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Contest: Make Your Case for the Best Tailwater, Win Fly Line

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May 30, 2012

Contest: Make Your Case for the Best Tailwater, Win Fly Line

By Kirk Deeter

These days, a lot of the conservation-focused press for fly fishing revolves around dams; specifically, how removing certain dams has helped to restore migratory waterways for native salmon and steelhead.

No doubt, some dams have taken a major toll on fish populations, and getting rid of those dams is a good thing. But let's call it like it is: Minus a great number of bottom-release dams throughout the country — dams that release steady cool currents year-round that trout and the bugs they eat love so much — and trout fishing as we know it in America simply wouldn't exist. Most of those massive 10-pound trophy rainbows we like to catch and photograph wouldn't be there for the catching. Those 30-fish days in the middle of November? Probably not going to happen. 

Believe me, I love rivers like the Yellowstone and Roaring Fork for their lack of concrete. But I have also spent many a fine day catching trout in fisheries made possible by bottom-release dams, on rivers like the Bighorn and the Missouri in Montana, the Green in Utah, the Muskegon in Michigan) the West Branch of the Delaware in New York/Pennsylvania, and the South Platte in Colorado.

Sometimes, the beauty of the tailwater is that it makes trout possible in places that they don't naturally belong, like the Guadalupe River (the southernmost trout fishery in the continental United States) in Texas, the Cumberland in Kentucky, and the San Juan in the high desert of New Mexico. My favorite tailwater in the country is the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam near Lees Ferry, Ariz. The number of trout there is stunning. The scenery — sheer marble cliffs towering above the river — is even more breathtaking. And it's an amazing laboratory to test your angling skills. Trust me, you must see it and fish it to believe it.

So tell me where your favorite tailwater is, and why you feel that way. It's okay to be a "homer" on this one. I'll award a Rio Gold WF-5-F premium fly line, valued at $75, for the most convincing comment in the thread below. Good luck.

Photo courtesy of Terry Gunn.

Comments (25)

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from ejunk wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Though I don't live there, my submission for best tailwater is easy: the State of Tennessee. Thanks to an especially, um... "proactive" development project by the name of the "Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)," pretty much all of the State of Tennessee is one big artificially managed tailwater fishery. Only in TN (admittedly, by way of it's hydrologic neighbors) can one fish ~30 miles of trophy tailwater trout water and then float into another ~30 miles of trophy tailwater smallmouth water before hitting a lake full of trophy largemouth fishing. Just a few more miles downstream and the whole process starts over again like some kind of magical fishing stairway to heaven. While none of these rivers are world famous, they're most certainly regionally known and regularly produce great fish. Mention the Watauga, South Holston (aka SoHo), Holston proper, Clinch River, or the aforementioned Cumberland - along with many others - to any angler from central or southern Appalachia and they'll probably get a wistful look in their eyes. and if they've been lucky enough to tangle with some of the monster fish that inhabit these incredibly fertile waters, they might, they JUST might, start to drool. Don't be offended by this animal-like behavior - that's what happens to TN tailwater enthusiasts. the fishing is just so good, it's hard to maintain much more than a passing sense of civility.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from vasportsman wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I am definitely a homer when it comes to this question; my favorite tailwater has to be the Pound River below the Lake Flannagan Dam in far southwest Virginia. Set in the steep and wild mountains in coal country, this little river boasts one of Virginia's best trophy brown trout fisheries and remains beautiful due to the remoteness and efforts of the DGIF. Only about 2 miles long, it would seem too short for a day on the water, however in those 2 miles you get to experience a stream with more character, beauty, and challenges than anywhere else in the state. People forget that before the great westward expansion, Virginia was widely regarded as one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world, and this little tailwater reminds you exactly why it was, and that in fact, it still is.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuclear_fisher wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I will second ejunk above. Clinch River, TN. It's the one and only time I've been successful at fly fishing and it was a blast. Winding through the Cumberlands with a morning fog on the river, slightly stained water from some rain earlier in the week so my terrible casts were just good enough. Awesome scenery, great fishing and one of my best days on the water.

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from tkbone wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I was going to talk about the Saluda/Congaree tailwater below Lake Murray here in SC until I read ejunk's post, added in my limited personal experience in TN, and quickly realized that the TN tailwaters have it all over anywhere else east of the Miss. for species diversity, size, etc.

