Category Archives: Why we fish

#Now or Neverglades

I’m sure some of you have been following what is going on in the everglades.  I have never been to the everglades, but it is something that is on my bucket list.  I desperately want to go catch baby tarpon and snook.  I have been watching this unfold for the last couple years and what was very disheartening is now showing signs of a solution.  Many Companies and individuals from all walks are stepping up to help out.  I may not be very influential, but every voice helps.  Go to the Everglades Foundation for more information and to raise your hand.

If you don’t have a clue to what is going on watch the video below for a little back story.  This really helped me understand how the Everglades acts a giant filtration system along with other things.

Note the above video was from November 2016 and a lot of good things have now happened to work towards fixing these issues.  Next is a video that Dan Decibel and Orvis put together to help get things going in support of the new holding reservoir that has been proposed.

On April 5th, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee approved revised Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island), which sets forth a science-based process to identifying land needed for the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir.  Read more on Orvis blog

Perk Perkins, Orvis CEO has been really behind this issue.  Read his open letter here


This isn’t over yet as the bill has to have a full senate vote and there are some other proposed options.  But if you feel strongly on this you can still make your voice heard.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Tell Florida’s leaders to support SB 10 to build the EAA Reservoir. Text the word “WATER” to 52886.
  • Visit the Orvis Commitment Everglades page to learn how Orvis will match your donation to help fund the important work of the Everglades Foundation.
  • Visit the Everglades Foundation to learn how you can get involved on the ground.
  • Sign the #NowOrNeverglades Declaration

Orvis Everglades Commitment

Everglades Foundation

Captains for Clean Water


Orvis kicks off Fly Fishing 101 program

It is that time of year that the Orvis company is getting there annual Fly Fishing 101 program going again.  This is a great time to get loved ones and friends into the sport without the hassle of doing it all yourself.  Check it out.

If you’re looking for a great way to get the family together outside, our FF101 class is the perfect event to get started. Fly fishing is a sport the whole family can participate in. All ages are welcome to attend the event, but those under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Bring the whole family and learn what this great sport is all about.

Orvis Fly Fishing 101 from Orvis on Vimeo.

Fly Fishing 101
Learn fly-fishing basics in one of our free Fly Fishing 101 classes. Perfect for beginners of all ages. Fly Fishing 101 will provide you with free lessons on fly casting and outfit rigging.
Fly Fishing 201
If you’ve already completed Fly Fishing 101, you’re ready for the next step. Join us for a short outing on local water for a chance to catch your first fish!
A nominal fee for the outing may apply.

Upon Completion of the Courses: You will receive special in-store offers valid toward the purchase of Orvis products and a Free Trout Unlimited membership—a $35 value.

At some classes, the Orvis FF101 instructors will be assisted by certified fly-casting instructors from the Federation of Fly Fishers. Fly-fishing instructors have been trained, tested, and certified to be effective teachers of fly casting. This program has over 1,500 certified instructors around the world.

Most of our Orvis Retail Stores are offering Fly Fishing 101 and 201 classes on the dates below. Be sure to contact your local store for the exact times and dates of their classes, as well as any additional dates that store may be offering.

2017 Fly Fishing 101 Fly Fishing 201
April: Saturdays: 22, 29 Sunday: 30
May: Saturdays: 6, 13, 20, 27 Sunday: 14
June: Saturdays: 3, 10, 17 Sunday: 4

The following states have Orvis Retail Stores and/or dealers that are participating in Fly Fishing 101 and Fly Fishing 201. Space is limited in these classes, so please RSVP to reserve your space.

Choose a location


Sage On The Water Tour 2017

Sage will be visiting Fly South on April 13th for their On the Water Tour. 2017  Check it out!

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. (March 29, 2017) –Sage hits the road once again to bring it’s On The Water Tour to a new part of the U.S. After a successful tour out West in 2016, famed fly rod and reel manufacturer, brings this fun and informative format to the Southeast.

“We had so many popular stops on our 2016 tour that we decided to replicate that in a new area of the country,” said David Lantz, Sage brand manager. “The Southeast has spectacular rivers and beaches with very passionate fly fishermen, so we couldn’t be more excited to visit them on this year’s tour.”

