For a while I have been wanting to float the Cumberland River. I have fished it a few times wading. However, it is a tail water fishery. That means limited wading access. And the river runs high and fast when they are running generators, which is most the time. Floating is the best, and most fun, way to fish a tail water.
We made our way to the river, and parked a vehicle at the take-out point. We then drove back, about a mile on the road, to the put-in point. We unloaded the pontoons, setup the gear, and made our way to the water. It was much higher than the previous trips I have made to the Cumberland. The put-in was about 50 yards closer than when we were at this hole (Creelsboro Natural Bridge) last November. The water covered most the rocks that were visible in this photo from that trip.
Here is a photo of the put-in today. With all the mud, it was obvious the water had been even higher than this recently.
Once situated I rowed out to the current and away I went. The river was running fairly fast, but it was no problem on the pontoon. I packed away the oars and used the fins for most the float.
It was not long before I started getting hits. I tried a lot of different setups, but a size 14-16 nymph seemed to be the key. It did not seem to matter if it was a Prince Nymph, Copper John, or the pink nymphs I tie for Rachael (that is my story, and I am sticking to it). After several hits I got my first fish of the day to the net, the Brown Trout below.
I released the fish and drifted further down the river. The hits kept coming. Along one stretch I hooked the Rainbow below. He did not want to come to the net - he was a fighter!
A few casts later I had another fish on. He was running differently than trout usually do, and I was not sure what I had. I was surprised when a White Bass came to the net.
Those were the only three fish I got to the net. I had another half dozen on, and I lost count of how many hits. It was a great trip.
On the road the put-in and take-out are about 1 mile away. But the river wanders. About 5 1/2 hours after we put in, we reached the take-out point. I was not ready to stop, but it is not good to float past your vehicle when you are on a non-motorized craft. So in we went.
We strapped the pontoons to the truck and headed back up the road to get my vehicle at the put-in.
What a great day fishing. There is something so relaxing about sitting out on the water, fly rod in hand, the current taking you where it will. I am already looking forward to my next trip.
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