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Wyoming 2014 Trip Update…..

Fri. Aug 22, 2014…Doing this report from the breakfast front room at the Black Powder Ranch in Wyoming, first real chance to do any posting of any size on the site, up bright and early this morning as myself and one of the guys on the trip are having coffee and making preps for our final day of fishing. We have some rain this morning…….wet morning in WY. Rare. But the fish will rise like mad today! Here’s the first report I did from my tent in the High Country, with some added in after that. Read on!

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Our trip has been a good one so far, we have been off the grid as we horsepacked 17 miles to our camp on the remote South Fork Buffalo, which is the headwaters of the Snake River. Two pack trains, 21 horses total, 12 pack horses loaded to the max with all our gear, all our guys (6) and Max, Josh Roth, Rod Piper our horsepack and trail team. We packed in the entire distance Saturday had dinner by the fire, and got up early and headed early after breakfast and spent the entire day fishing remote Lick Creek and the upper South Fork of the Buffalo. We fished a total of 25 miles in from the trailhead. Off the grid, fishing to fish that have rarely or ever seen a fly. Ever fished that far into a Wilderness area where the land and water are virtually untouched? We did, and you can next year……so join me!

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The first day , Sunday, we smoked em on dries and the guys each landed 20 to 25 or more and we probably tallied around 150 fish, mostly wild brook trout and a few cutthroats fishing from Pendergrass meadow just East of camp . All fish on dry flies. On Monday we had breakfast and then rode horses to two remote lakes, Angle Lake and Golden Lake where we caught some monster cutthroats up to 23.5 inches. Many of them we caught sight fishing with dry flies. Later, as the weather warmed the fish moved deeper where we had some success catching them on wooly buggers stripped deep.

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On Tuesday we made the ride to another remote lake called Mackinaw Lake where we caught more Cutts, some on dry flies and some fishing deep with buggers. Not as many as we caught on Golden Lake, but some nice fish, and a couple of cutthroats as large as I have ever seen. One really enjoyable catch was watching Ken Karb nail a monster cruising cutthroat on a black ant. We fished there a half day and then rode back to camp where we finished up with about 75 to 80 brookies on dry flies.

It’s Wednesday morning, and I am doing this report from my tent at about 8100 ft…..on the South Fork of the Buffalo. A 17 mile ride back to the trailhead then off to Jackson we will be and down to Bondurant, WY where we will be spending the rest of the week fishing the Hoback, Jack Creek, Cliff Creek, and the Green River.

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We got back to the trailhead and our vehicle late afternoon and we loaded up everything and were back in Jackson, WY by 5pm. We made a couple stops, gassed up the vehicle, and headed to the Black Powder Ranch in Bondurant. We had a nice steak dinner (unbelievable) at the ranch main bunkhouse and then we were to our cabins for the night. We got up early on Thursday and after a fantastic breakfast we did our lunches and then we were off. We had some rain early in the day, the forest service roads were quite muddy, and the Hoback River, Granite Creek, and a couple of other waters were muddy or off color, so we then were off to Jack Creek that is adjacent to a large tract of land a friend of mine Scott Leeper owns and a large piece of property and house he has for sale. We hiked into the meadow and caught some nice cutts and brookies up to 15″ ….beautiful water….what a meadow stream. We fished til about 5pm and headed back to the ranch and to our cabins to get cleaned up for dinner. We had dinner at a local place, a fave with the locals, called ‘The Bird’. Had an awesome dinner, and then back to our cabins. I am up early this morning, Friday, doing this report and we are just getting ready to have breakfast. After breakfast, we are off to Jack Creek and will be hiking up to a remote meadow that never gets fished as a lot of folks don’t know its there. We will be parking at trailhead and hiking a high sagebrush ridge to get to the creek. Should be a good day, we have rain again, looks like it could be all day. We fish today, up early at 4am to get the the Jackson Hole Airport for our early morning flights home. Might be a good thing, as snow is in the forecast for Saturday…..? Yes indeed. 20140820_121311

Headed out to guide the group today and we’ll be looking forward to a great day.  Will post another report today.

