November 19, 2012

Streamer Season is in full swing

So you want to target big browns with streamers, we can make it happen. It doesn’t matter if you have never thrown big heavy flies on sink tips or sinking lines. I have developed the right rod, reel and line systems that make it possible for everyone to have a chance at one of these big trophy browns that the South Holston and Watauga Tailwaters are known for. Here is a sampling of some of the fish from the past week.





Don’t forget about the Winter Smallie Floats, yes thats right smallies in the dead of winter. A float this past week yielded 30 smallies and some nice rainbows all in the same stretch of water. If you want to try some winter smallies, I am having a introductory price for these new floats, $295 for a trip down this awesome section of river. Here is some of what’s available.



We are launching a new website after the first of the year and are already promoting it on Facebook, click here: East Tennessee on the Fly click on the like button and be sure to send your friends to like it as well.

Until next week Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

October 24, 2011

Fall colors are spectaucular

Well the fall colors are absolutely spectacular this year. The rain systems we have been getting are hleping with river flows but they add the needed moisture to make for great colors as the leaves change. We are seeing lots of great colors in the rainbows and browns we are catching as they get fired up for the spawning season so upon us.


The South Holston is seeing a good migration of the browns moving to the spawning zones and they are feeding heavily as they travel. The colors on these fish are amazing. They are deep nymphing techniques are working very well in the deep seams, some of the better fish came on “big uglies” this past week. The sulphurs are still coming off sporadically, but the BWO’s are now becoming the predominant hatch.


The Watauga is fishing varied throughout the week. Some days the upper section is the best and then the Quality Zone is the best on others. The Craneflies, BWO’s and cream Midges are the main hatches each day. Long leaders in the 6x and 7x sizes are what it is taking to get these spooky fish to bite. But if you get it right there are plenty of nice fish to catch as Mr. Noah can attest to. He caught is personal best brown and rainbow on a recent trip with his dad. He has turned into quite a fisherman and just enjoys the days on the water with his dad.


The Holston Proper is slowing down on the bite with all these cold fronts coming through, but if we get several nice 70 degree days the bite gets active again. On the most recent trip we were getting them on small white streamers representing all the minnows in the waters. You had to work it slow and get it down to the mid levels of the water column but the rewards were great.


We will have a booth at the upcoming WNC Fly Fishing Expo in Asheville North Carolina on November 5th and 6th. Be sure to mark you calendars and stop by to see us. For more info and directions go here WNC Expo

Give us a call or email to get your fall fishing trip in before its to late.

October 2, 2010

Another great week in the Southern Appalachian Mountians.

This week was the “Indiana Boys” from Evansville. This group of fine fly fishing gentlemen have been doing a week long trip, this being their sixth year. I enjoy there friendship and company during the week. We did several new trips this year and the guys truly loved the fishing they were exposed to. We waded the South Holston, fished Big Cedar for some “Southern Steel” two days and then floated the Watauga. Here are a few pictures from the week, one of the guys suffered a torn bicep tendon about ten days before the trip, and had surgery to correct it. He wasn’t going to let that stop him from coming on this trip. You will see him in one of the pictures with a cast on his arm.





July 6, 2010

Happy 4th fishing trips

What a great 4th of July, celebrating our countries birth and having great trips with clients. The weekend started with Sam and Kathy C. on a Watauga float through the Quality Zone. The fishing was great on the usual Watauga Tailwater summertime patterns, nymphs until you could see the noses as they fed on sulphurs and sweat bee dries.


Then it was two great gentleman who were childhood friends taking another memory filled fishing trip. Buzz and Gren talked about the old days as they fished and had a great time fighting those Watauga Tailwater attitude filled bows.


Sunday July 4th was Scott and Sarah B. from Atlanta, GA. It was Sarah’s first trout fishing trip and she worked hard at getting the cast down and was rewarded with many bites on her presentations. It was truly enjoyable to watch Sarah become a great fly fisher person as the day progressed. The folks on the “Hooch” better watch out.



Then it was back with Sam and Kathy  from Richmond, Va on Monday. We fished the South Holston near Bluff City to start the morning off and it was a spectacular day for them on the South Holston Tailwater. We put the wooden driftboat in the water and rowed to the proper spot and in the first ten casts, landed six beautiful South Holston brown trout. The sulphur hatch during the afternoon generation was like a blanket on the water. Watching those fish splashing and slashing going after all those bugs was nothing shoer of amazing. We finished the day with a flurry of better than average browns on dries.



