Thursday, Jan 18, 2018…. Another shot of cold and another big snow event that took all the weather folks by surprise. I had a feeling it was going to be a big one, it developed the way those always do, tons of artic air blowing in from the NW….a Low situated over the Ohio Valley….all moving to us and then another low forming just SE of Charlotte. What does that mean? Plenty of cold air in place, an already frozen ground, and lots of moisture to work with. Snow. Lots more than forecast. Which is great for our water levels everywhere…..even if it squelches some fishing plans here and there.
We ended up with close to a foot, 8 to 9 inches more than what they were calling for. I had a brief window of a few hours in which to get out and do a bit of local fishing at one of our lakes. One favorite spot in winter offers shots at sightfishing cruising largemouths, lots of them, as they bust bait balls of shad. I tie some special flies and 90 degree jigflies for this fishing and they are sometimes lethal on these fish.
Sometimes I catch up near the top, on top, sometimes deep….but often times you can see fish as they are cruising around waiting for the right moment to ambush the balls of cruising shad. Its a hoot…..especially in my own backyard practically and in any kind of weather.
The fish do this every winter. This particular lake has a warm water discharge from Duke Energy’s power station so the water in the main lake is absolute gin clear (you can see down 20ft) and its in the upper 60sF to around 70F…balmy for mid January. I like to fish where one of the main creeks enters the lake …..and the water is a little turbid or dingy. Where that stained and cold 37-40F water meets the main lake the shad hang out and hide in the turbidity while the largemouths cruise the mixing area where the bait is. Some times you’ll have eruptions on the surface with shad….and largemouths…some up to 6lbs going in all directions. Not a bad plan ‘B’ for fishing if things are nasty up the hill in the mtns.
Looks like the thaw happens slowly today. With lows in the single digits last night and teens in the nights to come it will take a few days to get rid of the snow and ice. River flows will be great in the high country and improving conditions and good fishing to come. Will it be by Friday or Saturday? I’d doubt it because its still so cold at night so the thaw will take a few days but certainly by Monday I’d say yes. Gotta go to know.
Our tailwaters do and will continue to be a good place to fish til then, after then, always. Period.
Have a great one…
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January 15, 2018 ….Our first post of 2018, its been a cold and slow time here in the Appalachians. We’ve been out some, probably more than a lot of folks, but its been very cold. Historic , in fact. We had one 8 day period that was as cold as anytime the past century. During those 8 days the night time lows were in the low single digits (0 to 4F) and highs below 20F. We have cold winter weather but we usually don’t see it quite that cold for more than a few days at a time. It was below average cold for two weeks before that period, and for a week afterward. We had a slight warmup, but another cold shot tommorrow coming and some snow too.
We have been fishing though….you can check out our most recent reports here on our website fishing reports page… Alot going on otherwise preparing for the 2018 season. No shortage of stuff to do, trip planning, making some repairs to boats and equipment, tying flies….any day we aren’t on the water we are doing tons of stuff. So much goes into a year of trips that there’s a lot to take care of.
Our son Ben recently fished a captains /guides tournament in Wilmington, NC, put on by the Cape Fear River Watch..it is a guides tournament and Capt Ben and his guys (Capt Jon Huff, Arlen Ash) won the event….and won all categories including largest fish, most fish tagged, and largest two fish aggregate.
Here is the scoop for local fishing….
For the most part winter has had a tight grip on us….we’ve had bitter cold temperatures, bitter wind chills, and all waters except our tailwaters (Smith/South Holston/Watauga/Clinch) choked with ice if not completely frozen over to the point of completely unfishable. In fact, that would describe most waters in the area. Simply no other way to state it. We had a couple days above freezing, and some of the ice broke up, and we got some rain, but waters are super chilly with a lot of ice floating in them. Common sense should be used fishing anytime its this cold, and if you have trouble with footing, or are less fleet on your feet than you used to be, wait til it warms up. One slip and in the drink and you could be chilled in seconds and be subject to hypothermia. But if that’s not the case, and many folks do fish in this weather and do fine, then take your time…plan your arrival time later, bring something warm to enjoy when you take a lunch break, and get out of the water and walk often.
Most of our mid and low elevation rivers are a mix of flowing riffs with pools that are a 1/3 to 1/2 frozen across. One thing you’ll notice, on rivers with fewer fast rapids/runs/riffles, and mostly gently water….those are the first to freeze and last to thaw. One of the challenges is finding enough open water where you can even get a drift….what makes it more difficult is fish are in slower water right now…and guess what water surface freezes up first? The slower water. Downsize your flies, tippet, and make slow, deliberate presentations. Where you find one fish you usually find more.
On our smaller and higher elevation waters wait for a warm up. Not even an ice ax or auger would do you good here. The smaller streams (wild waters) are the last place we recommend fishing in winter. Especially in bitter cold.