Have a great day, and a super weekend……best wishes from high in the Hoback Canyon, WY….

Tight Lines….

Jeff

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Wyoming 2014 Backcountry Trip

Wed. Aug 20, 2014…Our trip has been a good one so far, we have been off the grid as we horsepacked 17 miles to our camp on the remote South Fork Buffalo, which is the headwaters of the Snake River.

We packed in the entire directory Saturday had dinner by the fire, and got up early and headed early after breakfast and spent the entire day fishing Lick Creek and the upper South Fork.

The first day , Sunday, we smoked em on dries and the guys each landed 20 to 25 or more and we probably tallied around 150 fish, mostly wild brook trout and a few cutthroats fishing from Pendergrass meadow just East of camp . All fish on dry flies.

On Monday we had breakfast and then rode horses to two remote lakes, Angle Lake and Golden Lake where we caught some monster cutthroats up to 23.5 inches. Many of them we caught sight fishing with dry flies. Later, as the weather warmed the fish moved deeper where we had some success catching them on wooly buggers stripped deep.

On Tuesday we made the ride to another remote lake called Mackinaw Lake where we caught more Cutts, some on dry flies and some fishing deep with buggers. Not as many as we caught on Golden Lake, but some nice fish, and a couple of cutthroats as large as I have ever seen. One really enjoyable catch was watching Ken Karb nail a monster cruising cutthroat on a black ant. We fished there a half day and then rode back to camp where we finished up with about 75 to 80 brookies on dry flies.

It’s Wednesday morning, and I am doing this report from my tent at about 8100 ft…..on the South Fork of the Buffalo. A 17 mile ride back to the trailhead then off to Jackson we will be and down to Bondurant, WY where we will be spending the rest of the week fishing the Hoback, Jack Creek, Cliff Creek, and the Green River.

Stay tuned……

Jeff

Jeff Wilkins FlyFishing
3703 Windspray Ct
Summerfield, NC 27358
336-944-3628
www.jeffwilkinsflyfishing.com

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Nice Morning in Teton Country…

Fri. Aug. 15, 2014…..Got in late yesterday here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming had easy travel and a nice dinner in town.

Out early this morning, it was still dark and temp 41F and you can see your breath. Some showers yesterday made for some incredible photo ops this morning. Spent an hour getting some spectacular shots in Grand Teton National Park. Some were absolutely stunning, and got some great video with the GoPro as well.

Having breakfast then heading out to Bondurant to meet with and spend some time looking at a property that is for sale owned by a guide friend Scott Leeper . Will then bend the rod on a few cutthroats before coming back to town this evening and picking up my group from the airport.

Have some great pics to share…..stay tuned and check out our site too….

Cowboy up….

Jeff

Jeff Wilkins FlyFishing
3703 Windspray Ct
Summerfield, NC 27358
336-944-3628
www.jeffwilkinsflyfishing.com

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note II

Fly Tyer’s Weekend Event Returns….

Sat. Aug. 8, 2014 ….A great event coming up this fall, great if you tie flies, great if you want to be inspired to learn….even great if you don’t.  I promised an update when more details became available, so here goes….I will be one of the tyers at the event, so come see me!  Bring a rod, all your fly fishing gear, make a weekend of it!

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Come to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Townsend, Tennessee in early November. The crowds of leaf lookers are almost gone. The streams are cool. The trout are active. Fishing can be awesome.

Tremont Lodge and Resort has partnered with Little River Outfitters to bring you the East Tennessee event of the year. Forty or more fly tyers, guides and excellent fly fishermen will be on hand to tie flies and tell you how, where and when to fish with them. You will gain fly fishing knowledge, meet new friends, hang out with old friends in one of the most beautiful places on earth, Townsend, Tennessee.

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Fly Tyer’s Weekend is free. There is no admission charge. It will be held indoors at the Tremont Event Center. You don’t have to stay at the lodge. You may stay at home. Or, you may stay somewhere else. We just want you to be here and enjoy our event. Of course we would like for you to stay at the lodge and support one of the partners. Hopefully you will also shop at Little River Outfitters while you are in town.

