Fishing Reports For The
Smoky Mountains And East Tennessee Tail waters



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On Thursday, I met with a beautiful couple to fish on Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Brent is from New Jersey and has just finished with medical school.  He plans to specialize in anesthesia for the next three years.  Dana is from Florida has just graduated from Tulane University and plans to be an attorney.  

Brent was experienced as a flyfisherman, so I just gave him some pointers about fishing for wild mountain trout, how to read the water, tie the Pitzen knot  and fish with a double nymph setup and later dry flies.  The water was up after the rains, and there were no hatches or flies that we saw, so nymphs were our first choice.  The lead fly was a Biot Bodied Cahill, and the dropper was a Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle.  The Blackbird soon started producing results.  Brent missed a few to begin with until he became accustomed to the quick takes.  He soon caught his first wild trout.  We used several kinds of nymph setups combinations, along with the Beadhead Pheasanttail and later the Brassy Beadhead Pheasanttail Nymph.  The Blackbird Softhackle was the best producer.  During the morning, we switched over to dry flies for Brent.

I worked with Dana on casting techniques, reading the water, fishing with nymphs and later with dry flies.  She learned very quickly, but had a few non connects at first.  Later she began catching her first wild trout.  The trout were somewhat small, but fun to catch.  

About lunch time, I went on to the car, while Brent and Dana were finishing fishing the last hole.   It was then that Brent caught a bigger, good sized trout, and I was regretfully not there to take the picture.  He caught this trout on a Stimulator.

After lunch, we went to another place on the river, but it was not producing.  Brent and Dana had never seen a Brook trout, so we headed on up the mountain to fish for Brookies.  Brent and Dana got several hits, but no connects on a grasshopper, Sulfur, Caddis and Stimulator.  The thunderstorm finally ended our day.

Brent and Dana both stated that this was their first trip to the Smokies, but this trip was just what they were looking for.  They were going back to fish the next day and practice what had been learned before heading home.  Brent stated he knew that his 3 brothers would be jealous of his
trip and that he planned to come back every year.

I wish the very best for this great young couple, their careers and life together.   They were both a pleasure to meet and spend a beautiful day in the mountains with.

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This was the 2nd time in about 2-1/2 week that I have prepared a small group for a back country trip by teaching them casting and mending skills and after lunch we drove to the top of the mountain for their 3-4 day journey in the back country of Deep Creek. They began their hike down Deep Creek Trail to campsite 53. We had worked on skills at the Deep Creek Campground, left their vehicle there, and then we drove to the top of the mountain to allow them to begin their long journey back downstream. This is one of the best trips for Brookies and then as you reach the mid sections of the stream there are many nice rainbows and browns. This is a trip that you might want to consider this year and it includes some fantastic hiking as well as fishing. I wish this family well and much success as they finish the week out.


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I don't know many things that can make a Father happier than to see their sons learning the art of flyfishing and catching fish within the hour. That was the case today for Eric Greer and his two sons, Ian, and Ryan. They began the day with a lot of practice at casting and mending. It did not take long for it to begin to payoff. It was just a continuous day of enjoyment to see all three of them with fish on. They all worked real hard and I'm sure that they were given out by 3:30PM. They would have fished right on but I felt like they needed to rest and reflect back upon the day. What a great family to be out with. I look forward to seeing them pick up mountain stream skills in the near future.

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I met with Jerry Noe and his son Patrick on a real dreary day. All of the streams in the Park were high so that only left the Holston River, which was not in good shape itself. We started out in a light rain at Nances Ferry. The water was actually muddy and it made for some tough fishing. Patrick, who is 16 years old was my main goal for today. We worked and worked on casting skills. In about 1/2 hour Patrick managed to catch a rainbow and missed a few more strikes. Dad watched very closely as his son progressed. You could see that the interest was there for his son to pick up the skills that he needed to fish well on his own.
  We broke for lunch and then moved to the other side of the river. The water was still murky much higher upstream and it was full of trash. I noticed as we passed by the dam that they were sluicing instead of running the water through generators. I had never seen this done on Cherokee Dam.
  I continued to work with Patrick as the day wore on and his skills became better. I could tell he was getting tired and we took a break, them move back into the river for the last part of the day. Patrick stayed right with what he had learned and caught one more. He also missed several more
strikes. It was a good day on the river and I hope that he retains a lot of the training that we practiced.



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On Wednesday, I met and guided Mark Bell for a 1/2 day trip.  Mark and his wife Donna, live about 25 miles outside of New Orleans.  Mark once owned a fishing guide service in New Orleans.  He had been used to fishing for salt water fish and tying his own flies for that area.   Mark had been on a float trip fishing for trout, but this was his first wade trip for trout. 

