Guided Fly Fishing Trips
2019 represents our 31st season of guiding. Of all the services I offer, the one I do the most of, and take the most pride in and probably enjoy the most is our guided fly fishing trips. We don’t have an “off season” or “down time” as I guide 12 months a year in all types of conditions and a variety of waters. We do as many trips in cold weather and winter seasons as we do at any other time of the year. In an average year I’ll be on the water about 250 days, and when I’m not on the water with clients I often am in addition to that on the water myself or with family and friends….. So Slow time/down time/”off season”…..We don’t have a lot of that. I can show you fishing of such quality in so called ‘off seasons’ that “waiting til the weather breaks” or “waiting for spring or whatever ‘better’ time” will no longer be a part of your vocabulary….. Quite simply …. in order to survive fish must eat. I have put over three decades into developing strategies, techniques, and patterns that allow us to do well in all seasons from over 40 years experience as an angler myself first and foremost, and 30 as a flyfishing guide. Enjoy the benefits of local knowledge. I live here, have always lived in the area, and have invested as much or more time guiding and fishing/flyfishing full time as anyone currently working in our area…..so when the term ‘native’ comes up…..that’s me. Our roots are right here in Appalachia….and began generations ago with my grandparents and great grandparents , Eastern Band Cherokees who originated from the Swain and Jackson Counties, Southwestern NC mountains. So to say its in my blood….it literally is!
Frustrated? Not catching fish like you think you could or should? Need help reading water? Want to learn why 10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish? Have trouble with knots….or aren’t sure when to fish a certain type of fly, or how to rig it…..? Want to know how to locate and catch fish in all seasons? Been fly fishing for many years but want to learn some new techniques? How would you like to learn how to catch fish no matter what conditions you were faced with….? I can show you how to do just that. Whether a beginner, intermediate, or experienced angler I can show you a great day on the water.
The basis for guiding clients on each water I do is that I have fished that water and learned the water and the habits and locations of the fish that live there for many years…and in all conditions..from the high flows and cold water of winter and spring to the perfect flows of early summer til the rivers bare their bones during the low water flows of August and September and October. Fishing wet, dry, streamers…small stream trout, large river trout, easy fish, technical fish..wild fish or stocked fish….to lakes, ponds, and warmwater streams for smallmouth, largemouth, spotted bass, stripers, white bass, crappie, panfish, and more….you name it… I can show you how to do it all.
Full Day trips are about 7-8 hours of fishing. Normally we adjust the time of day we’ll be fishing according to when its best to be on the water. We work on fish time. We provide the flies we will use on all trips unless a customer desires to use their own. We also include as a part of your half or full day trip a collection of high quality photos and video clips of your day of fishing with us, so you are free to relax and focus on the fishing. Lunch or streamside lunch is normally provided on all full day trips only. Transportation, Lodging, license, and gratuity not included in trip prices. Trips are fun for beginner and experienced fishermen alike. Some of the areas we fish we walk /wade, some we float, and some we float/wade in the same trip….. some are readily accessible public waters with little walking involved, some are private waters that I lease or have access to. But nearly all offer some great fishing, and an opportunity to polish techniques or maybe learn some new tricks. We fish small to medium streams in the NW to North Central NC Mountains, DH Waters, VA and TN Tailwaters, and a number of private waters with huge fish. We know fly fishing. We also fish year round, even in Winter . In fact, winter is one of our favorite and busiest seasons! Winter is a great time to catch large fish.
We are dedicated to putting in the hard work necessary to do do everything I can to give you a great trip. I’d say there’s easily 2 hours of actual or accumulated prep time (and tons of past time invested in learning) for the full day you spend on the water with me. Guiding is tough work and long hours and the rates are a bargain if you do the math. Scouting, keeping up on current conditions, up early and out late, tying flies for what’s hot at the moment, leaders, rigs, tending to boats, rods and reels, fly lines, making lunches, pre trip coordination and correspondence. There’s a lot to it. I want you to have a great day, and will do everything I can to insure just that.