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Fly Tyers who have committed so far:
(This list will be updated daily)

Mike Adams, Walter Babb, Jeff Barrett, Mike Bone, Bill Boyd Jr., Bill Boyd Sr., Phil Brandt, Mike Bryant, Buzz Buffington, Dean Campbell, Dave Carson, Rocky Cox, Jack Cummings, Rob Fightmaster, Clayton Gist, Jack Gregory, Anthony Hipps, Kevin Howell, Tim Ivey, Gary Jones, David Knapp, Tyler Legg, Tradd Little, Roger Lowe, Shawn Madison, Stack Scoville, Josh Pfeiffer, Larry Rogers, Scott Sanchez, Jeffrey Wilkins, Rex Wilson.

Tremont Lodge and Resort, is a beautiful and totally remodeled property in Townsend. The lodge is perched on 16 acres, right in the middle of town. It consists of 140 rooms and suites. Waterfalls, an indoor swimming pool, and beautiful conference facilities are on the property where Fly Tyer’s Weekend will be held. Walk or ride your bicycle to restaurants. The paved bike trail runs through the resort. Tremont is the ideal place to visit the Great Smoky Mountains during the fall. Fly fishing is usually excellent in early November.

Read Full Details about this fantastic event……click here .

Make plans to be there……you will be glad you did!

Tight Threads…

Jeff

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Busy Week ……And Some Much Needed Rain for NC…..

Sat. August 9, 2014….. August has been busy so far, quite so, we’ve been busy with trips, flies, and getting ready for upcoming time in Wyoming and Idaho.  Had some good days the past week or so, the mantra lately has been ‘sorry for the late post’ ….and  ‘just catching up on posting…’….so in that vein, let me say that again.  Its been a busy time, and I am thankful, but this report is tardy as it has been a lot lately.  Here’s what’s been going on….

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Have been on the South Holston a fair bit this summer, and had some really good days lately.  Our latest post went like this….Out early guiding Kelly and  Joseph Harrill, Jack Harrington, Greensboro, NC, TN South Holston, early start and another cool morning in the hills……49F in Boone this morning… We had a great day on the SoHo, netting around 50 fish, a mix of browns and rainbows but mostly browns…..to 16″. It was Joseph’s first day fly fishing, I showed him a few casts, some line management techniques, and within 10 minutes he’d caught 4 fish. So, we moved on to one of my favorite spots…..

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Folks say “you don’t take a beginner to the SoHo…”….nonsense. We did what I have been doing for almost 27yrs now on that river, that is short but accurate and careful casts, sight fishing to fish only that we could see. Bag the nonsense of just scatter casting the water. That type of hotspotting works when the fish are real active and a hatch is coming off…but is the main reason folks don’t catch a lot of fish when its not like that. A sulphur hatch and rising fish , they catch fish. No sulphur hatch, they are having a tough time and barely eek out a fish or two. The answer? Quit spraying the water with a million casts…..find a fish, or group of fish. Watch them, study them….notice I haven’t said a word yet about making a cast. That’s the secret. Don’t flail the water with casts everywhere …..that’s the main reason the fishing is tough. Within a few throws most fish within the length of the cast are gone. Then measure out a length of line, make a presentation…not a cast, a presentation. A cast can go anywhere, a presentation is put right where the fish are, goes only over the fish, and ends the moment it drifts over and by them. STOP. Now, evaluate what just happened. Did they look at the presentation? Did they ignore it? Those are the questions that need be asked. And that is the difference a guide can make. When its tough, challenging, those are the little details that make all the difference. Actually, they make THE difference.