Then it was on to the Holston Proper for some smallie action with a gentleman who had never caught a smallmouth bass. The weather was hot and the fish were everywhere. Working with his cast with the heavier weight rods only took a few minute to get him into the rhythm then it was lets catch some fish. He talked about the hard fight the smallies put up and from the many deep bends in the rod today he got more than his share of the excellent fighting ability of the Holston Proper smallies.


I hope everyone had a great 4th and is staying cool in the summertime heat. Its a couple of days off and time for some driftboat trailer maintenance and then back on the water for a good set of trips for trout and smallies.

April 8, 2010

Good weather and great fishing

The past week has been giving us some good weather and great fishing. We have been floating the Holston Proper near Kingsport for smallies and the action is picking up each day as the river warms. The Watauga Tailwater in Elizabethton Tennessee is finally flowing back to normal thanks to the TVA. The fish are still in a holding pattern waiting on the Caddis Hatch, but the float trips have been productive on nymphs and woolly buggers. I love those deep crimson stripes and golden bellies on the rainbows in the Ledges. The South Holston is still fishing great with the sluicing, BWO’s and some sporadic sulphurs are coming off.

We are having a cool couple of days with this cold front, but temperatures will rebound into the mid 70’s next week. We will be doing plenty of trips for the Caddis Hatch the next couple of weeks with some trips to the private waters thrown in as well. The month of May is starting to book up with smallmouth trips so make sure to give me a call and get your trip on the books for some great topwater popper action on the Holston Proper.

Bob 20 inchesLR bassIMGP0152_2

December 31, 2009

End of a great year….

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 6, 2009

Snowy day and decorating the house

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

Great week of trips

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


November 26, 2009


Well as we all gather around the table with those we love for a day of thanksgiving, don’t forget about those who are off in foreign lands defending us and also those who are less fortunate than us and can’t be with or don’t have loved ones to celebrate this day with. Take the time this holiday season to remember what it is about. We read and hear on the news that it is not going to be a good time of year, these are the folks worried about how much money we spend this time of year.

Lets get back to basics, this season is about loved ones and how much we care and love them. Take the time to make something with your hands and give it to them, if you are not a crafty or handy person, do something for them, clean the leaves out of their yard, fix a broke fence, just look back at what and how our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents did during the lesser times in their lives. I can remember my grand mother traded her canned goods for a couple skeins of wool yarn one year and learned to knit. She knitted all of the grandchildren socks and scarfs for our Christmas presents. It was all she could do for us other than cooking a great meal. I didn’t understand why I didn’t receive more presents from her like I did from my other grandparents, but as I grew older I understood. I still have those wool socks and scarf. I wear the scarf on cold days and think back to how much love she put into those items she made for us. Those are great memories and I long to have been able to spend more time with her. A very hard life on the farm took her from us early.

There are no pictures to show from these great times, my Dad has some 8mm movies that I need to get put into DVD format, but I have many of those images in my head and will never forget them.

I am thankful for all things things all my grandparents taught me about how to be the person I am and I hope that I have passed them along to my daughter. Well have a great day and not only give thanks for your blessings, but go out and bestow some on someone less fortunate than yourself.

November 20, 2009

South Holston “Chuck & Duck” floating


We have been doing the “Chuck & Duck” streamer tango on the South Holston for the past couple of weeks. It is cool to see the dark shadow chasing your streamer as you strip it through the water. This type of fishing can keep the adrenaline and heart rate high. Yesterday there was a big brown chasing the fly taking swipes at it and missing it, as the client kept stripping it closer to the boat the big brown just kept trying to get it. As he pulled the fly out of the water right next to the boat the brown came straight up out of the water to get the fly. It was totally amazing to watch how aggressive this fish was.

The South Holston is fishing very well with this technique and there are still some sulphurs popping off in certain sections and we are having good luck taking these fish as they feed on the rising nymphs. We are not seeing any fish taking the adults from the surface.

Lance and Alan Watauga 003Lance and Alan Watauga 004

If this is your cup of tea, give me a call and we can do a “Chuck & Duck” Winter Discounted Float trip, for the incredible price of $235



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