Where Fly Fishing is a Professional Passion…..

Long Fish Filled Days…..

Sun. July 16, 2017 …Same summer theme its been for weeks now….long days, lots of warm weather, and a ton of fish.  The past week has been a mixed bag both in terms of location and species.  I started off the week doing two smallmouth floats, and finished up the week with three trout trips.  Busy week, and great fishing.  And while we’ve continued our streak of getting rained on on our trout trips….to the tune of 95% of the last two months…. it wasn’t as wet as in weeks’ past and we fished right through all of it.  Great fishing also…… With warmer temps and rain lessening water levels are falling .  This is good news for smallmouth fly anglers, and also good news for those who delight in low water fishing with terrestrials.  Both tend to be great when we have our lower water levels.

On July 10 I took my youngest son Josh & Justin Iocona, Stokesdale, NC, VA on a New R smallmouth float.  Got an early start with the heat, and caught some fish to start, including a couple that would be the best ones of the day. Caught a good many fish on top today.

That is just turning on, and flow was at 2900cfs….the topwater fishing will do nothing but get red hot with flows being reduced. The guys fished hard and we fished til dusk, making to takeout…good day, probably 35 smallmouth on the float trip today…..and with the river dropping the excellent popper fishing when the damsels get active….the fishing the river is known for…. the popper fishing will only get better and better.

On Tuesday July 11, I did a guided  2 boat trip, Jim Noble Group, Charlotte, NC, Va New R Smallmouth Float, two boat float trip with Jim Noble, JP Grice, Joe Haubenhofer, and Bo Buxton….we put the boats in and immediately , caught a few small smallies to start and worked our way downstream to a favorite spot of mine. Both Joe and Bo got a really good one, probably best ones of the day.

We worked our way downriver and caught some more on poppers. Joe had three musky follows and caught two very nice  fish. We took a break and had lunch on a mid river bar and after lunch we continued down the river and spent the afternoon throwing poppers and did pretty well.

Lots of bass on top, and lots of surface feeding activity. And its just now really turning on. We did well scoring probably 40 to 50 smallmouths and 1 musky….and Joe had one other musky hooked that he played for a while until the hook pulled free. We arrived to takeout just before dusk. Great day…..and this fishing will only get better.

On July 12 and 13 I guided trips, combination wade/float trips with Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, Bob Schwirzke, Fayetteville , NC, on the TN tailwaters.   We had a great two days we wade fished mornings on both days and it was a little slow the first morning but we had a killer afternoon float and caught a gazillion fish on dries, a 15 or so fish morning ended with a few dry fly browns.

The afternoon float was amazing, we got a great hatch and had rising fish almost the entire time scoring many nice browns up to 17″ and some rainbows to 15″. I lost count of the fish we caught, and we scored several doubles….two fish on at the same time. We got out again on Thursday and had a much better morning, scoring some more nice browns and rainbows on a mix of midges, bwos, sulphurs, etc.


Low water fishing was pretty good and they were running morning pulses and afternoon generation. Morning fishing we probably scored 30 -35 fish. The fishing was again excellent, we got into more fish way downriver which sometimes happens on an earlier release.

They started at noon so we delayed our put in til 2pm in an effort to just focus on dry fly fishing. It paid off, we had bugs by 430pm and it was steady the rest of the way. Got into quite a few more fish downriver than we had in the past. It was great. Probably another 30 to 35 fish in the boat. Great two days …..fairly typical for July though.

That’s why folks shouldn’t look past summer fishing thinking its too hot. That ‘s one thing great about tailwaters…..its never too hot.   So if you are thinking there’s no opportunity to catch trout in the long hot summers we have then you need to rethink that….not only do we have great opportunities in more than a handful of places some of it is as good as you will find all year long.  Why wait?

On Friday 7/14 I guided a wade fishing trip with David Slaydon, Greensboro, NC, Bob Stanford, Greensboro, NC, TN tailwaters – South Holston, and had a great morning in stormy weather/threatening weather that stayed with us most of the day. Showers, then sun, then thunder, then a short downpour, that was our day or at least most of it. We did well in an area I fish a lot but have not fished in a while.

With no generation and three pulses, the river was quite crowded so we opted to wade fish and did pretty well. Bob scored the first several fish including several nice browns as we fished dry/dropper rigs in some challenging flat water. We moved up to a spot and David then got in on the action, scoring a pile of nice browns in a deep slot that always holds nice fish.

We sight fished for probably 4 hours and did very well, I guess we netted probably 30-35 fish or so over that time and several browns in the 17 to 18″ range and one fish, the largest that was close to 19″. We used a variety of micropatterns…… Bob stepped above us and nailed several as well, some of them on a sulphur emerger. The pulse was to come through about 130pm or so, so we took a lunch break with storms threatening and had lunch…then returned to the river during the pulse and a building thunderstorm and there were rising fish….something that always seems to happen during the pulse.

We managed several nice fish on dries that we would see rise, dust the fly, and present to the fish. For about a half hour every riser we cast to ate the fly. David scored several nice browns…..We left that spot and headed upriver in hopes of catching the pulse again and we did.

Caught some decent fish on dries there, Bob scored a good many on dry flies and David scored a nice rainbow…..before we decided to call it a day at 750pm or so. Great day, even if we had to really work for them, I still think we put 40 to 50 fish in the net…..pretty good on any water, let alone the fabled South Holston that humbles many a soul.

Hope your weekend was grand, we have a busy week coming up with a guided trip on the TN tailwaters on Monday and will be guiding Roger Hixson and Dan Rominger, then unavailable for a couple of days , then starting up again on Thursday and trips Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Should be another great week.

Some info on the South Holston Dam upgrade project is as follows….

A major update to the South Holston River Dam turbine is scheduled from July 2017 through March 2018, according to James Everett, P.E., RFC Ops Support for TVA River Management. The current turbine is 67 years old and the original to the dam. TVA will be replacing this turbine with a new and more efficient model.

This project will require TVA to manually operate downstream flows during the project. As most anglers are aware, the rate and time for downstream flow rates depend on energy demand and weather conditions; during the project only weather will be a concern. However, the plan is to provide 4 to 5 days during the week of flow between 1200-1500 cfs and 2 to 3 days on the weekends with no more than 400 cfs. Flow rates between 400 cfs and 1200 cfs are to be avoided because of oscillation affect on the weir dam.

Although all the details have not been refined, TVA will be providing notice of anticipated flow rates on their mobile app and using the siren at the weir dam when higher flow rates are coming.

TVA will be monitoring water temperatures downstream during the entire project operation as well as levels of Magnesium (Mg). At the lower elevations within the lake from which the water is to be drawn, there are higher levels of Mg. As needed TVA will use high elevation of lake water to mix with the discharge in order to dilute the Mg. TVA biologist, Dennis Baxter in involved with this part of the project.

That is the current scoop…..and yes we’ll keep updating this info and YES we will fish through all of this with no interruption.

Have a great week….


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