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from Jbs1022 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Lake Taneycomo in southwest MO. The lake is actually a river, however it is damed on either end so by defination it's a lake. I know that doesn't make any sense so I suggest you Google it. The tailwater is released from the bottom of Table Rock dam along with BILLIONS of scuds and sow bugs. 100 fish days are not uncommon and the size and strength of the bows and browns will impress even the most savy of fly fisherman. As an added bonus you are only 20 minutes outside of Branson, MO so after a day on the water you can take in some singing and dancing. If your into it....

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from BaboosicBomb wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

In Nashua, NH, there is a dam called Mine's Falls. Above the dam there is spectacular fishing for skanky, overfished bass and pans. But under the bridge, 13-14 inch panfish warmouth, and leviathan smallmouth congregate. It is an amazing place to visit with a fly rod.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from campns wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Kinzua Dam Tail waters, on the Alleghany River; Warren PA is the place for me. Musky, Pike, Rock Bass, Small & Largemouth, I have caught 40lb Carp myself here, I have friends that have caught brown trout and large rainbows in the tail waters here as well.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Hands down, the Arkansas river below Pueblo reservoir in Pueblo, CO. An urban tailwater where you get year round dry fly hatches, a few miles of river to float, smallies, walleye, catfish, and fat trout, some up to 10 pounds, in catch and keep sections of the river.

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from Sage Sam wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

You opened a can of worms on this one Kirk...

I'm taking the Green River below Flaming Gorge reservoir for a few reasons. One, I'm a homer and it's in my backyard. Two, it holds more fish than anywhere I have ever seen. Three, the river itself is beautiful. Crystalline waters tinted emerald from the vegetation below while blood red sandstone cliffs tower above? Not too shabby.

However, more importantly to me, the Flaming Gorge tailwater sits in one of the West's most rugged, beautiful, under-appreciated, and largely ignored landscapes.

If we were somehow able to ignore the human history of the area, the Fremont, the Utes and more modern legends like Butch Cassidy and Ann Bassett, the absolute beauty of the land itself is still captivating.

Sitting downstream, are the Gates of Ladore patiently wait to envelop anyone who enters Dinosaur National Monument. To the North lies the Red Desert, the heart of the big empty and home to 2 million acres of the most remote, desolate and breathtakingly beautiful places left in the Lower 48. To the East lies the forgotten corner of Colorado, where the largest elk and mule deer herds on earth roam and where the wildest country in Colorado remains. And all around Flaming Gorge Country is what is left of greater sage grouse habitat, the quirky little bird that embodies the West.

So, for my money I have and always will pick the Green as the best Tailwater in America. Unfortunately, the land around it is being eaten away by energy development and it's water is slated to be stolen to feed a thirty urban population and a hare-brained nuclear power proposal downstream. But people will still fight to save it and if we learned nothing from Flaming Gorge and Fontenelle, it is that the Green is a tough as the people and critters that have lived at its side.

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Missouri is damn ( no pun intended ) hard to beat . Lots and lots of big trout, great hatches and awesome uniform dry fly water make it one of the best for sure. The wind and summer aquatic vegetation can be an issue but when the Mo is hot its hard to beat. I am partial to Montana because of the water laws there. I almost listed the frying pan as one of my favorites but I can't stand the regulations in CO. Historical High Water mark should be public!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Badlandsrj wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

It's got to be the S. fork of the Snake. Not a traditional tailwater in the mold of the Green or San Juan, there aren't any snaky, scar-lipped fish eating size 22 zebra midges here. This is a big, brawling river with lots of big, healthy browns, cutts, and bows eating from the many hatches, or taking down terrestrials and foam flies off the bank. Great fun in any time of year.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JustTakeMeHunting14 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Brookville tailwater. It is the only river in my home state that produces any trout that can be caught on the fly. Yes there are other places that are stocked but all of them are incredibly overfished.

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The dam in the photo gets my vote. Keeps my beer cold and lights on in the casino.

I would urge anyone visiting Vegas to take a trip to the dam. It is a must see. Also, take the first pull off to the left in AZ and you have some gorgeous hiking down to the river. Sheep and pictographs are common along the trail. My wife and I look forward to this hike whenever we are in Vegas. Go a few more miles and take a right into the marina where the hatchery is. Decent fishing and original A.C. Cole handmade lures can be purchased at the shop.