Our Delayed Harvest waters will fish well even in bitter cold, but like the above it depends on how much open water you can find. Front slope drainages thaw fairly quick, but be prepared to find one river fishable and another closeby not so. You have to search til you find open water. Stocked fish aren’t as lethargic, but they still hit slow and you’ll want to have some smaller flies and search for fish in slower/deeper water. Where you find one you’ll find more.
Tailwaters….business as usual. Nymphing with a few olives and midges.
Stay warm! Looks like two more days of this weather…at least through Wednesday/Thursday then we’ll get a significant warm up.
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Fri. December 15, 2017….Its been a while since I last posted. But catching up this week, we had a great fall of fishing and winter fishing is here, even if its not officially winter yet. Or at least that is what the calendar will tell you. December 21 is first day of winter, and also the shortest day of the year in our hemisphere…hence the name “Winter Solstice.” But I look at that as something created by man….its just a date, just a suggestion…not fact. Just like so many things. Truth is, we’ve had winter for some time.
We had deep winter this week….and I have been out in it everyday. I had a trip scheduled for last Saturday, and ended up postponing it….due to heavy snow in the area where we were headed. 14 inches of it, high winds, temps in the 20sF. We elected to do another day. I’d have done it , but not everyone’s cup of tea to spend hours driving in it, hours fishing in it, then driving back in it. I do it all the time, have done it all the time. It makes memories for sure and caught lots of fish doing it. Big fish.
Great week of fishing though. Started Monday 12-11-2017 guiding a friend and longtime client Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, and our plan was to fish the TN tailwaters and find some dry fly fishing and then also do some floating and throwing some streamers. Flows were reduced to the point (465) that we had decidedly more of one than the other and we opted to do all wading instead.
We also had more cold and snow, lots of snow in the high country, it started out really cold, and was chilly all day but bearable. We had hoped to get in some dry fly fishing, and expected to get in some in the afternoon with some olives, but we had rising fish right from the start. We caught fish on bwos, my cdc sparkle emerger, then caught a few on dry dropper rigs with midge droppers.
Then we switched back to dries and nailed a ton of fish , it was game on all afternoon….the dry fly fishing was so good we never stopped for lunch. It was incredible, as good as it can be in the summer. Ted probably landed 50 or more on dries, a lot of them quality browns. When the sun started sinking low at 445pm, we switched over to a double nymph rig, a tunghead caddis larva with a spawn fly fished below it.
Netted another twenty or so, many quality browns on the rig too. We fished til dusk and called it a day….it was a phenomenal day. There was more snow forecast for Tuesday, a quick shot clipper system, and I thought things could be interesting. Calling for cold and wind too, definitely ran most folks off the river. Not us.
On Tuesday 12-12 definitely more cold and snow in the forecast…and that is exactly what we got. Bitter cold, wind, driving snow and sleet, a bitter raw day and only one other person one entire section of river we were on and he only stayed 15 minutes. We fished to rising fish from the time we got in the water at 845am til the time we quit around 415pm. So good we never stopped for lunch. Either day.
It was outstanding dry fly fishing ….bwo spinners and then a blanket bwo hatch. At least 50 fish in the net and all on a couple of my tiny dry fly patterns….a CDC blue wing skinny and a CDC Sparkle tail. A great day to be sure. After fishing I headed back through moderate to heavy snow most of the way back. Quite a nail biter in traffic towing a boat… Another big shot of snow and cold for the mtns (East TN, SW Va, and NW NC).
On Wednedsay 12-13-2017 I guided a trip with longtime friend Brad Ball, Greensboro, NC, and we fished the NC Mtns, another bitter cold night and cold day today, overnight snow and temps were really chilly. Areas that didn’t get more snow last night (much of our mtns did) already had up to a foot/14 inches in spots. Couple all that snow lying around, temps in the teens and 20sF, and a stiff wind and it was really cold, ice in the guides, and on the rod tip such that you had totally quit fishing and deal with the ice.
Fortunately where we were a lot of the snow nearest the river had melted…which put water that was barely above freezing in the river. We still caught plenty of fish. We fished double nymph rigs, and where we fished is stonefly water and among our favorites as far as nymphs is a 20 Incher Stone nymph….plus other stonefly nymphs…simply put they work. We used a variety of caddis larvae, midge droppers, and eggs and spawn flies.
Put probably 35 or so in the net, we fished til 330pm and called it a day as it was getting really chilly again. Caught rainbows and browns, and some of the rainbows were fantastic. A couple were really nice fish. Good day in some not so great temps but hey, its winter right? A lot of the best fishing people miss because they don’t want to try it in the cold. Those who do try it are
surprised shocked to learn how good it can be. The standard response …”I had no idea….”.
On Thursday 12-14-2017 I guided Trip, Steve Krasicky, Greensboro, NC, and his client Tiaan Kruger, and for Tiaan, who is from South Africa originally but who lives in Raleigh now, it was his first time fly fishing. After stopping at two different spots and finding perfect winter conditions totally frozen conditions —we moved on to plan C. I mean where I’d planned on fishing was frozen bank to bank with the only free flowing water in the fastest riffles.
