Tag Archives: Orvis

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”.


Fly Tying 101 a Success!

The first Fly Tying 101 class at Orvis Sevierville as been completed!  Six happy new fly tiers are about to join the weird world of fly tying.  Yes, I’m sure there will be some fido clipping, dryer lint sifting and even boa deconstruction happening.  We’ve all done it and finding materials in weird places is half the fun.photo-4

Fly Tying for me serves a similar purpose as fly fishing. It is a quick escape that takes me away for small moments. While I’m at the vise, I’m thinking of past fish I’ve caught or the ones that got away. I’m thinking of new fish I might find and places that I want to explore. Fly Tying for me is simply not just making something to catch a fish; it is about the adventures it reminds me of and the possibility of making new ones.

The Orvis Company will be offering FREE FLY TYING CLASSES in early 2014. Key word being FREE!!!!

Dates for classes:

  • January: 18 & 25
  • February: 1, 8, 15 & 22

Contact your local Orvis Store or dealer.http://www.orvis.com/orvis_assets/corpimg/ft101_2014.jpg

Orvis Sevierville
136 Apple Valley Road
Sevierville TN, 37862
(865) 774-4162
Orvis Memphis
Laurelwood Shopping Center
4556 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38177

Winter is here!

Wow! winter is officially here. We are in full swing at the shop (Orvis Sevierville) for fourth quarter madness. There has been little time to fish, but I thought I would quickly post some easy non-tailwater fisheries that are viable winter options withing a quick drive from the shop. So here we go.

Paint Creek
First let’s start with directions: Directions to Paint Creek

Paint Creek is a fun little stream to fish in the winter. It is located in the northern portion of Cherokee National forest and is stocked on a regular basis. In Spring/Summer/Fall there are quite a few campers and fisherman on the stream. However in the winter it is left to mainly locals and guys that are serious about fishing. I really like to hit it when it is really cold and we have a little snow on the ground as the stream is absolutely gorgeous during these times.

Another great thing about Paint Creek in the winter is that it is all Catch and Release fishing and is managed as a Delayed harvest area!  So there are goods numbers of trout to chase.  It is also a great place to take a beginner.  Link to TWRA Regulations.

Here is a link to an old post: Paint Creek Post

Gatlinburg, TN

Another overlooked area to fish this time of year is the Gatlinburg stocked fishing areas.  This is also managed as a delayed harvest area in the winter and is greatly overlooked.  You will have to fish in the midst of traffic and people, but after the first of the year all of this is gone for the most part and you can have some really fun fishing.  TWRA regulations.

Directions to Gatlinburg, TN

Some of my favorite flies for this time of year include Pheasant Tails and Prince Nymphs, the all popular Glo Bugs and San Juan worms, plus some Woolly Buggers.  If the water is really cold I like to fish with indicators, but when the water is warmer they will also hit flies on the swing as well as an occasional dry fly.  (PS, we did pick up the beer box in the photo and no it wasn’t ours, whiskey is much more effective when it’s cold!)

Hopefully, everyone is finding some time to get out this holiday season and remember it is also a great time to take family out on the stream and introduce new blood to our sport.

Tightlines and Happy Holidays!


Redfish on the Fly Finally!

Let me rewind a few years.  I was in love with the woman of my life.  I had just bought a ring and we were on our way to Charleston, SC.  I told her I was bringing a fly rod and had all the intention of the world to try to red fishing.  I had every intention of doing so, but however other things were of more importance.  My stomach was in a knots the entire trip down as I had no idea of how to pop the question and fishing was the last thing on my mind.  Long story short, I proposed to my wife during that trip and we are still happily married!

So, present day we plan a wedding anniversary trip back to Charleston for a few days.  I had been saving for a new gun, but decided that I really want to try the Redfish thing again, so there went the gun fund.  A couple of phone calls and I got in contact with Captain David Camp of www.fishshallow.com, who had come very highly recommended by a co-worker and friend TJ Roy, manager of the Charlotte Orvis store.

So on the trip down I was all excited about the fishing trip that I had planned.  When I was talking about it with my wife, she asked “What day are you fishing again?”  “On Tuesday”, I replied.  “You mean on our actual anniversary day!”, she exclaimed.  Yes, like an idiot I had planned the fishing trip on our actual anniversary day!  Oh, no!  However, I have one of the most understanding wives around and she said it was no problem and not to worry about changing the trip around.  I got very lucky when I hooked her.

The fishing trip was planned towards the end of the trip and leading up to it the weather had been amazing.  However, a bad cold front moved in and it became very windy and cold.  I was afraid that my Redfish trip would have to be cancelled due to weather.  The day before meeting David, we spoke on the phone.  I promptly asked, “So you’re going to turn the wind off right?”  which was followed by a large amount of laughter.  David assured me that he had some places that we could get out of the wind  and we were still going fishing.