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from Mark Orlicky wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Dream Stream. That's the South Platte River between Spinney Mountain Reservoir and ElevenMile Reservoir. It isn't just good fishing, its world class. Colorado has some of the best tailwaters around, such as the Arkansas below Pueblo Res, the Taylor below Taylor Dam, the Frying Pan below Ruedi, the Colorado, and the Blue. Yet, the Dream Stream is widely considered one of the best in the world.
Catch and Release, artificial lures only. Beautiful river, some of the best fishing to be found. And, if you're so inclined, you can enjoy hot springs after fishing. Lots of them in the area.

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from Mark Orlicky wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Dream Stream. That's the South Platte River between Spinney Mountain Reservoir and ElevenMile Reservoir. It isn't just good fishing, its world class. Colorado has some of the best tailwaters around, such as the Arkansas below Pueblo Res, the Taylor below Taylor Dam, the Frying Pan below Ruedi, the Colorado, and the Blue. Yet, the Dream Stream is widely considered one of the best in the world.
Catch and Release, artificial lures only. Beautiful river, some of the best fishing to be found. And, if you're so inclined, you can enjoy hot springs after fishing. Lots of them in the area.

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from mzflyfisher wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Green River in Utah changed my life. My husband and I first visited this river in 2000. We were part time bait fisherman, and we happened upon this magnificent river where we were mesmerized by the beauty, the water clarity, and the size and abundance of the healthy trout we could clearly see. My husband called it "guaranteed hope" when it came to fishing. We watched in amazement as we saw everyone fly casting and catching these beauties, and then gently releasing them back into the water. From that day on, we changed to fly fishing and have never gone back. We live in an RV and spend every summer traveling from river to river, mostly in the west, catching and releasing trout.

We return to the Green almost every year for 2 to 6 weeks in the spring. Usually she is at her best in early June when they lower the water after runoff and the Cicandas hatch. Throwing huge black foam patterns to hungry Rainbows and huge Browns. It can be waded or floated and fishing can be phenomenal.

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from Sue Bookhout wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I'd have to say the Frying Pan River in Colorado. Because a) It is beautiful and the fishing is spectacular. b) I could ski Aspen Mountain on the same day. c) If I changed my mind, I could drive down the road to fish the Roaring Fork River or the Colorado River and d) and at the end of the day, there are a whole lot of great restaurants in the area.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brtkearns wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Little Red River in Arkansas takes the cake, in my opinion. Year round fishing. Rainbows are plentiful and there is a cool story about how in the 70's a group of fishermen, angry that there were no brown trout in the river, snuck eggs in under cover of night and managed to spawn an entire population of wild browns. The former world record brown trout was caught on the Little Red. It's my home water and I feel lucky to be able to fish there as often as I do. I think that anyone who's fished the Little Red would agree with me.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ryan Patrick Daly wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Salmon River (Pulaski NY)

The salmon is arguably the best salmon/steelhead river on the east coast. Although it does not get the attention of the other steelhead ally rivers such as the Cat, the salmon is a river that can rival the fabled steelhead rivers of Oregon, Washington, and BC. Currently two record setting fish have been taken from its cold swift Adirondack waters; The Great Lakes record for King Salmon at 47lbs and the World Record Coho Salmon at 33lbs. The Salmon is also one of the most accessible steelhead rivers with over 17 miles of public fishing rights, not to mention the numerous parking areas for easy access to almost ever portion of the river. Also the river has two fly fishing only sections, these two sections (The Upper, and the Lower) have some of the most productive and exciting steelhead, and lake run brown trout action a fly fisher could hope for. But unlike your other steelhead rivers throughout the great lakes, the salmon also has summer run steelhead, and the chance to fulfill every fly fishers dream; the chance to catch the elusive Atlantic Salmon. If big fish is not your thing (then you are crazy) you can always try your luck with the resident browns, and smallmouth’s all summer long.

Tight Linez!!

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from Will Kelley wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

The South Platte River is my river of choice for some great tail water action. The South Platte has several great tail water sections due to the abundant amount of reservoirs and dams. Several sections of the river are only catch and release. The Dream Stream is famous for the spring rainbow and cutthroat runs and the fall brown runs with a nice mix of kokanee salmon accompanying them. Yet sections below Antereo reservoir and Elven Mile reservoir posses excellent fishing too. Fishing on the South Platte can be productive almost year round and the possibility of catching a fish of a lifetime is always there too. Whether is that big brown, bucking bow or a tenacious kokanee the tail water fishing on the South Platte is among the best in the country.

