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“Jeff, Thanks for a wonderful day that exceeded all our expectations. We came home so excited, all agreeing that we learned more in the first hour than we had in all our time with other guides. The netted fish, your easy way of being, and your patience and care were very much appreciated. Lunch was great too! Thanks again…..Melissa Malone, Greensboro, NC, Nan Henson , Teresa Hoyt , Atlanta, GA, on a March 31, 2012 NC Trip
Thank you again for 2 super, glorious days of fishing 🎣 You are a true professional guide, in every sense of the word. You were a gracious, patient, attentive, and most accommodating host. Plus you taught me a lot.
I would highly recommend you and your services to anyone. All the best, Kevin O’Connor , Charlottesville, VA, on his two day trip at Dunlap Creek private water and day two South Holston float trip May 12- 13, 2017
November 2018 through January 2019 FISHING REPORTS
11-2-2018 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, David Carter, Greensboro, NC, NC Mtns, met up with David early, o dark thirty, and we were on the water early. We didn’t let the threat of rain dampen our trip, as I have quit postponing a lot of trips due to rain or chance of rain and we will be doing that as a part of our cancellation policy going forward. Our new policy is we only cancel if its unsafe to fish (flooding/muddy conditions) or unsafe getting traveling to where we are fishing. Today we harvested the fruits of that decision. We had rain early, great nymph fishing, rather, excellent /epic nymph fishing. The water was a bit high, a slight bit of color, and the usual leaves in the drift as is normal in the fall after a rain. We started out on a stretch that usually offers good fishing this time of the season, and it didn’t disappoint. We caught a bunch of fish in the first stretch we fished, all on some new dirt snake patterns/new colors and some new nymphs. All of them caught fish, a couple worked exceptionally well as they were employed on both a standard double nymph rig with a dropper and a bounce/swivel rig that I use on high water when a lot of weight is required. We moved to another stretch and hooked up on several more fish, a couple of which were 20 inch plus rainbows. Also managed the trifecta of browns, rainbows and a couple brookies as well. We caught several doubles as well. We fished a couple of other spots too, in a light to moderate but continuous rain, and caught a lot of fish, again a mix of rainbows, browns, and brookies with one of the browns being a 20″ fish. We took a break for lunch, then headed to a lower section of the river to hit up a few spots I knew could give up a few nice fish. They did just that, we managed three more large rainbows 20-24″ and lots of fish between 11″ and 14″. David decided around 430pm we had had a great day and it was time to call it a day. By then the moderate rain turned to heavy stuff briefly and then quit when we quit. The river was up slightly and a little off color but we continued to catch fish all the way til the end. Somewhere between 50 and 60 fish landed, all in the rain, and a great reason to go fishing in the rain. Fish eat, or rather BIG FISH eat in the rain! Here are a few pics of our day…..with some of the better fish first…..click each thumbnail below those to enlarge them…
11-3-2018 FISHING REPORT – had a last minute trip cancellation so I decided to head out to test out some new gear and flies. Tested an ECHO fiberglass 7’10 5 weight 3 piece rod that I got from the guide dept program at ECHO and it was great. Put it through the paces, trying it with a variety of rigs, and bending it on probably two dozen fish in 5 hours of fishing, including a couple of huge rainbows. Also was testing the new VEIL camo SIMMS stockingfoot wader and was very impressed both with how it looked and the comfort of it. Always pleases me to slide some new SIMMS waders on and these were no different. Improved neoprene feet, pocket configurations, suspenders/straps were all fantastic, and a big thanks to the folks at the SIMMS guide desk who keep us in great stuff all season long. Tried out the new GUIDE boots as well and they are fantastic as well, with a lot of improvements including a roomier feel that is incredibly comfortable, a large toe box giving your toes lots of wiggle room (important for cold days when the feet might get a little chilly— being able to move your toes is important). Also tried out a lot of new flies Ive been cooking up over the past year, had some great results with them. Lots of fish going down in the coming months on them. We had some rain, and today water was up a bit…..and it was cold and breezy in the high country, and lots of leaves coming down. Again, normal stuff. Colors are stunning in the high country at mid elevations right now (3000-4000ft)….Here are few pics…..
