Tag Archives: Brown Trout

New Clinch River Description by Rocky Top Anglers

Rocky Cox or Rocky Top Anglers is one of the best guides on the Clinch.  He shared some knowledge with us recently.  Enjoy.

  • Species: Rainbow, Brown Trout
  • Angler Type: Wade or Boat
  • Access Type: Public or Private

 Guides

Fly Shops

  • Orvis Sevierville
  • Little River Outfitters
  • Three Rivers Angler
  • Smoky Mountain Angler

Lodges/Rentals/Hotels/Campgrounds

Good Eats

  • Harrison’s Steak House
  • Golden Girls Restaurant
  • Waffle House
  • Git’n Go market

Description

The Clinch River originates in southwestern Virginia. It flows southwesterly into Tennessee where it gains water from the Powell River as well as several smaller tributaries. The river meanders over 300 miles from its source, through the rolling hillsides of east Tennessee until it reaches Kingston TN and it’s confluence with the Tennessee River.

The Clinch River was once one of the most lucrative mussel producing rivers in the country. The pearl industry was well established in the Clinch River and its tributaries as well. These industries died out early in the 20th century due to environmental issues associated with coal mining and the damming of the Tennessee River system.

Norris Dam was completed in 1936 and was the first dam completed in the Tennessee River system by the newly formed Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The dam created Norris Lake, a large, deep lake that collects run off from almost 3000sq miles. Coldwater discharge from the dam changed the environment downstream of the dam. The new tailwater became a perfect place to stock coldwater species, such as rainbow trout. Over the years, many other improvements have been implemented for the improved habitat and health of the river. These improvements include a weir dam (located appx 2 miles downstream of Norris Dam), oxygen injection units in the lake and mandated minimum flows.

These days, The Clinch River is most well known for the trophy trout fishery below Norris Dam. Each year many anglers visit to chase after rainbow, brown and sometimes brook trout. The river is home to the Tennessee record Brown Trout, weighing in over 28lbs. The tailwater is stocked with rainbow and brown trout, with some added natural reproduction. The river produces many trophy fish each year and the average fish is 12” to 14” inches. Progressive regulations on the Clinch tailwater call for the safe release of all trout between 14 and 20 inches, and only one trout per day over 20 inches.

The tailwater flows about 14 miles from the dam to the town of Clinton Tennessee and into the backwaters of Melton Hill Lake. Water levels in the river are dictated by activity at Norris Dam. Norris has the ability to push close to 10,000 Cubic Feet per Second (CFS) when both turbines are in operation. Long periods of zero generation will make many parts of the river wadable while any sustained flows from the powerhouse will likely raise the river to unsafe levels for wading. Boaters will need some water flowing from the powerhouse for safe navigation and should be alert while under power for submerged rocks and trees.

Click Here for TVA Generation Schedule

Safety

  • Always be aware of the water conditions and changing levels.
  • Know the predicted flow from TVA via phone or internet app.
  • These schedules are 99% but could and sometimes do change without notice.
  • Boaters should wear a typeIII USCG floatation device, must possess by law enough for all occupants.
  • Pack extra dry clothes and rain gear. Cold water temperatures can cause very cold fog, even in the heat of summer.

Clinch River Drain-Down and Travel Times

The River

The river can be broken up into three sections; the top, the middle and the bottom. The top section, from Norris Dam to the Miller Island boat ramp offers the best public access. Canoes and light watercraft can be launched near the dam at the Songbird Trail Canoe Launch (no actual boat ramp, requires portage to the river). The weir dam access offers portage across the weir dam and wading access. Much of the area downstream of the weir dam is wadable on low water conditions. Miller Island Boat Ramp offers access to larger vessels as well as the most wading areas on the tailwater.

