Fall Creek Falls Adventures

My husband and I had a small window of opportunity to fish one day last week. The weather was semi cooperative, with warmer than normal temperatures in the low 70’s, and finally…no rain. The wind was whipping, and the sky was overcast, but we had a feeling we might be able to catch one or two fish.

We loaded up our Land Cruiser with a few essentials and we headed out to Fall Creek Falls State Park. We had a nice drive up, talking and enjoying a dry day. We have had a tremendous amount of rain over the last few weeks, so any day without rain is a welcome site.

Fall Creek Falls State Park has several launch points for a kayak. There is a new rule in place now that you must pay a $5.00 fee prior to launching. You may purchase your day pass at the boat ramp.

Once you have your pass, you are free to launch you yak. Even though the sign doesn’t clearly say it, you are not allowed to bring a boat even if it doesn’t have a gas motor. FCF rules are that if you use a boat on the lake, you must rent one of their boats. The only boats they offer for fishing are tiny jon boats (that honestly do not look safe nor stable). I will take my trusty kayak any day over a jon.

I took out my McCain MHP 6’8 Medium/Fast Action spinning rod coupled with a Diawa Legalis Spinning Reel with 12 lb mono line and attached one of my most favorite soft plastics…a 412BaitCo Free Worm. I like all their colors, but the Salt & Pepper color is a winner most every time. Especially in cloudy water conditions such as we experienced at FCF.

I made maybe four casts and felt a bite. The fish hit the worm around some rocks near the shore line. I got to see it bubble up and take the bait. It wasn’t a huge Bass, but it was still fun catching it. Each time I catch a fish, I’m anxious to see what it is, and be able to look at it and appreciate its beauty before I release it. I am totally catch and release only. I don’t keep anything I catch, no matter how large or panfish perfect the size.

During our fishing excursion, my husband and I saw a Bat flying. Yes, flying in daylight. The Bat was just over our heads. It appeared to be hunting bugs. Our guess was the Bat had been disturbed off its roost due to the wind. I had quite the fright from the Bat. As I walked away (OK, I straight up ran) from the area it was in, it seemed to follow me (or I was just in it’s flight pattern). Either way, it was scary for me! My husband watched me and assured me the Bat never touched me, but I did call my general doctor to inquire as to what if anything I should do. My doctor is super thorough, and he made a few calls to both the health department as well as to a TN Wildlife Resource Agency environmentalist. The message he relayed to me was that simply seeing a Bat flying in the day time does not mean it’s sick. The TWRA indicated they had several reports of Bats being seen in daylight due to the unseasonably warm temps. The Bats were apparently coming out of their hibernacula early and hunting bugs.

Rabies is always a big concern with a Bat, you should never approach a Bat laying on the ground, and definitely never attempt to pick up a Bat. You could be bitten and have to take a series of shots to keep yourself from getting sick. Since there was no evidence to suggest the Bat touched me, I was told I would not have to take shots. I’ll admit to being quite nervous the rest of the day after the experience of the Bat over my head!

For some interesting Bat facts, check out The Nature Conservatory: Spooky Science-Interesting Facts about Bats.

As always, be safe when you are outdoors and watch your surroundings. It’s the time of the year for hibernating wildlife to wake up which may include snakes as well as Bats.

Keep it safe out there!

February Trout Fishing

February is one of those months that can either be super cold, or it can be just warm enough that I inevitably want to get out of the house. Yesterday was one of those days. I woke up early and made pancakes for James and I, then we sat briefly at the kitchen table and discussed the age-old question of, “What would you like to do today?” After a few minutes, we decided we should go Trout fishing.

James and I are fortunate enough to live near one of the best Trout fisheries in the Tennessee. Center Hill Dam, located in Silver Point, is the starting point for one of the most picturesque tail waters in our state. The Caney Fork River is a river that flows through central Tennessee and drains a substantial portion of the southwestern Cumberland Plateau and Highland Rim regions. If you plan to fish below the dam at Center Hill, please always check the TVA generation schedule prior to your trip.

After checking the generation schedule, James and I packed up our truck and made the hour and twenty minute drive from our house to the dam. During the time we were there, there was no generation at the power plant which meant the water was calm and safe for fishing.

The weather was just right, with temps in the mid-40’s and no rain. We saw several people either wading or on the water near the dam in kayaks or small vessels such as drift boats. It was the perfect day.

We prepped our spinning rods and made some adjustments as we would be using some of my flies. I don’t always use a fly rod when fishing for Trout. I like to mix things up a little bit on occasion. During this particular outing, I used a Lews Mr. Trout spinning reel, paired with a custom built 6’0 medium light rod built by Osprey Rods of Huntsville, Alabama. I have several Ospreys and they are flawless in looks and performance. I would recommend them without hesitation to anyone looking for a rod that can truly go the distance.

James and I fished around what is known as “the pond” at the dam. We started out wading out around the edges and eventually, we worked our way across the side to the left of the dam. We moved into position and began casting toward a deep spot between the launch ramp the outcropping of rocks.

The chartreuse Wooly Bugger was the golden ticket to what would be several Brook Trout hook ups for me. The Brooks were like darts hitting my fly under the water. I felt several hits before one hit and took the bait. I quickly reeled the Trout in and was rewarded with the experience of briefly holding such a beautifully delicate fish before I released it back into the water.

James and I fished a few hours and had a great day together. We decided to return to Center Hill and bring our kayaks on the next trip. We plan to fish in the pond area again. Who knows, I might even use my fly rod.