When we arrived, the water was up somewhat, so we put on a Beadhead Pheasanttail nymph and indicator.  Shortly thereafter, he got a hit, and a beautiful large Rainbow jumped out of the water.  Mark knew very well how to play big fish.  After several more magnificent  jumps from the Rainbow and about 10 minutes of playing the fish, we were able to take pictures.  Even after Mark gently let the Bow go, the trout stayed around our feet for several minutes.

As the water level went down, some Caddis started hatching.  We switched to the Caddis and later added a blackfly emerger.  Mark caught several more smaller fish on both the Caddis and blackfly.  He lost a few and had some non connects.  We used a Caddis emerger as a dropper from the Caddis, but had no takes.

Mark was a true Southern gentleman, and his wife Donna was a true Southern lady.  Donna went shopping with her family, who live in Pigeon Forge, while we were fishing.   I had great fun and the weather was perfect.  I would like to thank this couple and wish them  the very best in the future.


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On Tuesday, I had the privilege of fishing with Tony Buffalo, who is from Atlanta, Georgia for a 1/2 day trip.  We started by working on improving casting and mending techniques.  Tony, who has fished for several years, quickly improved in both areas.  He had just not been used to fishing with such small flies, which took some getting used to.  

We started with a Beadhead Pheasanttail Nymph and indicator, and Tony started catching fish.  The fish weren't as big as we had hoped for.  Later, we tried a Caddis, since the Caddis were hatching off.  Afterwards, we added a black fly dropper, which also caught some fish.  Tony had some missed connections and lost a few of the bigger fish before he got them in.

I had a great time on the water and  would like to thank Tony for being such a great person to be fishing with on the river.  I wish Tony the best in his flyfishing travels and hope to see him again soon.


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Bill Marks and I had fished on the South Holston River last year in the late winter. This spring he was back in the Pigeon Forge area so we decided to try the Holston River, below Cherokee Dam. Our biggest challenge was to try to correct his bad casting habits. He was from the Muscle Shoals  area and heavier  tackle was what he had been used to. This requires more wrist action and it was tough for him to break. You will notice in one picture that he is using a Joan Wulff wrist brace to help correct an old habit. Bill did manage to catch some fish and steadily improved at his casting technique. It is hard to completely break on one outing so I advised him to keep working at it at every opportunity he had to get onto the water. Maybe we can get him back on the water up here again this year.


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On Saturday, I had the privilege of fishing on the South Holston with Barbara and Bill Beckler from Louisville, Kentucky.  Barbara and Bill have traveled extensively and have been flyfishing for years.
They are a great couple, who have a lot of fun in their endeavors and extend their happiness and laughter to others around them.

Barbara and I first worked with improving casting and mending techniques, and she quickly made improvements in both.  We started out with a Beadhead Pheasanttail and strike indicator, which produced no results.  Changing over to a Rockhold Emerger did produce results with two Browns. Bill also caught two Brown Trout, as his first fish of the day, on the Rockhold Emerger.  

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After lunch, we moved up the river and saw Sulfurs hatching.  Barbara hooked and played a large beautifully colored Rainbow for several minutes.  Before she could bring him in, the Bow broke the line; but he was definitely the fish of the day.  Both Bill and Barbara caught several fish even though a weather front was moving in and the fishing was down.

I would like to thank Bill and Barbara for a wonderful and enjoyable day on the water.  I wish them both the best in their travels and fishing trips, and hope to see them again.


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My friend Jim Davis just gets better and better as the season moves along. He also has access to some great water and he sent me a couple of pictures showing just how good he is getting. Who could ask for a more beautiful fish. This is becoming typical of each trip that I make this year. Some of the best fishing is being done by even novice fisherman and we are so proud of this river. Hats off to JIM, and I look forward to seeing many more of you taking guided trips while this great fishing holds up.


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David and Florence Griffin are a couple that are made for each other. Each one compliments the other and they are just great to watch on the water. They usually do float trips and this time we did a wade trip on the Holston River. They were a little slow at getting adapted to the strength of the current, but when they started to catch fish, things changed and they really got into the swing of things. It was a pleasure to watch them adapt to new fishing skills and really fun to watch Florence hook, play and land a beautiful 18 inch rainbow. I had left my camera in the car, but David had his with him. When he tried taking pictures with it, the battery was dead. I did get my camera after lunch and this is when David really started to catch numbers of fish himself. We had a great day even though part of the fishing was in the rain. It was just great fun watching them improve on their skills and translate it into fish. I am hoping to see them back in Tennessee sometime again. This was a day with at least 3 different major flies hatching off. We saw numbers of Blackflies, Little Dark Olive Caddis, and the Holston River PMD. 