Starting on beautiful rivers around the Appalachia area and finishing on the flats in Florida, this tour offers anglers an opportunity to bring fellow anglers together to share knowledge and good times. The van is loaded with mountains of rods and reels to try out, and attendees can learn from casting lessons and presentations all while enjoying good food and drink. Anglers can try out new gear, pick up a tip or two or simply share good stories. All are welcome.

In addition, Sage will be stopping at Fly South (115 19th Avenue South, Nashville) on April 13th for Happy Hour.


f3t 2017 – Fly Fishing Film Tour

The original and preeminent exhibition of fly fishing cinema, The F3T is a one of a kind experience. Each year fishy folk of all ages gather at premieres to soak up films from around the world, spin a few yarns amongst friends and dream about casts still unmade.

2017 marks The F3T’s 11th annual adventure. In addition to more than 150 screenings across the U.S., you’ll also be able to catch it in Canada, Belize, the U.K. and South Africa. This year’s lineup of films is our finest yet. From Siberia to Idaho, Mexico, Florida, Kamchatka, Alaska, Montana and more, the notable characters, unique storylines and unparalleled fishing in these films will lead you on an adventure around the globe!  Check out the official page at

Tennessee Schedule






Little River

by David Knapp of Trout Zone Anglers

Species: Rainbow, brown, and brook trout and smallmouth bass
Angler Type: Wade or Boat
Access Type: Public or Private


Trout Zone Anglers
Fightmaster Fly Fishing
Frontier Anglers
R&R Fly Fishing
Smoky Mountain Gillies
Smoky Mountain Angler

Fly Shops

Little River Outfitters
Smoky Mountain Angler
Orvis Sevierville
3 Rivers Anglers


Docks Motel
Tremont Lodge and Resort
Elkmont Campground
Riverstone Lodge
Dancing Bear Lodge
Blackberry Farm

Good Eats

Miss Lily’s Café
Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro
Apple Valley Café

The River

Little River begins high in the Great Smoky Mountains on the flanks of Clingman’s Dome and Mt. Collins. The headwaters contain native southern Appalachian brook trout. The river grows from several tributaries and is a good sized trout stream by the time it passes the National Park Service Campground at Elkmont. The river’s character begins to change here from a backcountry pocket water stream, to a larger trout stream with large pools and larger trout. From Elkmont to Townsend, there are approximately 15 miles of excellent trout water. Rainbow and brown trout thrive in these waters. Some of the largest brown trout in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park inhabit these waters. Flows at the Townsend USGS gauge average from 75 cubic feet per second (cfs) in the fall, to 400 cfs in the spring time. The best wading is anything below 450 cfs. Even at this flow, caution is recommended.

The river in the Park is too small for drift boats or rafts. White water enthusiasts enjoy paddling Little River during high water episodes. Outside of the Park in Townsend, private land makes floating almost mandatory. This upper section can be done in a raft at appropriate flows. Below Walland, Little River can be easily floated in a canoe or kayak. This lower water is strictly smallmouth and other warm water species fishing, but can be a relaxing way to spend a day.


Water depths vary from mere inches in riffles, to well over 10 feet in the deeper holes. Use caution accordingly.
Floating in Townsend is a good option during the winter months when the state stocks some larger trout. Floating in warm weather can be good for smallmouth bass.

Legal Considerations and Fishing Regulations

Please be very conscientious of private property outside of the National Park. It is not recommended to wade the river outside of the Park unless you have definite permission to access the river.
In the National Park, there are special regulations to protect this unique wild fishery. A daily and possession limit of 5 fish with a minimum size of 7” is in effect. Fishing is allowed from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Fishing is limited to single hook artificial lures and flies only, no bait or natural scents. No double or treble hooks are allowed. Anglers are limited to using one rod at a time.

Outside of the Park, statewide trout regulations apply. A 7 trout a day limit with no bait restrictions applies on this put and take fishery. We recommend catch and release on the smallmouth outside of the Park. Further information on regulations can be found at the following:

TWRA Regulations

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Information

Rod and Gear Suggestions

7’ 6” to 10’ fly rods in 2-5 weights are ideal depending on the fishing. In the lower elevations, 8’6” to 10’ rods in 4 and 5 weight are recommended. In the high elevation waters, lighter and shorter rods are ideal for the small but eager native brook trout.
5’ to 9’ 4x and 5x leaders are ideal except in the fall when low water may require 6x tippets. Monofilament is fine for dry fly fishing but fluorocarbon tippets are recommended for nymphing.


