Where Fly Fishing is a Professional Passion…..


Chilly , Fall is Here…..

Tues. Sept. 22, 2015 –  Yesterday was so fall like, added an extra layer in the morning…..enjoying the heck out of some new SIMMS stuff….the Fall run jacket is incredible.  Felt really good this morning too, it was in the upper 50s when we put in and breezy.  A cool day, and with the ridges around the river showing color, I’d say for the most part that fall has arrived.

On Tuesday I did a float trip with Gloria & Ken Okorn, Mechanicsburg, PA, a New R Va Smallmouth float, Ken is also a guide in PA and has become one of my best clients and friends.  His knowledge is vast….I learn much from him when I get to spend some time with him.  We put in early and floated a 7 mile (approx) stretch of river and while it was slow to get going we caught a few early, one here, one there, just enough to keep it interesting.

Gloria nailed a good fish just above the first major set of rapids, in the tailout where smallmouths so often love to hold.  We fished through, saw a huge musky and took a few shots at him but he didn’t stick around after showing a slight bit of interest.   Gone.  I have seen that fish (reasonably sure its the same fish) for months now when occasionally float this longer stretch of water.  A rematch vs him will occur I assure you.


We fished our way downriver, caught a nice fish or too on a popper, then moved past some more rapids where I thought we’d do well.  It was chilly, windy (temps in high 50s to start, struggling to make 60 by afternoon, a real change) and it wasn’t till half way through the float where things started to pick up.  We did well in one spot, a deep ledge/channel and nailed many fish there.  We went from 10 fish or so to about three dozen in short order.


Our last stretch was good, we caught maybe fifteen more and several the best fish of the day, and lost a couple of really nice fish that came off just before reaching the boat.  We didn’t catch any pigs today, but several up to 14″ or so and maybe between 40 and 50 total I guess so a good day.  Always a pleasure to spend the day with Gloria and Ken.


Have a busy weeks end with several guided trips, and then next week we will be making ready for a busy fall schedule as our local NC waters/delayed harvest waters will be stocked for the first time.  Many have voiced the concern that low water might present a problem for stocking but if that is the case we’ll be right in the know on it and will be fishing regardless.  Its cooled off a lot, and we have had some rain and are expecting more in the coming days so all looks good.


Here’s one of our past clips re- living September ……such a great time to target these brown bass…….they are incredible and I love them as much as my brown trout….


Have a great one…..good fishing…!


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New River smallmouth appetizer……..a large black swampfly (dragon fly or Anisoptera)….that visited us and hung out for a spell on my left driftboat oar…..  Jeff Wilkins photo Sept 2015

Cooler Weather…….Fishing is Great….

Mon. Sept. 21, 2015 – We had a string of some of the most gorgeous days that we’ve had all year.  Fortunately, I was able to be out on the water with clients getting into some great fishing.  Small fly season is upon us, and I would especially second that if you are fishing tailwaters…..better have lots of midges, blue winged olives ……that fishing is here.  I was out this past Saturday with a good client whom I get out with a lot, Dr Ken Karb.  Ken and his two sons, Dan and Ben, and two of their friends Kevin and John met us on the river and we enjoyed a great day on the South Holston.

We got a really early start with the expectation of it being a Saturday and nice weather and great fishing maybe there would be a few people to contend with. My plan was to be there first where I knew we would have a shot at good fishing and we were there first. And we were able to fish a long stretch of water and have it pretty much all to ourselves. We got in and there were rising fish pretty much from the time we started.   Our release schedule would be a one hour pulse midday with generation coming midafternoon. Our plan was to fish til rising water and call it a day. We caught fish early on terrestrials and new midge patterns of various kinds (top secret), and we also caught a good many fish on dries.


Sept is transition time on the SoHo, and with flows, temps, recent warm weather we are still in that. What does that mean? Sulphurs, good some days , spotty others, a few blue wings here and there, midges galore, and still the occasional fish eating a terrestrial here and there. Lots of fish, lots of sight fishing opportunities….we did really well. Ken and his son Ben were tops with over 20-25 fish landed each, everybody caught double digits, so I’d say we had a really good day. I’d say 75 plus but just a rough guess. In any terms, very good. We caught a lot of fish on new patterns (always working on those….I always keep a few in the background, stuff I don’t sell and ones that have to work when it gets tough).


We caught fish on pretty much everything. Until we get some chilly weather this will be the Soho song for a while. But cooler temps definitely have fish moving. Big fish……saw several double digit fish cruising (double digit meaning 10lbs or more)those are in a prespawn movement pattern, they will spawn come late Nov to Dec depending on weather ……super spooky , you aren’t going to nail one of those on a bright sunny bluebird day on low water like we had……need a nasty, yucky day to do that. In any case though, we had an outstanding day.


Busy week coming up with several trips, both wade and float, and cooler temps and some rain should only make good better.  The cooler weather has definitely brought out some flies, notably blue winged olives….a normal fall thing,  Caddis will follow on some waters, lots of them, and also craneflies.  The terrestrial bite will get one last hurrah before its over too, lasting well into and past our first frosts.  So these are good flies to have.  Sulphurs, while still hanging on a little day to day on some of the TN tailwaters, like the SoHo and the Clinch, will be going away soon as well…..at least in the sense of there being any ‘hatch’ in comparison to the magnitude of what occurs in summer months.


Tommorrow we’ll be doing a float trip with Ken and Gloria Okorn , Mechanicsburg, PA, and we will be floating the New River in Virginia and doing some smallmouth and musky fishing.  Should be a great day……rain, gray, and wet.  Perfect if you ask me.

Have a great one!