The middle section begins at Miller Island and runs 3.5 miles downstream to the Peach Orchard Boat Ramp. The immediate area around Miller Island offers the best access for wade fishermen on the river during low water. Anglers can wade from Miller Island downstream for one mile to Massengill Bridge. Most all of the adjacent land is private so you must remain in the river bed below the high water mark. There are several road side pull-offs along River Rd where anglers can enter and exit the river. The next few miles has no river access for wading anglers or much wadable water for that matter and is better fished by boat. The river flows deep, even on low flows as it picks up its largest tributary near the I-75 Bridge. Coal Creek is a large tributary that will often muddy the entire downstream tailwater after heavy rain events. Peach Orchard Boat Ramp offers boat access only as all of the water around the ramp is much too deep to wade.

The lower river runs from Peach Orchard to the Hwy 61 Boat Ramp in Clinton, just a little over 7 miles. All of the land adjacent to the river is private and should be respected as such. The land owners are friendly but they don’t want to find you on their land without permission. This stretch of river offers some wadable shoals and plenty of long pools. Again, wading is only possible with low water. Public access can be found at the bottom of the lower section via the Second Baptist Church of Clinton. Anglers can park and access from their property. Much of this area is very wadable under low water to slightly higher water levels. It’s also a very popular destination due to its 4.5 hour lead time on dam generation. The final access on the tailwater is just downstream of the highway 61 bridge on the east bank. The Highway 61 Boat Ramp has a nice ramp and trash cans.

Tennessee Fishing Regulations

Suggested Rods/Reels/Lines

Angling tactics can vary greatly depending on the water flows. Low water flows will allow light nymph fishing, dry fly fishing, wet fly applications as well as light to heavy streamer fishing. Rod choices will run the entire spectrum but long rods between 9’ and 10’ feet work best as they will allow you the best line control during drifts. Four to six weight rods will cover most situations on low water, but a six weight would probably cover the most tactics in one rod. High to medium water flows are usually best covered with streamers and deep nymphs. Although, insects often hatch well on high water and fish can be found sipping them. Again, rod choice is dictated by what you want to do and what you observe. Six to eight weight rods are best when it comes to streamers and sinking lines but a five weight may cover the rising fish best. Long, fine leaders ranging in length from 9 to 15’ and in strength from 4 to 7x are required for most Nymphing and Dry fly fishing setups. The use of fluorocarbon tippets and tungsten weights are recommended for all Nymphing applications. Streamer leaders can be much shorter and beefier. I usually use 4 to 6 foot lengths of fluorocarbon ranging from 8 to 20 lbs for streamer fishing applications.

The Clinch River is a very rich tailwater and has a very healthy biomass. Midges are abundant and available year round. Trout will gorge on midges in all stages of life from pupa to adult. Sow bugs and scuds are also present in great numbers in many sections of the river. These small crustaceans (#12-#22) offer high protein meals and are also a favorite of trout year round. The largest and most sought after hatch of the year are the sulphurs which historically begin late April to early May and continue into early June. Some years the hatch can come early or even extend well into October. Several species of caddis flies emerge in the fall with the small black and green (#18-#20) being a favorite.

  • 4 to 6 weight rods, 9 to 10’ in length for dry fly, Nymphing or light streamer fishing.
  • 9 to 16 foot leaders, tippets from 5x to 7x. Fluorocarbon for Nymphing and streamer fishing.
  • 6 to 8 weight rods for streamer fishing.
  • Short 4 to 6 leaders in heavy fluorocarbon weights 8 to 20lbs.
  • Tungsten bead nymphs; Pheasant tails, midge pupa & larvae, sow bugs. Sizes from #12 – #20
  • Sulphur dries, emergers and nymphs (#14-#18), Midge emergers (#18 – #22), Black Caddis (#18-#22)
  • Terrestrials, Ants, Beetles and Hoppers.
  • Streamers

Public Access Points

  1. Songbird Canoe Access
  2. Clear Creek Access
  3. Wier Dam Access
  4. Miller’s Island Ramp
  5. Peach Orchard Ramp
  6. Second Baptist Church of Clinton
  7. Highway 61 Bridge Ramp