So we went on to plan C and it paid off. We found some clear water, enough ice free to fish and did very well. We nymph fished all day, as you’d expect on a day like today for the most part , at least on a small stream. We had cold temps, snow on the ground, a stiff breeze at times, but we put in the effort and were rewarded with over 60 fish in the net.
Landed several large rainbows over 20″….. Tiaan’s first day was a success I’d say, as he landed 36 fish and hooked or played many others that got off. That’s a great day anywhere. Fishing has been good the past week and today was no exception…..and as most of the week we had the water totally COMPLETELY to ourselves. Want to learn how to successfully fish in cold weather? I can show you how….We have a good many openings coming up…let’s go fly fishing!
Have another icebox trip guiding longtime client Jim Kramer for tomorrow ( 12-16) and we’ll hopefully still have clear water to fish. Looks like a brief mild up, if you can call it that, so a lot of that snow will be melting hopefully. That provides our water flows during dry or really cold spells and for that reason I’ll never complain about snow. We need it, it does a great job recharging groundwater.
Have a great weekend…..Merry Christmas!
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Mon. Aug 21, 2017 ….Just returning from Wyoming after two weeks out there. It was just as I left it last time. Wild. Wild as ever. Always amazes me even after over 25 years of spending a few weeks out there every summer its full of new experiences and surprises. This trip was no different. Well, it was a little different. In two respects.
One, I did a different type of trip focusing on wade fishing several areas I know of and have fished for decades. We covered a lot of ground. 2700 miles worth in fact, most of it through wilderness areas miles from civilization and any paved roads. It makes you realize how many wide open wilderness spaces we have. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We have plenty of wilderness.
Two, I did the trip without the backcountry horsepack part of it. As some may recall, the outfitter Josh Roth, friend and fellow guide/outfitter that I did trips with for the past decade died tragically in an avalanche back in February. An expert snowmobiler/pro rider with Rasmussen, Josh spent a lot of time in the backcountry and in the snow. We had record snows this winter, and a brief warm period followed by some rain destabilized the snow pack in many areas causing a record number of avalanches. One of them claimed his life. It was tough in that respect doing it this year without him. He is terribly missed. A great friend and guide, and he was a favorite of my clients.
We covered a lot of ground, here is a brief breakdown of our trip…..on the trip with me were Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, and Dr Pat Burney, Greensboro, NC. Here is how our trip played out….
fished on the Jakey’s Fork and caught a few, then moved to the upper Wind R , which is also the Bighorn River (becomes it below Riverton) where we got into a good many Yellowstone cutthroats. Good dry fly fishing, landed about 30 cutts, one rainbow, one brown, one whitey. It was nice but we remained in a daily thunderstorm pattern and today would prove no different. Great fishing between downpours. Chilly as well when the clouds were over us, warm and nice when they weren’t. Had a great dinner at the Rustic Pine Steakhouse with a Wyoming steak…..the real deal. Great end to a great day. Fly of choice was a Hippie Stomper, a cuttie favorite.
Did some high mountain lake fishing for cruising cutthroats , we fished one lake right at the tree line and caught a few nice cutthroats on midge pupa and wooly buggers. There were a ton of cruising fish, some of them we caught fishing deep with a sink tip line and wooly bugger, a fly I have used for years called a Jeff’s Favorite…basically a weighted wooly bugger with a black pearl krystal flash body. The cruising fish we caught sight fishing them with the same midge pupa patterns I use on the South Holston and Watauga. If you could see a cuttie, cast ahead of him, we were getting almost every one that was accurately cast to. We then ended up taking a lunch break, and fished a high meadow stream in grizzly country (didn’t forget the bear spray) near Togwotee Pass, a small stream that tumbles off the meadow at around 10000ft. We had great fishing, even some rising fish, as the weather was uncharacteristically cloudy and cool and we got a Baetis /BWO hatch. Killed them on dry flies, caught a ton of fish and Ted the best one, a 17″ brightly colored Snake River Finespotted Cutthroat. We probably landed over 60 fish total and then hit one more spot, a different stream that comes out of Brooks Lake….a well known and fantastic cutthroat lake that lies right in the middle of grizzly land. With fading light we managed about a half dozen brook trout and one nice cutthroat and missed a couple of others. All on dry flies no less….. Ended up having a great meal at Cowboy Cafe in Dubois, WY, where some Blackberry BBQ Ribs and Country Fried Steak were the specials….and they were great. Weather was all over the place, nice and warm /sunny interrupted with chilly, windy , and wet periods. Weird weather for summer in Wyoming, even more when its in a high mtn desert like we were fishing in. Best flies were the Hippie Stomper, a tan Schroeder Para Hopper, and a double Adams rig with a 12 point fly and 18 rear fly.