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Fallie Smallie…….

Thurs. Sept. 17, 2015 – Feels great outside, what glorious weather we’ve been having.  A busy week, did another trip yesterday with Larry Tomar, Frank Kincaid, Greensboro, NC, New R smallmouth float trip, we did a 7 mile all day float morning til dark……did ok and caught fish on both flies and light tackle. The Shenk’s Minnow patterns I’ve been using have worked well and continue to do so, we caught a few on crayfish patterns too.


First half of the float we had numerous sight fishing opportunities, and caught some pretty good ones and saw some too, along with several huge musky….we didn’t fish for muskies but will be soon as the cooler fall temps have them definitely on the move. We saw probably 4 or 5 of them in the upper half of our float. We fished topwater too and caught a few fish that way as well, particularly late in the day.


Flows are really low and the water is ultra clear, about as clear as you will ever see on the New R…….with no significant rain in the forecast that is likely to continue. We hope to be able to eek out the remaining smallmouth floats we have on the calendar and then hope for some rain. We need RAIN!!!!!!! Great day, great weather day, guess we caught between 40 and 50 I’d say…..Frank and Larry were a blast to spend the day with.  Looks like fall……feels like fall……and it will be here soon!

Here is a graphic on the upcoming leaf season/fall foilage report.  This was put together by the Dept of Biology at Appalachian State.  You can check out the details here and get the full scoop.


Have a busy week’s end coming will be doing a guided trip with Dan, Ben, and Ken Karb tommorrow on TN’s South Holston river.  Looks to be a great weather day.  Sulphurs still here and there, fall Olives are building, and there’s still some great midge fishing and fishing to bank sippers with terrestrials.  We plan to be right in the middle of that tommorrow.  And looks like some rain coming too for Sunday through Tuesday….we need it.  Any amount, we’ll take it.  And hope for more!

Good Fishing to You…


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Feels Like Fall………

Wed. Sept. 16, 2015 …..With the cooler temps and nights I’d definitely say we’ve taken a huge step toward fall.  Its Wyoming and Montana weather at its finest….nippy in the morning requiring a jacket but by late morning you are peeling off the stuff….and by afternoon you are fishing in a shirt or short sleeves and enjoying temps in the upper 70s and almost no humidity.  The humidity has been virtually non-existent…..its been great.

I’ve had a busy week so far, taking care of a lot of stuff in prep for our busy fall and winter seasons, but I did a guided trip with a regular client of mine, Ted Linczak, of Summerville, SC.  We did a New R Smallmouth float trip, we put in and it was chilly…..brrrrrr…..fall is in the air.  Lows in the low to mid 40s will wake you up for sure.  We were in the water around 930am or so and while it was not as easy fishing as past trips we started down a favorite bank and were into fish, in fact, the fishing to start would prove to be the easiest fishing of our day.  We caught fish pretty regularly, including a few good ones, all of them on a Shenk’s White streamer, a favorite late summer /fall streamer that works on bass and trout alike.  Its tantalizing wobble drives them nuts, I guess.  We caught maybe a dozen or so in the first spot, saw two smallmouth that were well over 20″ but they would not eat.  We also saw some musky……that gets the heart beating pretty good for sure.


We fished some areas of grass too and while we saw fish we didn’t catch any in the grass like we had on previous trips.  The fish were very spooky for sure.  Saw a few more large ones but they were quite spooky and would not eat.  We blew through some of the rapids and went on to slower /deeper water where we were on more fish.  We would catch one here, one there, get a couple of hits, and so on.  We caught fish but we really worked hard for them.  We hit a couple of stretches where we got a few topwater bites, and ended up catching several fish on top, including probably the best one of the day, toward the end of the float.  I guess we boated maybe three dozen total, including a couple redeyes and redbreast.   Great day , always is with Ted, we had a good time, enjoyed the weather too.  What  a nice day……and the leaves are really beginning to turn as well……it will be Fall before we know it.

Had a busy Wednesday finishing up some of our extensive web site maintenance as well as some of the rebuild of our shopping cart.  Very tedious, but its coming along great.  I’ll be doing a Thursday float trip with Larry Tomar and Dr Frank Kincaid.  Looks like we’ll have a near perfect weather day and hopefully some great fishing to go along with it.  I’ll round out the week with a TN trip to the South Holston with Dan and Ben Karb, and their dad Ken.

Have a great evening!


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Busy Summer….Fall Almost Here?

Fri. Sept 11, 2015 – This report has been a long time coming………months in fact.  Just coming off the busiest summer I have yet known, and its been great.  Shared or made more memories with long time clients, plus met a few new ones along the way.  We have had an awesome summer……from  great terrestrial fishing (epic at times), to a ton of float trips with epic hatches and dry fly fishing, and some of the best smallmouth action we’ve ever enjoyed.   I have done a lot of wading with clients, but my rear end has some weeks assumed the shape of a rower’s seat as I have spent hundreds of hours this summer behind the oars……its been great.   We topped it off with another great Wyoming trip, and have been putting the finishing touches on late summer with some continued terrestrial action, numerous South Holston and Watauga floats, and tons of smallmouth floats.

I apologize for not being on the spot with timely reports but only so much that I can do…..have put in a lot of 15 hr plus days this summer.  Just not enough time……up really early, load the vehicle and the boat, guide/fish all day, prepare for the next day….repeat.  Many weeks of back to back to back to back to back…..5 to 6 days straight, all summer long.

And Fall looks to be just as busy…..if you are looking to do a trip before 2016 now is the time to book, my bookings are up 20% and our Sept , Oct, and Nov will soon be taken.  In case you haven’t looked at our site, here is a recap since Wyoming on our trips….

