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Wading, Floating, Sulphurs…..

Thurs. June 16, 2017 ….. Looks like the season of 18hr plus days continues…. Usually the whole year can be pretty busy but the period from April through August takes that to a whole new level.  Our website and fishing report audience has grown exponentially and things have been beyond busy since mid April.

 

We had all the wet weather, and kept fishing through it all, jumping from one water to the next and to different sections of rivers to stay in clear water and decent fishing.  The past few weeks its been out early, because you never know if and when thunderstorms will impact the fishing time.  You get out early in hopes of getting a good day on the record before the afternoon heat and possibly storms come.  We fish around weather….I never cancel because of storms because if I did I’d have to take the summer off.  Its just part of the normal day to day thing.

 But the season of long days continues…..always a rub to keep up with messages and emails and website updates and such.  Just never enough time it seems to keep up.  Guess its a good thing, but I do get behind and play catch up the rest of the summer.

..had a good morning of fishing sippers, sulphurs and beetles and did a midday to early evening float.  About 8 nice fish  in the morning including several browns in the 18″ class .  Did some nymphing also, and put a few in the boat nymph fishing using tunghead TN nymph and my own rendition of the split case nymph, tied a bit differently than most tie.

We began to see a few rising fish around 145pm, then a few more, but fewer rising fish than last few days.  The upper river hatch should start intensifying now that we are into the summertime muggy and hot weather, of course thunderstorms are part of that too, something we wouldn’t be denied the enjoyment of today.

 We didn’t find big pods of fish rising so we targeted singles along the bank ….its my favorite game because its like hunting.  We did well, scoring about 25 fish or so doing this, and most of them nice browns.  Its pretty neat as well because some of the fish are in really tight spots, along banks, under overhangs……places most folks/boats pass right by.

 

But we did really well….pick a fish, dust the fly with Frogs Fanny, then cover the fish with a drift…..done.  It was great, we had about 3 hours in the afternoon of solid dry fly fishing.  Then we had a thunderstorm and it was pretty windy, things were winding down anyway so after the rain stopped we floated on to our takeout.  Good day though, a a nice rain to wash all the salt and sweat off…lol.

I have a guided trip tomorrow with longtime client Dr Jim Kramer and we’ll probably do the tailwaters as well.  Another busy week coming up next week with five trips scheduled.  Will be a real challenge as we are in the process of settling my mom’s estate and will be doing some work relative to that the other two days.

Have a great weekend….

Jeff

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Great Float/ Wade Day…..

Wed. June 14, 2017 Great day yesterday doing a half n half trip, that is a half day wade trip in the morning followed by an afternoon high water float. Guided Jeff and Lin Ingram and we had a great morning netting over 30 fish on nymphs and then caught a bunch on dries. We had lunch and then did a half day float on the upper South Holston and whacked ’em again putting probably 20-25 more in the net.

Great day, we narrowly missed a big thunderstorm as we rowed to take out. We are into that season and kind of weather so all is normal on that front.

Doing a trip with frequent client Ted Linczak today, an afternoon float hoping to get in on more dry fly fishing.

Have a great one…..

Jeff

Posted from the banks of the lower South Holston, Possum Creek, TN

Jeff

Jeff Wilkins Fly Fishing
3703 Windspray Ct
Summer field, NC 27358
336-944-3628
www.appflyguide.com

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Phenomenal Saturday…

Sat. June 10, 2017 ……What a way to end the week, did a trip with a longtime friend and client Wayne Johnson, Atlanta, GA, who I taught to fly fish over a decade ago.  Since that time he has traveled the world fly fishing all over so this was sort of a reunion trip.  I had not fished with Wayne in almost 4 years, as work, and moving and other stuff took him all over the past few years.

I met Wayne late morning and we did the upper river float on the South Holston.  We caught a few fish nymphing drop shot rigs, then a few swinging wet flies, then we started to fish dries as the bugs came off.  Hatch was good but not as heavy as yesterday, but that is normal, it will be heavy some days light others but there were plenty of fish rising to be had.

 We nailed several nice fish on dries, including a 19″ brown and a 22.5″ brown, both on one of my sulphur emergers, plus a number of other quality fish.  We moved downriver, nailing risers from pods of fish we saw rising.  It was great, Wayne had a banner day, it was epic.  One of the better quantity and quality fish days I have had.  We caught fish all the way downriver.