Finally, the fishing trip was here and I met up with David around noon.  The plan was to catch an outgoing tide in the afternoon.  We started by running up into some creek areas first.  It wasn’t long until I was hooked up with the first Redfish of my life!  All I can say is wow!  I’ve caught a ton of different species of freshwater fish and even many in that 9 to 10 pound range, but none of them compare to the pull and fight of a Redfish.  They are relentless!  Just, when you think you have them whopped, they take another hard run and bust your knuckles!  I had an 8 weight Helios completely doubled over!  It was amazing.

I have been fly fishing since I was 15 and have had the opportunity to fly fish for many freshwater species from panfish to steelhead all over the United States.  However, saltwater fly fishing is completely new to me, I may have a new bug!  I’m ready to go back to the marsh and I’ve just returned.

Also, I have to give Captain David Camp a shout out for working his tail off!  I’m sure polling a boat in 30 mph gusts is not easy!  If you are in the area give him a shout (843) 532-7595 or check out is website at www.fishshallow.com. I promise you will have a great time.



Free Fly Tying 101 Class at Orvis

Wow, am I glad that the Holiday shopping season is over!  It flew by in a blink of an eye and it was very successful, but I’m really ready for a little slower pace for a few months.  Typically it is bitterly cold this time of year, however this year has not been the norm.  We have had some abnormally warm weather, but also a ton of rain.  So, even though the weather has been great for fishing, the rivers have been blown out.  I’m not sure which is worse.  Having great weather, but not fishing or having terrible weather and not fishing.  Okay the first option sucks.  If I can’t go fishing I want it to be nasty outside.

So, when it is really nasty and you can’t get out to fish.  When work is slow and the honey do’s are done.  When you need to escape, but can’t get out of the house.  What does the avid fly fisher do?  Tie flies and drink a frosty beverage of course.  You’ll have to provide your own beverage, but we can help you get addicted to another passion, fly tying.

It gets better, ITS FREE! yes, free fly tying instruction.  Find out if you love it or hate it on our dime!

Dates are Jan 21 and 28, Feb 4, 11, 18, and 25 from 11am to 1pm.  Call us at the Orvis Sevierville store 865-774-4162 to reserve your space.


Utah Trip 2011

Okay, the west is cool too. The above video is from a little fishing I did out in Utah around the Altamont area. We stayed at Falcon’s Ledge Resort . There were twelve of us and we all split up and fished different rivers around the area. Which ran the gamut from freestone mountain streams such as Yellowstone Creek, to the Green River tailrace. The guides and accommodations at the lodge were amazing. Plus the food was off the charts, who knew you could actually make cauliflower taste good!

The first day I fished with Tye Krueger from Bend, OR and Kurt Fiegel from Bethesda, MD. Our guide was Bryan Eldredge who works for the lodge and also runs Utah Fly Guides. We hit up the near by Strawberry River which is a very short drive from the lodge. The Strawberry is not known for huge numbers of fish but for it’s huge brown trout. It requires a lot of stalking and percise casts. However if you do the work you can be rewarded by a really nice fish. The video above was shot on the Strawberry. I’ve also got to give Bryan a shout out as he really worked his butt off for the three of us.

The second day I got really lucky. Tye and I drew slots to float the Green River. If you have never heard of the Green, you should google search it. The river boasts upwards of 18,000 fish per mile. We fished with guide Gordon Tharett at Trout Creek Outfitters. Gordon was also an incredible guide. His guide resume includes Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Alaska, up-state New York and our very own South Holston River. We talked briefly about how great the Soho really is and how it is still fairly unknown. The Green was epic to say the least, I’m not going to bore you with numbers and sizes. Imagine what your best day on the water would be like with consistently good sized fish on dries with great company, food and an excellent oarsman.  That was our day times 2.  It definately ranks as one of the top ten days, I’ve ever had on the water.

Before my visit to Utah, if someone had asked me if I wanted to go fish there or Yellowstone National Park, I would have probably chosen the National Park.  Now on the other hand, after seeing the varieties of water that the area has to offer, plus not seeing any other anglers, with exception to the Green, it would be a tough choice.  There are some really beautiful areas and very few crowds, plus they have just about any type of fishing you would want to do.  Give the guys a south at Falcon’s Ledge, let them tell you what they have to offer and if you go be sure to catch a 5lb Tiger Trout from one of the Lodges still water trophy lakes for me.


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.


Troutfest and Fly Fishing Legends

Troutfest 2011 is complete.  I’m not sure on the total money raised, but I’m sure it is as good as always.  For those of you that are not familiar with Troutfest, check it out at Troutfest.org .  In my opinion it is one of the coolest fly fishing festivals in the United States.  Where else can you sit besides Lefty Kreh and Joe Humphrey’s while you all watch a kid from Knoxville, TN tie flies of his own creation. 

