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Wet, Wet, Wet, But Good Where Fishable….

Dec. 1, 2015 ….Been very busy the past few weeks, and its been wet.  Record wet in many respects.  I think mid to late December will mark the first time I have done trips that are new trips not rescheduled from previous months dating all the way back to midsummer.  Its been soggy for sure.  35 inches of rain since early September….that’s a lot.

But we’ve fished a lot, floated a lot, hit the days here and there on our smaller waters when we can.  Where we have been able to work around high water, its been good.  The only total blow outs have been on some of our private waters and lower elevation streams where the combination of high water and waters that have some mud/sand bottoms have kept things pretty stirred up.  Some great TN tailwater floats though, its been a great fall for that.  The browns are partly to mostly through their spawn on the tailwaters and small streams alike.

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December is here….where has the year gone?  A lot of our clients are aware that we post recommended flies for our area for each month of the year but many are unaware that we also have a downloadable hatch chart on our This Month’s Fly Box page of our main site.  You can go to that page every month and download/print a hatch chart for the month and fly recommendations for that month. If you’d like a printable hatch chart for December click here .  We are certainly progressing toward winter though, I am finding a lot of stoneflies in leaf clumps in the river, some of them our large Pternarcys, sp.  flies.  These are large, size 4 to 8 flies and one reason in winter I use double fly rigs with a large stone or dead squirrel or wooly bugger as the top lead fly in a two fly rig when I am nymphing. These bugs aren’t often in the drift but in cold weather , late fall through mid winter while there are still leaves in the river….that is the time they are a legitimate food item.  A high value target for sure.

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GUIDED FISHING TRIPS

We have been doing a lot of trips, small waters, DH waters, wild waters, and tailwaters.  When the water’s been up, we’ve been doing the TN tailwaters.  Had some great floats lately, and have had a good many times when we floated two stretches of water in the same day, getting in some nymphing and streamer fishing on high water early, then floating again and getting into some dry fly fishing in the afternoons and casting dry flies to rising fish….not bad for late November.  And on some of our floats we’ve been getting into some big browns floating the big water flows using deep sinking lines and large articulated flies more akin to bass and saltwater.  Here’s a recap of our recent trips…

11-16-2015 FISHING REPORT – I guided  Zachery Daniels, Boone,NC, NC mtns, met Zachery and his girlfriend Ashley , both App State students , in Boone and we were quickly off on our way. It was chilly, hi 20’sF , but quickly warmed up and turned out to be a nice day, albeit partly to mostly cloudy….which certainly helped the fishing where we were as it sometimes makes fish easier to catch. We fished a variety of nymph rigs, and I always know that cooler weather and winter is coming when both tiny flies and certain large patterns work well, often together. Like large stonefly imitations. Stones are active when our leaves are dropping and for long thereafter as they are one of the insect species that “shred’ the leaf material and use it as a food source. So, when leaves are dropping the large stones as well as certain other mayflies, caddises, etc., are moving about going from leaf clump to leaf clump and doing the work of leaf shredding. We fished these rigs on and off all day and did well, landing a good many fish and the last area we fished we sighted 6 different fish and five of them ate one of my large stones. The most effective one was an older Charles Brooks type of fly tied in the round, a very basic , crude stone , almost so much so that it offends my creative side that wants to make a great looking fly. Catches fish. Caught fish when the others failed. Also, it was a body weighted, non bead head fly…..go figure. That’s all we (I) fish any more for the most part, bead heads, right? Guess I’ll be pulling out more of those patterns again and putting them back in service. Today they saved the latter half of the day so to speak. We fished til late afternoon and called it a day, it was Zachery’s second time fly fishing and Ashley had never fly fished in the mtns before. She did very well, Zack had the large fish of the day, a fish that was in the 18 -19” range. It was a good day….