Getting There

The Clinch River tailwater is located just Northwest of Knoxville TN off of Interstate 75. All public access points can be reached in 5 to minutes from exit 122 (Clinton/Norris). The upper river and Miller Island accesses can be reached travelling east on hwy 61 to hwy 441. Turn left onto 441 and travel 2 miles. Turn left onto River Rd to reach Miller Island Boat Ramp and various right of way access closer to Massengill Bridge. Continue on 441 to TVA access at the Weir Dam and along the river via the Songbird Trail. The Peach Orchard access can be reach off of hwy 61 onto Hillvale Rd. Peach Orchard Road is on the left with signage to the boat ramp. Highway 61 Boat Ramp and the Second Baptist Church of Clinton are along the river and just off of highway 61 in Clinton TN, 3 miles west of I-75.

Purchase a Tennessee Fishing License

Local weather forecast.

Clinch River posts and reports!

 

facebookmailfacebookmail

Updated Caney Fork River Description

We’ve been working with local guides to get the best river descriptions possible.  This one is from Susan Thrasher of Southern Brookies guide service.  Give it a read.  This description will be posted on the site from here on out.  Hope you enjoy.

Caney Fork

by Susan Thrasher of Southern Brookies

Species: Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout
Angler Type: Wade or Boat
Access Type: Public or Private

Guides

Southern Brookies
Southeastern Fly
Trout Zone Anglers
Tennessee on the Fly

Fly Shops

Orvis Nashville
Fly South
Cumberland Transit
Jones Fly Co.

Lodging

Long Branch Campground – below Center Hill Dam
Edgar Evans State Park – on Center Hill Lake

Description

The Caney Fork River begins near Crossville, Tennessee and is impounded twice over its approximate 140 miles before reaching the Cumberland River. Most notably for trout anglers is the final stretch of river below Center Hill Dam. The dam is located approximately 70 miles east of Nashville, Tennessee. The 16 miles immediately below the dam is the primary stretch of water supporting trout. This section of the river is stocked annually by the (TWRA) Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency at four main locations: just below the dam, Happy Hollow, Betty’s Island and Gordonsville access areas.

TWRA stocks, on average, 220,000 rainbow, brown and brook trout March through November. Due to heavy generation and continually changing water levels, the river does not support any measurable, natural reproduction. However, hold over trout and the occasional stocking of large brood trout, offer opportunities to hook into fish measuring well over 20 inches. Brook trout rarely exceed 14 inches, but the new state record was caught on the Caney Fork in 2016, measuring just over 20 inches.

Generation Schedule

The daily generation schedule at Center Hill Dam is based primarily on power needs and flood control. The frequent releases provide enough cool water to support trout fishing year round. It is important to check the schedule before venturing out. Water levels can rise suddenly and become dangerous. The schedule can be found either by calling TVA #800-238-2264, #4, #37, or through the TVA website. https://www.tva.gov/Environment/Lake-Levels/Center-Hill

Fishing Access

The river is suitable for wading during periods of non-generation; however, the current is too strong for wading under generation. Fishing from kayaks, canoes and drift boats is also very popular during periods of non-generation. Extreme caution should be used when drift fishing during periods of generation and is recommended for experienced boaters only.

Use the link below for public access points and boat ramp locations. http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Portals/49/docs/Lakes/Center Hill/Caney Fork Access Area Map.pdf

Center Hill Tailwater (Caney Fork River) Public Access Points

  1. Buffalo Valley Recreation Area, USCOE, with ramp
  2. Long Branch Recreation Area, USCOE, with ramp
  3. Pull-offs along 141, TDOT right-of-way, river access, no ramp
  4. Happy Hollow Access Area, TWRA, gravel parking area with ramp
  5. Betty’s Island Access Area, TWRA, gravel parking area, no ramp
  6. Pull-off along Kirby Road at I-40, TDOT right-of-way, no ramp
  7. Stonewall Bridge, TDOT right-of-way, river access, no ramp
  8. South Carthage Ramp, gravel parking, with ramp