Total Beginners, Novices w/ a little experience, Intermediate level, Seasoned Vet…..I have 30 yrs experience working with them all……that is 30 yrs experience fly fishing and guiding anglers…..and another 10 yrs experience on my own fly fishing. Take advantage of that almost 40yrs worth of cumulative local knowledge…..
**** While we don’t believe that keeping a fish or eating one is wrong, we do believe that as much time as we are on the water its our duty to put as little negative impact and pressure on the resource as we can. We fish a wide variety of waters, and in keeping with our conservation ethic and desire to minimize our impact to our fishing resources we are strictly a Catch And Release Guide Service and do not therefore harvest any of the fish we catch. Most of the waters we fish are high quality, catch and release, or wild water which in our opinion with the popularity of the sport cannot support the continual harvest of fish and continue to be sustainable. Simply won’t work given the popularity of the sport and the amount of fishing pressure our waters receive. Therefore we release all fish caught. There are no exceptions to this.
2019 Availability/Open Dates…
September 2019 Open Dates (Bold indicates Saturday Dates)
October 2019 Open Dates (Bold indicates Saturday Dates)
Full Days 1,3,5,8,9,14,18,21,25,28,30,31
November 2019 Open Dates (Bold indicates Saturday Dates)
Full Days 1,4,5,6,7,9,11,12,13,14,15,16,18,19,20,22,23,25,26,27,29,30
December 2019 Open Dates (Bold indicates Saturday Dates)
Full Days 2,9,10,11,12,13,14,16,17,18,19,20,21,23,28,30,31
SMALL STREAMS & DELAYED HARVEST WATERS (NC, TN, VA) …..
We fish several drainages of the Appalachians from the Southern Mtns (Asheville/Brevard), Central NC Mtns (Mitchell, Yancey, McDowell Counties) north to the far NW NC Mtns (Watauga, Avery,Ashe, Alleghany)…. We’ve fished them all and have an intimate knowledge of a lot of watersheds that have trout and smallmouth as I have fished most of them since I was young. One secret is knowing how each area fishes in different conditions….then choosing the best one. We fish both wild and stocked fish on these trips, and typically these trips we can show you a variety of techniques and you can enjoy learning while catching lots of fish. Typically folks are shocked at the high numbers of fish and sometime large fish we catch. On a good many trips you’ll have a shot at all three species….brook char, rainbow and brown trout…. From our Foothills base we have literally several dozen options for these trips and within an hour to three hours away. We are fortunate in NC alone to have several thousand miles of trout water that is designated as such and many miles or more that have trout but aren’t designated as trout water. And that isn’t counting all the great water in East TN and SW and Virginia. We are literally in a fly fisherman’s paradise. These trips are great for all skill levels…. Here are our rates for these Trips:
Full Day Wade Trips (Approx 8 hrs Fishing)(Trout or Smallmouth)
One Angler $250 Two Anglers $325 Three Anglers $375
Half Day Trips (4-5 hrs Fishing)
One Angler $225 Two Anglers $275 Three Anglers $325
We are so blessed to have several rivers at our backdoor in East Tennessee that are literally as quality a trout stream as you will find in the lower 48. The three most popular and the ones we fish and guide the most are the South Holston, Watauga, and the Clinch. I can recall for many years before the ‘movie’ (A River Runs Through It…) fishing here and seeing few other anglers. I had the blessing and privilege of learning two of these rivers years ago while I was in school at UNCG from one of the most highly skilled anglers to ever walk the South Holston and Watauga river bottoms…..Dr. Jim Sellers. As my professor and tailwater fishing mentor, I spent a lot of time learning the ropes from Jim…..as did a good many other guides in our region….including a good many local shops. They owe him a huge debt of gratitude. His skills are legendary….he is as good a dry fly angler as has ever presented a fly to a rising fish….at least in our area. I can truly say I learned a lot from the best.
The Watauga is a big, Western-like freestoner. Big, brawling and much like some of the large rivers of the west, it has two distinct parts. The upper ‘urban’ part of the Watauga, the ‘upper Wag’, and the lower Wag’ are the two parts. The lower Wag is home to a quality trout water area…. The river is a great caddis river, and the spring caddis hatch is a sight to behold….. it also gets many of the classic mayfly hatches…and also great terrestrial fishing and streamer fishing. Something for all types…..