Wyoming 2015 

8-11-2015 FISHING REPORT – Wow….. we had some great dry fly fishing so far, fishing several of my fave high meadow waters and larger waters fishing well too. Had some great dry fy fishing, including one nice cutt last night about an hour before dark that ate one of our size 12 Rubberleg Stimis….one of my favorite cutthroat patterns and one I am never here without. Here are a couple of pics…..after today we’ll be off the grid many , many miles by horseback into the high mountain wilderness in Bridger Teton National forest. I am awaiting arrival of our group and will be picking them up this afternoon at Jackson Airport.


8-13-2015 through 8-20-2015 FISHING REPORT – We made the 6.5 mile trek into the high country where we made camp on the headwaters of the Buffalo overlooking a high meadow with the Soda Fork in the foreground and Old Smoketop in the background. The weather was lows in the 20s at night highs in the 70s in the day. We enjoyed great fellowship, fishing , some great fireside stuff as well. We fished three different waters , well four so far, including several small to medium streams and one high elevation lake called Divide Lake. We have had good streamer fishing and dry fly fishing, but the best fish have been on all dries. 90 % of the fish caught were on dries. We caught some truly amazing cutthroats and brookies, some of the cutts were the largest to date on any of my Wyoming trips. We trekked out of the high country on horseback, back to the trailhead, and then through Jackson and down to the Blackpowder Ranch for the rest of our trip. We finished the day catching some cutts on the Hoback. We will be fishing the Wind River on Thursday and several smaller creeks on Friday……




8-21-2015 FISHING REPORT – we are completing our final day of the trip today and fishing three headwater streams of the Hoback, some of it on private land/water where we are staying. Yesterday (8/20) we fished two long sections of the Wind R near DuBois and did pretty well, scoring some nice rainbows and browns with a few whitefish thrown in. We caught fish on streamers, nymphing, and dry fly fishing so it was a mixed bag. We finished up and headed over Togwotee Pass and back to Jackson where we topped off a great day with dinner at the Bird, a well known local hangout that serves the finest burgers in the area……


Great trip , great bunch of guys, we caught some great fish, shared some great fellowship and laughs, ate some incredible meals together…..a real blast…..they were great. On this year’s trip Dr Pat Burney, Dr Hy Muss, Ted Birke, Dr Ken Karb, Shaun Redgate, Dr Houston Kimbrough. Thanks guys! Already taking reservations for 2016’s trips……..You need to join me for 2016!

Arrived home pretty late, had two extensive layovers in Minneapolis/St Paul and Detroit, there was a severe weather system/front/tornado warning and we stayed just ahead of it. Very bumpy flying w/lots of turbulence……great to be back home on NC soil. A couple days rest and a busy end of summer and fall lies ahead. Great trip though, always somehow with the fishing/fellowship/fun seems to top the last one. But that is what happens when great folks are along, and I can truly say my customers are the best.

Since Wyoming….

8-25-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Bob Stanford, Greensboro, NC, David Slaydon, Reidsville, NC, New R (Giles Co, VA) smallmouth float trip, met David in Wytheville and we were off, we floated a 6.5 mile section of river and did very well. We fished both flies and light tackle, water conditions were excellent, tons of grass in the river and the fish are on the feed for sure, for first trip since back from Wyoming it was excellent , I expect we landed close to 75 smallmouth altogether, including several chunks in the 12 to 14 inch range. Lots of quality fish…..a long day but a great one….Sept is going to be great, and I expect good fishing til the end of the month.


8-26-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, TN South Holston wade/float, we did a morning to midday wade trip then followed that with a float. Morning fishing was good, we nailed several good fish on terrestrials before switching to dry/dropper rigs and nailing a bunch more. Standard morning SoHo fare…midges and blackflies. We also just before the first water rise briefly switched to a sulphur and Ted nailed several more. We then headed way downriver to another spot and fished a dry /dropper rig and caught a couple more browns, then switched back to terrestrials and landed a couple more. All in all probably 25 fish or so til 2pm when we drove upriver to float. A good morning by any standard. Make a good cast, right fly, the fish would eat. We only had one large fish that gave us the snub…..but he did look several times before slowing sliding off into deeper water. We put the boat in and had the entire 5miles to ourselves. No other boats…sulphurs, rising fish, fish were pretty picky but that’s normal. They’re wild fish, that is what wild fish do. We still caught a good many, while bugs were coming off thick the fish were challenging but as soon as the flies thinned out some our success went up. Normal. We had several takes/misses. Normal. We had some refusals. Normal. We had some takes. Normal. We caught fish. Normal. We fished on downriver and looked for risers, when we found some, we got them to eat. Bugs were almost gone by 630 or 7pm but if you could find a riser, and we did, about 3/4 of the ones we saw would come up for the fly. We caught a couple nice browns, then floated on in hopes of finding one more spot. And that we did, there was a heavy high water spinner fall toward the end of the float, and we found a pod of rising browns. Ted nailed three out of that pod , ending the day on a good note with around 10 fish or so on our float . We finished up/pulled the boat out under cool temps and a dramatic sunset. Great day, Ted was great as always. Finished the day feeling sick, some sort of cold thing…..felt pretty rough.


8-27-2015 FISHING REPORT – unavailable, Jeff is sick/under the weather……bummer!