Creel Limits

For detailed information on trout stream fishing regulations, see the trout section of the Tennessee Fishing Guide. http://www.tnfish.org/files/TennesseeFishingRegulationsTWRA.pdf

The regulations for the Caney Fork River are:

  • One Brown Over 24” may be harvested (under 24” protected; must be released)
  • Rainbows and Brookies under 14” may be harvested (14”- 20” protected; must be released)
  • One Rainbow and One Brookie over 20” may be harvested
  • Total Creel Combined – 5 Trout

Tennessee Fishing Regulations
Please be sure to check current regulations if you are unfamiliar, many of our tailwaters have unique regulations.

Equipment Suggestions

Rod: The most common outfit for fly fishing the Caney Fork River is a 5 or 6 weight rod in lengths ranging from 8.5 to 9 feet.

Fly Line: Weight forward floating lines are recommended during times of non- generation. Sinking lines are necessary during generation to ensure the flies are able to reach the fish due to the swift current.

Leaders: Fluorocarbon leaders and tippet with overall lengths between 9 and 12 feet and sizes tapering from 3X to 6X (depending on fly size) are recommended.

Suggested Flies

Flies: The majority of flyfishing is subsurface with midges heavily favored. Dry fly activity is limited; however, the occasional midge, mayfly and caddis hatches are seen a number of times during the year. Terrestrials, such as spiders, grass hoppers and beetles, are used during the summer months. Streamers produce fish year round.

Patterns to take along:

  • Eat at Chucks soft hackle
  • Zebra midges in various colors
  • Bead head pheasant tail
  • Scuds and sow bugs
  • Woolly Buggers in various colors
  • Guacamole stick bugs
  • Griffith’s gnat
  • Adams
  • Elk Hair Caddis
  • Streamers

Purchase a Tennessee Fishing License

Getting There

Take Interstate 40 to exit 268, then south on Highway 96 to Center Hill Dam. Buffalo Valley and Long Branch Recreation Areas are on opposite sides of the river just below Center Hill Dam.

Weather forecast for Lancaster, TN

Click here for all old Caney Fork River Reports

facebookmailfacebookmail

Watauga

brown trout logoby Brown Hobson of Brown Trout Fly Fishing

You can find this river description in our Waters > Tailwaters > Watauga through the navigation bar.

Brown is the owner and head guide for Brown Trout Fly Fishing LLC. He started fly fishing in Western North Carolina as a teenager and the passion for catching trout on the fly created in NC propelled Brown’s move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

brown and tyBrown spent 4 years in the ORVIS store in Jackson Hole as a sales associate, fishing manager, and store manager and was fortunate to learn from many of America’s great fly fishermen while there. Seeking milder winters and closer proximity to family, Brown moved to Asheville and started Brown Trout Fly Fishing.

Brown is a member of the North Carolina Fly Fishing Team, Fly Fishing Team USA, is a former ORVIS Trout Bum of the Week, and a 2014 ORVIS Guide of the Year nominee. His fly fishing experience combined with his ORVIS customer service background give Brown a skill set that allows him to provide exceptional days on the water.

  • Species:  Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout
  • Angler Type:  Boat or Wade
  • Access Type:  Public and Private

Guides

Fly Shops

  • Eastern Fly Outfitters
  • Mahoney’s
  • South Holston River Fly Shop
  • Mountain SportsLodges/Cabins/Hotels

Lodges/Rentals/Hotels/Campgrounds

  • Watauga River Lodge
  • Bee Cliff Cabins
  • Merideth Valley Cabins

Good Eats

  • Pals
  • Ridgewood Barbecue

The River

JakeThe Watauga River tailwater flows from Wilbur Reservoir near Siam TN to Boone Lake near Johnson City. The majority of the water that feeds the Watauga is held in Watauga Lake, but just below Watauga Dam is a second smaller lake called Wilbur. Make sure when you check TVA river flows you look at Wilbur Reservoir not Watauga. The river is approximately 17 miles long from Wilbur Dam to Boone Lake and flows through many different sections and townships. The Watauga River is a Tailwater fishery so always check the Generation Schedule before you go.