The South Holston is a dry fly fisherman’s heaven…. with some research and recent regs changes over the past decade the SoHo as its called has quietly become the best dry fly fishery in the East….yes East. Eastern America. The Big Horn, or Mighty Mo’ , or Henry’s Fork of the East. The sulphur hatch on this river is legendary….and when its good you’d have to see it to believe it. Imagine seeing a hatch and it bringing most of the fish in the river to the surface. I fish and know all 18 miles of it intimately and if Jeff chose one river to spend the rest of his days on this would be it. A great wild brown trout fishery, the most alluring part is the river’s wild, free rising trout that require some of the technical skills required of some of the legendary and technical waters of the West and Northeast. Also some great ‘small fly’ fishing…..the upper SoHo is home to 9000-11,000 trout per mile, most (80%) of which are wild browns. As you move downriver, numbers decrease but size goes up. Every year browns in the double digit sizes are landed. Great sight fishing as well.
The Clinch is the largest of the three, and very much like both ….a big freestoner with lots of limestone ledges….good hatches and a lot of fish as well. The Clinch has a great sulphur hatch like the SoHo, as well as blue winged olives, a few caddis….and midges and blackflies.
These trips are full day only due to the location. We can also do two day or three day trips here….and I can help you with any lodging recommendations you might need as well…
Simply put, if I were given the choice to fish only one place and forsake all others, out West included, I’d choose the TN tailwaters. They are that good… but don’t take my word for it make me prove it to you.
Full Day TN Tailwater Wading Trip
One Angler $275 Two Anglers $325 Three Anglers $375
FLOAT TRIPS NC, TN, VA
We also offer float trips on select NC, TN, and VA waters for all 3 species of trout and smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, musky, stripers, and shad. All of our float trips are done in Clackacraft Driftboats which are unequalled in the industry. Hulls are entirely hand laid fiberglass for maximum strength and long life. Clackacraft has so much confidence in its manufacturing process that they offer the original owner a 100 year hull warranty against leaks and punctures. No other company making driftboats gives such a guarantee. My present boat is a custom designed 2018 Clacka Headhunter II skiff, a 15ft fishing machine that sports a wider higher transom as a result of over 4 years of research and development as well as input from Pro staff and guides worldwide. This boat possesses great stealth,agility, and manueverability and is great on both high water and low water….and is unequalled in low water situations. Our HH2 skiff is equipped with 360 degree interior, six pack rod holders (3 rigged rods each side for each angler),removable front and rear casting braces… as well as Clackacraft’s exclusive Gulfstream bottom and Tunnel Hull technology. Engineered to work harmoniously together, this design has elevated the boat’s “row ability” to legendary status.
Our floats include the TN Tailwaters & Rivers, South Holston, Clinch, and Watauga, and Holston proper; NC and VA Smallmouth Bass , SW VA smallmouth and in season shad and stripers on the Roanoke River NC (spring). We offer full day and half day options ….also, many of our floats offer the opportunity for light tackle and while we do not specialize in that we do have a lot of experience in that area and you are welcome to bring and fish with that equipment on float trips if you so desire.
Full Day Float 1 Angler $350 2 Anglers $425
Half Day Float 1 Angler $300 2 Anglers $375
PRIVATE WATER -ESCATAWBA FARMS, VA
The Farm is an equisitely manicured, well-maintained fly fishing haven with an abundance of heavy rainbow, brook, and brown trout. Located in Alleghany County, Virginia, Escatawba is situated on Dunlap Creek, a spring-fed stream that runs between wooded mountainsides and fenced pastures. Its the perfect balance of superb angling and picturesque scenery that keeps calling you back, time after time. For novice anglers and seasoned experts alike, Escatawba boasts a beautiful one and a half acre spring fed lake; in addition to the nearly two and a half mile stretch of water you’d swear was Montana. And, with two other ponds teeming with huge trout where you can try out your technique or watch them laugh at you from the comforts of the underbrush, there’s something for everyone, at every skill level. With only 8 rods permitted on the property per day, you’ll have no trouble spending a little extra time matching that perfect fly. Most outings are spent catching fish and seeing no one. We will take up to 6 anglers per trip. While on each trip we will usually “highlight” a particular method or technique, it could be said we’ll use many methods during the day to catch fish. The point is to catch fish but also to give our guests something to learn that they can take back to their home waters and catch fish. Includes guided fishing, flies, lunch. ……Transportation, Lodging, license, and gratuity not included.
