December 31, 2009
Well it is an end to a great year, so long 2009 and welcome to 2010. This has been a great year for me, Randy Ratliff, of Troutfishers Guide Service based in Kingsport, Tennessee. I want to thank all of my clients, returning and new ones for your trips with me this year. I have so many great memories of these trips and have spent yesterday and today fishing and reflecting on this year.
Many changes have come this year, I have my wooden driftboat back on the water and have really enjoyed rowing it on the rivers throughout the season. The smallmouth fishing on the Holston River in Kingsport, Tennessee was stupendous this season. Many trophy smallies were brought to the net. The trout fishing on the Watuga Tailwater in Elizabethton, Tennessee was equally impressive. The main season started with the Caddis Hatch and then went into the summer terrestrial fishing and finished out with the October Caddis and streamer season as the big fish were moving and staging for the spawn. There are many stories and memories for everyone to re-live throughout the winter months waiting for spring to arrive. If you are sitting home and really want to fish, winter trout fishing is great, the river has less fisherman pressure and our catches seem to be of a bigger size. Take the time to look through the pictures and see what good times we had this year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR and Tight Lines to everyone!!!!
December 24, 2009
Twas the night before Christmas, and everyone is spending time with family and friends. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Joyous Holiday Season.
Santa and his sleigh will soon begin there trek bringing joy to every boy and girl around the world. I hope everyone has not been naughty but nice.
Soon another year will begin and I look forward to seeing all of you in 2010.
Have a great Christmas Eve.
December 21, 2009
Well the Sudden Winter Wallop caught Kingsport, Tennessee and the surrounding Tri Cities area of guard. It dumped 7 inches of snow in less than 4 hours hitting just as everyone was trying to get home. I was at the Fly Shop of TN in Johnson City, and what normally takes me 20 minutes to get home took me 4 1/2 hours. The Interstates, I-26 and I-81 where shut down due to so many cars stuck everywhere. A family member had to make an emergency run on Saturday morning and counted 184 cars stranded between the State of Franklin exit and the I-26/I-81 interchange. The local authorities gave the folks until Sunday afternoon to get their cars of the highway and then they started towing them to impound lots. There were many power outages from the heavy snow on the trees felling them into power lines. We were lucky enough to keep ours.
Here are some pictures from our neighborhood on Saturday morning.
So all we did was build a fire and enjoy the beautiful views. I started day dreaming of one of the fun floats I did with fellow Orvis Endorsed guide, Patrick Fulkrod. We floated the Holston Proper near Church Hill, Tennessee. This river has flown through all the TVA chains of lakes and is headed toward Cherokee Lake, the last one in this progression before heading onto the Tennessee River. We had a great day even though it rained on us. I threw a size 2 white Boogle Bug popper and Patrick threw a black cicada imitation. The smallmouth here hungry and feeding aggressively. I love the Holston River. You will find me on the few days I have off during the summer, floating this river. Here are a few pictures from our float trip.
Check out the tail on this bruiser, I didn’t think it was that good because it swam with the current at first, then it slapped that tail in the surface and Patrick said that one is a good one.
Well time to go and finish some last minute shopping for the wife’s Christmas presents.
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Looking forward to seeing and fishing with you in 2010!!!!!
December 18, 2009
I am setting here waiting for a winter storm to come through our area. The National Weather Service is saying we could get 4 to 10 inches of snow before this ends Sunday morning. I am looking forward to the snow. Well as the topic suggests I am doing a review of this years smallmouth fishing. It was a really good year, lots of trophy smallies and many happy clents. As Terry and his son from Nashville, Tennessee said, we have fished the boundary waters for many years, but the trips with you on the Holston River are much better. Here are a few samples of their trips.
I had the privilege to spend a couple of days floating with Pete and Linda from Chestertown, Maryland. Pete was an avid smallmotuh fisherman and Linda wanted to learn more about fishing for smallies. While he threw nothing but a Harry Murray blue popper, she wanted to try many techniques. As you can see, she did well with streamer stripping and he caught some nice smallies on that popper.
I had a really great day with Jeff Thornell and his son from Alabama. The fish were in very shallow slow water all day. For the timeframe of 4th of July week with very high temperatures one would have thought the fish would be in fast running riffles trying to stay cool, but that was not the case this day. There were many nice big smallies brought to my wooden hand-built net. Take a look.
I did a trip with Cody Kerr, of Nicholasville, Kentucky. This town is where I spent many weekends in my youth and early adult life at Bluegrass Dragway. It is sad to say that this great drag-strip is now and industrial park. Cody’s trip was a streamer dream day, he threw a Tequeely streamer from orvis all day. When these fish hit this streamer they would rip off upstream so fast I had to back row upstream to catch up with them. What a day on the Holston River near Church Hill, Tennessee.
There were many more memorable trips throughout the year, so here is some shots from the rest.