I may be a bit biased as I sat on the planning committee for 2009 and 2010, but trust me it is awesome.  The event is a result of the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  Most people don’t know, but Joe Hatton (former lrctu chapter president) was one of the driving forces for getting the event started 8 years ago.  Since then, Byron Begley of Little River Outfitters ,has helped to grow the event over the last three years to where it is today.  In 2009 and 2010 the event grossed around $60,000 each year and donations of around $45,000 were donated to Great Smoky Mountain National Park both years as well.  Not bad for an event ran by volunteers.  I must give a hats off to all of them as without them it would not be possible.  There are probably around 100 volunteers each year that donate thousands of hours of their time to make the event a success.  It is truely a special event.  The feeling you get when attending and walking around is awe inspiring. 

Also, without the sponsors and exhibitors the event could not happen.  Here is a link to the Troutfest 2011 sponsors list.  We also get donations from many of the fly fishing industry manufacturers for our auction as well as attendance by all of the regional fly fishing industry manufacturer representatives; Randy Hamilton, Park Burson, Steve Burkhalter and Kent Edmonds to name a few.

One of my favorite stories is from two years ago when I had rented a cabin on Little River for the duration of the event.  I was waiting for my wife to arrive so we could attend the banquet.  There happened to be a swinging bridge just out from the cabin and I was enjoying the day and weather.  Just down from the bridge was a gentleman fly fishing.  At one point he looked up and asked the time.  His voice and face was oddly familiar and I figured that it was just one of my occasional fly shop customers.  However after second glance I realized it was Joe Humphrey and he was fishing 20 minutes before he had to be at a banquet, where he was a special guest!  I realized it is still just about the fishing and we all share that same passion.

This year was another great moment.  I have worked for the Orvis company as a Fishing Manager for 5 years now.  I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many of the people that helped to build Orvis to where it is today.  Perk and Dave Perkins, Jim Lepage as well as many of the rod designers and product developers.  These conversations are usually in some sort of work setting or after hours cocktail meet and greet.  I doubt that any of them could recall our conversations.

However this year I had the opportunity to hang with a person who truly helped to develop me as a fly angler.  That man is Tom Rosenbauer and he as written many of the books that most of us read when we were just getting started or trying to take our angling pursuits to the next level.  He has developed fly patterns and created one of the most downloaded pod-casts ever and has worked for The Orvis Company for over thirty years.  You can find more out about Mr. Rosenbauer in an article by Fly Rod and Reel, Angler of the Year.  He is a true steward of the sport of fly fishing, but you won’t hear him saying that.  It was cool to sit and talk with both Tom and Joe Humphrey at the same time.  Joe, who is also of one Tom’s fly fishing hero’s has attended Troutfest for the last three years along with Lefty Kreh and Bob Clouser.  All of these men are living legends in the fly fishing loop.

So, this year was a true treat when I was invited along to go fishing with the gang.  Robert Bryant, Southeast Representative for The Orvis Company; Clay Aalders, Owner of Smoky Mountain Gillies and Tom Rosenbauer.  Clay took us to one of his favorite stretches in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  It was a rainy dreary day, but those are some of my favorite conditions to fish in.  The fishing was a little slower than normal, but it didn’t matter as you could sense that everyone was just there to have a good time.  Later in the day we moved to lower Little River and fished around the Metcalf bottoms area and had some great success.  I spooked one of the parks legendary monster Brown trout (yes, I will be back to see him during the next big rain with Mr. 7wt and a big ugly).  Everyone in the group also caught some really nice fish on dry flies none the less.  We fished till dark and left with smiles, all happy to have enjoyed one this nations great and beautiful places.


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!


Orvis – Sevierville Seminars

Free Seminars

Saturday, February 12th
1PM – 2PM
Holston River Fly Patterns
Join us for a free fly tying demonstration on some of our favorite Holston River flies.  Also, you probably haven’t heard of the Fielden Caddis before.  We finally have convinced Brad to share his best and personal caddis pattern with everyone else.  Come learn to tie this deadly pattern for yourself.

Saturday, February 26th
11AM – 2PM
Free Beginner Fly Tying 101 – sign up required
There’s no feeling more rewarding in fly fishing than catching a fish on a fly you’ve tied yourself. Orvis instructors will teach the basic techniques and essential skills in the art of fly tying.  This is a 3 hour class and is limited to the first 6 individuals that sign up.  Please call us at (865) 774-4162 to reserve your seat!

Saturday, March 12th   
1PM – 2PM
Staff Favorite Smoky Mountain Patterns
Join us for a free fly tying demonstration.  Our fly fishing staff will share some of their personal Smoky Mountain fly variations.  We promise they will catch fish and you probably haven’t seen our variations.

Saturday, March 26th
11AM – 2PM
Free Beginner Fly Tying 201 – sign up required
This is an extension of Fly Tying 101 and we will build on the techniques we learned last month.  This is a 3 hour class and is limited to the first 6 individuals that sign up.  Please call us at (865) 774-4162 to reserve your seat!