The spring hatches bring anglers from around the country. A basic selection of standard flies should work most of the time, but check in with the local fly shops to see what hatches are on and buy proper imitations.

Some suggestions for the Smokies include Parachute Adams (#12-#18), Tan and Brown Elk Hair Caddis (#14-#16), Yellow Stimulators (#12-#16), Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymphs (#12-#20), Prince Nymphs (#10-#14), Tellico Nymph (#8-#14), Green Weenie (#12-#16).
Specific hatches in the spring and summer include Quill Gordons (#10-#14), Blue Quills (#16-#18), Hendricksons (#12-#14), Sulfurs (#16-#18), Light Cahills (#14-#16), Blue-winged Olives (#18-#24), Isonychias (#8-#12), Little Black Caddis (#16-#20), Little Yellow Stoneflies (#12-#18), Golden Stoneflies (#6-#12).

Summers are prime terrestrial time. Beetles, ants, and inchworms are all very important at certain times on Little River. The low elevations outside of the Park below Townsend may see some hopper action during windy days.
Midges hatch year round and are especially important in winter when they may be the only thing hatching.
On the smallmouth waters outside of the Park, Wooly Buggers, Stealth Bombers, Poppers, and Clouser Minnows should keep you catching fish.

Getting There

Tennessee highway 321 follows lower Little River from Townsend to Maryville. In the Park, Little River Road, Tennessee state route 73, follows Little River from the Park boundary to the turnoff for Elkmont Campground. From Townsend, follow 321 to the only stoplight in town. At the stoplight, leave 321 for highway 73 which takes you into the Park. At the Wye, the road splits. To fish Little River, turn left towards Gatlinburg. The road follows the river for the next 13 miles. If you are coming from Gatlinburg, take highway 441 to the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Turn right onto Little River Road and drive approximately 5 miles.


Local Weather Forecast


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


Southern Brookies
Southeastern Fly
Trout Zone Anglers
Tennessee on the Fly

Fly Shops

Orvis Nashville
Fly South
Cumberland Transit
Jones Fly Co.


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


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.

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. 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.

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


Chatthoochee River

At the recent Orvis Guide Rendezvous I had the chance to hang out and float the South Holston with the guys from River Through Atlanta, Chris Scalley and John McCloskey are the real deal.  They have an amazing fishery that runs through Atlanta w/ a population of 6 million.  Oh, and it also supports wild Brown Trout! Besides trout these guys chase stripers, shoal bass and hybrids on the fly.  As an extra bonus there is also some good duck hunting on the river.  I have said many a time that I would never want to leave TN, because of all the great fishing, but if I had to live in Atlanta, it seems much better now.  Either way this may have to be on the short list of a long weekend road trip.  Below is the full river description that Chris sent me and it will be located in a new section of the blog “More Great Water” or find it here Chattahoochee.

by Chris Scalley of River Through Atlanta Guide Service

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


Fly Shops


Good Eats

The River

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is a classic Southern tail-water. Water is released from the penstocks at depths down to 130ft below the surface of Lake Lanier where cold water is sourced year-round. Many people travel through Atlanta’s international airport never imagining there could be a world-class trout fishery just mile away! The 48 miles of designated trout water is surrounded by 10,000 acres of linear public parklands known as the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Visitors will find excellent access points either canoe launches or boat ramps along with amenities like restrooms and endless hiking trails.

3The Hooch is home to two of Georgia’s state record brown trout in recent years. In 2003 an 18 pounder was landed and then in 2013 a 22 pounder both were caught on artificial lures using conventional tackle. Many big Browns are caught and released every year on the fly rod using large streamers or nymphs.

5The GA DNR quit stocking brown trout in 2006 as they discovered there is a self-sustaining population that spawns successfully every year. DNR also stocks approximately 150,000 rainbows from fingerlings to catchable size beginning in March through Labor Day. The possibility of catching both stream-bred and stocked trout makes for great catch rates and aesthetic value during your Chattahoochee River NRA experience.