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11-19-2015 FISHING REPORT – Did a TN South Holston Float trip with fellow guide/friend/customer Tom Smith, they are pumping water allowing for a nice all day high water float……Jeff’s birthday, he’s getting to the age its time to downplay birthdays….and in fact forget how old I am. Had a great day today, Tom and I floated two sections of river and even with all the rain still did quite well. You’d have been hard pressed to find fishable water today as the high country got 3 to 5″ of rain and everything was blown out. One benefit to South Holston floats is there is rarely a time it isn’t fishable , we did the top 5 miles of river twice. We had great conditions for ripping streamers. We nymphed, streamer fished, got in on a two hour sulphur hatch in the early afternoon, then ripped more streamers til dark. It was great. Landed probably 30 fish or so is my guess. Landed over half our fish on streamers, some large 4 to 6″ long baitfish patterns, and broke off a large brown that was in the two footer class. The river was about 6″ high with some color below Hickory Tree which made for some interesting streamer fishing. Great day though, Tom was great to spend it with.

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11-20-2015 FISHING REPORT – I guided  Tim Bauer, Winston-Salem, NC, TN South Holston /Watauga Float trip, another outstanding float on the Soho, we did very well, met Tim near Pilot Mtn and we were off, putting in around 10am or so. We dinked around up near the put in for an hour or so and caught some rainbows, then moved downriver as we approached midday. We caught several more fish on nymphs and a couple on dries, and had one 18 to 20″ fish come up and try to eat a yarn indicator the size of a tennis ball. Never seen that on this river, always figured these fish were too sophisticated for that. Think again. We started to see more and more rising fish, switched to just dries, and caught a few more fish including several nice rainbows and browns, the brown, a 16″ fish, was the best of the first part of the day. We slid over to the side, in hopes the hatch would get going, had lunch, and sure enough, like so often in the past, the bugs began to pour off and soon there were fish rising everywhere. It was phenomenal, one of the best dry fly days for a while……caught a good many fish on emergers, lost a few, broke off several good ‘uns (Tennessee talk), it was great. Tim has been fly fishing for a couple years and first trip on the Soho, I think forever a hatch chasing dry fly addict he will be. We had some great fishing. TVA has been dumping extra water, like 150cfs on top of normal generation, so we made the run downstream through the closed spawning area and resumed fishing below Hickory Tree. With the extra water, we also get a short ‘whitewater’ run as at present flows a couple of the rapids morph into some class III’s…….great fun and get a little wet too. But it was great. We resumed fishing below Hickory rapids and found some more risers, had one large pod of risers that were feeding like crazy. Nailed two from that bunch, and had one large fish that ate the bug and broke off. Im guessing of the 20in variety, quite a catch on a dry in high water. We fished a few more spots and thought it a good idea to run the other rapids before it got too dark. We floated on out and found two more risers to cast to but they did not take. But great day, caught a lot of fish……great weather, Tim was great to spend the day with. I have two open dates coming up Nov 23 and 24 and it is probably going to be outstanding. If you want to get in on some great fishing high water floating on the Soho, it is fantastic and right now is the time…..with some streamer fishing for bigs an option too. Brown trout spawn is in full swing. If you see redds be careful !!!!!! not to walk on them and we recommend leaving spawning fish alone. Plenty of other fish to harass, not all of them spawn at exactly the same time.

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11-25-2015 FISHING REPORT – I guided  Dr Jim Kramer, Greensboro, NC, TN tailwater float trip, did two floats on the South Holston, had great streamer action right from the start, in fact its the only way we fished the first half of the day, ripping a bunch of nice browns on big articulated streamer patterns fished on a heavy sink tip line. We used a variety of streamers but the two best were one of my articulated 6 inch Olive and white streamers, and Kelly Galloup’s Barely Legal in White…..I didn’t keep count but we put a bunch of fish in the boat (two dozen?)…..and really good ones up to 20 inches.

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Had several beasts follow to the boat as well….25 to 30 inch fish. We did the first float and then took out and headed upstream and did it again. The second float we got into some good dry fly fishing, and an excellent sulphur hatch which brought many fish to the surface. We did well, landing several nice fish on dries before we switched back to streamers for the second half of our second float. We landed a 22″ brown near the end of our float, plus a number of 14 to 16″ browns. We only caught one rainbow all day long. We fished til dusk and floated our way to take out. An epic streamer day for sure with a nice sulphur hatch and dry fly fishing to boot….hard to beat.

