Where Fly Fishing is a Professional Passion…..

Busy Two Weeks…

Wed. June 28, 2017 …..the season of 18 to 20hr days has been on….this time of the year can be our busiest.  The days are longer, there are a lot of fishing options, and usually folks have time off to fish.  We’ve been really busy the past few weeks, and I have gotten behind with reports because of it.  Not enough hours in a day on somedays to get everything done.  It didn’t help that during one of my recent several day stints on the tailwaters I was up early one morning doing the fishing report and tipped over a cup of water right onto my laptop keyboard.  It took a couple days for it to come on and power up and run again, but miraculously it did.  So here goes….

On June 17 I guided  Dr. Jim Kramer, Greensboro, NC,  on the TN South Holston….we got an early start and we went with the intention of doing some wading then floating in the pm…we did wade early and did pretty well doing my favorite thing which is stalking skinny water browns /sippers.   We spent the morning stalking browns and had a ball, as sight fishing is one of my favorite things to do.  Summertime mornings are tailor made for that…..and there’s no better place than the Soho.

We got in one stretch and waded along slowly and stealthily and would sight a fish, cast to them, see them eat the fly, and got ’em.  Did well using one of my favorite dry dropper setups with three flies.  Casts well, drifts well, and well, the results…it gets them.  Have been doing well on some new midge patterns and a new split case sulphur pattern I have been tying and the fish , especially the browns, love them. We caught a good many fish, all browns in the morning and then midday happened upon a flat with some sippers.  It had begun to drizzle as a storm had been building on the horizon.

Blue wings started to hatch and we switched to one of my new bwo dries and Jim promptly nailed several sippers I pointed out to him.  Watch the fish, read the drift, make a presentation….got ’em.  Rinse and repeat.  It was like that, both fun to do and fun to watch.  About 245pm we got out and had a streamside lunch and were going to go upriver and do a late afternoon and evening float.  Just as we arrived to the ramp a heavy thunderstorm dropped its wares and we were in an unbelievable downpour.  We sat there for a half hour and when the storm showed little movement and didn’t appear to be going anywhere we decided based upon that and its track that we would go back downriver and just wade fish.

I texted my shuttle guy and let him know we’d not be floating.  So we headed down and caught another fish or two on dries, then decided to go way down river to Bluff City and do some nymphing.  That would prove to be a good move, as we nymphed up probably a dozen nice fish, and many that were hooked briefly and got off —- some reel blistering rainbows and browns, including several nice fish that we neither saw nor brought to net.  It was , quite simply, a pretty good phenomenal end to the day.  It was great.  We finally quit about 8:00 and called it a day.  Getting into fish, getting wet, but having a great day….that seems to be the ongoing storyline.

On June 19, I guided Bob Stanford, David Slaydon, Greensboro, NC,  on the TN Tailwaters, met David and Bob in Elizabethton and we made the short jaunt over to the river.  Met late morning and planned on putting in around 1030/11am and did a 6.5 mile float.  Weather was sunny and hot /muggy to start, and we caught some nymphing right off, David I think scored the first fish, we worked our way down to a midriver bar and saw some risers.

Bob nailed the first and second ones there, both rainbows.  We fished our way down one bank and caught a few then headed downstream to an area that has been good lately.  It got really dark and started to rain, and what began as a moderate rain quickly became a torrential downpour.  The forecast was for bad storms and while we got tons of rain no bad or severe weather.  Rained a ton.

 We then got an incredible sulphur hatch and fished to rising fish for several hours, and caught some nice browns on dries.  Broke a good many off as well, it was hard to keep the flies afloat it was so wet.  You could dust your dry with Frogs Fanny powder and it was good for a few minutes but would quickly get waterlogged and need retreatment.  Fish were rising bank to bank and we did pretty well.

Eventually the hatch fizzled a bit and we headed downriver.  Got several more good fish on wets/soft hackles before it got so foggy we headed to takeout making it there just about dusk.  Good day, lots of fun, even though it rained yet again….

On June 20, I guided  Dr Pat Burney, and Dr Ken Karb, Greensboro, NC, on the TN South Holston.  We did a half day wade and half day float, did great in the morning wade fishing with lots of fish caught nymphing and then a little bit of a morning sulphur hatch and caught some on dries before the water came up.  It was great, and the best fishing of the day.