Had a hearty breakfast Village Cafe and then headed up to fish the upper East Fork of the Wind drainage, an area I love for its remote location and very unusual beauty. It flows between the sagebrush covered mtns and hills to the southwest and the painted hills (red sandstone cliffs) that mark the beginning of the Wind River Indian Reservation. Once again we had great fishing fishing a small and little known trib of the East Fork of the Wind near Shoshone National Forest. The fishing was lights out, fantastic, with tons of quality fish up to 22.5-23 inches. Again, it was all dry fly fishing, every good pocket and run held a fish, and it was all Yellowstone cutthroats. Ted won the numbers with somewhere between 30 and 40 fish while Pat landed the largest one, a fish of 22-23 inches. Again all dries, it was stellar. We ate a late lunch, then headed to the upper end of the stream and caught a few more cutthroats, some good fish up to 16″. A downpour that was visible from a distance had dumped a good amount of rain on the headwaters and the water began to get incredibly off color. Eventually it turned dirty/muddy. We then hopped back in the SUV and headed back down to where we were but by then the dirty water had made its way downstream effectively ending the great fishing we had experienced. We ended up getting in the SUV and heading over to the headwaters of the Buffalo River, getting in a fishing a one mile meadow stretch. Fishing was great here, we landed another 25 to 30 fish or so. The Double Adams was the rig. Todays best flies were the Hippie Stomper, Adams Parachutes, and small red and tan para hoppers. We had another outstanding dinner at Nostalgia Bistro Restaurant , topping off a good day with a great meal.
After a hearty breakfast at the Cowboy Cafe, we headed out to fish the forks of the East Wind. Overnight we had some heavy rain so when we got to the river it was up and wading was a little tough. We fished a 3/4 mile stretch and landed several cutthroats, a brown or two, and several whiteys (whitefish). Decided to look at Bear Creek and it was high and dirty, as well as the Wind and East Fork of the Wind. We ended up going back up to the Brooks Creek and caught a few brook trout, then over to Blackrock and caught a few cutties….all on dry flies again. We had good fishing all the way to about 8pm. We left and decided to go have dinner, a great dinner at Grizzly Grill. Excellent again as we had steaks and salads…pretty good stuff after a long day of fishing. Best flies again today were the Adams, also caught a few on hoppers.
We rose early, and headed back to Jackson where we ate a great breakfast at the Virginian. Then we headed down and did a 25 mile trek across the Green River valley and fished about 2 miles of water on one of the Green River tribs in the Cottonwoods that flows out of Bridger National Forest. We caught a few cutts and brook trout on Hippie stompers, para hoppers, Adams, and PMDS. We fished til about lunch time and probably landed 15 fish, then headed over a few miles to the other fork and caught one cutthroat. Fishing was a little slow there, very suprising given the good fishing we found the day before. So we headed back to where we started and almost right away got into more fish, including several nice cutthroats and a bunch of smaller ones.. probably landed 35-40 total and Ted with the nicest one at 16″. We fished til about 7pm and called it day . One additional highlight was the moose we saw in the meadow where we were fishing. Saw lots of antelope as well, and they were all over. I don’t think there was a single day we didn’t see some antelope. Enjoyed another great dinner at the Bear’s Den Restaurant at Daniel Junction, some of which included Pork Schnitzel….and I sampled the Grilled chicken tortellini which was excellent. We then headed back to Hoback Canyon where we were staying. Pretty good day, and back to awesome weather Im used to in WY.
We got up bright and early, had a quick breakfast from the local market, then headed out to fish the upper portion of the same stream we started on yesterday morning. Fishing was way better this time, we landed a ton of fish, lots of cutthroats and a few brookies and all on dry flies again. Pat and Ted probably landed around 40 or more fish before we took a lunch break. The weather was great, the only hitch was the western hopper wind that was blowing to 25mph+ at times. But it didn’t bother the fishing, even if it made casting a little tough at times. We ended up hitting another lower stretch of the stream, and it was the same there. A good many fish and Ted topped it off with a stunning cutthroat of about 18 inches. We left there and headed over to the other fork of the stream and ended up catching another 20 brook trout on dries and a lone cutthroat. Same flies but the Adams was king today. Size 12 and 14 and occasionally an 18. Worked like a charm matching the gray “drakes” that were coming off. Had another great evening meal at the Bears Den at Daniel Junction and back to the cabin in Hoback Canyon pretty late. Ted packed up and had an early morning flight to catch.
