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
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
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
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…
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