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from Krispyhuntar wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Any tailwater on the penobscot river in maine. You can find a tailwater to fit almost any Maine fish fancy you have. If you want a tailwater to catch 30+ smallmouth 15-18 inches in a hour or two you got it. At the same tailwater you can also get a occasional brookie, pike, atlantic salmon, or striper. If you just want to focus on the coldwater fish the tailwaters on the northern penobscot have some of the best salmon and brook trout fishing in the east. Surrounded by woods, the appalachian mountains, moose, and bear the terrain is sure to bring you back to the old days with no worries but what your next fly might bring in. 6 lb salmon or 4 lb brookie?

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from mnsportsman1 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I'm surprised this one hasn't been said yet but for me without a doubt it would be the beaverhead river in montana. This is big trout territory the beaverhead is probably the beaverhead is probably one of the last best places in montana to catch a truly monster brown. There is plenty of 15-18 inchers but the 23+ are present in very high numbers especially for such a small narrow river. The trout are very picky to with all of the moss and weeds loaded with insects it can be difficult for them to take your fly vs. all the naturals floating past them. The football rainbow in my profile picture is from the beav. Lots of really nice dry fly slicks, deep slow runs, riffles, cut banks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Hood wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

My favorite is perhaps one of the shortest coldwater tailwaters in the USA. Located near Gore, OK flowing 5.5 miles from Lake Tenkiller to the Arkansas River... the Lower Illinois River. Although it is stocked regularly with trout this river is what Forest Gump would call "a box of chocolates"... because when you fly fish there, "you never know what you are gonna get." I have caught over 12 species of fish from the river. On several occassions 9 in one day. One day I caught 8 and never moved from one spot and all on the same fly.
I would like to point out that this tailwater is in peril. Due to oover allocations of water in the reservoir and repair work on a leak in the dam, the river is suffering and has been the site of two fish kills in the past 12 months. Those interested in helping Oklahomans save this fishery should contact members of the Oklahoma Chapter of Trout Unlimited for details on helping gain minimum flow law for the river.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

you forget about this contest, Deeter?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ross Slayton wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

Its hard to pick between the Henry's Fork or South Fork of the Snake in Eastern Idaho. The Henry's Fork is called the holy water and for good reason Its an amazing fishery! The aquatic biomass is diverse and widespread, all the major (and minor) hatches of the year are represented, The river boasts characteristics of a spring creek on the ranch pocket water in the canyons and a good ol' tailwater in the other sections. Then there's the South Fork of the Snake, AMAZING! One of the greatest big, dry fly rivers in the west. The Salmonfly and golden stonefly hatches are epic and if you haven't experienced them you don't know what your missing! The big 3 of the trout world are represented and in fact the browns are HUGE! The rainbows are vicious and the cutties love the dry fly. its easily wade-able and also float-able with plenty of room for everyone, whether it be hardware bait or fly, heck I even throw a spey rod with streamers on this river! Come on guys you know what i write is true!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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from ejunk wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Though I don't live there, my submission for best tailwater is easy: the State of Tennessee. Thanks to an especially, um... "proactive" development project by the name of the "Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)," pretty much all of the State of Tennessee is one big artificially managed tailwater fishery. Only in TN (admittedly, by way of it's hydrologic neighbors) can one fish ~30 miles of trophy tailwater trout water and then float into another ~30 miles of trophy tailwater smallmouth water before hitting a lake full of trophy largemouth fishing. Just a few more miles downstream and the whole process starts over again like some kind of magical fishing stairway to heaven. While none of these rivers are world famous, they're most certainly regionally known and regularly produce great fish. Mention the Watauga, South Holston (aka SoHo), Holston proper, Clinch River, or the aforementioned Cumberland - along with many others - to any angler from central or southern Appalachia and they'll probably get a wistful look in their eyes. and if they've been lucky enough to tangle with some of the monster fish that inhabit these incredibly fertile waters, they might, they JUST might, start to drool. Don't be offended by this animal-like behavior - that's what happens to TN tailwater enthusiasts. the fishing is just so good, it's hard to maintain much more than a passing sense of civility.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brtkearns wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Little Red River in Arkansas takes the cake, in my opinion. Year round fishing. Rainbows are plentiful and there is a cool story about how in the 70's a group of fishermen, angry that there were no brown trout in the river, snuck eggs in under cover of night and managed to spawn an entire population of wild browns. The former world record brown trout was caught on the Little Red. It's my home water and I feel lucky to be able to fish there as often as I do. I think that anyone who's fished the Little Red would agree with me.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Badlandsrj wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