Fished to one last pod of risers on a bank that hardly ever get fished to, a very difficult spot to fish but Wayne nailed several nice fish there, all browns, and had one fish on that was in the 23 to 25″ range that he played marvelously but the fish got into some grass and broke off after a 3 or 4 minute fight.  After it broke off, the fish surface and jumped upriver 15 feet upriver and it was a two footer with a big kype (hooked jaw), one of those yellow and orange colored up buttery browns…..uggghhhh…..we were both speechless…and heartbroken.

It was getting late so we ended on that last fish and headed to our takeout.  July is going to be epic, now is the time to reserve a date if you want in on it…..as I am getting calls and bookings daily and it should fill up soon.

Have a great Sunday…

Jeff

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Great Week This Week….

Sat. June 10, 2017 ….Its been a great week, and I have not stopped for the most part, doing trips Tuesday through today Saturday June 10, and a total of about 42 miles of floating.  Its been a great week, the warmwater fishing has been great and the tailwaters South Holston and Watauga have been lights out.  Some of the best fishing in a long time with big hatches and rising fish.

 On Wednesday and Thursday I did two days of guided trips with two clients I take a lot… Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, and Tony Makris, Columbus, OH.  We fished both the South Holston and Watauga and fishing was excellent. On Wednesday we fished the South Holston, floated the entire river ….14.5 miles.  Did an 8 mile streamer float to start, and nailed some nice browns doing that, then headed upstream to catch the sulphur hatch.  Great hatch caught a ton of fish on dry flies.  A ton….

On Thursday we fished the first half day on the Watauga, and it was good also.  Caught about 3 dozen browns and rainbows, lots on midges early then some on dry flies.  We left the Taug’ about 1pm and headed back over to the South Holston to hopefully catch the sulphur hatch.  It was epic.  Blanket hatch, we fished to rising fish for 4 solid hours.  Lost count of the fish caught…..it was outstanding.

 

Fished the last two hours streamers and caught some more good browns doing it.  Great two days…… fishing on both rivers on fire…..  We did the usual either float the mornings throwing meat or fishing low water with midges, both of which are release schedule dependent.  The high water afternoons are when the big hatches have come….summer is here folks.  And its going to be good.

 

On Friday I did a guided float trip with James Brewer, Biscoe, NC, and Dan Rominger, Belews Creek, NC,  and we floated the South Holston.   I met James and Dan around 845am and we were off, ran down to the put in and floated the upper river and caught several fish swinging wet flies/soft hackles.  We caught a lot of fish doing that, which works pre hatch and all during the sulphur emergence.  Sometimes it works when other things aren’t working.  It worked great today.

We then floated falling water down to a favorite pool where we fished low water from the boat and had a great flurry of fishing, putting probably 40 to 50 fish in the net there, as we caught them on long skinny leaders, small flies….did very well on midges and split case nymphs.  Sight fishing was epic, we had shots at good fish all day long and caught plenty.

…and then the sulphurs came.  Great hatch, nailed a bunch of rising fish on dries….heaviest hatch so far this year I’ve fished or guided.  It was great, at many times there were bank to bank risers.  Pick a fish and work him.  If you didn’t get him on the first drift the second or third time was the charm. It was great, sure redemption for the last’s months crazy and difficult weather patterns.  How sweet it was, and continues to be.  The rest of the summer is going to be epic if its like this now.

We fished til about 7pm and then floated to take out.  I rowed through the last mile and a half to the ramp as the guys needed to hit the road for home.  The hatch was so good we had stayed well beyond what they intended already.  Good stuff, …”honey I’m going to be really late.”  It was one of those days.

Have another trip leaving out this morning, and will be guiding Wayne Johnson, Atlanta, GA.  I have fished with Wayne quite a bit over the past 10 years.  We are starting late morning as the release schedule is on at 8am.  We will likely put in just after 10am.  Should be a great day….Wayne is a combat Vet and will today be sniping some rising Soho browns.  I expect a good day as the forecast is sun and 85F….that is near perfect for the hatch to be great, and I’d be surprised if it isn’t.

