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Welcome to the River Journal!  My name is Mike Bone  I've made my living as a full time fly fishing guide here in East Tennessee for over twenty years. If you are interested in our current rates, or how to contact me about a float,  please click on the guide information section to the right. If you have questions, comments,  suggestions, or something you would like to contribute to these pages email me at, or by signing the guestbook at the top of this page. I'd be happy to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the read..Mike Bone


Fish heads!

This was an idea given to me by my friend Scott Rogers, former owner of the Creel in Knoxville. He suggested I start an archive of fish head pictures, just fish heads, no anglers, and sent along a couple of photos to get things rolling. I love it! I will be browsing my picture collections for pictures that will fit and taking more on various trips, and I encourage anyone reading this who has fish head pictures to send me some of theirs.  Hopefully we can build a good picture archive. Any species is acceptable, even encouraged, and I hope to have some fun with this! Here's a couple Scott sent along to get things rolling..these are thumbnailed so click on the picture for full size image.




Clinch river Fall fishing roundup

Even though afternoon temps are still climbing close to the 90's, cooler mornings and more comfortable evenings can only mean one thing, Fall is just around the corner. Fall is my favorite time of year to be on the water. The crowds thin out, the weather is stable, and the changing colors here in East Tennessee provide a fishing back drop that is second to none. In Spring, everything is hungry, and the action is often fast and furious, Fall is different. Fall is fishing for the survivors, bigger, smarter, and seasoned by natural selection. I've caught some of my best fish in Fall, and had some of my most memorable trips.

I've been on the phone with two of the better Clinch fishermen I know this morning, having coffee and talking observations. We seem to be in agreement, the Clinch has one of the best populations of 14 inch or better fish in it this year than we've seen in a long time, maybe ever. Is it due to the TWRA slot limit regulations that have been in effect on the river for a few years now? Possibly the high water levels most of the season? Or maybe the return of the sulphur hatch? Who knows, more than likely a combination of all three. One thing we all can agree on, the Clinch has some great fish in it!

I'm not big on pattern lists, everyone has a favorite secret fly, but you could do a whole lot worse than a size 18 or 20, dark midge pupae, or bead head pheasant tail nymph, fished  a few feet below an indicator on 6x flourocarbon tippet. It may not work every time but it will work often enough to keep a smile on your face and really, that's all we're after in the first place. If you are willing to pay the dues required of dedicated streamer fishing the chance of catching a true trophy size brown are as good here as anywhere in the country, it won't happen every time, but it will happen. I like that, it keeps me casting when hope begins to fade, it may be the first cast, it may be the last, persistence is the only guarantee.

Lake water levels are dropping fast and that should mean more favorable water release schedules in the not too distant future. Norris lake was below 1010 this morning and coming down, that's good news to trout fishers on the Clinch. TVA has an excellent resource called an operating guide for each reservoir they post on line. I have a link to it in the "links section" , it tells you where they are,  where they want to be, and what the water levels were in the past for the lakes they manage. You may not always agree with the flows, but if you study the data, at least you will have a better understanding of the reason behind some of the generation schedules. Check it out if you're interested.

In closing, I hope everyone gets an opportunity to get out and enjoy the fishing this Fall. Go easy on the fish, and fellow anglers, and send along a few pictures or trip reports if the mood strikes. I'd love to hear about it! Good fishing everyone, and be careful out there!







For my first post I'm going to forgo the normal fish picture and share a photo taken by my friend Peter while we were on the way to a smallmouth trip recently. If any of you out there thought you had bad parents you need to check this out!! We could hardly believe our eyes..on a blind curve..double yellow line..


 Yep saw that right! One way to save money on asphalt, and tuition!


This was recently shown to me by my friend and guide partner Bob Durham and it's great stuff! So for my first DIY contribution I thought I would pass it along. We use it to treat dry flys, especially CDC dries, and to treat our strike indicator yarn. It is the best floatant I've ever used even if it may constitute a fire hazard! To make flyagra you will need Alobolene make up comes in a white jar with a blue lid and can be purchased at most Walgreens or any other store that sells make up products. Second you will need a bottle of good old fashioned lighter fluid..the kind your parents used in their Zippo lighter. Last, a mixing bowl you will never want to use for anything else..


Scoop out some Albolene into the mixing bowl, I usually do about a tablespoon or so and place it in a microwave for about 15 seconds. This warms it up and helps it to start melting a bit, then add about twice the amount of lighter fluid as Albolene, maybe a little more, it doesn't have to be exact. You just want it to be liquid and look relatively clear, not like a paste. That's it! Soak whatever you want to treat in it and squeeze out the excess, after it dries it doesn't stink as bad and it will make things float just about all day. I've been using it all season, especially on strike indicator yarn, with great results, prompting many of our guests to ask where I got the stuff. Give it a try, and no, I didn't make up the name.

Next up:

Clinch river Fall fishing run down and wooden drift boats! I've built several of them and considering building another..this was the first one that started it all for me, recently restored and back on the Clinch with it's new owner John Morris of Nashville.




















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