Click Here for TVA Generation Schedule and select Wilbur Dam from Lakes and Recreation on the right, it is also a good idea to look at the Watauga Dam generation as this is located directly upstream of Wilbur.

The Upper Section – runs from Wilbur Dam to Hunter Bridge. The first half of the river is mostly on private land and is very gorge like. Huge limestone cliffs dominate the sides of the river until the river gets down to Siam. From Siam to Hunter the river is mostly large shallow riffles with deep slow pools between them. The bug life up here is mostly midges, small mayflies, and scuds. Midges hatch year round and BWOs hatch most commonly from Oct-April. This section is the most likely to stay clear if we see big rains. The upper has the highest fish numbers on the whole river.

The Middle Section – runs from Hunter Bridge to the TWRA access at Blevins Rd. The first half of this stretch has many shallow riffles and smaller runs. Once you pass through Elizabethton the river narrows and gets deeper. There are many big ledges separating slow deep pools and even one small waterfall that must be navigated by boat operators. Bugs here are larger than the upper, but many midges are still found along with bwos, sulphurs, caddis, and craneflies. As you move through the middle fish numbers decrease slightly, but average size goes up.

The Trophy Section – runs from Blevins rd to Persinger Bridge in the town of Watauga, TN. This is the stretch of river that receives the most angling pressure, but it has the largest concentration of big fish. Special regulations forbid the use of bait or scented artificial and anglers can only keep two fish per day of at least 14” in length. This allows many more fish to grow to larger sizes. Insects here are midges, bwos, sulphurs, many different caddis, craneflies, and assorted other mayflies. There is no public wade access except at the beginning and end of this stretch.

WataugaThe Lower Section – runs from Persinger Bridge into Boone Lake. The most popular take out is at the River Stone Campground and your shuttle driver can arrange for you to use that access. It does require an extra fee. This stretch has some of the coolest riffles on the river and several long flats that are great for picking off feeding fish on dries. Bugs here are the same as the trophy section.

The Watauga River flow changes dramatically due to releases from Wilbur Dam. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the TVA has a recreational flow schedule they follow. Basically Monday-Saturday there will be no water until noon or so and then they will generate power and release water for rafters. The TVA usually does not release water on Sundays during the summer. The rest of the year the TVA can generate power whenever they want. Check Wilbur Dam for projected releases and always be ready to get out quickly if an unplanned release occurs. The river is not wadeable during a water release and you should plan to float it.  Also, it is important to note that the Watuaga is not for beginner oarsmen and certain sections are very technical and dangerous.

Gear Recommendations

  • Waders- because the water is cold
  • Felt Bottom Boots or Rubber with Studs the rocks are very slick (No Studs in Boats)
  • Wading Staff
  • 9’ and 10’ 4 and 5 weight rods
  • 3x-6x tippet. Fluor when nymphing Mono for dries

Popular Flies

  • Zebra Midges of all sorts, sizes, and colors
  • Pheasant tail nymphs
  • San Juan Worms
  • CDC comparadun baetis and Sulphur
  • Elk Hair Caddis
  • Beetles and Flying Ants
  • Wooly Buggers
  • Tiny Parachute Adams
  • Eggs

Tips and Safety

• Be very careful when wading. If the TVA begins to generate, get out of the water.
• TVA toll free number 1-800-238-2264

Click Here for TVA Generation Schedule and select Wilbur Dam from Lakes and Recreation on the right.