8-28-2015 FISHING REPORT – did not guided a trip, was feeling pretty bad still and opted for doing a major shopping cart site overhaul, some regular web maintenance you have to do, lots of fun since I do all my own webwork….actually that was a joke, its quite tedious. But in an attempt to keep stuff fresh, updated, functioning properly, its a must. I do several planned/scheduled site overhauls a year for that purpose. Worked out well since I’ve been under the weather the past few days…..great time to be stuck inside for doing it. We are constructing the framework, and our new shopping cart site will carry the Gold seal Certified status with McAfee security, the highest security an ecommerce site can have. Our new shopping cart site should be live in a few days , here’s a sneak preview….click here.

8-29-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Greg Byrd, Jackson Byrd, Raleigh, NC, New R smallmouth float trip, we got an early start after meeting up in Wytheville, VA. We were on the water early and fished poppers to start and caught a few fish. Then we changed to streamers and also fished light tackle as well, we did pretty well from then on even if the popper bite wasn’t great. A little wind played into that I am sure. We floated a 6 mile stretch and landed probably 30 to 35 fish or so, we hit a stretch near the end where Greg did quite well on JJ specials, one of my favorite smallie patterns. We floated to take out and it was dusk. Great day, and great to spend it with Greg and Jackson…


8-30/31-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, New R smallmouth float on 8/30 , and South Holston float on 8/31, my son Ben and Capt Judson Brock, Muddy Fly Guide Service…Wilmington, NC, you can check out Judson’s site here . Judson and Ben are roommates, fellow fishing fanatics for sure. We had great smallmouth action, caught a ton of fish stripping streamers early and all throughout the day, along with slinging some light tackle, and then had a three hour epic popper bite the last three hours of the day. Also had a good shot at a pair of muskies, one a 40 inch plus beast that blew out of a deadfall and would not eat. Bummer, that fish has played with us all year but his day is coming. Caught some nice fish, I’d say we put 75 smallies in the boat on today’s 5 mile float trip. I also witnessed some of the best fly casting I’ve seen all year as I watched Ben and Judson both boom some 7o to 80 foot throws with ease. I was stunned. A privilege to host two casting gurus…..we had some great fishing toward the end of the float some surface takes 60 feet or more from the boat. It was flat calm, not a puff of wind, and the fish were right where they were supposed to be doing what I hoped they’d be doing…..eating our bugs. We smoked them on my friend Anthony Hipps’ fire tiger soft body popper. We had a great day ……



9-3-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Curtis Reeves, Archdale, NC, TN South Holston, we fished several ‘PhD’ sections of water….’PhD’? that means sections of the river, and honesty, that is what I’d call most of the river that isn’t a riffle…..which is most of the river….the places folks fish but don’t catch fish because the water is super clear, flat, slow and it demands the most technical of presentations to catch a fish. We fished hard, fished terrestrials to risers, dry/dropper rigs to some other risers/cruisers, and sight fished to some bigs as well. We landed I think somewhere around a dozen fish, maybe a few more. Had a bunch hooked that came unbuttoned, but I’d say we had a good day. The fish we caught and where we caught would be the equivalent of 30 or 40 fishing in fast water. Great day, and great to spend it with Curtis…


9-4-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Anthony Hipps, Lexington, NC, New R smallmouth float, we opted for a later start and it paid off, we nailed some fish right off on top using poppers, some were cruisers and bank cruisers and others were in the grass…..smashing bait. We would see a fish erupt and then cast to them…. caught several this way. It was great, then we moved downstream to a stretch of fast rapids and Anthony smoked em pretty good on his two streamers of the day, the Hellcraw and his version of a Shenk’s white streamer. It worked great, we caught a pile. Then we moved to the next grass flat……nailed several more good bass on a popper, did well on that, landing several really nice smallies. Then to the next stretch of rapids where Anthony caught several really good fish, one in particular that was in a stretch of boiling white water that is hard to get to….I pointed to the spot, Anthony made a cast and nailed the fish. Then landed it, and cast to the other side of the boat and nailed another big smallie. It was great, we fished on through some more rapids and I watched him put on a streamer clinic with the Shenk’s streamer…..nailing fish after fish. We got back into some flat water and then put a popper back on and it was game on. Nailed a nice fish right off, off a deep bank, then moved on and spanked them on every rock bar we set up on. It was great. Great day with one of my best friends in the fly fishing community, and one I consider a ‘brother’….great day with over 50 smallmouth in the boat….


9-5-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Adam Norris, Winston-Salem, NC, New R smallmouth float, ,met Adam, his dad, and his 9yr old son Jonah in Va and we headed out. Got a midmorning start and nailed a few early on poppers, but then it got really windy. We fished some rapids and caught a few on streamers. The wind was supposed to be light and variable, and it was variable but light it was not. It gusted to 20 to 25 mph effectively ending our popper bite but then it laid down within the next hour. Meanwhile we caught some fish on a white streamer, then moved on to another large grass flat that I knew held some fish. We did very well, catching several nice ‘toads’ on poppers, including the best fish of the day, a chunky , stocky fish of about 2.5lbs or so. We caught several more, missed a few, one that appeared to be a really nice fish, but then moved on and pulled up on a mid river island to have lunch. After a nice shore lunch, we walked down to a mid river bar and set of riffs and caught several fish on a popper, then several on streamers….the white streamer and a JJ Special. After several fish we then hopped back into the boat and hit a long stretch of rapids/white water and fished a little caught a few here and there. We then hit one of my favorite flats and went to the tail end of it where it spills into a large mid river rapid and we saw fish rising/jumping….we threw poppers on those guys and nailed probably 6 to 8 nice smallmouth. It was great, all of them ate a popper. We then headed downriver and fished 3 mid river ledges that are all surrounded by deep water and smoked them….catching fish at everyone. We finished the day with a few more, including one at one of my favorite end of the trip spots, two casts and we nailed a nice smallmouth on a popper, one that was close to fish of the day size. It was great. With light fading, we decided to head on to takeout since we had enough light to see to get through the one last rapid before the boat ramp. Great day, Adam and the guys were great to spend it with…..an absolute blast. I’d say we put over 40 in the boat today…..