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So, how did the above shake out when we did what I am talking about? Joseph landed one short of 25 fish, and had one on that was a beast……a 20 in plus wild South Holston brown trout….the kind of fish that is streamwise and you don’t ever catch by accident. And he was a total beginner, never been fly fishing, but when he intentionally applied , carefully applied what we went over, magic. He landed half of the fish the party of 3 anglers caught today. We fished the first area and did quite well, no sulphur hatch, but as usual you could find the occasional riser here and there and about one out of 4 of those would eat a sulphur. We smoked them on midge patterns using my summer stalk and sight fish approach. Jack did well on terrestrials, he and I covered several places and shall we say, “enjoyed a rather pleasant terrestrial bite…”…..and no, not on beetles. When the midday pulse came through, I put Kelly in a spot and he nymphed a small run/channel and quickly nailed about a dozen fish, mostly browns from it, on a variety of nymphs, including one of my summer favorites called a ‘Turd’…..(local name). It was then time for lunch but when I asked the guys they said, “no, we’re good” we can just keep fishing. I noticed a dark cloud building up, strange since the weather folks said 10 percent rain chance and the radar was clear. Well, don’t always trust your weather app. Kelly’s phone and my phone both indicated nothing significant on radar. Then the bottom fell out…..the storm basically developed right on top of us, we got close to 2.5 inches of rain in 30 minutes. All drenched. First time ever I have been knee deep in water INSIDE my waders. And one of the only times I haven’t had the rain jacket on me. You never stop learning lessons…….We went back up to the car and had lunch and then went downstream to another spot, and Jack caught the last 3 fish on terrestrials before we called it a day. Good day, I was so proud of Joseph and how he did. Needless to say, he’s a convert…..

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Over last weekend was supposed to do a float with Bernd and Nicole Druebbisch, Greensboro, NC, VA smallmouth float trip, but we had all day rains, some of them heavy bumped up flows where we were going to float and things are high and muddy, we did  a lake /boat trip instead…..It was a chilly, windy, drizzly morning and the temp was 59F….this is August right? I met Bernd and Nicole here and we put the boat in and were on our way. Fortunately we did not have heavy rains, or steady rain, that would have been miserable. It was tough fishing, to be quite honest, we worked for our fish and put maybe 15 or so in the boat, had several others on that came off. Mostly bluegills, and we were fishing deep. The rains of the past day and a half raised the lake level 3 inches or so, which takes a lot of water to do that, and the water was quite dingy, much different than the conditions I have enjoyed all summer long where many times sight fishing were possible. We fished deep, very deep, 12 to 14 feet, which is tough to do on flies, but we did it. Bernd used the fly rod, Nicole used both fly and spinning stuff……Caught some nice gills, had one huge shellcracker on that came off, and finished the day with one very nice fish. Nicole and Bernd were troopers, we still had a great time…..

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Early in the week I did a Bass/panfish Trip with  Adam Harman, met Adam mid afternoon and we were off….we fished some main lake points and deep flats, and caught some huge bluegills, shellcrackers, and finished up with a nice crappie. Lake Levels have come down since the rain, and the water is clearing again. Fishing was good, was testing out some custom sink tip lines I have created, and they worked well, catching fish consistently beyond the 10 to 12 ft range. The RLD flies worked great as usual, its the best panfish fly there is……it was fun, and proved yet again you can fish large panfish all summer long if you are willing to fish deep with a sinking line.

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Did another Local lakes trip mid week with David Carter, Greensboro, NC, we landed about a dozen to 15 shellcrackers, longear sunfish, and bluegills…….wind shifted to the North and with  a front is on the way in it really shut down the fishing. Had been really catching a lot of fish but not this afternoon…..David worked for them. Some significant wet  weather moving in for the weekend, we could be in for another round of heavy rains.

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Ended this week with guiding a Va float, Greg & Alexander Adzima, High Point, NC, Boone, NC, VA  and we did a smallmouth float trip,  the rains will held off…for about two hours in the morning, looks like we are  in for a mighty wet weekend…..Out early 430am, trying to beat the weather moving in. Picked up Greg and then we met Greg’s son Alexander in Lambsburg, VA and headed up toward Pearisburg, Va. We dropped the boat in and were on our way. We knew bad weather was on the way but were ready for it…..and I looked forward to a strong smallie bite as the weather change occurred which will often happen when a front moves in.