Fishing Regulations

Please be sure to check current regulations if you are unfamiliar, many of our tailwaters have unique regulations.

Tennessee Fishing Regulations

Click here to purchase a Tennessee Fishing License

Public Access Points

  1. Wilbur Dam
  2. Siam Bridge
  3. Hunter Bridge
  4. 19E Bridge
  5. Blevins Road Access
  6. Highway 400 Access

 

Getting There

From Interstate 81 exit to 57A on to Interstate 26 South to exit 31 on to Highway 321 east towards Elizabethon, TN

Click here for local weather forcast.

Click here to buy a map of the Watauga River!

clinch_upper_tw_ad

facebookmailfacebookmail

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”.

facebookmailfacebookmail

Who needs to go out west when you have the South Holston

Really, I get the same comments all of the time. Those comments are; “Where do you fly fish around here?”, “I can’t wait to go out west.” and “It’s just different out west”. Most of the time these folks have never fished the South Holston or Watauga tailwaters, or if they have, they have not ventured far from the popular areas such as the weir dam where the crowds are.

We are very fortunate in Tennessee to have some true gems such as the South Holston and Watauga tailwaters. You can get a true western fly fishing experinence right here in the east. Especially if your willing to take off during the week and either do some hiking, floating or hire one of our local guides, you can really get away from everything. The day we took these pictures we saw only one other boat and two wade fisherman all day. Pretty awesome if you ask me, oh and we caught a bunch of fish too.

We also got an odd surprise by the last picture. I think it is a Lake Trout, but not quite sure. I guess it may have come up from Boone Lake or gotten stocked by accident by TWRA.

facebookmailfacebookmail

The Tennessee Tour

Let me first say how fortunate I am to live in an area that has such great and diverse fishing opportunities. East Tennessee has everything that a fisherman could ever want. From small mountain streams to tailwaters that fish like rivers in Montana and plenty of lakes in between.

Every year one of my really good friends, Wade, comes into town and we do a little fishing. The past couple of years we have always stuck to the tailwaters, but this year we realized that he had never fished in the Smokies. The streams in the Smokies are a true one of a kind experience, there is really no place that is just like them. So, this year we decided we would hit the Smokies. Day-One, we started on the Clinch and also got to fish with Doug (local east tennessee fishing legend turned corporate selling phenom ;-)). Day-Two we headed up to the Smokies for some small stream fishing and finally on Day-Three the South Holston.

The Clinch fished great. The water was slightly off color and there was a heavy fog on the water when arrived at 8am. We floated from Peach Orchard to Hwy 61. The fishing started off a little slow, but got good quickly and remained good until the 2nd generator caught us. Your standard rig of midges and pheasant tails produced as always under and indicator.

The Smokies, we woke early to find a band of really nasty storms rolling in from Kentucky. They were moving at about 60 miles per hour and looked really gnarly over the pleatau. Wade immediately thought the fishing would be done as he looked at the red masses on the radar screen. However, I had hopes that the storms would break up over the pleateu as I’ve seen happen on many occasion. So instead of rushing out to fish we hung back to see what would play out with the first band of storms.

What other way to wait out a storm than to spend the time cooking up some homemade biscuits and gravey. Let me restate that, this is no ordinary B&G, this gravey was made with Benton’s Bacon!, only the best ever, life changing bacon I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. When you cook it the smells will fill the entire house for days! It’s awesome!

First, wave of storms had passed and we took advantage of it and headed up into the Smokies. My original plan had been to take Wade into a special area that is tough to get into and fish. The only problem is once in this area you are basically stuck in the river until you come out at a trail crossing. When we got up there the water looked a little off color and it was starting to rain again. We knew that there was another storm on the way, so instead of betting our lives on fishing an area that would be subject to flash flooding, we opted for some high elevation road side fishing. We headed up to Walker Camp Prong. The fish cooperated wonderfully and we brought some really nice Rainbow trout to hand as well as a couple really nice brookies (however I left the camera in the car).  Para Adams produced all day as long as you got a good drift.