9-9-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Peter Valenti, NY, Bob Schwirzke, Fayetteville, NC, TN South Holston wade/float trip, warm summer like weather I met Bob and Peter where they were staying on the river and we were off, we waded a long shallow stretch renowned for having lots of sippers……browns and rainbows sipping midges in skinny water. We caught a bunch of fish on dry/dropper rigs as well as terrestrials….probably 25 or so..we had a couple of stretches that were dynamite….which was great when so many struggle on this great river on low water in Sept. Sept is transition month on the SoHo. Transition from summer to Fall. Weather is changing, the morning was hot and humid, just like mid to late summer. The water came up on us at 1pm, and our plan was to float the afternoon which we did. We dropped the boat in and it had become cloudy with a frontal system and storms headed in. Fewer rising fish, fewer bugs, but with a little time we saw more of both. It got nasty, thunder, lightning, rain, heavy rain, rained for 4 hours…..but we caught fish. We did really well nymphing, a contrast to weeks past, and we caught a bunch of fish on deep tandem rigs I like for floating. When we found a few pods of rising fish, even in the nasty weather, we caught some risers. There were sulphurs coming off, and that is what we got those fish on. We fished on and the rain continued, with us reaching takeout by dusk. Great day, Bob and Peter were great as always. It was so foggy you couldn’t see 10ft past the bow of the boat……



9-10-2015 FISHING REPORT – will be floating a section of the lower New with fellow guide Tom Smith, we met up early in Wytheville, Va and were quickly off to our short float. Heavy rains all night, and even right up to the time we met but surprisingly the river was in great shape. Same level as it has been for a month, clear…..and we put the boat in and were off. Tom and I traded off time fishing and on the sticks (oars), and we had a very enjoyable day, putting about 30 smallies in the boat. Not as much topwater action as past months , we still caught a few, and lost one giant on a popper that mashed a Hipps popper and was on for a couple of seconds and then came off. We got wind and rain midday and it rained, at times moderate rain, and the topwater bite was way off but it gave opportunity to do some long leader hopping presentations with an indicator and some crayfish patterns, a deadly technique when you are faced with changing weather and the fish won’t come up. I had a rod rigged up and Tom and I smoked them on this rig/technique, catching a good many nice fish and one that was over 20 inches, a fish of probably 4 to 4.5 lbs…..proof enough along with several other larger fish that the technique is deadly. We hit one spot where we caught a few more on poppers but we did far better with the bottom bouncing techniques. We fished on to our takeout and just missed getting soaked as a gray, threatening sky was moving upon us. Got the driftboat out just in time to miss it. Great day, though getting wet has been a daily thing here lately….


Hopefully we’ll get back up to speed with more regular reports like we used to, that is the goal anyway.  Looks to be a very busy fall coming up, I’ve been very , very busy booking trips.  Will likely be one of the busiest fall seasons ever.  We are starting to get rain again regularly, which should help our trout waters.  Long range weather forecasts look normal, with a sharp cool down coming early next week, in which the lows will be in the 40s with some mountain areas hitting the 30s.  That will get the leaves turning for sure, then it looks like seasonable temps after that.  The cooler temps will bring on the caddis and blue winged olives everywhere, and will close out the smallmouth fishing too in the coming weeks…….at least the best fishing with flies, and certainly topwater fishing…..but it will also bring muskies into the spotlight.

Great fishing to you….!


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Brown Trout Love. …

Thurs. May 21, 2015….Been off the charts busy and have gotten a little behind with fishing reports. Getting plenty of brown trout live though….its been a great week so far. I’m talking epic.

Just coming off a two day guided trip guiding Don & John Ryan, Fort Worth, TX, TN South Holston, we had a great two day trip, we did float/wade trips and did well with both, first day we sight fished nymphs from the boat in some deeper stretches not accessible by wade fishing and did very well, landing about 35 fish before lunch, then we switched to dries as there were both blue wings and sulphurs popping off and we landed another two dozen fish or so, a great day, and ended the day with several 20 inch fish…..what a day. Finishing the day with 3 fish over 20 inches, and that they were wild SoHo browns…..that’s the stuff dreams are made of .

Right now there’s great midge fishing early, blue wing spinners mid morning to noon, then a sulphur flurry or two, and at dusk a spinner fall. A couple of the clouds of spinners were like smoke clouds. As heavy as I’ve seen in 30 yrs of fishing the SoHo. On fire. Literally. if you know where to go and where to look.

Day two we had rain/wind/ blustery conditions and a 25degree drop in temps…. we got a later start and again did well early, sight fishing channels on the section we floated, we landed probably 25 fish or so, including some up to 18″. We went to a stretch of water where I’d been getting into sulphurs and waited on the post pulse hatch…..the hatch came about 245pm and we nailed probably another 30 to 35 fish or so,mainly on dries but we did hit a stretch with some fussy fish where we switched to a dry/dropper rig with one of my new Tung sulphur nymphs and went back to nailing fish regularly. By the end of the two hour sulphur flurry we’d caught another 30 – 35 fish as I mentioned above.

We fished one last spot late and finished up with John landing two browns 20″plus and losing a third that was in the 24 to 26″ range that broke off in a splashy alligator roll on the surface….it was a large hook jawed male….just the kind I love.