Full Day Only
One Angler $295 Two Anglers $495 Three Anglers $695
We currently have available to us almost 18 miles of private water spanning 6 different streams, from a small spring creek with large fish to water nearly the size of the upper Smith River in Virginia. Quality fish abound here with a good majority of the fish over 15 inches, and a 20 inch fish every trip is almost a given. A couple of the waters have fish up to 5-10lbs, and two of them have fish up to 15lbs. In the fall we’ll be adding another location that has a section of river with a handful of rainbows exceeding 20lbs. One of our customers, Daryl Knight, landed an 8-9lb rainbow of 27-28″ long on a #16 dry fly if that gives you some idea as to the size of fish in some of these waters. Please contact us about availability and to inquire about reserving a day on these high quality waters. On site lodging available on some waters and nearby lodging available on the others. These trips are full day only, and lunch is included with the trip.
Full Day Trip Only
One Angler $295 Two Anglers $495 Three Anglers $695
Smith River – “Smitty”
We are blessed to have two Virginia tailwaters as well, one is actually our closest trout water…the Smith R below Philpott Dam. The Smith flows clear and cold from Philpott and then has trout all the way downstream almost to the NC state line….a distance of well over 30 miles. Primarily a wild brown trout stream, the Smith is a techical fishery requiring the use of light tippet and small flies much of the time. Winter, Spring, and Fall rainbow trout are stocked and they offer some good nymphing an@d streamer fishing opportunities. Its long been a claim of biologists that 80% of all brown trout in the state of VA reside in the Smith R. This river gets a great sulphur hatch and the summer terrestrial fishing is dynamite….Our closest water and our ‘home water’ as its practically right in our backyard. I know the Smith like the floorplan of our house…..and love fishing there. We fish this primarily May through October…
Full Day Trip
One Angler $225 Two Anglers $275 Three Anglers $325
LOCAL LAKE TRIPS
In addition to stream fishing we also offer 1/2 day local lakes fly fishing trips for panfish and bass. We have several local waters that offer excellent fly fishing for bass and panfish, and also some opportunities for other species such as catfish, hybrids, white bass, and carp. Some of our best May through Sept trips are our warmwater local lakes halfday trips. During winter I also offer some trips targeting schooling bass on one of our local lakes Belews Creek…..which offers excellent bass action and sometimes even topwater action right in the dead of winter. Half or Full Day trips available
Included: half or full day local lakes fly fishing from boat, flies, fishing and ramp fees
Not Included: License , Gratuity (lunch on full day trips only)
Half Day 1 Angler $150.00 2 Anglers $200.00
Full Day 1 Angler $200 2 Anglers $250.00
SMALLMOUTH BASS TRIPS
One of our favorite trips from April through November, we aren’t a guide service who “does a few smallmouth trips…” , no they are a favorite species of mine and have been for many, many years. I have fished smallies since the late 1970s and we fish a number of waters including select portions of the New River, the Yadkin, Elk, Buffalo Fork, Roaring, Mayo, the North Fork Holston, Middle Fork Holston, South Fork Holston Rivers, Little River, and many more…..even including some smaller creeks. These trips are a primary option when the weather turns warm, and it matters not how hot the weather is as the fishing seems to be unaffected by it. A primary reason folks turn on to the smallmouth game is that if offers a great topwater fly fishing opportunity. And it can be great…. Full Days available only ..
One Angler $250 Two Anglers $300 Three Anglers $350
One Angler $350 Two Anglers $400