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11-27-2015 FISHING REPORT – I guided  Craig & Graham Endean, Clemmons,, NC, NC Mtns, met Craig and his son Graham bright and early and we were off and on our way. We fished two waters, started off with nymph rigs….double nymph rigs….and were into fish right away. They were working so well we fished them hard and never looked back.

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The water was still up the four waters we drove by, and the two that we fished. The water is still up from recent rains but that makes for excellent nymphing as we were doing. Craig and Graham were first time anglers, and they put 45 to 50 in the net today, a number of which were in the 17 to 19″ category and several of which were wild 16 to 18″ browns. It was great…..the fishing, I’d say, was lights out. We fished til a little after 4pm and called it a day.

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11-28-2015 FISHING REPORT – I again guided Dr Jim Kramer, Greensboro, NC, NC Mtns, the first of several trips with Jim lately, fished the big water today, water still up where we fished a little farther away Western NC, but we had an excellent day. We tossed around the idea of floating and ripping streamers again for larger fish on the Soho, but they cut way back on the generation/releases which eliminated that opportunity. But we went to plan B, and for a plan B, maybe it should have been a plan A. It was great.

Water was high, high enough to make for some touch and go /sketchy wading, but we had great fishing fishing some new ‘anchor’ rigs I’ve been using, ‘yarn n anchor ‘ is what I call them, and we did quite well. We fished nymphs all day, and while the urge to chuck some big ugly streamers passed through, we stuck with what was working which proved to be a good move. I lost count of the fish we caught, a mix of browns and rainbows, with a couple bigs (20 inchers) thrown in and a few bigs that we had on that jumped and threw the flies. It was a little work wading in thigh to waist deep fast water most of the day but in the end it paid off. Used a few new concoctions , a ‘Dead Squirrel Mini’ with a tunghead and tied on a jig hook, it was murderous on them. Like the above, I don’t know how many fish we caught, but in my thoughts and Jim’s words…..”close to 100.” I’d agree. It was excellent.

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11-30-2015 FISHING REPORT – I guided Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, TN South Holston float, heavy rains overnight messed up several parts of the river, lots of tribs coming into the main river were rolling with mud and discolored the river. We floated a short stretch for a little while, and had one strike on a streamer but that was it. We then moved upriver and floated a 6.5 mile stretch. Chilly, rainy, breezy…that was the mantra for today, and lots of dirty water dumping into the river. From the upper boat ramp at the grates downstream the water was significantly colored. Normally great nymphing and streamer fishing, but not nymphing if high water……we only saw a couple of risers, so we nymphed several runs I knew would hold fish.

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We stuck two good rainbows that came off, got a few streamer bites, but settled into one of my favorite runs above a midriver island and finally got into some fish on nymphs using a Y2K /zebra midge combo…..we caught fish on both. We caught a couple, moved downriver, and repeated that. We ended up catching 5 rainbows all together on a stretch that has been producing numbers of fish. My guess the conditions put them off. It will recover once things settle down. We fished our way downriver chucking streamers, has tons of follows and short strikes, and had one really nice brown on, but it came off.

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Ended up landing 3 browns total ripping a big articulated olive/grizzly streamer. With water conditions and weather was it was I feel fortunate to have landed fish at all, it was definitely off for sure, but glad we caught 8 fish….and feel darn lucky to have caught those. Ted was great to spend the day with always. 20151130_142148

Have a 2 day trip coming up that starts tonight/tomorrow with my client from Monday Ted Linczak and 4 clients from Pennsylvania, Ken Okorn, Chet Hagenbarth, Don Albright, and Bob Moyer.  Looks like we could be in for some heavy rain late today, tonight and tomorrow.  Will have to play it by ear as far as conditions.  We will be on the South Holston and while they are projecting a limited release due to expected flooding conditions for Thursday they are showing wide open generation.  Some good floating days coming if they do this.