Ted and I were up at 430am and to the Jackson airport so he could catch his flight home. Got there without a hitch and then I headed back to put lunch together and get stuff together for the day’s fishing. Gas up the vehicle, make sure you have plenty of water/drinks, ice, etc. (normal must haves out here)…that was what I did daily. I picked up Pat at his cabin and we had a quick breakfast from the market. Then we headed up the Hoback Canyon for the day. We started out with some of the same dries that had worked all week and just as the Adams had performed all week it did a fine job again, netting Pat many nice cutthroats up to 16″. We worked our way through several slide areas where spring avalanches and mudslides had occurred, and in some places had to rock hop and work our way slowly through tangles of downed pines. It was like combat fishing, but we did very well. I think Pat ended up with between 30 and 40 cutthroats, all on dries. In most places the Adams or Adams rig worked well, and in places where we had a large fish rise and we’d miss him or places I knew there were some good fish we’d change to a Schroeder Para Hopper tan. More often than not we’d get the fish to eat, and caught a bunch of good ones on the Schro hopper. We skipped lunch and eventually headed back down, hitting some of the better holes again with a different fly. Pat caught a handful more, and nailed one fish that was in the 18 to 20 inch range on a black Mormon cricket….a fish that had earlier risen to the fly but that Pat had missed on the hookset. He got another shot and hooked the fish but it shot under the willow undercut and got into the tangle of roots and broke him off. Easily the fish of the day if it had come to net. On that one we walked back , took a shot at one more spot, then called it a day and walked back. Walked about 3 miles over rough terrain and I think we were both exhausted. Good day though, and we ended it with a good meal at the Branding Iron Cafe with fish and chips and a shrimp basket. Great day, flies of the day again were Adams paras and tan Schroeder hoppers. The black mormon cricket also caught several fish.
This is an abbreviated report , mainly due to time and travel constraints. We also were “off the grid” to the point that most of the time we had no internet service, cell service, etc. We have ,many, many more pics on the main fishing reports page of the website here . You can also visit that report by clicking the link below….
A great trip, we’ll be doing two trips next year. If anyone is interested in joining me in 2018 in Wyoming now is the time to start planning. We start a year in advance with the trip and plan all year for it. 2018 should be another great year for sure.
Have a busy week with some float trips, one on Tuesday with Dr Ken Karb, Greensboro, NC. We will be floating the New R for smallmouth. Wednesday and Thursday I have two TN tailwaters float trips, and Friday I’ll be taking off. Saturday I round out the week with some lessons.
Great week in front of us, looking at a slight cool down midweek and some rain. Everything is pointing to a great fall. If we keep getting rain its going to be a great one for sure.
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Fri. July 28, 2017 …Been several days since I have posted a report. Putting in a lot of really long days, before sunup til 10pm…seems to be the thing once the dog days of summer arrive. I have been doing a lot of wading and floating on the tailwaters, and doing a good bit of smallmouth fishing too. Topwater fishing and dry fly fishing has been stellar, and that is normal summer stuff. Had some really good days lately. The small streams got a shot of rain the past few days and that should improve things on that front. Areawide rains of 3/4″ up to isolated 2 and 3″ amounts have provided some needed rain. Combine that with a cool down coming ….some of which will include some record lows for late July/early August…. Have a few days more of trips and then will be heading to Wyoming on Aug 9. Here is a rundown of the past week or so of trips…
On July 20 I did a guided trip, David & Alicia Horky, Greensboro, NC, Va Smallmouth float trip, we did a 6.5 mile float and had a good day catching smallmouth on top, caught the majority of our fish on topwater, with a few on streamers also. We also about half way through the float had a shot at a musky who gave us a brief look. Great day, hot as blazes…which is normal stuff for July and Aug in the Appalachians.
On July 21 I did a guided trip, Curtis Reeves, Archdale, NC, TN tailwaters, good day, hot as blazes again with a heavy storm/downpour early afternoon…..wet again…..as usual. We spent most of the day sight fishing, probably put 15 or so in the net. Caught them mostly on a mixture of midge patterns…and we got a couple large fish. Several quality fish, we wade fished low water and finished up when the water came up on us down in Lakeview. In late again….beginning to see a pattern here….lol.
I did a July 22 guided trip, Ian & Jake Craig, High Point, NC, Va smallmouth float trip, met Ian and Jake bright and early and we hit the New River for smallmouth. Did a 7.5 mile float today, today had to be one of the hottest floats I have ever done. Bright sun, temps in the 90sF, and strangely a wind of 25 to 35 most of the day and which at times would gust to 40 plus. It was hard to keep us going down river at times. That definitely affected the fishing, we still caught maybe 20-25 smallies, redeyes, redbreast, and had one huge smallmouth on at the beginning which if landed would have been in the 6lb range…and it was on topwater. We all gasped when it surfaced and leapt and then leapt again and came loose. It was one of those shock and awe moments…..a true trophy on and gone and it happened so quickly it left us shaking our heads as to what just happened. We had just nailed several on top right before that and it would have not only been fish of the day but fish of the year so far on the New for me or a client. We fished through til about 430pm or so and called it a day. It was blazing hot, and the wind dried us out pretty good….it was a hot wind. We had put in 10 hours already so it was probably a good call. A cold front is pushing down on us and the wind was from that and the thunderstorms, which were around us but never came to us.
July 24-25 I took some time to perform site maintenance on our website, shopping cart, fishing report site, tying site, blog, etc., some pages of our several sites may work in a limited capacity until we are finished with maintenance. Quite a chore for sure, but a “few times a year” must to keep things updated properly.