Two great days, caught some real studs for sure……fishing reports have been pretty short and sweet due to so little time to do them…its that time of year. Going to be a great summer season here for sure, we still have a few June/July/August dates right now but that won’t be the case for long…..let’s go fly fishing!

Have a 4 day trip coming up starting today Friday,May 22, 2015, and have a group of Davidson College alums and it should be a great trip. We will be on the SoHo /Watauga.

Have a great one, and thank you to all Vets out there. We owe you a debt we can never repay. May God bless each and every one of them.

Happy Memorial Day…….Tight Lines….


Jeff Wilkins Fly Fishing

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Some Great Time Off….

Wed. May 20, 2015….South Holston vacation trip w/my wife Kat…….guided her, and Jeff even got to sore mouth a few browns as well…….great three days with my honey, I love my customers but great to fish with a hot babe. My how a nice looking lady in the bow of the boat make me and the boat look better…..that she nailed fish like crazy was icing on the cake.

Kathy and I spent two days on the SoHo, mainly boat fishing , a little wading, lot of catching, as well as hitting a fave NC DH water on the way as well. It was great, it was a lot of catching….needless to say the fishing was excellent…the SoHo offering midges and bwo spinners in the AM hours, a midday hatch here and there of #20 olives (at least where we were), and an afternoon sulphur flurry……plenty of opportunities.

We fished all three days, and everyday a thunderstorm or significant rain event/storm ran us off the water. Monday’s storms were real doozies…..rained about 3 inches at our place in Bluff City, a wonder the river wasn’t muddy. Great trip, great to have some time off….back to trips on 5-20.

Have a Wednesday and Thursday guide trip w client from TX then 4 day group trip ….both on South Holston. Should be some good days.

NC waters are in wet wading shape. Great time to ditch the waders and wade wet. Conditions are perfect for it, fishing is excellent too. My wife and I landed about 20 fish in an hr and a half of wade fishing yesterday so things are good right now.

Have a great one…. will be sliding the boat in shortly. ..

Tight lines….


Jeff Wilkins FlyFishing
3703 Windspray Ct
Summerfield, NC 27358

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Whew…..Busy May…

Mon. May 18,2015 ….What a busy month so far, I ve gotten a little behind in doing this report, too much spotting, presenting of flies, watching wild browns eat a dry, setting the hook, netting a nice fish, grip n grin shot, then a release.  Its been that over, and over, and over….little time to do fishing reports.  But here’s a make up highlight report of what we’ve been into lately…..and its been a lot.  And rich in variety and type.  Excellent I’d say…

May 2 I did a guided Trip, Dr Jeff Hutchison, Columbus, OH, TN South Holston, Jeff and I got a very early start and arrived early and we were fishing before 8am. It didn’t take long to get into some fish, I think the second cast started it off. We fished small stuff early on, and caught some on dries and subsurface patterns. and as the first pulse came through we switched to all nymphs and continued to nail fish. On the backside of the pulse or falling water we smoked ’em, as fish began to rise. We caught fish almost non stop for 3 and 1/2 hours. We must have tallied 40 or more, a mix of rainbows and browns but mostly browns. Wild browns on dries….my favorite fishing. We left the spot we were in to go back the the SUV and have some lunch and get some cold drinks, then we were off to another spot. We caught a few on dries, then we found some large fish up to 20″ that we sight nymphed to. I love dry fly fishing for sure, but sight fishing with a nymph is right up there….especially when its large, wild browns. We did ok, it was challenging fishing, but we caught several including several of the best fish of the day…….Jeff needed to get back so we called it a day at around 415pm and headed back. It was great, a great day, and at times the rising fish and dry fly fishing was epic. Truly epic. Great to spend the day with Jeff, he’s a good fly fisherman and it was great to experience that with him.

Dr Jeff Hutchison with a nice brown we stalked and sight fished

Dr Jeff Hutchison with a nice brown we stalked and sight fished

On May 6 I did a guided Trip, Gregg Williamson, Oak Ridge, NC, NC Mtns, met Gregg and his two coworkers Tiffany and Danielle Dahlby very early knowing that we needed to be on the water early with such a nice weather day as there would be a lot of folks out. It paid off, there were indeed a lot of people fishing but we were first on the water and we did extremely well. I’d guess Gregg, Danielle, and Tiffany caught 60 to 70 fish total, a mix of rainbows, brookies and browns. A couple of the browns were citation sized. We saw a few risers, got some takes on dries, but the majority were caught on nymphs. We absolutely smoked them. In late so the report today is short, but in conclusion….we slayed them.


Danielle Dahlby with a nice NC brown trout, this fish ate one of my dead squirrel jiggys


On May 7 I did a guided Trip, John Keller, Stokesdale, NC, TN South Holston float /Wade, met John and his dad in Elizabethton very early and we were off to the SoHo, great weather, great schedule, absolutely phenomenal dry fly fishing today, we never had need ot fishing a nymph. it was that good. We fished to hatches of black caddis, blue wings and then sulphurs, the latter flurried on and off all day as they often do. John and his dad enjoyed a 50 to 60 fish day on dry flies, and almost all fish were rising. It was see a riser, cover him, got em….repeat. It was like that most of the day. We had best fishing low water stalking fish, then dropped the boat in for a float on the upper river. We caught some on nymphs, a couple on dries, but it was slower than morning and midday as we had storms pass through and eventually floated the last mile in a heavy downpour. Incredible day though, and landed some large fish too. All dries. All dries. Today was a day you dream about. And its only just begun. We finished up a little after 5pm and then called it a day.


