Where Fly Fishing is a Professional Passion…..

Warm Start to New Week…

Tues. Feb. 12, 2013…At least that is what it has been, but it won’t stay that way.  The weather and temps have been about as ‘all over the place’ as you can get.  We had a good trip on Saturday, a first time outing for Dr. Todd Early and his son Hunter, we had a 35-40 fish day and Hunter landed one heck of a rainbow…the fish was a solid 26″ or more and weighed between 8 and 9 lbs by my estimation.  Not bad for a first time out….it certainly raised the bar for future trips!

We started off this week with some time away, my wife’s grandmother passed away over the weekend and we are in SC spending time with the family and attending a funeral.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone.  We will be resuming our normal schedule on Feb 15, 2013 which is Friday.  Had a two day guided trip scheduled with Mike Workman…Mike and I have literally tried time and again numerous times to get out and either a weather issue or one of us had a schedule conflict of some type for the past year.  Thanks Mike for your patience!  Hopefully we’ll get out soon and get it done!


Here is a current weather report from our friends at Raysweather in Boone , NC.  Looks like our warm shot is short lived, its back to winter by Wednesday and some of the coldest air of the year returns just in time for the weekend.  But hey, its winter, cold is fine…we love it!   Here’s the weather scoop:

We get a welcomed dose of sunshine today before clouds ramp up this evening and a wintry mix begins to fall late tonight. Most of us will see a cold rain overnight, but there will be mixing going on especially in the higher elevations. It will change to rain and then over to all snow as even colder air pushes through Wednesday afternoon. Valentine’s Day will be a close second place to this afternoon with sunny skies and seasonal temperatures. Some love to our skiers this weekend as the bottom falls out of the cold and snow showers return.   Nothing unusual about today with abundant sunshine early before increasing clouds late today. Temperatures will be slightly on the mild side today.  Typical for this winter we have a mild day or two before things turn cold and wet. Light rain to a wintry mix develops close to midnight as the next Gulf Coast low moves from Texas to Louisiana today. The higher elevations will have the best shot at seeing the mix lean more towards snow before a changeover to rain Wednesday morning. Temperatures will be around the freezing mark so a brief spell of freezing rain is also possible but we are not expecting long-lived icing.

A gloomy and damp Wednesday morning is likely before colder air arrives Wednesday afternoon changing the rain over to snow. Westward facing slopes and higher elevations could pick up a quick couple of inches by Wednesday night with many of us seeing at least a dusting.It will be a gorgeous sunset on Lover’s Lane Thursday night with just a few clouds around on Valentine’s Day.  But colder air is on the way out of western Canada. It will arrive Saturday on blustery NW winds. As it arrives, some snow is likely late Friday night and Saturday. A few snow showers may hold on early Sunday, but the rest of the day will be dry and very cold.


We just finished our annual Beginning Fly Tying Winter Class and here’s a tidbit of info to pass along to you and to all students.  ORVIS is running a 20% off all Fly Tying tools and materials SALE so if you were looking to get some supplies here’s a good opportunity to do so.  Especially on first quality hooks and beads.  For those who don’t know this, ORVIS line of hooks are made by DaiChii so if quality is what you want Daichii is a great place to look.  I use Daichii in 100% of our fly tying here and in the flies I sell.  You can check out the ORVIS Fly Tying Sale by clicking the link below:


For fly tyers who are always trying to reconcile all the different hook styles, sizes, and so forth here’s a handy printable conversion chart for all fly tying hooks.  It is a concise, clear, compilation of current popular hook names, style numbers, sizes , and more and in a table format.  Visit the weblink and you can right click on each table to either print or save the table for future use.  I usually recommend printing a copy of each for use on your tying table, and saving a copy in case you lose your desk copy.  Click the link below to access the Hook Conversion tables…:

Hook Conversion Table


There are a lot of good phone apps out there and when I come across one I try to share it with friends and customers.  Here is another app that is great for weather, maps, moon phases, etc., and more.  There’s a FREE version for both Android and iPhone, as well as a premium version that costs $3.99.  Below are the links for each version of the App from Scoutlook Mobile:

Scoutlook Weather   Android Version       Apple-iPhone Version


There’s a lot out there in the way of material on the internet related to fly fishing, tying, etc., but often its not of a local nature and as such it might be applicable to our fishing here but not easily so.  There’s a great new publication out now, and some of you may have seen it, sampled it, or check it out at The Fly Fishing Show recently.  Its called Southern Trout, and is written by friend and author Don Kirk.  As many of you may already know, Don is a well known and established author who has written some excellent stuff on fly fishing and particularly of and about the Great Smokies.  If you are like me, your copy of the Smoky Mountains Trout Fishing Guide is falling apart from use….  It was truly one of the first books that had all the information needed to check out a stream in the area being written about.  Truly innovative, and the first of its kind.   Don has a follow up book to that , The Ultimate Fly Fishing Guide to the Smoky Mountains….one that truly deserves a space in your angling library.  Its fantastic, one of the best reference books in print.