The South Holston, the fishing was just so so. They had been sluicing 250 cfs for the last couple of weeks and I had heard that the fishing was really good. However, we got there to find that they had completely shut the water off. I mean completely, nothing siltch, no water coming over the grates at all. It seems that they had decided to do a little house keeping on the wier dam. Fearing that it would take forever for them to get the water back on, we headed down to lower Big Springs road. When we arrived the water was about normal for low flow and we fished a couple of my favorite pull offs. There were a few sulphurs rising and the fishing was pretty consistent on dry dropper rigs. Later we headed back up to see if they’d turned the water back on and we fished up near the grates till the sun began to set.

Three full days of fishing go by so fast. It already seems like it happened months ago. There really isn’t enough time.

facebookmailfacebookmail

Holston River and Caddis Hatching

It has been hard to get on the water this year.  The addition of grad school to work has taken up much of my free time.  I have finished my first semester and it feels great.  So, I was really happy to get on the water and do some fishing with some good friends.  Because, Brad and I work together, we rarely get the opportunity to fish, but when we do it is a real treat.  Brad is a great person and is great to work with.  Jeremy also met up with us and I don’t think he had been able to fish much as he has a new photography business that is beginning to take off.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather of fishing conditions.  The temperature was in the high 70’s sunny with some cloud cover and a nice breeze.  To top it all off there was a small caddis hatch going on when we got on the water and the fish were rising.  There was a large tan caddis hatching and a smaller grey caddis.  The fish were willing to eat either one and as Brad found out they’d also eat a parachute adams also. 

We all caught some great fish, but the big fish of the day goes to Jeremy with this nich beauty!

facebookmailfacebookmail

March Madness!

Saturday started out like what seemed to be any other day on the South Holston. As my best friend and fishing buddy cruised from Greeneville towards the river, we were full of excitement and nervous energy. Knowing that all the other streams in the area were gonna be off limits for the day, the South Holston offered two trout bums the chance to float high water, deep nymphing the clearer upper river then swapping over to big nasty streamers in the deeper darker water.

When we got to the launch at Emmett Bridge our hearts sank. There were so many boat trailers in the parking lot that after we launched I rowed across the river to pick up Jake Mullins, from the parking lot at the grates.(which itself was nearly full of raft and drift boat trailers) Once on the water Captain Jake guided his Clacka in and out of boat traffic. A lot of our prime spots already taken and boats waiting to take them again. So I was forced to nymph fish other seams and holes that weren’t as familiar to me. I was running a 9ft 5x leader with a huge SG shot nearly 10 inches above a Cream colored caddis larva. Below the rock worm hung a SZ 18 pheasant tail, which seemed to work well in the upper part of the river. Pulling a few fish on board and watching countless others disappear as they flashed as if to say “goodbye boys you should have been watching that indicator, instead of telling that tale”.

After we floated past the cul-de-sac my streamer itch just had to be scratched. So I asked Jake to hand me the “big stick”! The 7wt Hydros was ready for deployment. I had chosen a super nasty Kelly Galloup pattern, that we had picked up last July in Wyoming. After the Galloup’s TA Bunker went to work, Jake and I were back where we seem to be every weekend, chucking big nasty streamers to our East Tennessee brown trout. And within minutes it paid off! Two fish swirled and refused the pattern before a nice, solid browny took the fly. We were like two little kids with a new toy, and the dark deep streamer water had just began. A nice 18 incher inhaled the Bunker just off the bank above Rivers Way. After a 20 minute fight in heavy current, and a boat chase that ended just upstream of Hickory tree bridge, we had another but quite a bit larger sample of the South Holston’s brown trout population in the net.