December 14, 2009
Well the weather and stream conditions are not good, so it is tying time. It is always fun to set at the tying bench coming up with new patterns and variations of existing patterns. I have spent many years trying to find that magic fly that catches the fish on every cast, it is not out there. You will come up with something that works very well for some time, but then the newness wears off and it is time for something else. Here are a few winter patterns I am working on for use in January and February on the tailwaters.
A small variation of an existing fly pattern with a little more flash added to the tail
Here is one from the internet with a slight variation on the colors to match what is in my rivers
Well back to the tying bench
December 12, 2009
I spent the day, December 10th, in the new Orvis Store in Charlotte, North Carolina. I want to thank the manager TJ Roy and his staff for the warm welcome and hospitality during the Ducks Unlimited Day at the store. This is one of the newest stores in the Orvis family and it is a really nice one. The staff is very knowledgeable and is great at customer service. They work hard to make sure that you leave there a satisfied customer.
Here is me wooden drift boat on display outside the new store
My display inside the store
If you are in the south Charlotte area, please be sure to stop by and see TJ Roy and his staff, tell them Randy sent you.
I also was in the Orvis Sevierville Store on December 11th, the staff there was just as accommodating, be sure to stop by the store when visiting the Seviervile/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area. Kris Mauer is the Fishing Manager, not only is he a great manager, but he can also fish. I have enjoyed some time on the water with Kris.
Here is my wooden drift boat in front of the store.
Remember the Orvis Endorsed Guide can accept Orvis Gift Cards for full or partial payment on our guided trips.
December 7, 2009
This coming Thursday, December 10th, I will be at the new Orvis Store in south Charlotte. This will be their Ducks Unlimited Day. I have been invited to bring the wood drift boat and have a display in the store on this Day. Please take a moment of your day and stop by.
December 6, 2009
Well this weekend Mother Nature gave us the first snowfall of the season and then the coldest temperatures so far. After spending some time working in the fly shop, I came home and built a nice warm fire and helped Momma get out the Christmas decorations. I love a good warm glowing fire, and I have plenty of wood to get the job done this winter.
Just what is under the deck, got plenty more stacked behind the shed.
Can’t you feel the warmth
We then spent the afternoon wrapping the Salvation Army Angel Tree gifts for our adopted angels. Even our dachshund, Miss Effie, was helping out by guarding the presents.
Sunday we awoke to some very cold and crispy temperatures with a few remnants of the snow.
We finished up the holiday decorations and spent the rest of the day enjoying each others company.
I hope that everyone has a great week. Maybe I can get in some personal fishing time this week between storm systems, if not I will just sit at the tying bench and work on some new patterns.
December 1, 2009
The Thanksgiving week produced some nice trips and decent weather for this time of year. We had a few days of cold and blowing wind on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, but the rest of the week was good for fishing.
The trophy trout waters we guide on gave up some nice fish for this young man. He wanted to learn the techniques to landing big fish on the fly rod. He hooked a number of fish while on his trip and learned many things about getting trophy trout to the net. The skills he learned today will make him a better fisherman on his home waters of the South Holston. It has a legendary reputation for producing some excellent trophy fish through the years. Here is a sample of one of the nice rainbows that Chris caught.
The TVA was gracious to not be pushing any water for the first part of the week on the Watauga and the trips on Monday and Tuesday showed the fish were ready to feed on low water . We caught them on dries, emergers, nymphs, and streamers, so the clients got to experience all types of fishing and they learned some new styles of fly fishing that they hadn’t tried yet. This time of year we get to see the complete life cycle of a hatch, nymphs coming off the bottom and fish flashing as they feed on them, emergers just under the surface and in the film, the fish bulging as they feed on them, and hatched adults setting on the surface drying their wings and the trout crushing them before they fly away. I love these days where I can teach how to fish all the different parts of the hatch cycle. On these particular days it was the emerger stage that seemed to produce the best bite. Small size 20 soft hackle BWO emegers were the best fly to be throwing and there were some nice fish to be caught. Here is Ted with a fine Watauga River rainbow. I love going with Ted and his friends, because Ted brings his gorgeous Bolder Boatworks dritboat for me to row. This is one sweet ride.
The South Holston was running water all week and the floats were good, some days were better than others. This time of year we float the South Holston mainly throwing streamers and as many know who do this style of fishing, somedays your the hero and some days your the zero. But all streamer fisherman know this and that is what brings them back, the lure of catching a nice fish on that one cast.
The weather for the next week is not going to be good for fishing, high winds of 25 to 50 miles per hour and lots of rain, one and half inches to two inches by Friday morning and then turning to snow flurries. I will have a fire burning in the fireplace and be setting at the tying bench tying up flies for next summer. I will also be hanging out at the Fly Shop of Tennessee in Johnson City some this week, so stop by and say hey if you are in the area. We need to support our local small flyshops if we want them to be there in the future.
Here is a sample of what will be fishing well in the coming months on the South Holston, get your magnifiers and 7x tippet out its Winter Midge fishing at its finest.
and what can be caught on them