Given all the angling activity on Northeast Tennessee’s TVA reservoirs and their tributaries, it can be easy to overlook Flannagan Reservoir over in Dickenson County, Va.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reservoir, which is the home fishery for anglers in Clintwood and Haysi, seems rather small when compared to a TVA impoundment like Cherokee Lake.
As it turns out, Flannagan Lake harbored at least one hybrid that any Cherokee angler would be happy to hook.
Joshua Neece of Dante, Virginia (a town of Major Hoople fame) caught the Virginia state record hybrid on Flannagan on June 19.
Neece knew that the fish, which weighed more than 13 points, would qualify for a Virginia Trophy Fish Award. He got the fish weighed at a local grocery store and submitted the appropriate paperwork to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Not only did the fish qualify for the award, a staffer at the Richmond HQ made a nice catch, noticing a potential state record.
Bill Kittrell, the aquatic resource manager at the Marion Regional Office subsequently contacted Neece, officially identified and weighed the fish and submitted the paperwork for state record certification.
Neece’s state record hybrid weighed in at 13-9, topping the old state record by nine ounces. It was 28 inches long with a girth of 21 inches.
Hybrids, which are a cross between striped bass and white bass, have been stocked in Flannagan since 1999.
For what it’s worth, some years ago the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officially named hybrids “Cherokee bass” to commemorate the first hybrids ever raised in a hatchery, which were first stocked in Cherokee Lake.
That’s history, y’all. But everyone I know still calls them ‘hybrids.’ To the best of my knowledge they’re the only sport fish called by that name, even though there are other hybridized sport fish out there. (Saugeye, for instance.)
In general angling news, it remains to be seen how much effect the latest cold front passing through will affect area bass fishing. We should be due for some cooler nights, however. Depending upon how long that sticks around, that could nudge us closer to classic fall fishing conditions.
On the fly fishing beat, Ben Walters of Eastern Fly Outfitters has finally settled into his new location at 6209 Bristol Highway, just down the road from his old store location.
His new place, which has 1,000 square feet, used to be Appalachian Gardens and All Season Sales, he said.
Walters said many of his customers have been fishing for trout on the Watauga tailwater.
“The fishing has been great on the Watauga. They’ve been spilling, but on some of the days they’ve been running around 230 c.f.s., which is perfect for wade fishing,” Walters said.
A lot of trout have been caught on Flashback Sulphur Nymphs (“in brown,” he said. “you can’t bee too specific.”) Sulphurs remain the dominant mayfly on top, but you might need to be attentive to specific pattern selection.
“The trout are getting really picky on them,” he said.
He noted that striped bass continue to be encountered up in the tailwaters, but not in as heavy concentrations as was the case earlier this summer.
“I figure pretty soon they’ll all move back down into the lake and head toward the dam,” Walters said. “But the usual patterns have been thrown off because of all the rain and the lake levels being so high. Things are unpredictable at best.”