Category Archives: South Holston River

Fried Chicken and Butter

FriedChickenThere is nothing better during a long day of fishing than fried chicken and beer. This tradition started in my teens when I would canoe with my parents and friends in southern MO. I carried the tradition with me to college, which typically also included a frosty beverage or two. Ten years ago I brought this tradition with me to TN and most of my friends  have experienced it at some point or another. I’m sure this is not out of the ordinary as we are in the south. Give it a shot and add some fried chicken to your next fishing trip menu.

DrivingRainYeah, so this was a supposed to be a fishing report so let me get to that. We fished the South Holston on 11/09. I think we were as wet as the trout were as it dumped rain most of the day. Weather like this is the reason that we buy expensive wading jackets, but it isn’t fun fishing in a total down pour. The Brown Trout on the South Holston are getting ready for their annual spawning rituals and TWRA has closed the two normal spawning areas of the river. I typically don’t fish that much in the fall due to a hectic work schedule. However the opportunity arose and I figured one more streamer fishing trip before the end of the year was a good idea.

Version 2My third cast of the day would prove to haunt me for the rest of the trip.  I threw a bad cast and instead of fishing it out I tried to pick it back up and as I did the biggest brown of the day decided to eat.  I had the rod straight up in the air and when I felt her head shake twice it was over, I blew it. It seemed like slow motion, but happened in a split second. Just long enough to haunt me for the rest of the day.  I haven’t throw big streamers in quite some time so I was a little rusty, but I know better than that. You don’t get mistakes when streamer fishing, every cast must count and you have to fish every cast as if that cast is the one. When you BenBentRodstreamer fish you are fishing for the biggest fish of the day. Some days it works out but most days you blow it and miss a true monster. Those are the days that keep you coming back. They are the fish that haunt you in your sleep and are topics for many a tackle and fly tying discussions. I guess if I caught everyone it wouldn’t be fun, as hokey as it sounds it really is about the chase and the eat. I prefer to throw streamers more than anything else. I have seen some true monsters swimming in our East TN waters and the opportunity of landing one on the fly keeps me coming back.

We did catch some nice fish throughout the rest of the day, but that fist one was “The One”.

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South Holston and Streamers

I kicked off the new year to a good start. On Tuesday I made it up to the South Holston River to fish with a couple of buddies, Jake and Ben. We floated from the wier down to Weaver Pike Bridge. TVA was generating from 6 am to noon and we put on the water around 9:30am. Jake loves to throw streamers and I had dreams of catching big post spawn brown trout. We didn’t get that pig, but we caught some quality fish and had a great time. I had not been in a drift boat since before Thanksgiving and it was a needed retreat.

We had some really great follows throughout the day and saw some big fish.  Most of the time they wanted them striped fast, but other times slow and steady seemed to work good.   We never really got them dialed in, but still caught some good fish.

It’s funny how you always seem to get a hit when you least expect it.  I am usually looking around at the scenery, others may be sipping their favorite beverage or even looking for the next sweet casting spot.  Whatever your story is it always makes for some interesting hook ups.  I won’t say who did this one.

I’d like to say thank you to both Ben and Jake for a great day on the water.  Tightlines.

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Warm weather and a New Year

Warm weather is on the way! I hope everyone is planning on fishing this weekend.

I’ll be working in the shop, Orvis – Sevierville, so stick one for me. If I did have the day off I’d would hit the Smokies and fish Little River for big brownies. They should Start getting active with the rising water temps. Be careful if the water is high.

Another good option would be the South Holston or Watauga rivers. Zebra Midges, Sulphurs and Blue Wing Olives would be great choices.

Tightlines and Happy New Years!

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South Holston and Clinch March 16 thru 19, 2010

My best friend Wade came into to town for a few days to do some East Tennessee fly fishing. He had been working a bunch and really needed a break. We really lucked out with some great weather and excellent fishing. Also another buddy joined us for a couple of days from Indiana. It’s great getting on the water and sharing old stories all over again.

Wade and I have a really bad habit of planning fishing trips too early in the year and having to fight blizzards, tornado’s and severe thunderstorms. Just name it and I’m sure it has ruined at least one of our past fishing trips. The fishing gods must have been watching over us this trip as the weather got better and better.

Day one and two we headed up to the South Holston. The blue wings and black flies had been hatching in abundance. We got up early, ran into traffic, but made it on the water by 10:00am. Nymph fishing started the day off until the dry fly fishing got good and we switched to a blue wing with a black fly dropper.

We stayed at Holston Castaways, which gave us access to some great wade fishing water. Check out their website at Holston Castaways. They are great people and have really fair prices and perfect fisherman accommodations. Also on the second day we stopped in at Webb’s Market for some Breakfast/Lunch. We fished too long in the morning so all they had left was a little bit of biscuits and gravy, so we finished it off with their famous slaw dogs!

Day three and four we headed back to Knoxville to do a little fishing on the Clinch. I have been fishing the Clinch a bunch the last year and wanted to show it off to my friends. The fishing started off slow, but we eventually figured it out.

Small pheasant tails and zebra midges were on the menu. We saw a few sulphurs on the water, but not many. There were a good bit of midges hatching in the afternoon. However I couldn’t get them to eat the same midges we used on the Soho, but a size 22 zebra below a dry would get an eat.

Day two we opted to do some wade fishing instead of drifting. We started at the church early until the water rose and pushed us off the water. For lunch we stopped at Harrison’s off of the exit and were surprised to find some great wings and good beer on tap!

At the end of day four we all convened on the hill at Miller’s island still reminiscing about past fishing trips and stories when we were a little wilder or do I mean dumber. Either way we survived it all and hopefully there will be many more to come.

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South Holston

The South Holston Tailwater near Bristol, Tennessee fished very well today while wading. There were size 20 BWO’s, size 30 grey Midges, size 26 Black Flies coming off as long as the sun was out. We had a brief cloudy spell just after lunch and the fish and bugs turned off, then around 2:00pm the sun came back out and the action was hot.
There were more of those beautiful South Holston browns caught than rainbows, probably a 66 2/3 to 33 1/3 ratio.
There was still some snow on the ground and ice around the edges of the river when we got there.
A couple of the flies used today

Thanks for reading
Randy Ratliff
Troutfishers Guide Service

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Winter Float Trip Discounts

I am offering Winter Float Trip discounts for trips taken from November 21st through March 15th. The cost for this trip is $235. This would be a 6 hour float trip for one or two persons with a lite lunch. Come fish the legendary South Holston or Watauga Tailwaters when there are little to no crowds.

The possibilities are endless.

Contact me through www.trout-fishers.net and come experience winter fishing in the mountains.

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SoHo in the rain

We fished today on the South Holston Tailwater in the cold rain. I wanted to test out the new LineX coating I just had put on the bottom of my hand built wooden driftboat. The coating did its job and I was very pleased how the boat performed on this low water non-generation trip.

There were black caddis in a size 12 coming off all day. We also saw size 18/20 BWO’s coming off in the heavier rains showers and the fish were feeding hard on them. We used a size 18 brown zebra midge with a stripper midge dropper about 14″ under a small strike indicator.

When the generation hit us about 2:30 pm we switched to small white rabbit streamers and got a couple good slams.

This little brown hit this zebra midge and started bulldogging to the bottom, it made for a fun fight for my client as he tried to saw off the leader on the sharp jagged rocks.

This rainbow took a stripper midge and put up a great fight in the strong current. It is amazing how they can pull when they put their wide bodies sideways in the current. The camera washed out the really bright pinkish purple strip down his side.

Check out my website, www.trout-fishers.net if you would like to fish the legendary South Holston with the winter time midges.

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