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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

Jeff Wilkins Fly Fishing
336-944-3628
www.appflyguide.com

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…!

Jeff

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Have a great evening……Tight Lines….

 

Jeff

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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

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

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Flooding in the High Country…..

Thurs. Apr. 16, 2015…..Yes, that is the ugly word today…..Flooding.  Not massive flooding like we can often have, but high, dirty conditions limiting fishing to almost lakes only or tailwaters if you have a boat.  Other than that, slim pickings the last two days as we have gotten between 2 and 4 inches of rain area wide.  Today is cold with rain/drizzle as we are in that common Appalachian cold air wedge, and it moves away tomorrow as some warmer air moves in.  But with the warm air comes…..if you can believe it…. a thunderstorm threat.  Chances are 40 to 50% as warmer air moves in.  Could be an interesting weekend.  We’ll see….

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Pictured above is Amanda Bushon, a Wildlife Commission fisheries biologist, with a 10-pound brown trout during a sampling at Apalachia Reservoir, west of Murphy. We’re experimenting with stocking larger than usual hatchery-reared trout in the lake to see if they will take advantage of the invasive blueback herring forage base. Read about it in Wildlife in North Carolina magazine, a piece written about this developing fishery by my friend Mike Zlotnicki of the NC Wildlife Commission click here . Mike and I have done several past articles together for a couple of Sportsman’s magazines.

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NEWS UPDATE: Armstrong State Fish Hatchery Vandals Arrested… Three men have been arrested after police say they tampered with a local hatchery over the Easter holiday/opening day of trout season weekend, killing more than 150,000 rainbow trout. Read the scoop here .  This story broke over the Easter holiday and news is also that stockings will go on as planned with no noticeable impact to anglers.

We do a lot of videos on our fishing guide trips when we are able, and fortunately I have been able to put some out even though its been incredibly busy.  Here are several videos over the past couple months, enjoy….

 

We’ve have some great trips lately, the fishing on all days has been good, some days it has been off the charts.  As good as I have had….ever.  We have fished a little bit of everything too, and done very well on all of it.  We still have yet to see our best dry fly fishing, but for sure.  It’s coming.  Soon.  Very Soon.

We post a ton of stuff on Social media as well.  You can follow us on any number of sites, our Facebook page is here .  Our Twitter ID is @JWFlyfishing and our page is here , and our Instagram ID is @JWflyfishing and our page is here .  You can sometimes find additional pictures and content we only post or offer there.  Recently got a nice Testimonial from a client Ted Linczak, Charleston, SC……..

“Jeff is a top notch guide that delivers a one of a kind experience! I had the pleasure of spending the day with him out in Lebanon, VA stalking some monster rainbows in Cedar Fork, and it was one heck of day with many 20″+ fish landed. By the end of the day I felt like we were old friends. Thanks Jeff for your expertise!”

Thanks Ted!  That means I achieved the goal for the day.

Have a great evening…!

Jeff

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sohobrown-e1328385883975Huge South Holston brown landed by my client Tom Wright, Archdale, NC, one of the largest brown trout I’ve ever had a client land, and especially a feat given he landed the fish on a 3 weight rod.  Incredible.

 

It Continues……Wet and Epic….

Tues. Apr. 14, 2015…..Sounds like a broken record but its true.  Flood watches over the mountains last night, and we escaped the worst of the rain to start the week and also did the same yesterday.  Don’t know how it will hold out the rest of the week, mainly because we are entering a wet pattern coming up and the potential for heavy rain exists all week.  Its of particular interest to me, and my clients as well……as it could mean some blow outs.  We’ll see.

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On Monday I did a guided Trip, Larry Tomar, Greensboro, NC, NC Mtns, we dodged a major rain bullet even though we did fish in on and off showers/mist much of the day the heavier stuff held off fortunately, which is good because where we were the water was already high n’ dirty but I felt we could still do well as I know where the fish hold/pod up when the conditions are not so good. It was dirty/off color, not muddy or blown out. That’s a different story when its like that. But today, though marginal in terms of conditions, the fish cooperated and did just what I thought they would and Larry and I were blessed with a great day.

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We started slow, catching one here, one there, then around 11 am things picked up a lot, we eventually ended up with between 50 and 60 fish to net, many on my new nymph patterns. Larry did a great job as well, the high flows weren’t easy to wade or fish but we did well despite it all. We got the best fish of the day, a big rainbow in the next to last spot we fished.