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Looks like a wet week, it will be interesting to see how all the other waters react to even more rain.  I’ve been in Abingdon, VA and spent Monday evening there and am scouting this morning to see what other waters look like with more trips coming after this one.  Could be a few days of no fishing but we’ll see.  We get inquiries on spawning browns on the SoHo……there are places on the river with some spawners that are not in closed fishing areas………we do not target spawners but instead think it best to leave them alone to provide us with more of the great browns we love so much.  Plenty of other places on the river to fish.

Christmas season is upon us, our new shopping cart site is up and going and can be viewed here.  As always, we offer Gift Certificates that can be redeemed for trips, instruction, and custom products.

Tight Lines…!

Jeff

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Chilly…….Great Fishing…..I See A Pattern Here….

Tues. Oct 20, 2015…….  Had some great days so far this month, and I must say the cooler weather has done wonders for the fishing, at least our trout waters….smallies ….?  Not so much.  In fact, smallie fishing is winding down and soon we’ll be doing mainly trout and the occasional musky trip.  Winter largemouths too on local waters……Just ripe with opportunity if you live in our area.  Had some great trips the past few weeks, and this week has started off with a bang.

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I guided a second day of flyfishing for two clients from Greensboro, Dr Steve Klein and his wife Marie.  We had a great time, great fishing, great fellowship, and a great shore lunch of turkey basil chili and southern cornbread, along with some kiwi and strawberries, and topped off with a bourbon pecan square for dessert…..great stuff for fall for sure.  And the fishing, well, shall we say….was absolutely terrific.  Here’s a recap of our trip on Monday…

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Marie, Steve, and I  met bright and early near the river and had coffee, then we were off to the water to fish and quickly suited up and were on the water mid morning.  It was chilly, low to mid 20sF and heavy frost.  Several cold nights have plummeted water temps into the mid 40s, warming to near 50F by afternoon….and the fish have been quite active and we’ve done very well.  Had a great day and caught fish on a variety of patterns.  The water has returned to pre-flooding lows where we were fishing, a real surprise to me given the such incredibly high water conditions of a week and a half ago.  Pretty amazing it could get that way so quickly.  But it is what it is and the fish are eating.

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Just pulled a page from my tailwater tactics and flies playbook and we fished light , long, and small.  Worked like a charm.  Challenging fish became willing fish and before long we’d tallied more than 40 fish and several that were citation sized.  Some incredibly fine rainbows, and a couple of wild browns, one that was 18″.  Had a shot at a brown that was in the 26 to 28″ class but could not entice him to eat.  I’ll be back for him though……and I’ll get him to eat.   A great day, I’d say Steve and Marie got a great start at this sport tallying about 60 fish in two days of fishing after never having fly fished before.  Pretty good I’d say…..had a great time and they were great to spend it with.

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Great two days with Steve and Marie and while chilly we couldn’t have asked for finer weather.  Just like Montana and Wyoming weather, sans the leaves.  But they too will be done soon, and most of the higher elevation waters are seeing  big relief in terms of fewer and fewer leaves as the month wears on.  Leaf peak is right now on areas to our immediate west, southwest, and south….and it too will be over soon.

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Busy week ahead…..more reports will be forthcoming.  Enjoy your week.

Tight Lines…

Jeff

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Chilly with Lots of Leaves….

Sun.  Oct 18, 2015….A chilly weekend for sure, we had a chilly day yesterday as a Canadian airmass arrived late Friday.  Night time lows in the 20sF made for some crisp weather.  Had another pretty good day Saturday as well, a good end to a great week.

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On Saturday I guided a trip w/ Dr Steve Klein and his wife Marie, Greensboro, NC, NC Mtns, chilly start as I mentioned, met up with Steve and Marie early and we were off on our way.  It was cold and a very heavy frost, first of the year, lie on the ground and in many cases heavy enough on grassy areas to look like a dusting of snow.  High 20sF were the lows, it was chilly to start but warmed up nicely by late morning and turned into a nice day.

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Some gusty winds the first part of the day made for difficult fishing as a major leaf drop, hopefully the last one for this area, occurred.  So many leaves in the water that for long periods it was almost impossible to fish without snagging them.  And it turns the fish off for brief periods as well.  It subsided though and we were able to get into some fish, Steve and Marie were out for their first time fly fishing and it was a success.