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That is exactly what happened, it didn’t take long to get into a few fish, we caught a few right off, then floated through some water to get to one of my favorite stretches. We did pretty well, and as the rains came on, the fishing was steady. We didn’t get heavy rain til 11am or so, but when it came, it came. Steady the rest of the day. We stopped at a mid river ledge /foam hole and had lunch, and caught some nice fish there. We floated past one of my favorite strings of islands, and floated through one of my favorite musky spots. Spotted one large fish, over 40 inches, cruising through some deepwater slackwater weed beds, he saw us, never fleeted, but slowly cruised away. Shortly thereafter saw him again, and another fish, I had Alexander make several throws to the fish, he made some good throws but we could not get him to eat. I suspect we were minutes away from getting one of them to eat…dark day, low sky, rain….perfect conditions for a big predator to eat something. We fished to them for about an hour, then decided to float on through as there was still a lot of great water to fish.

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We did well, and caught some really good fish too…….we spent about an hour in the treacherous “Ledges” rapid upstream from the boat ramp/takeout pick pocketing the holes and caught several really good fish, probably the best two or three fish of the day. This spot doesn’t get a lot of pressure because it is tough to get to and get through. After picking some fish from the rapid, we floated on to the takeout. It was a good day, no one else on the river….not surprised, low 60s and heavy rain keeps a lot of folks home. We boated 45 t0 50 smallies….Good fishing will cease here for a few days, as runoff and a big release from Claytor Dam yesterday afternoon (flow shot up to 5000cfs +) and we finished up just before it arrived.

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Its August, and here in Dixie that means terrestrial time…..Better have the ant, beetle, hopper, and inchworm box up to snuff.  This time of year is when some of my largest fish are caught on those flies.  Stalking big browns on the South Holston is one of my favorite types of fishing of all….and if I were relegated to one type of fishing with one type of fly I’d say a big brown, cruising in only inches of skinny water, in the low light of morning, fog still on the water, mist in the air and tossing a terrestrial would probably be it.  Seeing that white, triangular snout poking up through the surface to pluck the fly makes my heart skip a beat…… How about you?  Anyway, sorry to get you worked up.  We put out a Hatch chart that is free and printable , it covers the month of August, you can get it here .  Actually, we do that every month on our ‘This month’s fly box page.’

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Plans are pretty much complete, most of our flies tied, and all gear shipped out to Wyoming ahead of my arrival mid week next week.  Will spend pretty much the rest of the month out there doing our trips.  Have a full group this year, David Carter, Ken, Ben, and Dan Karb, and Pat Burney.  We will be going in 20mi into the backcountry to the very remote South Fork of the Buffalo where we will fish the South Fork and numerous alpine lakes for some of the most beautiful big and WILD Snake River finespotted cutthroats you have ever seen.  This trip has been very popular, enough so that one trip for next year is already full and we are about half full on a second.  If you are interested and want to get in the loop please let me know.  Its an incredible adventure.  Below is one of my favorite photos from one of our past trips…taken early one morning from the side slough at Swabacher Landing access on the Snake.

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Also, on a different note, there’s  an upcoming event you might find interesting….Byron Begley of Little River Outfitters of Townsend, TN will be doing a Fly Tyer’s Weekend in November, November 8 and 9 at Tremont Lodge in the Great Smokies. Join us for a fantastic weekend where you can see/watch some of the big names/best fly tyers nationally and regionally demo their tying skills. I will be tying at the event, it always is a blast and brings forth a nice crowd. Great time to be in the mountains, you can miss the hustle and bustle of the tourist season, take in this great event , and sample some great fishing too….all in the same weekend. I’ll be tying, then probably fishing as well…..the Clinch below Norris Dam for one, as well as countless WILD streams in and around the Great Smoky Mtns National Park. Will have all the info next week including the tyer lineup and more .