It's got to be the S. fork of the Snake. Not a traditional tailwater in the mold of the Green or San Juan, there aren't any snaky, scar-lipped fish eating size 22 zebra midges here. This is a big, brawling river with lots of big, healthy browns, cutts, and bows eating from the many hatches, or taking down terrestrials and foam flies off the bank. Great fun in any time of year.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from vasportsman wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I am definitely a homer when it comes to this question; my favorite tailwater has to be the Pound River below the Lake Flannagan Dam in far southwest Virginia. Set in the steep and wild mountains in coal country, this little river boasts one of Virginia's best trophy brown trout fisheries and remains beautiful due to the remoteness and efforts of the DGIF. Only about 2 miles long, it would seem too short for a day on the water, however in those 2 miles you get to experience a stream with more character, beauty, and challenges than anywhere else in the state. People forget that before the great westward expansion, Virginia was widely regarded as one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world, and this little tailwater reminds you exactly why it was, and that in fact, it still is.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Missouri is damn ( no pun intended ) hard to beat . Lots and lots of big trout, great hatches and awesome uniform dry fly water make it one of the best for sure. The wind and summer aquatic vegetation can be an issue but when the Mo is hot its hard to beat. I am partial to Montana because of the water laws there. I almost listed the frying pan as one of my favorites but I can't stand the regulations in CO. Historical High Water mark should be public!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sue Bookhout wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I'd have to say the Frying Pan River in Colorado. Because a) It is beautiful and the fishing is spectacular. b) I could ski Aspen Mountain on the same day. c) If I changed my mind, I could drive down the road to fish the Roaring Fork River or the Colorado River and d) and at the end of the day, there are a whole lot of great restaurants in the area.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mnsportsman1 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

I'm surprised this one hasn't been said yet but for me without a doubt it would be the beaverhead river in montana. This is big trout territory the beaverhead is probably the beaverhead is probably one of the last best places in montana to catch a truly monster brown. There is plenty of 15-18 inchers but the 23+ are present in very high numbers especially for such a small narrow river. The trout are very picky to with all of the moss and weeds loaded with insects it can be difficult for them to take your fly vs. all the naturals floating past them. The football rainbow in my profile picture is from the beav. Lots of really nice dry fly slicks, deep slow runs, riffles, cut banks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Hood wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

My favorite is perhaps one of the shortest coldwater tailwaters in the USA. Located near Gore, OK flowing 5.5 miles from Lake Tenkiller to the Arkansas River... the Lower Illinois River. Although it is stocked regularly with trout this river is what Forest Gump would call "a box of chocolates"... because when you fly fish there, "you never know what you are gonna get." I have caught over 12 species of fish from the river. On several occassions 9 in one day. One day I caught 8 and never moved from one spot and all on the same fly.
I would like to point out that this tailwater is in peril. Due to oover allocations of water in the reservoir and repair work on a leak in the dam, the river is suffering and has been the site of two fish kills in the past 12 months. Those interested in helping Oklahomans save this fishery should contact members of the Oklahoma Chapter of Trout Unlimited for details on helping gain minimum flow law for the river.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

you forget about this contest, Deeter?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ross Slayton wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

