat. What's more, in another week or so it will be time for TVA to start filling up the area's reservoirs. Provided we have a relatively normal spring, this will mean some low water time on the Clinch, Holston, South Holston, Wautaga, and Hiawassi rivers before the middle of the month.
Everybody at 3 Rivers Angler is more than ready for the warm weather. We've been moving what's left of the winter clothing over to the clearance rack in order to make room for the spring clothes and flip flops. New gear is arriving daily so we've got to make a lot of room. There are still some real deals to be had on fleece and sweaters so if you're in the need you might wander down and have a look. Hopefully you'll be out on the water this weekend with little more than a fleece on your back!
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