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Thanks for taking the time to read…….hate it was late in getting this report out.  Just too many places, too many waters….too little time.  Good problems to have I guess, except the time part.  Could always use more time.  My wife says ….”You just need to manage it better.”  Sound advice.  Right on the mark.  Have a great weekend…..and good fishing

Tight Loops…

Jeff

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One of my many winged visitors this week…………seeing a lot of these on the water this week on our local lakes……

 

Whew……Early Start

Fri. Aug 8, 2014…..Another early start and headed out early this morning to guide Greg and Alexander Adzima on a New River smallmouth float.

Getting an early start to hopefully beat the incoming bad weather. Busy week as we prepare for some upcoming last trips before heading to Wyoming for the rest of the month.

Lots of fishing options though, and these late summer rains are beneficial and set us up for a great start to our fall season.

More to come…..have a great weekend….

Jeff

Jeff Wilkins FlyFishing
3703 Windspray Ct
Summerfield, NC 27358
336-944-3628
www.jeffwilkinsflyfishing.com

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note II

Two Half Days then the SoHo….

Wednesday, July 30, 2014…….Busy start to the week, have been doing some local in the backyard type of trips and lessons/instruction this week, on Tuesday did an early AM casting lesson, Gregory Boggess, and then a  1/2 day with Greg, we fished some local water and caught some nice bluegills on the fly, practicing making long throws with accuracy.  Great did a great job, we put a bunch of fish in the boat.

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Today, Wednesday, I got another early start, did a  1/2 day local trip, Larry Tomar, Greensboro, NC, great morning, cool weather has turned the fish on big time, Larry had a great half day putting almost 50 in the boat, a mix of shellcrackers, bluegills, yellow perch, redbreast, all on flies….the infamous and deadly RLD did them in once again….two of the shellcrackers were huge, one would have come really close to a lake record……we were on Higgins….. fished til 130pm and called it a day…….right as it started to get hot.

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Will be doing a day trip on the South Holston tomorrow, fishing has been decent there, a smattering of midges, some beetles and ants, and a little sulphur flurry will likely be in the mix.  I will be guiding Jack Harrington and Kelly Harrill, Greensboro, NC, and we’ll enjoy a full day on the SoHo and hopefully some nice cool weather.  Highs are forecast to be below 80F which ought to be fantastic.  I love days where you can fish in all day sun and not break a sweat.  Is today that day?  Maybe.

Will round out the week with a couple of floats, smallmouth, and will be with Bernd and Nicole Druebbisch, Greensboro, NC.  Hope we can escape the storms /wet weather as the end of the week could be soggy.  Hope not.  But it could be.

On a closing note, I have a lightly used Renzetti Traveler Vise for sale, the vise retailed for $169 and has a Pedestal base, standard jaw,  and has a $49 visual enhancement backdrop plate on it.  Retail its over $200 of goods, you can own it for $139.00.

Have a great one…

Jeff

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This guy was over a pound and a half…………and he ate one of my favorite summer flies..the leadeye RLD….

Take What You Can Get……

Fri. July 25, 2014….That is the mantra or has been for the past month.  We have had hot, cool, everything in between, drought in places, heavy rains in others…its been all over the place.  We’ve been all over, from small waters to the TN tailwaters to the Smith in VA to the several smallmouth waters we guide, float, and fish.  Not short on variety or change lately.  Been a bit tardy on posting reports, a lot going on, some of it trying to stay consistently in decent fishing with all the weather woes.  But we need rain, and great to get it when we do.  So like the fishing, we take what we can get.

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Things continue to be all over the map in terms of conditions and fishing, the TN Watauga and SoHo have been decent, minimal releases on the South Holston , a deviation from the normal summer high water float season.  Sulphurs have been hatching, but confined to the upper 2 miles of river for the most part, as the water temp is the key thing.  Some spotty hatches on high water, the few times they have released, but spotty is the key word.  Low water fishing for sulphurs has been good on some days, less so on others.  When not on sulphurs, midges and scuds have worked well, and the terrestrial bite continues to be pretty good on both rivers along their entire lengths.