Don has a new project going called Southern Trout , and e-Zine and its great.  You owe it to yourself to check it out.    Click the link below to check it out:

Southern Trout :  “Distilling Southern Trout Fishing since 1959”

Fly Fishing Video Clips

Here are a couple of neat video clips to start off your week, the first one is a trout clip and the second one is a South Carolina flyfishing the Low Country video clip:

The Day of Only One from 5280 Trout Hunters on Vimeo.

Fly Fishing in the marshes surrounding Charleston, SC for Redfish from Capt.Chris Wilson on Vimeo.



Things have been all over the place with our weather.  Many places thawed out over the past few days with the warmer temps.   A lot of streams show a ‘spike’ or uptick in the flow even on dry days.  Customers often ask ‘what is going on with that?”   or  “Why is the water rising?”  Well, there are two explanations, both of which have been happening a lot lately.  One, if you are fishing lower elevation water its always the last to rise, the last to fall, the last to clear.  We have been inundated with rain, snow, ice, etc., to the tune of 10 inches or more over the past month.  Many areas its more than that.  It takes things a while to move downhill and move on out.  Secondly, the ground has been in a ‘hard freeze’ state for a month.  That is, its been so cold for about half of the nights the past month to freeze solid the first two feet of ground.  As wet as its been, that soggy ground is holding lots of water.  And when we get these warm days the ground thaws, releasing water into the water table and therefore into the stream.  All of this is good for fishing.  Eventually.  When you get heavy rains like we have lately, it onlyexacerbates the problem.  But again, all in all, its good for fishing because it means the water table is in good shape.

February is ‘transition month’ as well and typically a time that we see the first mayflies of the year and usually they are blue winged olives.  BWOs are always the first early season mayfly hatch.  Standard bwo dry flies on top, parachute bwos or Adams on top, and a classic pheasant tail, beadhead pheasant tail, or flashback pheasant tail…all are great flies this time of year.  And that’s why my box is so full of them and variants of them.  They work.  Everywhere.  Stock up on them…… you won’t regret it.


Small waters have offered limited opportunities the past month because of weather and cold, bitter cold, but DH waters have fished well.   Many of our low elevation DH waters flow over a predominately sand /sandy substrate (front slope waters are a prime example) and as a result they drain quickly and clear up fast.  On some waters you’ll continue to see snow flies or ‘willow flies’, which are those little winter black stoneflies .  As I have shared with customers and guide trip clients if you are fishing late morning to mid afternoon and you see a slashing, splashy rise its almost surely the rise was to one of these stones.  They flit and flutter and hit the water during egg laying and the fish take notice.  This time of the year you can’t go wrong stocking your box with midges, small blue winged olives, and a few stonefly patterns (small blacks size 18 and 20, and large ones in brown and yellow to a size 6 or 8).

Tailwaters have fished so so when you could get on them.  That has been the rub lately.  About the only times you could fish the past month is during times of bad weather….literally right in the middle of the heavy rains or heavy snow.  This is the case because the TVA often won’t generate or release water during periods where there are flooding rains..because them doing so would make flooding worse down stream.  So remember that tailwaters can be fishable and fish quite well right in the middle of the foul weather event.  But when it passes through, look out.  The generators are coming on and they will release for a while to get rid off all the water coming into the reservoir above the dam.  That is precisely what they are doing at South Holston Dam on the SoHo and Wilbur Dam on the Watauga R in TN, as well as Norris Dam on the Clinch.  Those are the most often fished tailwaters in our area aside from the Smith R near Bassett, Va, and the Jackson River near Covington and Hot Springs, VA.


What it looks like below Norris Dam on TN’s Clinch River. This area is home to some of the best small fly (midge) fishing you’ll find anywhere… Jeff Wilkins photo 2009

Local waters have picked up a little, bass are shallow in some local waters.  If you have a local pond you fish or can fish February is a great time to catch your largest fish of the year.  The reasons are simple.  One, the females are getting ready to spawing in the coming months.  The early egg growth that began in December is driving them to eat and nourish themselves and the developing eggs and to put on added weight/strength so they can withstand the rigors of the spawn, which takes a taxing toll on their bodies.  Secondly, these warm days are a signal to the fish and any dark bottom near deep water or dark structure on a shoreline will hold fish, even more so if there’s a dark mud bottom nearby, particularly on sunny, breezy spring days.  I always fish the NW corner of our pond, and fish the bank the wind is blowing into.  Warm temps, wind, and windy banks are places the water mixes and warms at a faster clip.  This draws food and baitfish and where you find food you will find bass.  Just that simple.



We will resume our trips this Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.  I have a trip scheduled with Dr. Tom Wolff, Winston-Salem, NC, and on Sat. with Dr. David Spivey, Clemmons, NC, both are regular clients of mine.  Looks like just in time for more cold weather to arrive.  But that’s fine by me.  It is still winter you know…. 🙂

Good Fishing and Tying….


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Another shot of the leviathan rainbow I guided client Hunter Early to on Saturday at Escatawba Farms, VA…..it was a beast….Jeff Wilkins Photo 2013


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