Made to the Watauga two weeks in a row. I had a regular customer, Ken, who had just purchased a new Orvis Zero Gravity Helios, this rod has been getting crazy reviews. Ken had never fished the Watauga or out of a boat. He purchased the rod to take out west this summer. I didn’t think the rod should sit in the closet until his Montana trip, so I invited him to go fish the Watauga from Dong’s drift boat. Also along for the ride was Clay Aalders Owner/Guide of Smoky Mountain Gillies. Clay hasn’t been guiding much because of the weather, so we’ve had the opportunity to fish together quite a bit.
The day started out really cold and unfortunately stayed that way. We were busting ice off of the guides untill about 1pm. Luckily the wind wasn’t howling and the sun would poke through the clouds a little giving us a short burst of warmth. We started fishing around 9:30am and I worked the boat fairly quickly down to the the old River Ridge campground, so that we could get out and do a little wade fishing.
Once down to the River Ridge area, Clay and Ken quickly began picking up fish on caddis pupa patterns. Fish ranged from 10 to 14 inches. We all consistently hooked fish for about 2 hours before moving down stream a little to the Caddis riffles. When we got down to the Caddis riffles we noticed one boat parked on top of them. Not usually a bad sign, but this boat had passed us almost 2 hours prior, so I’m sure the hammered the fish. All the same we stopped to fish it anyways.
I didn’t expect the fising to be off the hook, but to my surprise we all started catching fish. Both Ken and myself caught our biggest fish and we had a double. To add to the excitement, Clay completed his slam. I guess the group before us hadn’t spooked the fish as bad as I and feared. Fishing the rest of the day was a little slow, but I think everyone had already had a banner day and the rest was icing on the cake.
The flies of the day were Rubber Legged Copper John, IKO Caddis Pupa, and Cased Caddis. Fish to boat were in the 60 range and 10 to 16 inches. Another good day on the water with better friends.