On July 26 I guided a float trip, Ron Davis, Ed Wilson, Winston-Salem, NC, TN tailwater float, we did the upper Soho float and did well, getting into some excellent dry fly fishing and a pretty good sulphur hatch. Got in very late as I didn’t get off the river til 9:40pm but it was great…. Ron has fishing this type of fishing a lot and caught a bunch of fish… Ed got his first taste of tailwater floating and dry fly fishing here and caught a good number of browns….all browns in fact. The great dry fly action continues for yet another day.
On July 27 I did a guided float trip, Ted Linczak and his client, Summerville, SC, TN tailwaters wade/float or float, we started late morning and nymph fished scoring several nice rainbows and one large fish, looked like a big brown on briefly but came off after a blistering run downstream. We fished til about 130pm and then put the boat in for a float. Had two pretty good downpours and ended up having lunch under the bridge at the put in.
After a quick lunch we were off. It took a while for the fish to get cranked up but by 345pm we had rising fish and that would increase in intensity very quickly and we soon had rising fish everywhere. Zero other folks on the water, no other boats.
Had one other boat pass in the heavy fog and rain and that was the only one we saw on the entire 5 mile float. We started hooking up on sippers right away, it was fun to powder the dry fly and within a cast or two see it get eaten. We scored several good rainbows to start, then about midway through the float we got into some great browns.
We hit a spell where every riser Ted cast to ate the dry, it was great. Scored in one spot literally 25 fish in consecutive casts…..red hot that is. That continued pretty much all the way through the next mile or so. It was awesome, I didn’t keep count but we must have been near 40 or so on dries by the time we reached the last mile of the float.
We got several heavy downpours, enough so that the handy bilge hand pump got put to use. It would rain hard, we’d have 1″ to 1 1/2″ of water in the boat, I’d pump it out, then we’d repeat. After the rain passed, the fog set in and there were times the fog was so thick you couldn’t see 50ft beyond the bow of the boat.
Near Zero visibility. With one last rapid to run, we decided to call it a day and head to the takeout. Great day, phenomenal dry fly fishing, about as good as it gets. And had it all to ourselves. Another long day though, by the time we took the boat out, I took Ted back to his vehicle, and was getting something to eat and settling in it was 1030pm. Typical summer stuff though.
Will be pulling out of my place near Johnson City, TN today (July 28) and heading out to do a float pretty soon with client Bill Lathrop and his wife, they are from Atlanta, GA. We will be putting in midday for an afternoon/evening float and hopefully some dry fly fishing. Will finish up the week with a Saturday trip guiding clients Dr Shanker Polsani, Winston-Salem, NC, and Curtis Reeves. We will be doing a wade trip on the South Holston. The TVA is showing a 210 sluice for the weekend and will start the regular sluicing on Aug 1 due to the generator replacement project at the dam.
Continuing to prepare for the summer Wyoming stint in August. Shaping up to be a great trip, will definitely be a good time. I look forward to the lack of humidity….maybe I will finally dry out a little there….
Have a good weekend….stay dry. Great weather coming….
Posted via the Web from the rim of Boone Lake , Johnson City, TN
Tues. July 19, 2017 …. One thing is for sure, the dog days are here early. Hot, humid, and severe sun…..that seems to be the pattern now. It has been hot indeed, but so has fishing. We have continued to have great smallmouth fishing as the damsels get cranked up and water levels drop. The setup is making for some great topwater fishing, and a typical pattern….fish early and late with poppers…..and shady banks with poppers. Go deep during the day. On our trout trips we’ve been on the tailwaters alot…..they continue to fish great. The heat leaves them very much unaffected by hot weather. I’ve witnessed, guided and fished some of the best sulphur hatches in my lifetime over the past few weeks.
In fact, the best one was day before yesterday. Yes, then. Not in May and June when the ‘magic’ time, as good as it is, but July. Two days ago. There is a bizarre mix of events happening in combination that causes this to be so. On the South Holston, we get release schedules where we have one pulse (1hr release of 1300-1400 cfs) early am like 1 or 2 am…..then another at 9am…..then full release at 3 or 4pm. This produces water temps in mid 50s shortly after 9am….then the blazing sun and hot temps warm the dark bottom (ledges and grass) of the upper river to the low 60sF which effectively quells the hatch. Then, when water is released at 3 or 4pm, the result is a hot bottom, chilly 50 to 52F water running over it, and mixing that brings the temp into the ideal target range of 52 to 57F. Because it occurs in late afternoon/early evening when the bugs would come off anyway, you get a blanket emergence. And because of the time of day the water stays in that “ideal” range for 3 to 4 hours or more.
The result? A blanket hatch. Tons of rising fish. Tons. Some of the best dry fly fishing of the year. And on Tuesday we floated downriver in amazement that we were
one of many the only, yes the only driftboat fishing the river. 4 miles of sulphurs and rising fish all to ourselves. Some pretty good truly epic dry fly fishing.