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We landed a good many rainbows and had an enjoyable time, and finished up early afternoon.  I went to another area afterward and found a few myself, trying out some new patterns as I have had /been running so many trips Ive had no time like that in a very long time.  That is how I develop patterns I fish with….so its valuable time.

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The next issue of Southern Culture on the Fly is now out/available.  A great local publication with a good bit of info and articles on our area, which is kind of nice for a change.  Click here or logo below to view the latest issue….

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Have another busy week this week, beginning with a second day of fishing with Dr Steve and Marie Klein, we’ll be fishing an NC water and I expect a great day.  Will be looking forward to that plus the rest of the week which will have several trips and lessons as well.  Leaf peak is right now in alot of places, with some areas above 3000ft past peak now and areas under 3000ft peaking in the coming two weeks.  Have a great week…

Tight Lines…

Jeff

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Great Friday…..Superb Fishing…..

Sat. Oct 17, 2015…..Great weather great fishing……I see a pattern here. Guided Trip, Johan & Marcus Aspegren, Oak Ridge, NC, NC Mtns, on Friday and met up early with Marcus and Johan, we fished two stretches of water and did very well, fishing early was great, it was chilly, temps in the low 40s and you could see your breath so it was quite crisp.

The gray, low sky was perfect and the fish definitely have the feedbags on. We did really well the first half of the day, and especially while it was cloudy and drizzly, when a cold front was making its way into the mtns. We netted about 40 or so browns and rainbows by lunchtime.

The sun eventually came out, warming things up ten to fifteen degrees or so…..we caught more fish but I’d say probably 10 or so, ending with about a 50 fish outing. Certainly made believers out of the guys in the gift of cold and cloudy conditions……the fish were much easier to catch. We fished til late afternoon and called it a day. You could really feel the chill of this cold front coming in, it was chilly and blustery with stiff NW winds up to 25mph.

Highs Sat are supposed to be upper 40sF and lows the next several nights in the 20sF. That will really turn the fish on.

Will be guiding Steve and Marie Klein today and should be a good day. Chilly yes, but it’s fall it’s the mountains and that’s normal.

Have a great Saturday. …

Jeff

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

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Awesome Past Week…..More to Come

Fri. October 16, 2015….Hard to believe the month is half over, its blown by.  As busy as I have been all year and its been great….fishing has been superb.  A lot of up at 4am, out at daybreak, in at dark, repack, do it again type of thing.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Fishing has been outstanding and we’ve had some great days the past week and a half……here’s a quick update….

10-10-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Dave & Marianne Link, Raleigh, NC, NC Mtns, met Dave and Marianne early in the NC Mtns and we were off to where we were going to fish for the day. Water levels still up, but much improved over the past several weeks. Fall is here, and the fish are definitely feeding up with winter coming…..and it was on from the first cast. The water was about 6 inches higher than normal, which made for zero dry fly fishing but the nymph and streamer fishing, as it will usually be in high water, was lights out…..as good as it gets. Dave is an experienced angler and we’ve done many trips in the past, but this was Marianne’s first fly fishing trip. She landed about 15 fish, a mix of rainbows and browns……it was great. All of our fish came on double streamer rigs and double nymph rigs rigged right angle style. Great day though we fished in all day rain….. the kind of day I’d choose if I am fishing…..which helped us have an over 50 fish day , way beyond it in fact, lost count…… realistically more in the 70 to 75 range. In any case it was great. We finished up about an hour before dark and called it a day.   Sorry for the blur below……all day rain will do that to the outer surface of a camera lens….