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Bass and panfish locally has still been good, surprising there’s  lots of clear water even with recent storms.  Recently the bass have hit poppers pretty well, and good action early and late.  Lots of damsels out and about, and that always gets them looking up.  My son Ben has been home from Wilmington this week, he did well at a friends pond on some bass, landing about a dozen and one that was about 4 1/2 pounds, all on a popper.  Redfish and flounder on Monday, largemouths on Tuesday, and smallmouths on Thursday…..he had a rough week.

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Did a recent float with Mike Callahan, a good friend and fly manager at Great Outdoor Provision Co, we did a VA/WV float, Mike and I got an extra early start, we fished near the VA/WV border , the water is clearer there, even though a long haul from our area. But we went where the clear water was. It was slow to start, we caught only a few, maybe 3 or 4 smallmouth at the first stretch we fished, some on poppers, others on hardware…..but things picked up for us considerably the second half of the day. It was hot, 87F to be exact, and we had all day sun. Had hoped the clouds would help us out, but they didn’t stick around. The forecast was for thunderstorms but they did not materialize.

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We hit one stretch where we banged them pretty good, I’d say we landed probably around 35-40 smallies….many more on that came off. We also saw a lot of fish out in the open, plainly visible, one thing that had been non existent for the past week. The area we did pretty well in holds a lot of fish but they are deep, making them very difficult to target and catch. But in that spot we put probably 25 in the boat just there. We fished all the way to takeout, Mike caught our last fish fishing some deep ledges , and it smashed a popper. Then we floated to take out just down river. Saw one of the heaviest hatches of sulphurs ……..some of the smaller smallmouths and redbreast and redeyes were rising to them. Rivaled what you’d see on the Holston, just no trout there rising to them…..

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Also finished up our GTCC Beginning Fly Fishing Class, final session, good class, a truly great bunch of folks…. Spent some time fishing with students and everyone caught fish, Steve Beasley took honors for big fish with a catfish…..catfish on a fly…gotta love it.  We had recent bad weather put a damper on our class field trip twice, so we’ll be redoing it in October with promise of cooler weather and fishing some stockers so everyone can get into some fish.

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Took yesterday to do a smallouth/musky float with my son Ben, his birthday trip, along with his new 10 weight rod from his mom and I ….we christened it, and had hoped to do it with some musky slime, but we didn’t see or turn a fish where we’d caught some previously.  Not the best conditions for it, and before leaving for the trip I wondered  if the cold front coming through and the heavy thunderstorms firing with put a damper on the fishing….which stood the real possibility of giving us  some muddy conditions not just from rain we might get but from rains of Tuesday and Wednesday.  Things played out pretty much like I thought, but we did get a few hours of fishing in before the rain/storms hit.

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Things were really slow to start, I was starting to think maybe we should have made different plans.   We hit it hard, worked our wazoos (is that a word?) off, and  my son Ben put about 2 dozen smallies in the boat, the water was very off color when we got there, the morning release from Claytor reached us, and that cleared things a little, but then the rain/storms hit and the runoff from yesterday’s rains came upon us, plus that mixing with another release from Claytor dam and by then it was a wash.

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Fishing was slow at first, but decent from 10 til about midday, Ben certainly worked hard for every fish.  Holding him in spots to cast was difficult, some areas are too fast to anchor or not safe to do so, so we hit holes in the rapids just with me holding him by rowing.  So we worked for every fish.  The water was stained at best, we had about a two hour window when the release pushed some of the dirty water out but it quickly got that way again as the next water release came and some runoff made its way in from way upstream, mainly from two trout stream tribs, Big Walker Creek, and Stony Creek.

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We sat bankside under some low trees, actually right on one of our favorite musky holes, one that produced a 45″ fish last fall for my son Ben…it rained …..and rained…….and rained….. We got a 10 minute respite, then another line of heavy showers moved through and I rowed a stiff wind a driving downpour for a solid hour to make it to the table rock rapid (what locals call it) and we floated on to take out.