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It was great, and a great day again……folks often ask the secret to staying in the fish day after day. I am constantly developing new flies. We don’t fish stuff everyone else fishes, its all our own, and that is one reason why it works. 2- am blessed more than I deserve , 3- you have to know how to change things up when conditions change, where fish move, how they feed, what they can see, proper rigging and use of weight , indicators as well as when not to use those things. All of that factors in. But it was a great day, Larry was great to be with as always, and I was glad we got in a full day, a great one, as he loves to catch fish as much or more than anyone I know.  That’s saying a lot.  I call it passion….and he has it.

Have a day and a half off to catch up on a pile of ‘office’ stuff, the type of stuff that comes with a small business, and lots of messages to catch up on.  Time has been at a premium as my mom is very sick still and was readmitted to the hospital …many thanks to many customers for their best wishes.  It is greatly appreciated.

Tight lines……have a great one

Jeff

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Phenomenal Day…….

Thurs. Apr. 9, 2015…..Simply no other way to put it. I guided Dr Steve Hardy today and we had a banner day. With the threat of storms we got an early start, the water was still high where we fished …mostly from yesterday’s storms.

I knew if it was clear enough to fish we could have a great day. We saw only a few rises all day so we spent the day slinging big uglies. Steve put between 50 and 60 fish in the net by my guess. We caught them on a variety of flies but by far the most effective was a Squirminator tied in yellow/orange …which imitates hognose sucker spawn where we were.

We fished right through til a severe thunderstorm ended our day around 4pm. But that was ok, Steve put a slaying on them for sure. We left as a really heavy storm moved in and the sky and horizon was rife with storms in all directions. Will be interesting to see if water levels hold up as a big line of storms was out to the West and poised to move through later this evening. I am supposed to guide a trip on upper Wilson tomorrow , will be guiding Jack and John Keller, and Danny Mirtz, all from Stokesdale, NC. Could blow us out if it rains too hard.

Have a great evening….

Jeff

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

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Wet and Rainy Yes…..But Fishing Has Been Epic….

Wed. Apr. 8, 2015…..  Been a busy Easter holiday weekend plus a busy start to the week as well.  Its been a wet/rainy period, and will likely be that way all week, but it hasn’t hurt the fishing much.  And that’s notable given the heavy spring frontal systems w/rain we often get in spring.  But then again, that’s why we buy all that expensive snazzy raingear.  If the fishing is good why sit in the vehicle?

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I started the week guiding Anthony Hipps, Lexington, NC, Paul Gruver, Raleigh,NC, TN on a South Holston River float/wade trip.  I met up w/Anthony and Paul and we got a very early start, partly due to the threat of weather and also it being a three day weekend and Easter Monday hopefully we would beat the other anglers. It was a bluebells and blue wings day, as the VA bluebells dotting the riverbanks were in bloom and the blue winged olives were flying.

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We were in the water at 7am, and It proved a good move, we caught a lot of fish nymphing with standard rigs and then with dry /dropper rigs, I suspect we’d landed 25 or more by 9am. A good mix of browns and rainbows, Paul absolutely slayed them, landed about 15 fish in one spot I had put him in. Its always a great area early in the day as the fish stack up or pod up and usually every drift for the first several results in a hookup. Several quality rainbows and browns up to 15″.

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We started to see fish rise, we put on one of my new CDC thread body duns and it smoked them, we scored several other risers on that fly as the blue winged olives started to hatch a little by late morning. We fished til 1pm or so,then took a lunch break, then headed downriver to catch the pulse in the afternoon as I expected a bwo hatch on that part of the river. And so it was, at first it was just getting going, and while Paul was red hot in the morning, Anthony started to slay them on a bwo dry I’d given him. Absolutely slaying them…..Anthony must have landed a dozen to 15 in that spot, then we all moved downstream 1/8 mi to where I knew we’d find some good fish and also likely get into a hatch as the pulse came through.

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Happened exactly as planned, the hatch came off and for about 3 hrs we had rising fish all around. The guys netted probably another 15 to 20 fish or so. We got fish on dries and dry /dropper rigs, and several good fish…..and all browns, the beautiful, snooty, cagey wild browns the Soho is known for. For probably an hour or so the dry fly fishing was truly epic, the stuff dreams are made of. The pulse went through, and the fish settled down somewhat, and the guys decided to call it a day. Truly satisfied, and a great day it was.

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We did get a couple of downpours, and several periods of light rain, but never the storms that were in the forecast. As Anthony said …..”Jeff, we’ve had a phenomenal day…”. I agreed. A 50 to 60 fish day, perhaps more than that, I lost count. And to think its really just getting started there……I can’t wait for what lies ahead. We missed the heaviest rain, but there were some storms to the West that eventually made it over the area and dumped some rain.