On Monday 7/17 I guided Roger Hixson, High Point, NC, and Dan Rominger, Belews Creek, NC, and we did a morning to early afternoon wade trip and caught a good many fish, probably 30 to 35 or so , a mix of browns and rainbows on midge patterns, Lickety Splits, and sulphur dries.
Got a few sulphurs on the midday pulse but they were light. We had on a couple 20″ plus browns that broke off in addition. Fished to a fish that was over 25″ but he would not eat. We took a short break to eat lunch about 230/245pm and then put the boat in around 4pm to catch the sulphur hatch.
Within 45 minutes a blanket hatch was going strong, and we caught several fish to start on dries….on a couple of instances we had doubles. We fished through several pods of fish and caught one here , one there, and we had risers til probably 8pm or so….a common thing during hot weather and when the release doesn’t start til 4pm like it did today.
We hit a pod of risers in one last spot in the gorge section we were in and there were a ton of fish rising. Roger nailed one of the fish and it was a nice brown of about 17″. On that one we called it a day and headed for takeout with the heavy fog rolling in and the light fading. Great day , probably 40 -45 fish on the day so it was a great one.
Got a recent call from my friend and fly fishing writer/photographer Anthony Vinson Smith. I have done many projects over the years with him and he started several years ago putting together a book for fly fishing in NC. The book was released at the end of June and I just received my copy from Anthony. Its a great book full of info and great variety. The book covers destinations from the mountains to the piedmont to the coast. Some great maps, useful info on each location, and some great photographs. Anthony featured many of my fly patterns in the fly section and also did a 4 page feature, pg 78-81 on me and one of my favorite NC waters.
It is a paperback book , part of a series “No Nonsense Fly Fishing Guidebooks” and retails for $28.95. It can be purchased at Books a Million here for $24.60. You can also purchase a copy on Amazon here for $19 to $23. Anthony talks of our trip where we got into some huge rainbows on 3 weights…..great piece to read.
Have a busy rest of the week with a New River smallmouth float trip with David Horky on Thursday. Then I’ll be doing a tailwater trip with one of my regular clients Curtis Reeves. I’ll round out the week with a trip guiding Ian Craig on a New River smallmouth float trip.
All hike in waters in NC, TN, and VA fishing pretty well despite the heat. DH waters I’d look elsewhere. Smallmouth fishing is good and will continue to be so, and the only damper is that on some waters the afternoon thunderstorm game is here. Hit or miss, some folks get drenched and some remain dry as a bone. Tailwater fishing? Red hot. As good as it gets if you know where.
Also, prepping for our annual Wyoming trip….will be taking care of some final stuff and we head out on Aug 9 to Jackson Hole, WY. Waters are shaping up and it should be a good time to be in the hills there surrounded by wild cutthroats of the best kind.
Stay cool….and hydrated. This time of year you really have to drink plenty of fluids. Water is hard to beat, and go light on any caffeinated stuff. A couple of good tests are (1) you should be needing to head to the bushes once every 3 hours or so….and (2) if its difficult to spit. The second one is very telling. I spend a lot of time in open sun on the river , both wading and in a driftboat, and would say that if you feel wiped out at the end of the day, overly tired….my guess is you are more dehydrated than tired…. or rather being dehydrated is making you feel that way. Just sayin’……
Have a great one…
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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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Sun. July 9, 2017 ….That’s what its been like lately, been burning the candle at both ends as its been off the charts busy. Also busy juggling the continued settling of my parents’ estate which is both time consuming and emotionally consuming, but its all gone very well. Just things that must be done, and everyone at some point goes through that. Fishing has been off the charts though, even if we’ve endured every possibility as it relates to storms, wind, rain, you name it. The only thing it hasn’t done is snowed.
On 7-3-2017 I guided Ryan Sexton, Matthews, NC, TN tailwaters, we did a short low water float and also a high water float, morning fishing was good we netted a good many fish, a mix of browns and rainbows, with two big browns on midges. We fished til the early pm pulse passed through and took the boat out and ran upriver to try to catch the sulphur hatch.
Hatch was good, a few rising fish early then it turned on and we got about 3 hours of solid dry fly fishing. Ryan smoked them, it was fun, we caught several risers early in the float then moved on to my favorite…..sniping singles and two or three fish groups. It was like….pull up, spot a head poking out, put a cast and drift over him…..got em. I watched as Ryan did that to probably a dozen straight fish. About as good a two hour stretch of casting to fish and catching them as I’ve had all year long. It was stunning, and fun to watch.
We worked our way downstream and hit a riser here, riser there, and again, most of them hooked up on the first or second drift. Caught several solid 13 to 16″ browns, and the largest was a 17″ brown. It was great, getting them on some of my older patterns I have not used in a while. It was great. We floated to takeout as there was one large thunderstorm bearing down on us. About a half mile from takeout the bottom fell out, dumping a quick one inch of rain on us.