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It turned off windy and cool as the cold front pushed past. Temperature dropped about 22 to 25 degrees. I imagine there will be a sizeable release from Claytor on Friday and the fishing will be off for a day or so. It was still a fun day, we got drenched….but hey we needed the rain.  We need it so badly in SW Va, really a lot of places in VA, that I am glad to see it.  Even if the tradeoff is fishing that is off because of it.  One thing about summer is things rebound quickly, and you are back to fishing soon.

20140724_182215Had a float scheduled with Ken Teague, Winston-Salem, NC, and based on yesterday’s weather and likely releases today we postponed , will likely make it up soon.  The water when we took out near the WV line yesterday was up about 1700cfs, running fast, and very colored and getting muddy.  There’s about a 18 -22 hr window when runoff mixes in and you get a dam release from Claytor dam in Pulaski County, 22 hrs upstream from where we were.  So calculating water conditions is a bit like an algebra equation.  This plus that times something else equals…….. if it looked like it did when we floated to our take out, Friday’s conditions likely would be ramped up a bit over that.  A No go.  Been there, done that.

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Take a large river like the lower New, add a dam release, then some runoff, you have some Class I /II water (normal) here that can become II/III in an instant.  Several of our summer floats for smallmouth are like this.  One plus though, is after thunderstorms and dam releases the ‘slug’ of cooler water, usually cooling off several degrees, turns the fish on somewhat.  This is why  if there are releases, even significant ones, we often still go.  But a large release, and runoff mixed in with it, not good.

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Have a busy schedule coming up, a few days remain open early August on our calendar before I head to Wyoming to guide groups for the remainder of the month.  The terrestrial bite is good, if walk and stalk and fishing dries is your game some good opportunity is there.  Also, smallmouth action remains good and should still be then.  The lower New gets really good late season as the grass starts growing and the fish begin to look up.  We’ve seen the start of that and it only gets better from here on out.  And for those wanting a short or close trip, we do summer trips to the Smith (great terrestrial fishing), small streams, and local bass /panfish.

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Have a great one…..and good fishing…

Jeff

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Things dry out a little after getting them drenched in yesterday’s heavy storms on the lower New River…..fun!

 

 

Great Day of Rainbows and Smallies….

Fri. June 27, 2014. …What started out as a great morning stayed that way, I guided Curtis Reeves and after a great morning the rest of the day proved to be good to until mid afternoon when the 94F temps put a damper on the fishing. We also had thunderstorms all around us.

But not before landing 15 to 20 rainbows from 17 to 23.5", along with 10 smallmouth bass from 1 to 3 pounds. The rainbows we caught sight fishing with dries, including the largest one….a near two foot long rainbow that ate a size 6, yes you read that correctly, a size 6 dry fly. We also caught the smallies on top, they either took one of my black ant dries or a popper.

Great day, great to spend it with Curtis. We knocked off at about 530pm and headed home.

I have a half day trip and lesson with Clayton Patteson tomorrow and I will be teaching casting, line management, and we will also spend some time putting those skills to work trying to catch some bass and bluegill. Should be another great day.

I have been dodging storms all week but fortunately it’s been a great week with no downtime despite it. I am thankful for that

Enjoy your weekend …!

Jeff

Jeff Wilkins FlyFishing
3703 Windspray Ct
Summerfield, NC 27358
336-944-3628
www.jeffwilkinsflyfishing.com

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note II

Great Morning…..

Fri. June 27, 2014……Great morning guiding Curtis Reeves of Archdale, NC and we got an early start and have done well, landing several nice small mouth up to 2 lbs and a dozen rainbows up to 23.5".

We have sight fished to everyone and seeing a giant fish eat a dry fly is something special. We have caught all fish on top…..so summer has some redeeming qualities for sure.

Headed to the next spot……..this is going to be good….

Jeff

Jeff Wilkins FlyFishing
3703 Windspray Ct
Summerfield, NC 27358
336-944-3628
www.jeffwilkinsflyfishing.com

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note II

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