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10-12 through 10-14-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Our Annual SOHO Fall Group Trip, 5 Anglers , Kim Arthurs , Brian Arthurs, Wilmington, Delaware, Bob Schwirke , Fayetteville, NC, and Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, TN South Holston

Day One…we got up really early as fishing has been lights out early on where I took the guys, we had a fair morning landing about 15 fish before the water came up on us at 9am. We were in the river at daybreak, and it was alive with activity. Several nice fish, including a SOHO 20/20, which is a 20″ plus fish on a size 2o or smaller fly, it was a large rainbow landed by Kim Arthurs. Our plan was to fish til water came up, then ride down stream and hit one more spot, then heading off to an NC water to fish the rest of the day. We caught our morning fish on midges. We were done on the Soho by 11am and we ran back by the house, picked up lunch, and were on our way. We fished the afternoon and landed about 35 fish, all rainbows. We called it a day about 6pm and then headed back to the house for a nice dinner.

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Day Two…..We had very chilly temps, 30sF and you could see your breath. It was cold and fishing was hot, we were in the water at daybreak and were into fish right away. We used a variety of nymphs and midges and a few assorted dries and caught fish on all of them. Not as many risers early, not as many as yesterday, but still fish were very active. All sorts of rigs worked, from two nymph rigs to dry /droppers to dries. It was incredible, Im guessing the guys landed somewhere north of 80 fish before the water came up at around 1pm. We then had lunch , moved downriver, and fished a couple more spots, catching a few on nymphs before the water came up on us and we called it a day about 330pm. It was a great two days, great fishing for sure, and the guys were fantastic.

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10-15-2015 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, John Keller, Stokesdale, NC, NC Mtns, met John and his Dad bright and early and we were off. We fished on the NC side of the mtns and had some great fishing, it was very chilly early, definitely fall like for sure. High 30s to start and warmed to around 65F -68F in the afternoon. Just like weather out west. It was great. Fishing was great too. We caught fish just about everyway you can…..nymphs, streamers, double nymph rigs…..it was all good. I didn’t keep count but if we didn’t top 100 fish today I’d be really surprised. Caught a good mix of rainbows and browns, some very nice rainbows in particular. We fished two different stretches of water and had great fishing on both. Water flows were excellent, about as good as it gets or as close to perfect as it can be for October. All that bad weather in the past weeks was a blessing in disguise.

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Have a great weekend……headed out the door as soon as the last keystroke of this report is typed.  Have a trip today with Johan and Marcus Aspergen and we are fishing NC mtns today, tomorrow I end the week with a trip with Steve and Marie Klein.  Expecting a great end to the week, and looks like some chilly weather coming…..our first frost.  BRRRRRR……..I couldn’t be happier.

Tight Lines….

Jeff

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Rough Start to Month Now Creating Some Banner Days…

Sun. Oct 11, 2015…..What started early last week as torrential rain and incredible flooding ended with several great days, including three days that included some of the best small stream fishing of all year, one day of some of the best Delayed harvest stream fishing of the whole year, and one of the top 5 days on the Soho of the entire year.  So yeah, its been a great recovery from all the bad weather.  Had an interesting week with the weather issues, one of which was a large tree falling on our house, one thing we are still dealing with as far as extensive repairs.  But when I see what is going on in SC, we have it way better than those folks.  Our prayers are with them.

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Here’s a recap of our most recent fishing this week…..

On 10-8-2015, Thursday, I did a guided trip with Larry Pritchett and Tom Goldston, High Point, NC, Tom Currin, Atlanta, GA,  on the TN South Holston, we fished the South Holston and one NC water and caught about 80 or so on the South Holston, then about a dozen on the NC water that we fished. The SoHo was fantastic, we fished a variety of stuff wet and dry and did very well catching fish on a variety of flies. The theme was definitely SMALL….lots of blue winged olives and midges on the water, creating the need for some 18-22 flies for sure….saw a few sulphurs but not as many with the midday release coming.

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To do what we did in a little over a half day of fishing and several ( I think 5 of them) 20″ plus rainbows to boot, the best one being a 22 incher, I’d say it was a great day. We fished til the water came up, then we decided to take a quick lunch break, and then we headed downriver.

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By the time we finished lunch it was 2pm, so we decided to head to the NC side for some fishing since the water was an hour away from coming up anyway where we were. We did fair where we fished, not as well as I would have expected, but the water was still up and we still landed about a dozen fish, which is a good afternoon by some standards. We’ll take it! In any case it was a great day by any standard. Weather was phenomenal, the fellowship was the same, and the catching…..well it was that too.