Today was the first day I can remember in so long that it didn’t rain.  There have only been a couple of days /trips like that the past two months it has rained that much.  Pretty incredible.  We caught a mix of rainbows and browns but the better fish were browns….and caught them on the surface.  It was a great morning.


About midday we got out of the river and headed up river for a short float….it would be very short as the guys had to be off the water by 3/3:30.  So we just hit a couple of spots.  Swinging flies worked best as the hatch had not yet gotten going.  Had them back to the ramp a little after 330pm and got a text from several folks (anglers and guides) indicating a blanket hatch up top on the upper river.  We should have stayed later but maybe next time.  Great day anyway.

On June 22, I guided Brian Fitzgerald, and  Dr Mike Lanning, Thomasville, NC,  on the TN tailwaters.  We had another day of heavy downpours, all day rain ahead of Tropical Storm Cindy, man was it wet.  An abbreviated report  both pics and report as the rain was so intense at times it was hard to get pics….and I got in pretty late as well.

We did pretty well nymph fishing drop shot rigs to start, then as fish started to rise we transitioned to dry flies and did quite well, scoring a good many fish on dries.  Mike put an 18-19″ brown in the boat, a fine fish and a tough one to land on 6X on high water.


We fished through several pods of fish, they were tougher than in days past, but got on one pod at the end that Brian worked over pretty good nailing several nice fish out of it.  Great day , even if it was wet….. some time soon all this rain is going to come to an end and we’ll go to the other extreme….dry as a bone!  Always seems to be that way anyway.

On June 23, I guided a father and son trip….. David & Davis Dow, Greensboro, NC,  on both TN tailwaters, we did a 1/2 day wade on the Watauga to start, and caught probably 15 fish, mostly browns with Davis, David’s 13yr old son nailing the best one, a brown of about 14 inches.

We had a nice lunch streamside about 1pm, then headed over to the South Holston for a 1/2 day float to take in the sulphur hatch.  The weather was better, and surprisingly we missed some of the heavy rain, and caught a break from the heavy rain overnight and the heavy rain that was to return after we finished.

We had a great hatch, and had a blast casting to rising fish.  Davis caught his first wild, rising, dry fly browns, and we did pretty good on some tough fish.  Ironically, we did best on the toughest spots….not what I would have guessed.  But that is the way it went.

We fished to risers downriver to the last spot they usually rise.  Davis caught probably 5 more fish, a couple of browns in the 13″ range.  Great day , it was nice to have a break from fishing in the rain…

On June 24 I had scheduled a guided trip with a longtime client and WFU professor Sandeep Mazumder, Winston-Salem, NC, a group trip and we postponed and rescheduled for fall as  high muddy conditions where we were going due to continued storms/heavy rain.  Many areas missed the brunt of Tropical Storm Cindy’s remnants, but not all places.  It was possible to have heavy rain in one county and absolutely nothing in another.  But it did go where we had planned to do our trip.

On Monday June 26 I guided Brian & John Pratt, Burlington, NC.  We spent the entire day on the South Holston, and did a half day wade and half day float and had a great day, nailing about 30 to 40 fish early wade fishing.

Caught fish on midges, bwos, and sulphurs, the fish were on the munch enjoying some low flows for a change.  One thing is sure, the fish are fat and healthy after all the high flows of spring and early summer so far.  Often you’ll hear “I hope all this high water doesn’t bother the fishing…or mess some things up…”.  Friend, never believe that.  They eat often and well when its high, and the fish right now we are catching are obviously eating very well.  Some of the smaller fish are like footballs….an eight to 10 inch fish with a gut.


We fished some til about 120pm and then stopped for a lunch break. We went up river and floated the upper Soho and the hatch finally came about 3 or 330pm and it was good for about 3 hours.  We fished to rising fish for that time and caught a good many browns and rainbows, and put a great exclamation point on a near perfect day.

70sF, light wind, partly sunny, and zero humidity all while surrounded by rising brown trout eating our dry flies.  Perfect as it gets.  A 50 fish plus day in near perfect weather.  We fished down through an area I like this time of year and then floated to takeout.  Great to be able to do fishing reports again here after the laptop survived a large cup of water turning over on it.

Have spent the rest of the week celebrating my anniversary with my wonderful wife Kathy, and also beginning working on the final stuff with my folks’ estate as far as moving a bunch of stuff, doing some repair work, preparing some stuff for auction and getting a house ready to sell.  Some trips coming up later in the week and also the coming weeks will go back to really busy.  Summers going to be gone before we know it.

Have a great one…


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