Well, time to drink this one last cup of coffee and pack things up in the boat.   Game time….

Have a great one…

Jeff

Posted from the banks of the Watauga River in East TN

Busy Week Coming Up…

Mon. June 5, 2017 – This weekend did some afternoon panfish /bass trips….. a note …June 3 marked the opening of the DH Harvest period.  All DH waters opened to harvesting fish on June 3, from sun up til noon only anglers 15yrs old and were able to legally fish and harvest fish.  After noon, all anglers were permitted to do so.  Some streams will continue to receive periodic stockings the rest of the summer but that is dependent upon elevation.  Consult the NC wildlife website here to find that information.

The warmwater topwater bite at times has been as good as it gets.  That is normal business for this time of year.  In some respects I have experienced flurries of action that were as good as I have ever experienced.

Spent a good bit of the weekend fly fishing for warmwater species and tallied over 100 bluegills, some nice bass, yellow perch, carp, etc.  Spent some of that time with friend and fellow guide Tom Smith scouting some carp….a number of our local waters have them and a lot of them and they tail and eat in shallow water and offer shallow water sight fishing akin to bonefishing.

Have an upcoming string of trips, all float trips, and we’ll be floating the South Holston and Watauga.  Flows are coming down as the TVA has pumped tons of water in an effort to get the lakes back down to a manageable level.  Fishing has improved also, and will continue to do so.  Plenty of fish to be had nymphing, and afternoons have seen some dry fly action, mostly sulphurs.

Have a two day trip , both floats , coming up with Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, and Tony Makris, Columbus, OH.  I’ll follow that with a Friday float with James Brewer, Biscoe, NC, and Dan Rominger, Belews Creek, NC.  Will wrap up the week floating with a longtime client Wayne Johnson, Atlanta, GA.  Should be a great week.

Here are some great videos for you…….worth a look…

 

Have a great one……

Jeff

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Jeff Wilkins Fly Fishing is a Member of the American Outfitter and Guide Association

Great Friday Trip…

Sat. June 3, 2017 …. Finally getting beyond the wet weather a bit and hitting some private with with two clients, did a guided wade fishing trip with Adam Norris and Will Johnson, Winston-Salem, NC.  I met Adam and Will near the river and we suited up and headed down.  Didn’t take long to get into fish, we did very well, landing some fine rainbows in the first spot we fished.  Caught them nymphing, even though there were a few fish rising.  They didn’t rise to dries all that well, so nymph fishing we continued with.

The next spot we did similarly, caught a bunch of fish fishing nymph rigs and dry /dropper rigs.  Had on one fish that would have been fish of the year, a rainbow that was double digits and was somewhere in the 26 to 30″ range.  Adam played the fish for a while very well, and it made several runs and jumps, only to end up breaking the hook.  Not breaking the tippet or breaking off…..breaking the hook.  It was a ginormous rainbow.

We fished a while longer then headed back to the truck to have lunch and then move upstream to fish some more and hit some of the small lakes/ponds on the property.  We did very well there, with Adam nailing a sipper the first cast with a beetle. It was a rainbow in the 24 to 25″ range.  After a spirited fight and several leaps a 5 pound plus rainbow lay in my net.  After a quick photo we released the fish.

We ended up catching a good many fish on terrestrials.  Caught several nice rainbows, one nice brown, and also spent some time at all three of the small lakes/ponds on the property.  We had shots at some brookies but that were challenging.

We also fished one of the lakes and got to sight fish for cruising bass.  We caught a good many bass and also some huge panfish….all of them on topwater or a dry /dropper and some on a pink squirmy which we would cast to a cruising fish and twitch the fly in front of them.

We made our way back to the river and ended up nailing a lot more rainbows, including one beast of a fish that was in the 26-27″ range and probably a solid 7-8lbs.  The fish ate a size 20 pheasant tail, another official 20/20 for the season….20 inch plus fish on a fly size 20 or smaller.  We ended up landing a ton of fish there and two other spots.

About 730pm we decided to call it a day.  Excellent day of fishing, plus we got some on top.  We did pretty well with terrestrials, not so much with some of the other dries that normally work.  But the terrestrial bite is definitely on.  And we’ll be doing a bit of this the rest of the summer.