Great fishing weather for Sunday and Monday, Tuesday looks like a bit of rain, then a mildup coming for Wednesday and Thursday. Leaves are late this year so still lots of color in that regard, and its not too late to head up to the hills for a few hours to take it all in. From Mt Airy all the way down the spine of the mtns and in between generally those areas between 1500 and 3300 feet are at peak with lots of color. Wilkes and Caldwell counties have some great color if you should venture up highways 16, 18, or 221 toward Jefferson. Also a lot of color up 181 out of Morganton up the Wilson Creek /Table rock area. Spectacular color. It was about 2 week late this year, as predicted, mostly due to mild temps and lots of rainfall. Interestingly though, the change in light angle with the sun is what does the color change, it isn’t cold weather. Changing light conditions prompts trees to stop producing chlorophyll which is why leaves turn.
For those weather buffs out there (me included), it looks like a great winter season forecast for fishing. Slightly above average snow is being predicted. That is good for fishing, and good for the water table ensuring great flows for spring. Bring it on! We love fishing snow, we do it a lot, and some of our best fishing is in these conditions. Folks always remark about some of my photo pages how many times folks are holding a huge fish, have gloves, heavy jackets, and toboggans on…..there is a reason all those things go together. If you don’t fish in winter you are missing out. I’ll leave it at that. Those who have gone or who go KNOW!
Here is the annual snow report from Rays Weather, complete with predictions as well as an in depth meteorological analysis….. Rays is generally the most accurate of anyone, as you’d expect from LOCAL folks. Interesting Rays last year was within 3″ of the exact seasonal snowfall totals overall for the mountains. Not the Weather Channel, NOAA, local weather stations, anyone, to my knowledge, has matched that. Enough of that, click here or the link below for the snow report 2018-2019.
11-5-2018 FISHING REPORT – great fishing all over the high country, time to take advantage of it. Its “prime time’ so to speak. We got some rain last night but the impact was minimal and flows are great in most places. Banner Elk and Beech Mtn saw snow flakes if you can believe it, some saw some accumulation on Beech. For those fishing the tailwaters we’ll be seeing some lower flows on the Watauga, and variable flows on the South Holston with TVA doing some unit testing as the new generator, which has been replaced and installed over the past year, is about ready to be up and running. November and December are two great fishing months, time to plan now to get out and enjoy it. With plenty of water to work with, I am thinking it might be the best fall and winter seasons in quite some time.
11-6-2018 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, John Keller Group, 3 Anglers, Stokesdale, NC, ppd high winds and severe weather(tornado watch)/heavy rain, rescheduling
11-7-2018 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Paul Wagner, Madison, NC, VA Mtns, we started bright and early, determined not to let rain or high, dingy water stop us from making a day of it. Do fish (big fish) still eat in dirty water? Just ask Paul. River was flowing at 308 cfs, and the water was off color, and the first spot we fished yielded several large rainbows up to 20-21″, an 18″ tiger trout, a 14″ palomino or golden, and a fall fish. We fished double nymph rigs to start, and did well on a variety of Y2Ks, rubberleg BH GRHEs, RL Copper princes, Rojo midges, etc, we caught fish on a variety of patterns. As we moved upriver, we hit several more spots, each producing several nice rainbows. In addition we had a number of fish on briefly that shook loose or came unbuttoned. We had cloudy skies most of the day, and some hit or miss showers, and fished til probably 1:30 and had a quick shore lunch. After lunch we moved to a deeper, faster canyon like stretch and picked up where we left off. In the next few hours we landed another 12 to 14 fish, all of them large, all rainbows, up to 22″. Same nymph rigs but we did as I often do, that is switch to a couple of larger patterns as we started to get some of those long afternoon shadows on the water. It worked great, several of our largest fish of the day came to net. We also had one very large brown hook up, and then jump three feet out of the water and upstream and come loose. I hated to see that , but it was a great fish, one of the largest of our day. Great day of fishing though, and provides solid proof that not canceling due to less than perfect conditions is a great idea. We put in the time and work and were rewarded with almost two dozen large fish . Great day… almost all our fish were 19-22″ hogs like the one below…..here are a few pics…..