John Keller with a beautiful South Holston rainbow that was just south of 20 inches….on one of my new sulphur emergers


On May 8 I did a guided Trip, Tony Pugh, Lexington, NC, NC Mtns, met Tony early and we were off and in the water as the sun was coming up. Had a great day on the Watauga Gorge, great weather day also as we dodged storms all afternoon and had great fishing. We fished two different sections of water and it was game on from the start. Fishing so far to begin May has been absolutely phenomenal….everywhere, and today was no exception. We fished some dries, but did the best on nymph rigs…..some micro squirrel patterns I have been working on absolutely killed them. We caught a good mix of rainbows and brookies, and as Tony himself said….” I think we must have caught over 100 fish today….”. I don’t know and I didn’t keep count per se, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if we passed 100. It was absolutely insane. And hardly any other fishermen until late afternoon, and by then we’d had our fill. It was great , but then again most places are in May, and today was definitely that. Shorter report as I got in late and have tons of work and another trip tomorrow.


Tony Pugh with one of almost 100 fish on our day…..it was incredible to say the least…….Just ask Tony…


On May 9 I did a guided Trip, Dr Jerry Reeves, Mike Blackmon, Oak Ridge, NC, TN South Holston float /wade, I met Jerry and Mike bright and early and we were off. I wanted to get a really early start being it was a nice weather Saturday, albeit hot…..and it was nice for sure and suprisingly few people, though I guess the Mother’s Day weekend holiday was a factor. But we had anywhere we fished all to ourselves. The fish were tough today, the hatch was a bit off, not like earlier in the week, but then again that is normal. Normal. We fished to risers and caught some on sulphur emergers, some of my new creations, and also we sight fished with dry /dropper rigs. The hatch of sulphurs was light today for whatever reason, so we had to make some adjustments. But we did well, still landed over 50 fish and got into a flurry at the end of the day with about 2 hrs of dry fly fishing. Continues to be excellent and will only get better.

Mike Blackmon with one of over 50 fish on the SoHo on our 5-9 trip

Mike Blackmon with one of over 50 fish on the SoHo on our 5-9 trip

From May 12 through May 14  I did one of our many Soho Group Trips, this one included Dick Foster, Greensboro, NC, Tom Foster, Mickey Foster, Asheville, NC, David Carter, Jeff Chalmers, Summerfield, NC, Dr. Ken Karb, Greensboro, NC, we had a good trip, day one everyone arrived late afternoon and we fished a light sulphur hatch and then got some spinners, the guys landed probably 25 to 30 fish, pretty good for about 3hrs fishing late afternoon til evening. Spinner fall could have been epic but we had a cold front zip through and leave us with chilly temps and windy conditions. Day two we did a little of everything, sight fishing with nymphs, straight up nymphing, dry /dropper rigs, dry flies….all of it…and including sulphurs, midges, and blue wings. Good day, a pretty good afternoon hatch with several hours of rising fish and probably 50 or so fish landed in all, including a couple of large browns. Day three we fished on the first two miles of river and fished midges to start, then a mix of blue winged olive spinners and duns, and a smattering of sulphurs. Also a few caddis in the mix as we moved down river. Fished mid morning til early afternoon and probably landed 35 fish or so. Good trip, the guys were great, this report a bit short as things are busy beyond belief….!

David Carter with a nice SoHo brown....We sight fished this guy with a sulphur nymph

David Carter with a nice SoHo brown….We sight fished this guy with a sulphur nymph

On May 15 I had originally scheduled a bass trip today but we rescheduled to later/next month, fished light sulphur hatch on SoHo and landed several quality fish , including a 19″ and 21″ brown, the largest fish was on one of my new sulphur emerger patterns.

This guy thought one of my new sulphurs to be yummy enough to eat...

This guy thought one of my new sulphurs to be yummy enough to eat…

On May 17 I guided a wade trip, Adam Norris,Clemmons, NC, TN South Holston , met Adam and his friend Will who was in from Austin, TX really early we were off by 645am, mostly to beat other folks to the river as it was to be a nice Saturday. I was shocked that we fished most of the day near no one, and much of the day had all the water to ourselves. We got on some pods of fish early that were midging and did fairly well, all dries, and probably scored 20 fish or so including some up to 17-18″. Broke off two large browns on 6X…..sulphurs started popping where we were and we caught probably 6 or 8 more fish before it fizzled out, Will landed a nice 16-17″ rainbow there. It was Will’s first time fly fishing for trout and he did quite well, nailing probably a dozen to fifteen fish by lunchtime….quite a feat on the wild, streamwise selective browns and bows of the SoHo. We moved around midday to another section of the river  where I’d been getting into sulphur hatches pretty regularly with clients and we did quite well. A few on dries, then a few on droppers (sulphur nymphs, midges) and then the hatch came on the backside of the midday pulse of water….and we ended up smokin’ em pretty good. 25 -30 fish on the afternoon, so overall I’d say a great day. Several quality fish on dries and broke off two nice browns on dries/6X that were in the 19-20″ range. Great day, Adam and Will were fantastic, great to spend the day with…


Enjoyed an evening at home for the first time in weeks, my wife and I will head out over the next few days and we’ll be fishing the SoHo and several other waters.  Looking forward to it.  After that, I resume with more trips as things will continue to be busy.  As I have mentioned to everyone I talk to, May isn’t “THE TIME” to fish the tailwaters, they fish great all year.  Sometimes a really busy schedule gives the impression that a certain time (like right now) is the ‘THE TIME’ to fish the South Holston.  NOPE.  NOPE. NOPE.  It will be great all summer.  13000 fish per mile and nearly 16 miles of chilly water to chase them in.  What more does one need?  Not to mention we have summer smallmouth season upon us…..Too many places to fish…too little time….but I’ll take that problem anyday.