Also, have another afternoon /evening Saturday trip for bass and panfish.  I do some of this during certain times of the year, and the fishing can be exceptional.  One surprise for me is how many folks don’t take advantage of some of this fishing.  Its one of the best ways to improve all your skills from casting to line management to everything.  Even those who fly fish a lot.  Missing out on it …..is a loss.

Have a busy week of fishing coming up and should be a good week.  We have some chances for rain on Sunday but the following week looks drier than weeks past.  That should help things settle back to normal.

Have a great weekend…

Jeff

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Great End to a Busy Week….

Fri. June 2, 2017…. Great end to a busy week, topped it off yesterday with a really good bass and panfish trip on one of our local waters. We always get N epic topwater bite in May after the bass and crappie have spawned and the bluegills start doing their thing.
As usual bluegills here spawn starting with the first full moon in May and spawn every full moon til September​. And so it has been on local waters. Had a great evening trip last night with about 75 large bluegills and a few largemouth bass also….one of which was 8.25lbs. The topwater bite was epic, landed the majority of fish on poppers… including the large Bass. It’s good now and should be so for weeks and months on end.

I do guided half days of this fishing if interested. This morning finds me in Virginia getting ready to guide a private water trip with two clients Adam Norris and Will Johnson. Looking forward to a great day catching some bigs…

More to come….enjoy your Friday

Jeff

Posted from the Alleghany Highlands with Motorola Droid Z

Summer is Almost Here….

Thurs. June 1, 2017 ….. Summer is almost here, in 20 days that is, and all the great fishing that comes with it.  Believe it or not, as hard as it has been dealing with record rainfall this will eventually be a blessing in disguise as we’ll have better summer flows and in many respects better summer fishing.  We have great summer fishing, and great variety too…one of the things I love about it….and one of the things that make it a reward for those who venture out in the warm weather.

 

Its finally June officially and with that comes a new month and a lot of stuff that is changing.  Fly patterns will change a bit with the weather, some carry over from May and others are new to the offering.  We offer on our website every month on the ‘This Month’s Fly Box’ page a FREE , printable hatch chart that allows you to print an accurate chart of what bugs are hatching and what flies will match them.  It is area specific…..to our area and not just a general guide.  It was designed for our area.  To get the FREE printable hatch chart click here .

We are coming off a record wet May.  May saw rainfall totals all across the area, NC Mtns, SW and Central VA, and East TN all had a record May rainfall total.  Many areas set all time records for May, and a few set all time records period for any time of year.  Some areas have gotten upward of 20 inches of rain over the past month to six weeks.  That’s a lot of rain.  As of today the TN tailwaters have been sluicing to get rid of extra water as reservoirs have remained past the desired full pool level.  But things should settle down as we get into more of the afternoon,spotty, convective thunderstorm weather and less of the frontal system type of weather.

The last 3 days of May my wife Kathy and I did what I never do enough of…..a prime time in the season break and mini vacation.  We had stormy weather a good bit of the time including one thunderstorm that will go down as the heaviest and worst in terms of rain/wind/thunder & lightning that I can ever recall here.

 Friday night’s storm (5-27) we had just finished a nice dinner riverside grilling out on the deck when the storm came.  We got almost 5.5 inches of rain in 3 hrs.  River was as high as I ever remember seeing it.  Took a few pics of tiny Beaver Creek right next to Bristol Motor Speedway and it was out of its banks.

On 5-31 I had originally planned a guided float trip but TVA started sluicing overnight, up to 3200 on the Soho and 2800 on the Watauga, plus when you add the higher than normal flows from tribs there’s a lot of water right now, at least for a day or two or three.  So we are rescheduling.  A lot of smaller waters becoming fishable again though, and certainly some of the small, hike in, high elevation streams will be fishable as well.  Saturday 6-3 is the opening of the DH Harvest, that is all DH waters the regs allow for the keeping of up to 7 fish per angler.  Only anglers 15 and younger can fish and harvest fish til noon, after that all anglers can take part.  For details on DH waters opening to harvest click here .

Have some catch up time today in the office briefly doing some regular website updates, answering messages, you name it….the chore list that piles up while I am out so much on guide trips and which never gets quite totally finished up.  Never seem to have enough time …….especially in the middle of the busy season.