11-8-2018 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Sean & Carrie O’Connor, TN, NC Mtns, Carrie and Sean met me bright and early, we had a chilly, drizzly, cloudy day and man was it ever great. Sean and Carrie were troopers and showed yet again why we don’t cancel due to less than desirable conditions…..its because the fish don’t do things according to what makes us feel good. Its November, code word for “prime time”, and the fishing has been outstanding. Simply no other way to say it……small streams, tailwaters, DH waters, its all good right now. Sean had fished some, mostly years ago, and Carrie was new to the game. We worked on casting for a few minutes, went through line management techniques, how to play /land fish, and it was game on. Within minutes we had the first fish on, then another, then another, then another……catch release repeat. It was great, she hooked a large brown that appeared to be a two footer and the fish came off after a short powerful run upstream. We did land one of her best fish though right where we started, it was a 16″ brown. Sean was nearby catching a few as well. We moved upstream hitting a couple of different spots, with much the same result. We used double nymph rigs and bounce rigs and did great, and did some tight lining (what we used to called it before all of the fancy schmansy ‘euro’ or ‘french’ nymphing terminology was applied). Everything we did worked, and both Carrie and Sean caught brookies , rainbows, and browns, and a couple of hog johnson rainbows. The rainbows were 21-22″ and fought well and gave a good account of themselves. We had great fishing though right up to taking a quick lunch break. After lunch, we went downstream and fished a couple of spots I knew would give up the goods, and they did just that. We landed a ton of fish at each spot, and the last one gave up about 8 nice fish, one fish that was bright and colored up, a rainbow, and it was fun to catch some quality fish from water there that isn’t trout water. But that is the nature of cool and cold weather fishing, fish move around a lot and you find them in some interesting places…..large trout where trout supposedly don’t exist, or aren’t supposed to. I know a lot of those spots…..and there are a lot of them. We finished up around 3pm, and called it a day. Great day though, probably 50-60 fish landed. And again, those who stuck it out in less than perfect weather (my perfect weather) were rewarded. That isn’t an anomaly, its usually the norm. Here are some pics from our day….
11-9-2018 FISHING REPORT– filling fly orders, coming up for air, filling in my own guide fly boxes that have been taking a hit, looks like we might see a touch of snow flurries tonight. Fishing is outstanding and will continue to be so. Bring it on….! If you want a November or December date to fish now is the time to snag it. This is going to be one of our best late fall /early winter seasons in years because we have plenty of water to work with! Our past two weeks of trips have proven it!
11-10-2018 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Nick & Kent Woodward, Lexington, NC , NC Mtns, met Nick and his 10 yr old son Kent where they were staying in Boone, knew it was going to be a cold morning or day, it was super windy due the to passage of our first major winter cold front. Mid 20sF, wind 25-35 with gusts to 50-55 and some scattered flurries. Those can be challenging conditions, unless of course you are prepared, and we were. Handwarmers, plenty of clothing to layer, gloves, toboggans, and a hot streamside lunch. I assured them we could find some places out of the wind, and that the fishing would be fine, just like it usually is, and that is exactly what we got. Fishing was
pretty good excellent. Kent exclaimed….” dad I think the fishing was better than last time…” , speaking of the last time we fished, one year ago, in October, on a 60 degree sunny day. We caught them on nymph rigs, also as I expected, and first area we fished gave up 15-20 nice fish, including several citation fish, one brookie (20″) and one brown (18″) and multiple 18 inch rainbows. We took a short break, let the guys heat their feet up in the truck, then on to the next spot where we basically repeated what we did on the first. Several nice fish. By then it was lunch time and Kent was hungry! So we did a quick shore lunch on the tailgate, then headed off to another stream for the afternoon. The wind kicked back up and the temps by 3pm were falling just as forecast, but we still managed another 25 fish or so, a couple of large wild browns, and several nice rainbows. We finished up by 430pm and called it a day. Just like it usually is, put in the time and the effort, look past the less than perfect conditions, and you’ll be rewarded. That is exactly what Kent and his dad Nick got, probably 50 plus today on a day many maybe would have stayed home. Of course, with the excellent gear available today, no need to do that. Staying home = missing fishing that is often better than you’d have gotten on your ‘perfect’ day. If fish waited to feed on perfect days they’d eat 3 days a year. But don’t take my word for it, make me prove it to you. Lets go fly fishing! So much for that, here are a few pics from today….
11-12-2018 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Ron Davis, Paul Briggs, Winston-Salem, NC, we had to postpone due to very heavy rain, all day heavy rain……will be interesting to see the full impact of all the rain. Great to have plenty of water though. Looks like Wednesday/Thursday we will see the first snow of the season , forecast is 1-3″ of snow.