Have a great one…!


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Wild 20" inch rising browns on dry flies......yeah we dig 'em

Wild 20″ inch rising browns on dry flies……yeah we dig ’em

Flows Settling Down, Fishing Has Been Consistently Good….

Tues. Apr. 28, 2015…..Its Spring even though the past few days have felt very chilly , unseasonably so.  But we’ve had a couple nice days, cool and dry with sunny skies.  And all the flooding and high water from last week has settled down and while a few larger waters are still way up they are clear enough to call them fishable.  Very fishable.  Generally too, the smaller the water right now, the lower and clearer it is.  But flows are great, and as we get into warmer weather it will be good to have good flows.


On Monday I did a guided Trip guiding  Dr Art Kriner, Greensboro, and his son-in-law Dave Wiebking, Kernersville, NC,  I guided them on Wilson Creek Gorge/Pisgah Gamelands, great weather day, we covered lots of water and surprisingly the water was still quite high, above what I would have expected since its been several days since the flooding of Sunday and Monday.


We did pretty well, not much in the way of dry fly fishing or rising fish, that mostly due to the water level, because there were bugs coming off and the water temp is in the low 50s…or in other words perfect. We had a good day, landing a 35 fish mix of rainbows and brookies. A handful of my new dead squirrel patterns and fished in tandem with a small rubberleg Copper Prince Beadhead did the trick for 90% of the fish. Quite simply, my dead squirrel jiggy fly killed them.


We fished til late afternoon and then called it a day. A good many anglers on the water, the weather was gorgeous and I am sure that was why. It was very breezy with northwest winds of 25 to 30 much of the day…..as it normally will be after a cold front pushes through. Art and Dave were a delight to spend a day with as always.


Just completed another trip video, this video clip has a number of clips from Monday’s trip.  Click here  or view below.  Some of the clearest water and prettiest scenery in the mountains.  I have fished this area for over 30 years and guided for almost that long.




Have had a very busy month, a ton of redos and reschedules from last month with trips.  The weather has wreaked havoc with the schedule for sure, and May is totally booked at this point and June is headed that way.  Have also been very busy finishing up a huge pile of fly orders….busy doesn’t begin to describe it.  Have a busy weeks’ end coming up, will be guiding Bob & Judy Zirt, Lexington, NC, Ted Linczak, Charleston, SC, and Saturday Dr Jeff Hutchison, Columbus, OH.  Should be some great weather too…..I can’t wait.


Have a great evening……Tight Lines….



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There are two fish on the bottom here in about 8ft of water….they are slightly below center in the photo, with another nice fish slightly higher and near the right edge.  Can you find them?

Good End to a Challenging Week…..

Mon Apr. 27, 2015…. Thursday through Saturday i did a 3 angler Guided Trip, Ted Birke, Byfield, MA, Dr. Hy Muss, Pittsboro, NC, Dr Ken Karb, Greensboro, NC, a multi day trip and we had almost all types of weather except snow. Thursday was cold, blustery with winds to 50mph, rain then cleared off and windy. Right on the backside of major flooding, so water was still high and barely fishable even by the most loosely applied standards.

Thursday was decent, maybe 20 fish or so for the afternoon, including several browns in the 20″ class. Friday we started with frost with temps in low 30s …..which felt painfully cold, and we fished Watauga gorge and it was sunny and very windy. Temps reached 60F but it sure didn’t feel like it. We caught a mix of rainbows and brookies, along with a few redeyes and even a couple smallmouth bass. We had to work for them, and ended up with probably 30 fish, and we fished hard. Water was high and still colored but fishable. And you could definitely see where the flooding had raised the water probably 12 feet above our heads where we were standing in the river.

We fished several spots/areas and even found one spot where with the flooding about 12 to 15 fish had gotten stranded in a small, isolated pool of water in the woods at least 10 feet from the edge of the river, solid proof of what I’ve often believed, that fish move to the banks during really high water or a bank on the inside of a bend as that is where the softer easier flow is. These fish had gotten in there then the water receded quickly and left them in this small 10 x 8 pool of water. Ken and I corraled a number of them, caught about 10 of them and returned them to the river.

We quit on Friday about 430pm and headed back to have dinner. Saturday we got up early, temps in the 40s and rain, some of it heavy. We had breakfast and hit the water about 9am, and by then the rain turned to light showers which we essentially over by 11am. Never rained another drop, though it was still cloudy and cool most of the day.

Water was up again and colored, but we did pretty well, netting about 50 to 60 fish total on a variety of flies but my new muddy water squirrel and fire bead soft hackle pt fly, with the squirrel fished as the lead fly (tung head) and the fire bead pattern as a dropper, was easily the best combo netting easily 75% of what we caught. We had enough other fish on to top a 100 fish day and most of those that came off were also on this combo. Been a killer setup during the last two weeks of high , stirred conditions. The several 20 inch browns of Thursday, all of them ate the fire bead soft hackle fly.

We fished til about 4pm and called it a day and everyone headed home. I stayed and scouted a few other waters in prep for this upcoming week’s trips, and in so doing caught probably 8 or so in the few places I scouted. Water is still very high, and we need a few dry days this week. Any rain of any magnitude right now will be , unfortunately, a blow out in short order as the ground is saturated.

Headed out early this morning to guide Dr Art Kriner and Dave Wiebking on a wade trip to remote Wilson Creek gamelands. Looks like the best weather day in are while.

Have a great one…..Tight lines


Jeff Wilkins FlyFishing
3703 Windspray Ct
Summerfield, NC 27358

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S5


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