Its hard to pick between the Henry's Fork or South Fork of the Snake in Eastern Idaho. The Henry's Fork is called the holy water and for good reason Its an amazing fishery! The aquatic biomass is diverse and widespread, all the major (and minor) hatches of the year are represented, The river boasts characteristics of a spring creek on the ranch pocket water in the canyons and a good ol' tailwater in the other sections. Then there's the South Fork of the Snake, AMAZING! One of the greatest big, dry fly rivers in the west. The Salmonfly and golden stonefly hatches are epic and if you haven't experienced them you don't know what your missing! The big 3 of the trout world are represented and in fact the browns are HUGE! The rainbows are vicious and the cutties love the dry fly. its easily wade-able and also float-able with plenty of room for everyone, whether it be hardware bait or fly, heck I even throw a spey rod with streamers on this river! Come on guys you know what i write is true!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuclear_fisher wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I will second ejunk above. Clinch River, TN. It's the one and only time I've been successful at fly fishing and it was a blast. Winding through the Cumberlands with a morning fog on the river, slightly stained water from some rain earlier in the week so my terrible casts were just good enough. Awesome scenery, great fishing and one of my best days on the water.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tkbone wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I was going to talk about the Saluda/Congaree tailwater below Lake Murray here in SC until I read ejunk's post, added in my limited personal experience in TN, and quickly realized that the TN tailwaters have it all over anywhere else east of the Miss. for species diversity, size, etc.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jbs1022 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Lake Taneycomo in southwest MO. The lake is actually a river, however it is damed on either end so by defination it's a lake. I know that doesn't make any sense so I suggest you Google it. The tailwater is released from the bottom of Table Rock dam along with BILLIONS of scuds and sow bugs. 100 fish days are not uncommon and the size and strength of the bows and browns will impress even the most savy of fly fisherman. As an added bonus you are only 20 minutes outside of Branson, MO so after a day on the water you can take in some singing and dancing. If your into it....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BaboosicBomb wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

In Nashua, NH, there is a dam called Mine's Falls. Above the dam there is spectacular fishing for skanky, overfished bass and pans. But under the bridge, 13-14 inch panfish warmouth, and leviathan smallmouth congregate. It is an amazing place to visit with a fly rod.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from campns wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Kinzua Dam Tail waters, on the Alleghany River; Warren PA is the place for me. Musky, Pike, Rock Bass, Small & Largemouth, I have caught 40lb Carp myself here, I have friends that have caught brown trout and large rainbows in the tail waters here as well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Hands down, the Arkansas river below Pueblo reservoir in Pueblo, CO. An urban tailwater where you get year round dry fly hatches, a few miles of river to float, smallies, walleye, catfish, and fat trout, some up to 10 pounds, in catch and keep sections of the river.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sage Sam wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

You opened a can of worms on this one Kirk...

I'm taking the Green River below Flaming Gorge reservoir for a few reasons. One, I'm a homer and it's in my backyard. Two, it holds more fish than anywhere I have ever seen. Three, the river itself is beautiful. Crystalline waters tinted emerald from the vegetation below while blood red sandstone cliffs tower above? Not too shabby.

However, more importantly to me, the Flaming Gorge tailwater sits in one of the West's most rugged, beautiful, under-appreciated, and largely ignored landscapes.

If we were somehow able to ignore the human history of the area, the Fremont, the Utes and more modern legends like Butch Cassidy and Ann Bassett, the absolute beauty of the land itself is still captivating.

Sitting downstream, are the Gates of Ladore patiently wait to envelop anyone who enters Dinosaur National Monument. To the North lies the Red Desert, the heart of the big empty and home to 2 million acres of the most remote, desolate and breathtakingly beautiful places left in the Lower 48. To the East lies the forgotten corner of Colorado, where the largest elk and mule deer herds on earth roam and where the wildest country in Colorado remains. And all around Flaming Gorge Country is what is left of greater sage grouse habitat, the quirky little bird that embodies the West.

So, for my money I have and always will pick the Green as the best Tailwater in America. Unfortunately, the land around it is being eaten away by energy development and it's water is slated to be stolen to feed a thirty urban population and a hare-brained nuclear power proposal downstream. But people will still fight to save it and if we learned nothing from Flaming Gorge and Fontenelle, it is that the Green is a tough as the people and critters that have lived at its side.

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from JustTakeMeHunting14 wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

Brookville tailwater. It is the only river in my home state that produces any trout that can be caught on the fly. Yes there are other places that are stocked but all of them are incredibly overfished.

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The dam in the photo gets my vote. Keeps my beer cold and lights on in the casino.