A lot of questions from clients on flood damage on some waters…. Here is a brief take on it…. One, yes there has been flooding. Yes some waters had some flood damage. But I use the word “damage” cautiously, because what we call ‘damage’ is normal. Stream flooding is normal. Has always occurred, always will occur at times. Its not an abnormal occurrence. Flood waters move things around. They deposit new structure or cover in the river. They fill in familiar holes ruining a good fishing spot. They create new holes creating a new ‘good’ fishing spot. That is the way you need to look at it. With all of that said, yes some local waters have had a few changes. The only one I am aware of getting a lot of this, and I fish all of them in the local area, is the Mitchell in Surry Co. Two tropical systems and a ton of rain caused significant flooding and some damage to the upper road (Grover Cockeram Rd) and flooded the bottom land all the way down to Kapps Mill and Kapps Mill Dam. The Dam blew out and is no longer there. Only a few remnant pieces of wood and concrete at either bank are there. The river now flows unrestricted all the way to the Yadkin. Funny, this is how it flowed before man built the dam across it in 1827 and John Kapps bought the property in 1843. So, it can be said, that the river is now flowing the way it was in the beginning. One benefit I guess also is that from where the dam was upriver to the significant left bend /cornerhole there is now fishable water all the way through whereas before it was slow and deep the last 1/8 mile before the top of the dam….pretty much unfishable. So a 1/8 mile strip of river was regained essentially. Here are some pics….
Million dollar question you are asking….still fishable? Yes Still accessible? Yes. Fish still there? Yes. I’ll leave it there.
11-14-2018 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, TN tailwaters, met Ted bright and early, well, dark and early, never saw the sun today and that was ok, as it was a great fishing day. Cold, drizzly, then a cold rain but just as I have always said fish choose the weather they like , not what we like, and today was like that. We got a low water (385) release on the South Holston, and it appeared they might do that all day, so we floated the upper river and I knew we’d get excellent dry fly fishing. Ted loves dry fly fishing, and so do I, and we spent all of 30 minutes nymph fishing and catching a dozen or so on nymphs before deciding we’d head downriver and target risers. That would prove to be an easy thing, as I knew we’d get dry fly action on that flow, nearly always is. That is exactly what we got. I tested some improved CDC ties as well, incorporating a new hook and a fortified tying procedure and it was a fruitful thing…. We moved from one pod of risers to the next. Cast, hookup, land and release the fish, dry the fly on my dry fly patch, dust it with Frogs Fanny, then repeat. I (we) did that nonstop for about 6.5 hours. We tallied well over a hundred fish, not any huge fish, but several quality browns and rainbows to 16-17″. Excellent dry fly action to say the least, exactly what we were looking for. Pretty hard to find that anywhere else around here in November. The other incredible thing, is we caught those fish on 4 dry flies. Yes, we used 4 CDC dry flies all day. In wet, soggy conditions and that many fish. Actually, we had one two fly rig break off so it was actually like we caught about 80 of those fish on two flies. Don’t know if you fish CDC or tie with it, but to have two flies withstand that type of abuse and still float and catch fish that is a feat. A real feat. I was amazed. Very pleased, and will of course will have a lot of those bugs on board for future trips. We floated to the end of the open section and rowed to takeout in a steady and moderate rain. Dark, low sky, and we were wet as could be on the inside but thanks to our SIMMS gear dry as a bone inside and feeling good inside about an absolutely incredible day of dry fly fishing. We saw a couple other wade fishermen on the edges of the river, zero other boats, and essentially thousands of rising fish all to ourselves. For those who know this river and how it can be in terms of rising fish, that is no exaggeration. Thousands of risers. Great day, here are a few pics, didn’t take many as my phone battery is not charging properly and I discovered that a mile into our float. Got a few pics, Ted a few, and fished most of the day without pics. Here are a few ….
