Well today mother nature threw more snow at us this morning here in Kingsport, Tennessee. It has been great fishing so far this week starting with the warm sunny weather over the weekend and continuing into the first part of the week. There were plenty of folks out fishing on both the South Holston near Bristol, Tennessee and the Watauga in Elizabethton. The South Holston has been having some good BWO hatches and a AK’s Parchute is the best emerger/dry to be throwing. There are also plenty of adult blackflies and the trout are sipping them madly at the surface. You should be using a Griffiths Gnat for those fish sipping blackflies. I have also been trying a new swing technique for emergers and it was working very well for me. More to come on this after some more exhausting river test’s, its tough but somebody has to do it.
The Watauga is doing great on Quality Zone floats, the standard deep nymphing rig with 2 BB shot to get it down seemed to work before the morning generation hits you. Then as the water falls the BWO’s start coming off and it was sweet on dry flies in the Ledges down near the town of Watauga, Tennessee. The Watauga seems to be just waiting for the caddis to start coming off. There are still some big boys being landed on the Watauga, baitfish streamers seem to be the ticket for them. How would you like a 12 pound brown tugging on your line. The TWRA and Tennessee Tech fisheries biologist spent some time on the Watauga doing some shocking and said they had 20/20 groups . The 20/20 is 20 fish at or over 20 inches in each section they monitor. That is good news for everyone. Makes you want to get out there and toss some big bugs.
In a couple of weeks we will be throwing plenty of these as the Caddis Hatch starts winding up. If you haven’t gotten your trips booked, now is the time to call me, dates are filling fast so get on the calendar and experience the fog like caddis hatches on the Watauga.
The new Orvis Hydros is a great rod and this is the proof. Field & Stream picked it as part of its best new fishing gear for 2010. To see the reviews, click here
I have two of them and they are great feeling and casting. Accuracy is dead on and they are light enough to cast all day with out wearing your arm out. It doesn’t matter if its trout fishing on the South Holston or Watauga Tailwaters or smallie fishing on the Nolichucky or Holston Proper these rods will get the job done and make for an enjoyable day on the river.
Well the TVA has gotten the lakes down to a manageable level and without any heavy rains in the future the generation will allow good floats and wades. The Watauga is fishing great with BWO’s hatching all up and down the river. We can float the upper sections when they generate and then it is the Quality Zone on the weekends when the water slows down. So get yourself to Elizabethton, Tennessee and wet a line on the Watuaga.
The South Holston has dry fly action as well as deep nymphing. It is so nice to see that strike indicator make that slight twitch and then feeling the head shake as you come tight to the fish. The best nymphs the past week have been Princes and San Juan Worms. When it come to dries, the BWO AK’s Parachute has been the “bee’s knee’s” (if you like GIECO commercials). They take it hard and fast, when you land a fish it is back in their mouth. This also causes us to loose some fish, usually browns with those sharp teeth. As they fight and swing their heads back and forth it cuts the leader. So it is getting time to get out and fish and the South Holston Tailwater in Bristol, Tennessee is the place to get hooked up on one of those butter belly browns.
Don’t forget that smallmouth bass fishing is just around the corner, I am already getting calls from folks who want to make sure that they get their trip in this year on Tennessee’s best smallie river, The Holston Proper River near Kingsport, Tennessee. Just to give everyone a little help on where we are located and where this great smallmouth river is, it is 20 minutes from the ‘Worlds Fastest Half Mile” and the NASCAR fan’s favorite track, Bristol Motor Speedway. So if you want to come and get hooked up to fight the best fighting freshwater fish out there, give me a call or email and lets get you scheduled for a great outdoor experience.
The TVA is slowing down this week on generating through Wilbur and Watauga Dams. So my fellow Orvis endorsed guide Patrick Fulkrod and I decided to float the Watauga. It was a great day weather wise, mid twenties when we started but it quickly warmed to the mid thirties by 10 am. We started of deep nymphing so we could try out several new Orvis Helios rods that had came in this week, a 10′ 5wt nymph rod and 11′ 6wt switch rod. They both performed flawlessly in the applications we were testing. Deep nymphing in wide sections of the river allowed us to make great mends with these longer rods and keep the flies in the strike zone, while keeping the boat further away from the fish pods. The cast effortlessly and placement of the flies was spot on. We feel that we caught many more fish this way because the boat wasn’t in their window of vision and the pods didn’t spook. Then there is the issue of trying to set the hook at greater distances from the boat with shorter rods. That 11′ Helios Switch rod reacted quickly and there were no missed hook sets from sixty feet away.
Then as the sun came out and the temperature got into the forties, the BWO’s started popping off everywhere and the fish were in a feeding frenzy, you were turning all around trying to figure out which fish you wanted to target. Placing the fly about 2 feet above the rise form was the best way to get the fishes attention. They were feeding so aggressively that the fly would be back in their mouth. Many nice browns were brought to the net. It was so great to float the Watauga Tailwater in Elizabethton. Most winter floats have been done on the South Holston near Bristol, Tennessee. The South Holston Tailwater is fishing great, good BWO hatches and lots of fish coming to the net.
I am looking forward to better weather as we get closer to springtime and the Caddis Hatch, but we can’t forget about those smallmouth bass down on the Holston Proper and Nolichucky. We are so lucky to not have to travel to far away locations to enjoy great fishing. The fisheries that the TWRA and TVA have created, make it possible for folks to come to the Southern Appalachians to enjoy our beautiful scenery and hospitality.
Just remember that based on the tourism studies, the Tri Cities area, Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City are a days or less drive to 65% of most people that are east of the Mississippi River system.
Here are some pictures fro the trip yesterday.
If you are wanting to learn the A to Z of fly fishing, click here, and get signed up for the Orvis Fly Fishing Schools available in the Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area of the Great Smoky Mountains. I will be one of the Orvis Endorsed Guides teaching the schools. These are two day schools that will give you all the information, hands on experience, and confidence to go fly fishing anywhere you wish.
Here is a brief description of what they Orvis Fishing School at Orvis Sevierville has to offer:
Some of the South’s best fishing is available in the area with 800 miles of fishable trout water in Great Smoky Mountain National Park alone! The unique cabins at Hidden Mountain Resorts make this is a great location to combine the Orvis Fly Fishing School with a family vacation. Other outdoor activities include hiking, horseback riding, tubing and nearby white water rafting. With shopping, art galleries, Dollywood, Splash Country and other local attractions, Sevierville offers fun for the entire family. The fly fishing lessons cover everything from fly casting, choosing the right tackle, leaders and knots, to fly selection and how to safely release fish.
I hope to see you at one of the schools.