Where Fly Fishing is a Professional Passion…..

Dealing With Some Post Thunderstorm Runoff…

Fri.  Apr. 27, 2012 ….If you are a fly angler and flyfish for trout in the Appalachians you are going to deal with this in spring and early summer.  Had a great trip with regular client Jeff Chalmers as we dodged thunderstorms all day and muddy water and still managed a 30-35 fish day with a 23.5″ rainbow and a 20.5″ brook trout.  But the water wasn’t high then….eventually later in the day it became so.  Slightly high isn’t a problem and discolored isn’t either a game breaker, but high to flood stage flows?  That is the worst and chances are a blow out will sideline your trip no matter what your skill level.  This past front and its rains certainly makes for some of this.

I cancelled both a private water trip today to SW Va with client Mike Workman of Thomasville, NC.  We had planned to fish the Little River…..the land of giant rainbows of 10lbs or more.  But they got the same line of storms yesterday as we did in the NC Mtns…in fact it was the tail end of the long line of supercells that produced some rains in excess of 4″ in SW Va.  Just how does that add up or what does it look like?  Well, consider this…  Late last night the North Fork, which normally runs about 250cfs-300cfs this time of yr and was yesterday, took the brunt of the hit of the storms and it rose from 250 to 6900cfs.  How much water is that?  Well, the South Holston tailwater is a big, wide river and they commonly run 2500-2700 down this one at full generation.  Imagine 6900 in a river half the size of the SoHo.  That is what it was like on the NF Holston and nearby towns of Lebanon, VA and Claypool Hill.  But things are coming down fairly quickly, as the NoHo is at 2270 and dropping.

Some smaller waters are fishable, including the Wilson Creek area and its drainage, the upper Yadkin and its drainages, etc.  Most everything else, except maybe the Davidson and Mills in the far west of the state, is going to be high and dirty in all likelihood.  I don’t fish there much , but its a very undeveloped watershed and does well after big rains.  Sometimes.  Everything?  Probably not, but certainly a lot of waters.  Here is how flows are stacking up, the current flow is first with the normal following in parentheses:

NC WATERS:  Davidson River 136 (128), South Fork New 771(340), Linville 151(120), South Toe 227(110), French Broad 3590(2100), Nantahala River 270(205), Mills River 183(180), Mitchell River 152(110), Mayo R. NC 313 (300)….VA WATERS:  Escatawba /Dunlap Creek 1270(180), Smith River Martinsville 807(380), Jackson River 1190(300), South Fork Holston Chilhowie, VA 500(120), South Holston Damascus, VA 2020 (510), Middle Fork Holston 509(110),North Fork Holston 2270(300), Chestnut Creek (Farmers Creek) 97(68), South Mayo 118(115), New River Galax, VA 4120 (2000).  TN TAILWATERS:  South Holston operating one unit 9am-10am(1359cfs) and one unit from 5-6pm(1359cfs); Watauga River/Wilbur Dam one unit from 9am – 9pm.

I had planned our class field trip for our Flyfishing101 class and the water where we were headed is simply unfishable.  So we will be rescheduling for June 2, 2012.  Didn’t want to have to do this but wading in high flows isn’t good even if you are a seasoned angler.  I mean we want to see everyone get to fish another day too, right?  lol

Make no mistake, if you like wild trout fishing and don’t mind a hike then there’s a lot more chance of finding some fishing.  Why?  Everything flows downhill and those places clear and drop first.  Plus, wild streams are looking great and fishing well right now.  Make sure you have split shot and get nymphs down in higher flows.  If conditions are good enough to fish dry then make sure you have plenty of Elk Wing Caddis and some yellow bodied or orange bodied Mayfly patterns…as sulphurs in size 14-18 and light cahills are coming off on these waters daily.

Here’s a clip of yesterday’s fishing with client Jeff Chalmers.  Have taken Jeff fishing many times and he seems to have the ‘mojo’ for large fish.  He has a way of connecting to them…..I just take him to a spot, point out the cast and presentation. Done.  The fish will be in the net shortly.  To say Jeff has a knack for it is putting it lightly.  I remember one such time years ago when I took Jeff out during a high water day in spring.  He landed one of the most beautiful rainbows that was 26-27″ long and very near 7-8lbs.  And he did it on a small fly and 5x in heavy current… which is nothing to snuff at.


Also, for those who frequent the TN Tailwaters the TVA now has a pretty cool app you can download for your smartphone.  You can get Lake Info, lake levels, generation schedules, precip patterns, and more.  There are two versions, one is for Android phones and the other for the iPhone.  You can click the appropriate link below for your device and it will take you right to the download page.

TVA App Android Market

TVA App iPhone iPad or iPod Touch

Sometimes having to do a little exploration, check out some new water, use the time to find new spots…all of this can be great when your ‘home water’ or ‘favorite water’ is blown out.  You never know when you might find a gem or two.  And many of them are where you drove by or would never guess.

Have a great weekend and I will be out tomorrow again scouting conditions and will have another fishing report then.  Have a nice evening…!


Posted via the Web with Wo

Client Jeff Chalmers with one large brookie caught on one of my Dead Squirrel flies in Purple or Grape Ice…..Jeff Wilkins photo 4-27-2012

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