For Friday I have a guided Trip, Adam Norris, Will Johnson, Lewisville, NC, originally planned for floating the tailwaters, but we will be fishing the private water on Dunlap Creek in lieu of our float trip due to high sluicing flows.  On Saturday I have a guided Trip, Amanda McFatter, Greensboro, NC….We will fish based upon current conditions and provided no rain between now and then.

Booking now for remainder of summer and fall.  The summer float season is underway and the fishing is going to be great.  Dry fly delight….regardless of location.  This is the time of year we do a ton of dry fly fishing.  Small waters and tailwaters alike.  Also, our smallmouth fishing is excellent.  Don’t let the idea that hot weather quells fishing keep you from fishing……that’s total nonsense.  Some of our best fishing , as in most years, will happen under a blistering July or August sun.  Some of this is due to the fact that a lot of the smallmouth fishing we do and a great portion of the trout fishing we do are on dam regulated water….and they are not subject to the normal things heat can do to shut down fishing.  If anything, it makes them all the better. And not to mention the small streams that lie under a canopy of trees and vegetation…there are tons of those.   Don’t believe this?  Let me prove it to you!  Let’s go flyfishing!

Have a great one…

Jeff

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Continued Wet….

Sat. May 27, 2017 ….That’s been the story for the past month.  And it continues, enough so that by the end of the month virtually all areas will have recorded the highest ever rainfall totals for the month of May. I can attest to that, as we have fished in it all month and have done surprisingly well for the most part despite it.  The sulphur hatch is in full swing on both tailwaters, and we’ve had some great days.  And it will go on until November.

 So if all this rain has got you down, or if the hot summer gets you down…..no worries.  I can put you into some fish regardless of either.  I’d say a majority of folks see May as ‘primetime’, as if June, July, August were non issues in terms of fishing.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  For floating or wading the morning and floating the afternoon, there’s no better time than June through August.  And don’t forget smallmouth.  The heat and normal summer issues are non-issues…..smallmouth fishing goes on without skipping a beat.

Our past week was a challenging one in some respects.   The past week I guided a group Trip, Joe Craig Group- – Joe Craig, Allen Peterson, Locke Clifford, Rusty Walker, Ron Davis, Tom Ross, and Bill Leinster, High Point, NC, TN /NC/VA waters, we spent the week doing some floating on the TN tailwaters and had rain everyday, heavy rains/flooding, storms, high winds, everyday, and we still put fish in the boat and the net (wading) despite the horrid conditions.

  We got a lot of surface activity even in the conditions, and I would argue that it often makes fish easy to catch.  That is certainly what we found.  Every day we floated the upper river we did well, landing some quality browns on sulphurs…both fishing them dry and swinging soft hackles.  So, if you are wondering if the rain squelches fishing the answer is a definitive ‘no.’

It rained almost 10 inches this week.  Many places were high and blown out all week and still, as of this morning 5/26/2017, still are.  We fished some small water as well on private land that yielded brookies, golden trout, rainbows, and browns up to 23″.

It was a great trip despite the weather, and a blast with a group of excellent and enjoyable guys, all of whom I gladly consider not just clients but friends.  Looks like more wet on the way, with chances of storms going up Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  Also, potentially could be looking at several inches more of rain.  My wife and I are off taking a rare in season break and mini vacation through May 30 and hopefully we’ll get to float and fish at least once if the storms don’t get us.

Have a great one…

Jeff

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Wet……

Wed . May 24, 2017 …That is the one word that perfectly sums up the past three days. We have had almost non stop rain and on and off storms. Floated two trips the past two days, one with clients Locke Clifford and Allen Peterson and the other with Allen Peterson and Bill Leinster. The first trip we caught a lot of fish but none over 13"….landed probably 15 or so and broke a bunch off. The second trip we threw streamers and nymphs and got only 3, but all were nice fish, one nice rainbow and two nice browns.

Today is day three of a five day trip w a group of guys. We have some potentially severe weather coming this afternoon we are going to try to make the best of it.

Have a great one, will post more later…

Jeff

Jeff Wilkins Fly Fishing
3703 Windspray Ct
Summer field, NC 27358
336-944-3628
www.appflyguide.com

Posted via my Moto Droid Z from the banks of the South Holston River
Bluff City, TN