After celebrating the July 4th holiday with a quiet day at home with my wife and the doggies I did a 7-5-2017 trip and guided Trip, Mike Workman, Nick Sweitzer, Thomasville, NC, TN tailwaters, South Holston. We met bright and early, we got out early and did some wade fishing, caught several fish to start nymph fishing with midge and sulphur patterns . We moved downriver to a flat tailout and caught a nice fish on a beetle that was sipping on a bank, then several on dries, then several sight fishing with nymphs.
Had a couple of really large browns own that came off. We fished til about 230pm and took a short break for lunch, then put the boat in for an afternoon float…..dry or die style. That is, we committed to fishing dries and had a great afternoon and evening of dry fly fishing , with lots of nice browns and rainbows, probably 25 or more, and several really nice fish including one 21-21.5″ brown and several other large fish hooked that came off.
It was great. We had a pretty good thunderstorm threatening that broke apart , with some of it going south of us and some north, and only grazing us with some wind and light rain. We got lucky. Fished til 830pm and arrived at takeout at dusk.
Did another trip on 7-6-2017 and guided Trip, Ryan Sexton, Matthews, NC, TN tailwaters wade/float, another stellar day. Ryan always books a couple of days in July while he is vacationing for a week with the family and it was great as usual, just like our past July trips. We opted for a later start with the forecast for storms early am and rain, but they never came.
We started down near where the South Holston enters Bluff City and spent several hours nymph fishing and put several quality fish in the net, some great browns and rainbows, probably a dozen or so, not as many numbers but quality without question…landed several quality fish up to the 16/18″ range. Nymphed up two giants from one deep ledge, both fish well over 20″ that after two long blistering runs broke off. One fish appeared to be in the 24 to 25″ range. The other was smaller but close to that.
I accidentally left the phone/camera in the truck so didn’t get many pics of the first few hours….and it was too far to walk back to get it. We left that area and went upriver and fished one more spot I like that contains some deep ledges….its not an easy spot to get to or fish but we did well, nailing probably 4 more fish from there and one of the best browns of the day.
We then took a lunch break at the diner in Bluff City and went up river to float the upper river and catch the sulphur hatch. We got the hatch, caught a good many fish on dries, missed some, and had our daily downpours as usual. We had some heavy rain but thankfully no severe weather….which was a significant concern when we were fishing. Turned out ok. Another late arrival to the ramp though, we arrived right at dusk. Great two days with Ryan this week, we caught a lot of fish and some good ones.
Finished up the week on 7-8-2017 with guiding a wade trip with Anthony Hipps, Lexington, NC, Adam Harman, Kernersville, NC, TN tailwaters, we got a minimum flow schedule and I opted to wade fish the guys today even though I knew it’d be crowded, and we’d see a lot of folks. While there were a lot of folks wading, we never really fished in sight of many people and did very well.
Both float and wade fishing is excellent right now, and it should be. We had an epic day, we picked off several top shelf browns nymphing some of my favorite deep ledge pools on the middle river…..several quality fish including some 20″ plus and one that was in the 23-25″ range that managed to break off after a pretty lengthy fight. We caught a bunch of quality fish, browns and rainbows, including a very nice solitary riser that Anthony picked off on a sulphur dry.
We put probably 30 or so in the net at our first stop, had a quick tailgate lunch streamside, then headed upstream to fish the pre pulse sulphurs and post pulse. We got to the next spot and it was game on again, we managed to put probably another 30 to 35 fish in the net there, a solid mix of browns and rainbows. We caught most of those fish sight fishing some of my sulphur nymph patterns (Lickety split nymph) and midges, with lots of fish eating both. With everyone gone, we moved to one of my favorite spots in anticipation of the pulse and rigged up with dries. It came off as advertised and exactly as I thought it would be….the fish started rising right after the pulse flow reached peak and continued to do so the entire time of about and hour and a half it was falling.
Adam and Anthony smoked them on dry flies, we netted probably another 25 or more fish, many of which were quality browns. We fished til the pulse was over, caught a few more, then decided to call it a day. If the guys didn’t hit 100 today they sure came close. Im sure an epic spinner fall would have come later (near dusk) as it often does. A lot of this goes unnoticed because everyone is gone for the day……anglers and guides alike. I fish a lot til dusk or dark this time and observe this a lot…..by dusk most folks are gone.
Have another busy week ahead, Wyoming trip is coming upon us too. This week I’ll be doing two smallmouth floats to start….one with Justin Iocona and my youngest son Josh….a second one two boat float trip with Chef Jim Noble and his crew from Charlotte, NC, including QC Exclusive Magazine editor JP Grice, then two tailwater South Holston and Watauga trips with clients Ted Linczak and Bob Schwirzke, and a Friday trip on the tailwaters with clients David Slaydon and Bob Stanford. Should be a great week of fishing and reports. Great terrestrial fishing is on right now as well as the topwater smallmouth bite. Right now is the time to book a trip, for soon July is full and so will be August.
Have a great one….!
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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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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….
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