Nov and Dec, 2015 Guide Reports

We finished up the 2015 season with a high number of successful trips, both floating and on foot. A warm early winter provided us a wide variety of rivers to fish, water levels, and tactics used. From tiny creeks to the big tailwaters, we covered it all, rounding out a very productive year for our guides. We would like to thank all of our customers for another great year of fishing, your business is much appreciated!

The S. Holston continues to be a top producer on the national level, considering both the numbers of fish caught, and upper end size. On Nov 1 every year, the S. Holston closes about 1/4 of the river for the brown trout spawn. Despite the limited water, our floats generally produced great numbers each and every trip, with shots at world class fish mixed in. The bwo and slate hatches came off as always mid morning through evening, with cloudy and calm days providing the best dry fly opportunities. The brown trout moved on the spawning redds mid December, and the heavy spawning should last into mid Jan.

The upper and middle sections of the Watauga tailwater has fished extremely well, as lots of fish have moved up river to spawn. While the bread and butter one these floats are 12 in. beautiful browns and rainbows, we have targeted and landed some absolute monsters in early November. The spawn takes place earlier on the Watauga compared to the S. Holton, with brown trout showing up on the redds as early as late Oct. Small blonde caddis, bwo’s, and varieties of big slately mayflies have dominated the bug scene.

The small streams in the high country had one of the most productive Novembers we could ever remember. El Nino laced our weather pattern with wet and warm weather, providing us with optimal small stream fishing conditions. The small streams around the Boone, NC region fished extremely well, and the outlook looks good for the rest of winter and into spring. The Boone area DH sections are in especially good shape helped by the big flows and heavy stockings. The big flows kept the stockers happy while they acclimated to their new streams, plus eliminated the fish in a barrel situation, often seen in small DH streams. Bug life remained active up through the New Year, with sunny midday hatches being most prolific. Big yellow stones, small grey stones, and midges have been the most prevalent bugs.

Oct 10 2015 Guide Report

S. Holston and Watauga Tailwaters

We have been floating and wading all sections of the S. Holston, taking advantage of the brown trout prespawn bite. The browns are definitely on the move throughout the river, establishing their feeding lanes within their chosen spawning grounds. Blue wings and midges have replaced our big sulphur hatches. The mid morning and late evening midge hatches have been impressive, with the blue wings and slates are ramping up daily. The shad kill in South Holston Lake had the big browns gorging, as many are now bloated full with the bait. We have taken advantage of this by fishing shad streamer patterns during the initial high water release.

The Watauga Tailwater male brown trout have started staging on their redds preparing for the spawn. Slates, BWO’s, blonde caddis, and midges are  most prevalent bug wise. The streamer fishing is picking up, especially on the aggressive males near the redds, with sculpin, shad, and rainbow patterns fishing best. Nymphing caddis larva, midges, and blue wings has been the go to technique for most anglers.  The middle section float is producing the best numbers, however some hogs are being landed in the trophy section and downstream. The Watauga offers a very scenic float this time of year, a favorite of the leaf looker crowd.

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Aug 1, 2015 Guide Report

S. Holston Tailwater/Boone Lake

The S. Holston sulphur hatch has been outstanding the past couple of weeks on the upper half of the river. During high water flows, the hatch has reached “blanket” status. The catching part is much easier during the lighter hatches with less competition from natural bugs. The beetle, ant, and hopper bite is moderate to good on most days. Overhanging trees or bushy banks near deeper water are producing best while tossing terrestrials. The draw from the low levels downstream in Boone Lake and afternoon high water flows, has produced cold flowing water 20 plus miles below the dam. We have caught smallmouth, largemouth, stripers, and spots mixed in with our brown and rainbow trout during our floats down low. This is a great time of year to float the river with us… Check out all the big browns caught the past few weeks below!

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Watauga Tailwater/Boone Lake

Midges have dominated the scene for most of the river lately. During low water, nymph or dry dropper fishing mayfly, caddis, and midge patterns are producing best. The terrestrial bite is there on most days and can produce some awesome bites. High numbers of trout remain in the upper portions, but big fish are coming out of every section of river. When they release high flows, we have been tossing the big stuff with good success … See the pic below of the giant 28 in. brown trout landed in mid July! The lower river can produce a mixed bag of species, with some world class brown trout mixed in.

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June 23 2015 Guide Report

Big brown trout hitting the nets on the S. Holston.

Perhaps the most underrated time of year on our S. Holston is upon us. Many of the lake run fish have settled in their spots and have started picking out their favorite bugs. Every mile of the river has something to offer from high numbers of little fish, to pods of giant browns. The terrestrial bite is really picking up, as Japanese beetles are abundant on the trees and riverside foliage. The streamer bite is there during high water generation, often with bigger patterns producing best. We have seen huge runs of shad upstream of the lake and the stocking little rainbow trout in each section. Some of the best streamer fishing of the year awaits, for those willing to chunk the big stuff. During low water generation, we have gone into sniper mode… sight fishing to giant browns, and casting to riffle risers during the afternoon sulfur hatch.

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June 4 2015 Guide Report

South Holston Tailwater

Half of our trips have been focused on the S. Holston the past few weeks. The low water in Boone Lake has drawn the entire river down, but has pushed lots of fish up river sooner than normal. The TVA has given us consistent pulses and short generations. We have been targeting runs of big brown trout in every section of the river with good success. The usual suspects are prevalent on the river rocks… scuds, midges, and sulphurs. Some black and tan caddis, bwo’s, crane flies, and hendrickson’s have been popping up occasionally, mostly on the middle/lower stretches. The terrestrial bite is picking up and will continue to do so throughout the region.

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Watauga Tailwater

The Watauga tailwater is continuing to produce good numbers in the upper and middle sections, with a big fish bite down low. Some caddis are still hanging around, however the game has switched to sulphurs, terrestrials, and midges.  Generation schedules have varied from 100 cfs to a 800 cfs, giving us nice moderate flows for all sections of the river. Low water in Boone Lake has pushed some stripers up river and we are taking advantage on fly and light artificial tackle. Shad and rainbow trout patterns are producing best. The Watauga is healthy with all the high to moderate water levels this spring, and will continue to provide a great float or wade through the summer months.

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Freestone Streams

We have been fishing the region’s freestone streams small and large, targeting various bass and trout species. The Nolichucky has had better average sized smallmouth compared to years past. While our numbers are not what we saw five years ago, the river’s population is on a major rebound. With the baitfish populations exploding, it’s been match the hatch time. The topwater bite is picking up in the afternoon and evenings, and some bigger fish are being caught on large patterns during the right hour. The Boone, NC area small streams had a good spring and with the recent rains are pumped back up for early summer. We have sneaked around various creeks with good success, targeting secondary streams loaded with wild brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Golden and black stone fly nymphs, along with yellow sulphur patterns are working well.. The terrestrial bite is also happening, with ants producing best.

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