After floating past Jack Prater’s house, Jake couldn’t take it anymore. He gave up his seat at the oars, which I gladly took, after my morning I was perfectly content to row the Clacka the remainder of the day. He swapped the fly for the soon to be famous “trashy pole dancer” patent pending. And we were amazed as brown trout gave chase to this brain child of Jake’s that had worked beautifully a few weeks before on the Watauga river. After a few short strikes, and tons of interested but wary fish, Jake went back to the bunker. The solitude of pre-spring on the river was shattered by a shout from the front of the boat. “HOLY @!#$”, I sank the oars deep and pulled back hard to try to slow the boat as the hydros bent double! No sooner than we realized what had happened….. the leader snapped. And we stared helplessly as one of the largest brown trout I have ever seen, slipped backwards into the depths of the dark water. Shaking his head side to side with the Bunker inside his mouth. Jake quickly said “Hurry dude I need another one”! I replied, “Man I think that was my last one”. After a desperate gear search we managed to find one more Bunker hidden in a secret stash, well used to be secret stash in my boat bag.

He fished the Bunker hard for the rest of the float. Fighting the strong wind and the nagging taunts from his oarsman that kept reminding him of the one that got away. A couple of very nice brown trout later, and countless curious fish that wouldn’t fall for the bunker, we arrived at Rock Hold. Which was our scheduled take out for the day. However the excitement was far from over! A snapping turtle had decided to make the ramp his place of choice, to soak up the last few rays of sun, before the shadows took over the river bank. After a few fun snapshots and stories of the monster still lurking in the depths, we decided that it was time to travel back to Greeneville.

Days on the river are always an adventure. Whether it be mother nature or swarms of fishermen instead of flies. Sometimes the obstacles that we look at as a challenge, force us to explore other sides, seams, and parts of the water. A beautiful day with a friend like Jake, will always be a joy. And a friend as crazy about the sport as I am makes it easy to always find a reason to hit the water. I am reminded of a famous quote that seems to sum up all the excitement and wonder that March Madness on the South Holston brings. “Perhaps fishing is, for me, only an excuse to be near rivers”. -Roderick Haig-Brown-

facebookmailfacebookmail

Are we Old School!

Man, I recently had my computer crash.  I had everything on that machine. I was shifting through some you tube videos this evening and wouldn’t you know I found an old video of some buddies and myself. Boy do we look look young and it’s only been about four years. We fished a lot back then and fished hard. Not sure if I could hang today. Check out the vid and enjoy.

facebookmailfacebookmail

Watuaga Rain Day

Not every day on the water can be great.  Some days it is just nice to be out in the sun, floating down a river.  Other days you can have horrible conditions and the epic fishing makes it unforgettable.  Those are the days that keep us going back.  Sunday was one of those days.  It rained virtually all day.  It was a classic Blue Wing Olive day, overcast and rainy.  Not too much rain that you couldn’t fish but just enough to keep things interesting.

 The day started out with a little nymph fishing.  We were using  a big pheasant tail and midge dropper under an indicator.  The water was a little stained so we went a little larger on our fly size than we would have normally.  Once the rain started, the blue wing’s began to hatch and we switched over to dry dropper rigs, using a split case bwo as our nymph.  It was pretty easy picking off fish and the rain allowed us to get fairly close without spooking them with the boat.  Jake and Clay had good luck using a san juan and midge I believe.  They also threw streams and picked up some good fish. 

Towards Afternoon we watched Jake land a pig on a new streamer that he tied.  It looked kind of girly to tell you the truth.  Soon after the rain really started to pour and we all hunkered down under tree  while enjoying a few beverages and telling too many lies.  Upon starting to fish again I asked to borrow one of Jake’s girly streamers.  Then wouldn’t you know the darned thing worked like a charm!  I guess he might be on to something.  No, really Jake is a pretty darned talented fly tier and fisherman.  I am envious of his upcoming summer job also.

To sum things up, it was a grat day despite the rainy conditions and  we had a blast.  I wish every trip could be that good.

facebookmailfacebookmail