On Tuesday I was set to guide Ron Rhoades, Greensboro, NC, NC Mtns,  but we got tons of rain after I came off the river on 4-6 so we ppd it and rescheduling to a later date. It didn’t rain heavy everywhere, but it did where we were supposed to fish. I had stayed over in Boone, NC, and on my way in today tested some new patterns on a couple local waters I fish some in the spring, one is a kind of hike in very wilderness like place. Fishing was fair, the suckers were spawning there as well, I tested out several new squirmy patterns, and some new egg patterns and bead heads. I must say the worked well, and a couple of them were lethal! Simple as that.

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I mentioned that suckers were spawning in a lot of locations, these fish are common to virtually all of our DH waters and smallmouth waters too, and when they are spawning/dropping eggs the fish will key on them.  That is one reason I have always used them in Winter and early spring, patterns that have an orange color/tint or peach/orange as the eggs are that color.  The local hognose suckers in the front slope drainages have light orange eggs, and as you might guess, an orange Y2K, orange egg, or orange anything in #12-16 is often effective.  Don’t have any of these patterns?  Every box for our area should have some for sure.  They can be ordered custom ordered tied by me, they can be ordered by the dozen here or by the fly here .

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Our second session of the GTCC Fly Fishing 101 class I do several times a year is tonight.  I have 12 great students and its been a blast so far.  Some real talent in our group, these folks were throwing nice loops the first night.  Should be a blast…

Tight Lines…

Jeff

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A Bit of Rain……More On Tap For This Week….

Sat. Apr. 4, 2015…..Hope your Easter weekend is going well and wish you a Happy Easter as well.  Today was supposed to include a trip but we postponed the trip due to muddy water where I was going to take my client Pete Bradley.  Some parts of the mountains got a lot of rain while others just a trace.  Hit or miss, but the places that got it….well, a good soaking it was.  Yesterday’s trip we left just as the deluge came upon us.  Just in the nick of time.

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I guided one of my regular clients Shaun Redgate, Shaun is from Forest, VA, just outside the Roanoke area.  It ended up being an okay day until the end when we got dumped on, a few heavy bands of rain were coming , the water was up from recent rains but clear enough to fish and we killed them. Our original plan was to take Shaun over the mtn to one of our private waters but rains on Thursday night just put a smackdown on that plan, as the Clinch River valley and all of Russell and Washington Counties in VA got dumped on pretty good.

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So we went to plan B which was to fish some in Ashe Co. I met Shaun in Galax, and we were off. It was good right from the get go, we were into fish right away, scored one , in fact, on his first cast. Second day in a row I have had that result. Fishing is definitely in full beast mode right now, good just about everywhere. The water was up and we didn’t bother throwing any dries, but we instead fished some right angle rigs using the Strike Foundry bobbers I’ve come to love so much. We did very well, scoring probably 25 to 30 fish before lunch.

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We had on quite possibly one of the largest NC browns I have ever had a client tangle with. We were fishing an area I have long known to hold some nice browns, many of which are wild and always have been, Shaun made a cast to a bankside root wad and undercut and half way through the drift the orange and gray SF bobber I had on his leader came to a stop and twitched, he set the hook, and it was on. Shaun fought the fish for a couple of minutes and it stayed deep, upon which I suspected we were into a really large fish, and quite possibly one of those large browns I sometimes tangle with in winter and spring in this drainage….and of which we’ve landed several this year already…some in water that isn’t even designated trout water.   It was so, we got a glimpse of the fish and it was easily beyond a two footer, well beyond the 20 inches and even 24-25 inch mark that I always in my mind consider to be a ‘big fish.’

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The fish was a beast……I see a lot of this and I must admit even I was kind of “deer in the headlights”  shellshocked. Shaun and I share a love of big browns, and have landed many together on the South Holston…including a huge brown of 22-24 inches he landed years ago with me on a guided trip….a rising  fish that he landed on a #20 blue winged olive and 6X. This brownie was way larger, I was stunned. He did a masterful job turning the fish several times from the root ball on the bank, and fought him for at least 4 to 5 minutes, but there was a large limb underwater we didn’t see and that the fish made one last dash for freedom and successfully got himself wrapped on and broke off. We were both sick. Absolutely sick. Affected us the rest of the day.

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We fished on til the heavy rains set in, and must have landed another 25 to 30 fish,  so we slayed them so to speak with what I’d guess was a 50 to 60 fish day but that brown in my mind is indelibly etched into the creases of my brain and I suspect both Shaun and I won’t be right for several days. It was truly what I’d consider a lifetime catch of a brown trout in NC. We had a great time, as always, and Shaun was great to spend the day with.

Happy Easter to you, and many thanks for your business.  May the Lord richly bless you all this Easter….

Tight Lines,

Jeff

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