A long time client and friend, Jerry of Statesville came with his son to fish with me on the beautiful South Holston Tailwater, near Bristol, Tennessee. It was one of those days they will never forget. We got to the weir area and they waded before the water hit us from the generation. They landed lots of fish using a dry dropper rig with the black and silver zebra midge doing the best. We got in my new Clackacraft for its maiden voyage down the South Holston. It was nymphing the soft seams with good success getting many double hookups. Then it was on down the river switching over to big stuff going after big fish. Jerry and Adam weren’t disappointed in their efforts. It was a memory filled day and they called me today still excited about the float trip.
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.
It was cold and rainy most of the day. We were able to get them on deep nymphs, dry flies in a lighter shower, but the higher percentage was on streamers. Olive and grey Double Bunny was best for me, tried all black but didn’t get any follows.
For those of you in the Louisville Kentucky area, mark Saturday January 30th on your calendars and try to attend the Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show, being put on by the Derby City Fly Fishers. It is a great show and I will be doing two presentations. Looking forward to seeing you there.
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
Troutfishers Guide Service
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.
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 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.
Tuesday was absolutely beautiful! Great sun, nice breeze and perfect temperatures. I love fishing in the fall. I met up with an old fishing buddy and the original plan was to fish the Clinch, however TVA had different ideas for us. We ended up driving up to the South Holston for the day as it was conducive to floating, plus I had been hearing of some great reports from other anglers and guides.
We put on the river around 9:30am and there were risers every where. Tiny BWO’s seemed to do the trick. Once the water came up the fishing slowed a bit. Towards early afternoon we got to a good riffle section and started getting into a bunch of fish. Every good pocket held a few nice fish.
Not long after fishing through the riffle, the water started to drop out and around 4pm we started to see a lot of rising fish. There was a combination of BWO’s, Sulphurs, Crane flies and Caddis hatching. Jake caught fish on BWO’s and I caught them on dry/dropper rigs. It turned out to be a great end to a day that had started off slow. We both rode home with smiles on our faces.
Wednesday I got up on the South Holston to fish with Randy Ratliff of Troutfishers Guide Service, . They were going to start generating around 9am and we were on the water by 9:30am. Randy has a sweet wooden drift boat that he does some of his float trips with.
We started off with some double nymph rigs and immedeatly started sticking some smaller fish, which gets the day rolling and gets the skunk off. We nymphed for a good bit early on untill we ran across a few rising fish up under some over hanging trees. We through beatles, sulphurs and soft hackles, but couldn’t by a look. Then just as we started to pick up the anchor I stuck a little brown on a soft hackle.
After lunch we switched over to streamers and got some fairly consistent follows and picked up a few fish here and there. Towards the end of the day we got into some really nice pods of decent fish that were following and swiping at our streamers.
It was not a spectacular day but a very good day of fishing with a new friend.