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On Friday I did a hike in backcountry group Trip with  Brad Ball, Stephen Starnes, and Steve Lucy, we did a hike in water in the upper Nolichucky (TN) drainage and also a Madison Co NC water…..  Its incredible the variation in NC, TN, and VA during the past weeks’ flooding.  TN was mostly spared, VA had some high water, incredibly so in some parts, surprisingly little in others, and NC had a lot of variability as well.  Some NC waters are in great shape, some are still high, some are fishing well, some are totally blown out.  Not the water we fished on Friday though…..it was ideal.

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We landed between 50 and 60 wild fish on dries……water levels there were perfect, much improved area wide….dry fly fishing was fantastic, in fact a nymph was never tied on…..stimulators, caddis, parachute hare’s ear….all produced numbers of fish. All rainbows, all WILD, truly special. A great hike as well, and some beautiful scenery.

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Its really amazing though how fast high elevation waters clear out after a hard rain and lots of rain.  Water levels were great, and about as absolutely perfect for high terrain small water as you could ever have.  That is probably why we did so well.  Great water, great fishing though, I imagine that is a theme I’ll be talking a lot of in the coming weeks.  Its Fall and we have water….what a blessing that is.  We have available every month a Printable and Free Fly Hatch Chart ….  Click here to view or download an October hatch chart.

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On 10-10-2015 I guided  Dave & Marianne Link, Raleigh, NC, NC Mtns, met Dave and Marianne early in the NC Mtns and we were off to where we were going to fish for the day. Water levels still up, but much improved over the past several weeks. Fall is here, and the fish are definitely feeding up with winter coming…..and it was on from the first cast.

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The water was about 6 inches higher than normal, which made for zero dry fly fishing but the nymph and streamer fishing, as it will usually be in high water, was lights out…..as good as it gets. Dave is an experienced angler and we’ve done many trips in the past, but this was Marianne’s first fly fishing trip. She landed about 15 fish, a mix of rainbows and browns……it was great.

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All of our fish came on double streamer rigs and double nymph rigs rigged right angle style. Great day though we fished in all day rain….. the kind of day I’d choose if I am fishing…..which helped us have an over 50 fish day , way beyond it in fact, lost count…… realistically more in the 70 to 75 range. In any case it was great. We finished up about an hour before dark and called it a day.

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Great end to the week though, and starting the process of making up a lot of cancelled /rescheduled trips with clients…..have had more of that the last two months than I can remember in decades.  One reason my availability of days is limited ……I’m urging clients I have a good many Nov and Dec dates still open but they won’t be for long.  I’ll probably blow through November’s availability in the coming days so anyone wanting to do a trip before Christmas its not too early to nail a date down.  Fishing should be great, and of course, we guide/fish all winter long so we don’t have ‘an off season’ , a ‘slow down’, a ‘slow time’, or a time when we are ‘less busy’.

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Have trips all week, starting with a three day SoHo trip Mon thru Wednesday with one client from Fayetteville, one from SC, and three from Delaware.  Mid week I have a couple small stream trips , and another small stream trip on Saturday.  Busy week, its the busy season, and look forward to some great days.

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NC Wildlife Commission has put out a revised DH stocking schedule that covers stocking schedule for waters they were unable to stock this week due to high water and flood conditions.  They will often do this when conditions make it likely that large numbers of stocked fish would be lost because of high water.  Most places fared quite well, and while they stocked some on 10/1 before the high water it appears that the fish on most waters that we stocked pre flooding did quite well.  Click here to view a revised schedule.
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The NC Wildlife has created another public fishing area on the South Fork New in Watauga Co wherein anglers can access an area that has opportunities for wild brown trout, smallmouth bass, rock bass, redeyes…..click here .  Also, the NC Wildlife stocked a new water at Hanging Rock State Park, the 12 acre lake there with 1200 catchable sized rainbows.  For more info on this new trout water click here .

 

Have a blessed week, will be posting more reports all week…

Jeff

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…!

Jeff

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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!

Jeff

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

Jeff

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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.

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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!

Jeff

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