11-15-2018 FISHING REPORT – wet, cold day…….would’ve been a great fishing day but I took off to refill a ton of fly boxes, perform some website maintenance, and a lot of other chores that never get done from being on the water a lot. Lots of rain for sure, but we are still fishing. Yes there is still fishing even with all the rain. Here are a couple of songs that reflect the past weeks weather…
11-16-2018 FISHING REPORT – mtns got a shot of rain, ice, snow yesterday, and another brief shot of snow last night. Here is the forecast for the morning…
11-17-2018 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Jeff Hutchison, Columbus, OH, we met early Saturday morning and opted with the scheduled flows on the tailwaters to be up with all the wet weather to head over to the South Holston, which fishes great in high flows, and it did not disappoint. We, along with several others/boats who had the same thought, launched and spent a few hours methodically plodding the deep, heavy flows with a heavy rig, dredging the bottom, and it yielded almost right off what would be some of the nicest fish of the day, browns to 22/23″. Beautiful, wild, butter yellow bellied, hooked jaw pre spawn brownies. We caught several good ones, two that were almost identical, a third on for a brief spell that was in the two foot class but that came unhooked when the #18 Special Z let go from the tip of the kype jawed brown trout’s snout. We watched as he disappeared back into the depths. We caught a ton of rainbows there as well, then moved our way downriver picking the seams, ledges, ledge holes, and bars apart , catching two here, three there, a ton of fish on nymphs, and a few of them some quality rainbows and browns up to 15-16″. We took a short break midriver, had some hot steak soup for a brief snack, then pulled out the dry fly stick and worked on some rising fish. We caught a bunch on dries, missed a few, then went back to the nymphing rig and moved some more fish, continuing to catch good numbers of fish along the way. We then made it to the closed spawning area, put the rods up, and floated along eating lunch at the same time while the boat was enroute to our last stretch. I knew we could nymph up some nice fish, but I was really interested in finding some mid river sippers that usually work along a hump or grass line. We arrived to the last short stretch before takeout. And sure enough, as if on cue, there they were, several nice fish rising steadily, as I expected they would be. We would target a sipper, dust the flies, make a presentation, hook up, and play the fish to the boat. We did this on probably 8 or 9 nice fish to end the day, the best a few browns in the 17-18″ class, a heck of a way to put a cherry on top of an already great day. We pulled anchor about 430pm and headed to our takeout. Great day with Jeff, always is. Easily a 50 fish day. Fishing is awesome folks, forget all the bad weather, grab your gear and lets go flyfishing. Here are some pics of our day….
11-19-2018 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, David Slaydon, Reidsville, Bob Stanford, Greensboro, NC, TN tailwaters float trip, met the guys bright and early and we put the boat in, caught some fish right off nymphing using a double nymph bounce rig, a good mix of rainbows and browns. Today was my birthday, Bob and Slay gave me a nice devilsfood cake with buttercream icing…..delicious…thanks guys! First time Ive ever enjoyed birthday cake from the boat. We moved to another few spots and got several fish on dries as there were a few bwo spinners and sulphurs, again a mix of rainbows and browns. We moved to several more spots and caught fish here and there on dries, picking up a fish here and there. A couple of holes between those spots we nymphed up a few fish. That’s pretty much our day, we nymph fished from spot to spot picking up a fish here and there, then we’d find some risers and fish to them. The last couple spots we fished dries to sippers and caught several , all browns. We nymph fished a short stretch to takeout and arrived there just at dusk. Great day with two great folks….Bob and Slay are always great. I’d say we landed maybe three to four dozen fish, one here two there, they add up. We also managed to see a pair of bald eagles on today’s float….which was a treat. Great birthday….! Here are a few pics….
11-20-2018 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, TN tailwaters float, all the planets lined up, and Ted wanted to do some high water streamer fishing, something that I, quite honestly, would just as soon do as anything. Especially this time of the year. We did a 10 mile float on the lower river and fished the big sticks and some large streamers , and the day felt like it could be a great one with the low, gray sky and cloud cover (even though I’ve had great days on sunny days). It was spitting rain here and there, cold, and a little breezy. In other words, perfect. And the fish were willing to eat. We caught a ton of quality fish on my white and white and grizzly articulated baitfish flies, a couple of them incorporating a new type of joint to connect the two hooks. They swim unbelievably…..and the fish loved them. We caught several large fish. We floated to our takeout below Bluff City and then headed upstream to hit the upper river and streamer fish and maybe get a few on dries. The streamer bite was solid enough that we stayed with that. We caught fish pretty consistently all through that section, then rowed through the spawning section, and resumed fishing below it. Caught a couple fish right before takeout, and made it to the ramp right at dusk. A 50 fish streamer day, amazing it was. Big fish continue to chow down, its been great and will continue. Here are some photos….