Thurs. June 19, 2014…..Busy week, been dodging fly lines and lighting bolts….lol, we are in the typical summer Bermuda High pressure that puts the hot, humid air on top of us and plenty of instability for afternoon storms. And we’ve had a lot of them. But hey, its summer, and that’s normal. Not global warming, not some bizarre turn on planet earth. Normal.
Had a busy week, and a lot of stuff to work on around here with regard to upcoming trips….including Wyoming trips 2014 and 2015…..my week really started on this past Saturday. Guided Ken Teague, Winston-Salem, NC, and met Ken early in Bluff City, TN and we hopped in the driftboat and headed upriver. Lower river is full of gizzard shad, I am sure the stripers and big browns are having a feast. We didn’t see any stripers but I am sure they will show in the coming weeks and months as the TVA gets on its summer release pattern. Ken and I fished the lower river, caught a few fish, jumped a nice brown that appeared to be in the 20″ category, it took a double nymph rig and jumped right after the hookset and was free….bummer! We fished on and caught maybe a half dozen fish on dry /dropper rigs. We then trailered the boat and headed up river to see if we could find a hatch. Indeed, bugs were coming off, not a ton, but just enough to get the fish up and rising. We did much better in the afternoon, landing probably 30 fish or so, some on beetle patterns and others on sulfur dries and a dry dropper rig with a weightless nymph. We sight fished to fish for probably 4 to 5 hours and had a lot of fun doing that. Was surprised we didn’t do better early in the day but later made up for it. Ken was a blast, a good fly fisherman, great to spend a day with.
Had a Monday trip at Dunlap Creek, the Escatawba Farms section, and guided Ron Feltz, Waco, TX …….met Ron and his clients Greg, Kirk, and Ben early at the Farm and we were off and in the water fishing….had some success early, big dries, a mish mash of rubberleg patterns, large and small, as they always do in June, did the trick. We caught some huge rainbows, and by lunch time we’d landed maybe 25 to 30 fish altogether up to 24 inches. We had a quick lunch, then back in the water for some sight fishing. We murdered fish on inchworms sight fishing to cruisers…..find a cruising fish, put the inchworm 3 to 4 feet ahead of them, watch them bolt or cruise over and eat it. Its sight fishing at its best….we landed a 25 to 30 more fish mix of browns, rainbows, and brookies doing this, while Ron worked his magic using dry/dropper combos. It was a great day, and we didn’t even fish to the close to 100 cruising bass and bluegill in the lake……..Great day, great guys, here are some pics of our day. Would have had a gazillion great photos, had not yet another smartphone (mine) taken a mid morning swim in the river….ooops…….
ESCATAWBA UPDATE……Great news for summer fishing, due to good flows and temps up there we are able to do any scheduled trip as an Escatawba trip as well…$195 per person, and it can be an early morning trout (brook, brown, and rainbow) foray, then the upper river and the 2 ponds and one lake and catch some cruising trout (brown, brook, and rainbows) and also some largemouth bass and some huge bluegill. Tons if not all sight fishing…..that is fish to fish you can see and watch them eat your fly…….All combined I can see an easy 75 to 100 fish day in aggregate. A great opportunity but the time to do it is now as it won’t last all summer. This is a through mid July thing before the Farm closes for the late summer heat of August in order to protect its fabulous trout population/resource. Just call or email if interested……probably some of the best fishing in the radius of 200 miles of us right now……
Also the past two weeks have been doing a lot of fishing and guiding for bass and panfish trips on days I am not in the mountains. Its been good despite the heat. On Wednesday I guided Sandeep Mazumder, Winston-Salem, NC, and we did a Local bass/panfish boat trip, we met early in Oak Ridge and were off, it was pretty good early, steady actually, and as the sun got high in the sky we hit the shade hard. We fished mainly for panfish, and sight fished to a couple of 8 to 9 lb bass, one of which tried to eat a bluegill of about 8 or 9 inches long……ended up with about 30 to 40 nice hand sized or larger blue gills and a good many smaller ones. While surface fishing has been really good, we took a different route today…an intentional move by me……just to try our hand at some deeper water fishing with the recent heat wave. We fished a lot of deep points and fished structure very methodically. It paid off….We did very well with the deep rig, and the killer hot fly for today was one of my flies from way back fishing at Callaway Gardens in Georgia…..the RLD, or rubberleg dragon, a fly /bluegill killer originally conceived by Carl Warmouth….great pattern, and the olive or black with hot yellow legs destroyed them today. We caught fish right up even in the heat, and saw one of the largest bass I have seen in weeks try to eat the last bluegill we landed. The fish followed all the way to boat side and couldn’t have cared less that we were there. It was totally unafraid of us altogether. But it was a great day, we quit at 2pm and probably good as I have come down with some sort of stomach bug……major yuck. Hope I am in shape for end of the week trips….
As far as a round up on local waters, conditions, and the like, the smallmouth are in full swing and topwater fishing has been good. Also streamers midday a good way lately to put up some numbers. Local lakes have fished well even though its been hot and the lake temps have risen to the mid to upper 80s. I have done well with clients catching some incredible panfish and bass. Local guided bass and panfish trips continue as well. Want to do some great fishing without leaving town? Plenty of it here. Would be glad to introduce you to some of it…
Nice that we are getting rain as local small streams needed it badly, flows are improving and helping as hot as it has been. The most reliable fishing, and its normal for summer, is tailwaters. On the Smith River, sulphurs still on the upper end, BWOs everywhere else, terrestrials everywhere else…..TN Tailwaters have fished well despite the TVA not generating on the South Holston since March. Lower river is warm, up to around 70F so we’ve been fishing more on the upper end. The Sulphur hatch is decent, still spotty, but better than it has been thus far this year. Bugs heaviest after the afternoon pulse……nymphing continues to be good with a sulphur dry and a sulphur nymph or midge dropped off the back being about the hottest thing you can throw right now. The terrestrial bite is also developing nicely, and with all the Jap beetles out now it will only get better. Be prepared with ants though for those fish that snub a beetle. Also , look before you leap. Make sure you look where you are stepping into the water…the best fish you see all day might bolt off in terror from there. Caution. Discipline. That is what it takes.
Also, have been a bit under the weather…bizarre. But isn’t fun to have the summer bug. Missed a trip today with one of my good customers Ho Lee, Mathews, NC. A lot of trips coming up, and I finish the week doing a float trip guiding Dr. Bose Ravenel and Durham Potter on the New R for smallmouth and Saturday the South Holston with Durham and Boze again. Should be some great fishing, hope we can dodge the storms, looks like a soggy forecast.
Will have some more reports from the water on tomorrow’s trip…..thanks and have a great evening!
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19 1/2 inches of South Holston wild brown trout…………a true treasure.