What a great weekend guiding the Saluda River Trout Unlimited group from Columbia, South Carolina. We did smallies on the Holston Proper, and trout on the Watauga and South Holston. The fishing was good and the company was great. The TVA made it challenging to get our floats in but we worked around the generation schedules and got in the trips. The weather was great except for right at the end of the day on Saturday, we had to take refuge in a riverside shelter in the Cedar Rapids area while it rained cats and dogs. I think I pumped nearly 4 inches of water out of the boat before rowing out in the dark. Here are some pictures from this great weekend.
Mark your calendars for October 8th and come see me give a presentation to the Saluda River TU group. I will be speaking about how to be more successful on the South Holston, Watauga and Holston Proper rivers when you come to visit out great fishing destination.
The rivers of East Tennessee are rocking with great fishing. The South Holston is giving us better float generation schedules and the Sulphurs are hatching all over the river. The Watauga is getting into consistent summer terrestrial beetle and ant patterns. The smallies and carp on the Holston Proper are awesome!!!
Just remember when you come to fish the South Holston during the wade generation schedules on the weekend, be prepared for the big crowds. Here is a shot from the weir area bridge last Friday.
Stay cool this weekend, we are going to have record high temperatures so be safe and drink plenty of fluids while enjoying the outdoors.
The warmer than normal weather is bringing better than normal early spring fishing. The Holston River near Kingsport and Church Hill Tennessee is fishing good. The smallies are feeding hard on baitfish. Twitch stripping minnow imitating patterns is getting it done. Turkey hunting season kicks into gear this weekend, and the hens are moving about and the toms are strutting trying to get their attention.
The Watauga Tailwater is the only trout river we can float right now, the South Holston is only getting two one hour pulses each day. The Watauga Tailwater in Elizabethton is fishing better this week, we are seeing more of the tan Caddis, small black Caddis, small black Stoneflies, Craneflies, BWO’s and Midges. This means so shortage of things for the fish to eat. I had a really good float trip with a couple of brothers I took out about five years ago. They truly love to fly fish and this passion came from their Dad. They spoke about all day about the memories from trips with their Dad. Here is a copy of an email they sent to me and some of their friends.
Quote ”John and I had a float trip on the Watauga River with renown local guide Randy Ratliff. It was the greatest fly fishing day either of us have ever had! We both caught (and released) over 20 fish. John had a brown at 17″ and a rainbow trout at 18″, and I caught my biggest yet on a fly rod, a beautiful 19″, 3.5 lb Brown!”
Here are the pictures of their bigger fish for the day.
Give me a call 423-360-1468 or contact me through the website to get your day on any of these great rivers and tailwaters. Looking forward to taking you on your fishing trip and showing these great fishing waters.
The Watauga Tailwater near Elizabethton, Tennessee give up a nice gift to a young man on his first ever float trip. He and his girlfriend wanted to go after some winter browns with streamers, they wanted to float the South Holston, but the generation was not right for a float. I told him the Watauga was fishing just as good as the SoHo, so we met up and hit the river. Zane was throwing a Kelly Galloup pattern on an 8wt Clouser rod by Temple Fork Outfitters.
He had got several nice browns to the net and had been getting plenty of bites with those feisty browns shaking the flies free. After working with him on how to keep them hooked in those first few moments of the fight he started bringing more to the net. Then he hooked into this monster brown, boy did he put up a good fight. After several bull dogging runs Zane finally started to turn him to the boat, then it was into the net and time for a quick “Grin-n-Grin” shot before turning him loose to give another angler a chance at great fight.
Here are a few client comments sent to me about recent trips:
Randy Ratliff was a pleasure to work with on a recent corporate event we sponsored at a trade convention in Kingsport. He set up a drift boat fly-fishing trip for 12 guests one afternoon. It’s refreshing to deal with someone that is straightforward and covers all the bases. Randy did exactly as he said he would with timely communications and no misunderstandings. Amazing how rare that is these days! We had a great experience and I’d recommend his company to anyone.
Randy – George and I want to thank you for another great fishing experience. I do not think either of us have had a better day chasing and catching trout. As always, your advice and encouragment for me was invaluable. Every trip with you makes a me better fly fisherman.
I recently spent the day on the lower Watauga River with our guide Randy Ratliff. I have fished in rivers and lakes all over the United States, and have never had a more relaxing day. Randy’s knowledge of the rivers that he fishes would be hard to match. My friend and I have been out with Randy three times and never failed to have a great day filled with fish. I know that we will be on the water again with Randy Ratliff.
Just wanted to drop you a note and thank you for the pictures of my brown, got to say this is one of the nicest fish I have caught in the East. All thanks to you and your knowledge of the bugs and the water.
I would recommend you to any of my fellow fishermen and friends; it was a great float, excellent lunch, (think your wife needs some credit on that as well) and an all around good time. Love the knot you showed me along with the attention to detail in your every effort. You know Brad and I will be back.
Thanks again and feel free to post this so others can view.
Ron Bizick President
MRI of High Rock Lake
Denton NC 27239
Today being CYBER MONDAY is the start of a very popular trip special pricing we did last year. Starting today and running through March 10th, you can float the South Holston or Watauga Tailwater going after those big trophy fish that these two tailwaters are known for. We use articulated streamers and a few other techniques that should put you on some nice fish. The pricing is $250 for one or two persons on a 6 hour float with a lite lunch (wife’s homemade soups), flies and equipment provided, you can use yours if you prefer.
Here are some from last year.
Don’t forget to get your gift certificates for the fisher-persons on your gift list. You can get one for a full trip or any amount needed that can be applied towards a trip.
Have a great week and enjoy all those turkey leftovers.
Well not only did the true time change take place this past weekend, but the rivers are going through big changes this time of year. The browns are moving all over the South Holston and Watauga getting ready for the spawn, we are having good success fishing for them. The generation schedules have changed as well giving us the opportunity to fish for them several ways.
The time is now to think about buying a gift certificate for that fisher person for Christmas. We have many types available to fit your needs. Half-day, full-day, wade, or float. We even can do just a specific dollar amount that they can apply to a trip. Even our dog, Miss Effie is getting into the spirit.
The WINTER FLOAT SPECIALS are soon in effect. Starting November 28th through March 9th, I will be doing six (6) hour floats with a lite lunch, the price is $250 for one or two persons. We had a good time on these last year with plenty of nice fish caught so don’t miss out on this opportunity.
The WNC Fly Fishing Expo was a great success for me, I thank everyone who stopped by to talk and look forward to getting you out on the water for your trips. The next show I will be attending will be The Great Southern Fishing Show in Atlanta, GA. The dates are January 21st and 22nd. Looking forward to seeing everyone there.
Give me a call or email and get your gift certificates, winter trip special or just talk fishing.
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.
The time is here to chase our “Southern Steel” on our trophy trout waters. Sight fishing and seeing the bite, the reel screaming runs and then fighting them to the net. Your adrenaline will be through the top, your heart races, and your smile on the grip -n- grin photo will be very big. Lets go fishing for some hog trout.
Also the big browns on the Watauga and South Holston are moving about getting ready for the spawning season. We have been catching some nice browns on recent trips. Now is the time to book for those trips.
I am so looking forward to this week, a bunch of great trips coming up and then the weekend at Troutfest in Townsend Tennessee. Here are some pictures of recent trips.
Be sure to come by the Temple Fork Outfitters and Chota Outdoor Gear booths at Troutfest, I will have the pleasure of being around a couple of the greats of fly fishing, Bob Clouser and Lefty Kreh. Below is a picture on my recent trip on the South Holston with Bob Clouser.