6A drift boat or some type of watercraft (belly boats/float tube, pontoons, kayaks) are best to access remote stretches of the river but if you are willing to hike off the beaten path there are plenty of shoals and gravel bars to wade. Please note the river is expansive with an average depth of 4.5ft so please wear a PFD and utilize a wading staff for safety. Reminder “check the flow before you go!” at 770-945-1466 also visit Buford Dam operates strictly for flood control and power demand but is more predictable than other tail-waters in the South. Another luxury of the Buford Dam project is that the Army Corps of Engineers does its best to NOT release high flows on weekends making Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays fairly predicable for safe recreational flows.

4Bug hatches on the river are prolific in the spring from March through May we experience good caddis hatches. Further downstream 36 miles below Buford Dam both caddis and a variety of mayflies can cause an eruption of rising fish in an 8 mile Delayed Harvest section. This section is closer to town and is stocked heavily from November through May-15th it is artificial ONLY barbless flies or lures, catch and release.  Also two stonefly hatches to note are the little Winter Stoneflies from December through March and the large pteronarcys (salmon flies) in February through April. Use large black to brown Girdle or Yuk bug nymphs to target quality fish. Blue Winged Olive mayflies can hatch year-round and cool overcast days are the best time for them.

Gear Recommendations

  • Waders- because the water is cold
  • Rubber with Studs or felt boots (No Studs in Boats)
  • Wading Staff
  • PFD
  • 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 Patterns

Tips and Safety

  • Be very careful when wading. If the Corp begins to generate, get out of the water.
  • Check the Generation at
  • Check the Generation at 770-945-1466

Fishing Regulations

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

Public Access Points


2016 International Fly Fishing Film Festival

international-fly-fishing-film-festival-30The 2016 International Fly Fishing Film Festival is coming to Tennessee! IF4 as it is more commonly referred to is sure to be a great time.  Currently, we know about 2 shows in Tennessee.

If you don’t live in TN or can’t make these venues, check out for more information, schedules and tickets.

2016 IF4 Trailer


The International Fly Fishing Film Festival® consists of short and feature length films produced by professional filmmakers from all corners of the globe, showcasing the passion, lifestyle and culture of fly-fishing. The films at this popular event are capturing the attention of anglers around the world. IF4™ contains exclusive content and is a must see experience coming to a theater near you!


2016 Fly Fishing Film Tour

2016 F3T PosterThe 2016 Fly Fishing Film Tour is coming to Tennessee! Presently we are aware of 2 venues both in the month of March. Links to each respective event is below:

If you don’t live in TN or can’t make these venues, check out www.THEF3T.COM for more information, schedules and tickets.

 2016 Fly Fishing Film Tour Trailer


The original and preeminent exhibition of fly fishing cinema, The F3T is a one of a kind experience. Each year fishy folk of all ages gather at premieres to soak up films from around the world, spin a few yarns amongst friends and dream about casts still unmade.

2016 marks The F3T’s 10th lap around North America and this year’s lineup of films is without question the best the Tour has ever presented. From Bolivia to the Seychelles, British Columbia and Patagonia, from Saskatchewan to Zambia and Virginia to Montana, the notable characters, unique storylines and unparalleled fishing in these films will lead you on an adventure around the globe!

In addition to showcasing world-class fly fishing films, The F3T is dedicated to supporting the local fly shops and conservation groups that form the backbone of our sport’s educational and environmental efforts. Discount F3T tickets are available at more than 150 fly shops across the country. A portion of those ticket sales go directly to support fishing and habitat-related conservation groups. In 2015 we raised over $300,000 for our conservation partners and have used our voice to bring greater attention and support to groups like Trout Unlimited, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Bonefish Tarpon Trust, Utah Stream Access Coalition, Stop Pebble Mine and many more.


Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

So recently I ran across this tip on Facebook posted by one of our affiliate guides, Patrick Fulkrod of the South Holston River Company.  He picked up the trick from Pat Dorsey.  I used this method the other day on the water and it worked like a charm. I could use as much yarn as I wanted and could adjust it, plus it come off the line in seconds.  He is the video that Patrick posted to Facebook.

The South Holston River Company – Patrick Fulkrod on the ultimate strike indicator. from Patrick Fulkrod on Vimeo.