I would urge anyone visiting Vegas to take a trip to the dam. It is a must see. Also, take the first pull off to the left in AZ and you have some gorgeous hiking down to the river. Sheep and pictographs are common along the trail. My wife and I look forward to this hike whenever we are in Vegas. Go a few more miles and take a right into the marina where the hatchery is. Decent fishing and original A.C. Cole handmade lures can be purchased at the shop.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark Orlicky wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Dream Stream. That's the South Platte River between Spinney Mountain Reservoir and ElevenMile Reservoir. It isn't just good fishing, its world class. Colorado has some of the best tailwaters around, such as the Arkansas below Pueblo Res, the Taylor below Taylor Dam, the Frying Pan below Ruedi, the Colorado, and the Blue. Yet, the Dream Stream is widely considered one of the best in the world.
Catch and Release, artificial lures only. Beautiful river, some of the best fishing to be found. And, if you're so inclined, you can enjoy hot springs after fishing. Lots of them in the area.

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from Mark Orlicky wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Dream Stream. That's the South Platte River between Spinney Mountain Reservoir and ElevenMile Reservoir. It isn't just good fishing, its world class. Colorado has some of the best tailwaters around, such as the Arkansas below Pueblo Res, the Taylor below Taylor Dam, the Frying Pan below Ruedi, the Colorado, and the Blue. Yet, the Dream Stream is widely considered one of the best in the world.
Catch and Release, artificial lures only. Beautiful river, some of the best fishing to be found. And, if you're so inclined, you can enjoy hot springs after fishing. Lots of them in the area.

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from mzflyfisher wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Green River in Utah changed my life. My husband and I first visited this river in 2000. We were part time bait fisherman, and we happened upon this magnificent river where we were mesmerized by the beauty, the water clarity, and the size and abundance of the healthy trout we could clearly see. My husband called it "guaranteed hope" when it came to fishing. We watched in amazement as we saw everyone fly casting and catching these beauties, and then gently releasing them back into the water. From that day on, we changed to fly fishing and have never gone back. We live in an RV and spend every summer traveling from river to river, mostly in the west, catching and releasing trout.

We return to the Green almost every year for 2 to 6 weeks in the spring. Usually she is at her best in early June when they lower the water after runoff and the Cicandas hatch. Throwing huge black foam patterns to hungry Rainbows and huge Browns. It can be waded or floated and fishing can be phenomenal.

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from Ryan Patrick Daly wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

The Salmon River (Pulaski NY)

The salmon is arguably the best salmon/steelhead river on the east coast. Although it does not get the attention of the other steelhead ally rivers such as the Cat, the salmon is a river that can rival the fabled steelhead rivers of Oregon, Washington, and BC. Currently two record setting fish have been taken from its cold swift Adirondack waters; The Great Lakes record for King Salmon at 47lbs and the World Record Coho Salmon at 33lbs. The Salmon is also one of the most accessible steelhead rivers with over 17 miles of public fishing rights, not to mention the numerous parking areas for easy access to almost ever portion of the river. Also the river has two fly fishing only sections, these two sections (The Upper, and the Lower) have some of the most productive and exciting steelhead, and lake run brown trout action a fly fisher could hope for. But unlike your other steelhead rivers throughout the great lakes, the salmon also has summer run steelhead, and the chance to fulfill every fly fishers dream; the chance to catch the elusive Atlantic Salmon. If big fish is not your thing (then you are crazy) you can always try your luck with the resident browns, and smallmouth’s all summer long.

Tight Linez!!

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from Will Kelley wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

The South Platte River is my river of choice for some great tail water action. The South Platte has several great tail water sections due to the abundant amount of reservoirs and dams. Several sections of the river are only catch and release. The Dream Stream is famous for the spring rainbow and cutthroat runs and the fall brown runs with a nice mix of kokanee salmon accompanying them. Yet sections below Antereo reservoir and Elven Mile reservoir posses excellent fishing too. Fishing on the South Platte can be productive almost year round and the possibility of catching a fish of a lifetime is always there too. Whether is that big brown, bucking bow or a tenacious kokanee the tail water fishing on the South Platte is among the best in the country.

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from Krispyhuntar wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Any tailwater on the penobscot river in maine. You can find a tailwater to fit almost any Maine fish fancy you have. If you want a tailwater to catch 30+ smallmouth 15-18 inches in a hour or two you got it. At the same tailwater you can also get a occasional brookie, pike, atlantic salmon, or striper. If you just want to focus on the coldwater fish the tailwaters on the northern penobscot have some of the best salmon and brook trout fishing in the east. Surrounded by woods, the appalachian mountains, moose, and bear the terrain is sure to bring you back to the old days with no worries but what your next fly might bring in. 6 lb salmon or 4 lb brookie?

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