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May 1, 2009 Rae Johnson Fishing for Brookies in the Smokies
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Today I had the pleasure of fishing with Rae Johnson.  Rae has been seriously flyfishing for approximately 15 years and also hunts for turkeys, pheasant and grouse.  She wanted to fish for Brookies in the Smokies today.  The scenery was breathtaking. The day was overcast after raining in the morning.

Rae knew that the Brookies would be small, but as she says, "They don't know that they're so small".  We used a variety of flies, but the best producers were the Stimulator, Adams, and Sulfurs.
We saw Caddis flies, Red Quills, Little Yellow Sallies ( I was able to get a picture of one), Sulfurs and a few various Mayflies and midges.

I had a fantastic time, and Rae stated that she did also.  The total fish for the day were about 25 with a few of them being Rainbows.

I wish this fine lady the very best in her fishing and hunting, and thank her for the opportunity of letting me guide her.


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I picked Pete up in Pigeon Forge and we went straight to Metcalf Bottoms and began working on casting and mending skills. Pete has been a spin fisherman in the past an we had to work on some old habits that can cause problems when using a flyrod. The stream is in excellent shape this year and it was good to see the Smokies recovering from the past years of drought. After about an hour of practice in this section we decided to move to Elkmont for some serious fishing. It did not take very long for Pete to get serious after getting back into the water. He began getting strikes right away on a Beadhead Pheasanttail Nymph. He had hooked 5 fish in just a few minutes. Most did not stay on too long so we began to work on hookset and we tried a size larger nymph. This seemed to
work well and in  few minutes Pete hooked into a very nice fish. He played the fish all over the hole but the fish was so strong that it broke the line. I'm sure that he had hooked into a very large brown trout. We continued to fish on and later we moved to Tremont for the last part of the afternoon. The fish were a little smaller in this stream but Pete stayed right with it. It was a great day in the Smokies and maybe we can show him what tailwater fishing is like the next time he can make it up from Alabama.

  Hugh     Baby Pheasanttail Nymph.jpg (49719 bytes)  

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I had the opportunity to meet and fish with Dick Goodpasture and his wife on Tuesday. They brought the pastor of their church, ( Mike Pope) with them to see what the fishing was like in the Holston River, below Cherokee Dam. I got to spend most of the day with Dick's wife and we worked for the better part of the morning at Nances Ferry to help her improve her casting and mending skills. She sure had a good experience while we worked this section of the river. By the time we had to leave there, she had hooked numbers of fish and lost several as well. We had lunch and moved to a different location where the fish were a little larger. We went all through the afternoon catching or missing fish on Caddis dries or Emergers. My client was getting so tired that I had to give her rest breaks from time to time. She stayed with me like a champion and I was proud of her. We never had a good hatch to get things going, but while I was giving her a rest break I hooked a very large rainbow and everyone gathered around to watch the fight. He managed to jump 12 beautiful  times before Mike netted him for me. This was a great experience for my client to get to watch a large fish being played to the net and to be released safely. We finished the day up shortly after this and it was a very enjoyable one for all of us and I'm sure they were tired after wading all day. I hope to get to see them again on their home waters of the South Holston River some day soon.


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Guy, Brian, and Rich all met with me at the Deep Creek Campgrounds for an Advanced Nymphing Class. When we started I could tell that the stream was a little full and pushy. We chose to try tandem nymph rigs with the Biot Bodied Cahill and a Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle tied under neath it. The fellas were getting some very soft strikes and catching one every once in a while. The fish were feeding pretty slow and the strikes were very soft. They did manage to catch a few fish, but I considered it slow going. Just after lunch we got all the gear and headed up to the top of the mountain to the Deep Creek Trail that is just under New Found Gap. The guys had planned to hike down the trail to Campsite 53 and find a place in the backcountry to spend the night. Their plans are to fish and work their way downstream each day until they get back to the parking area at the lower end of the trailhead. They should have some good brookie fishing in the upper reaches and then as the water gets larger they plan to fish the tandem nymph rigs as well as dry flies if the fish are feeding on top. I enjoyed the day with them and  I wish them a great backcountry trip. They are planning on taking pictures of the area and I will include them in this report in a few days.


April 18, 2009 Will and Kendal Ainsworth at Nance's Ferry on the Holston River
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On this beautiful Saturday morning, I met with Will and Kendall Ainsworth from Guntersville, Alabama for a half day of fishing.   Will and Kendall have a hunting lodge in Alabama, which keeps them busy.  Will also travels a lot with his job duties at the lodge.  The day was beautiful, which brought lots of fishermen out to enjoy the great spring weather after a long and hard winter.

Will was an experienced flyfisherman.  His casting was beautiful and fun to watch.  We saw a few Caddis and black flies on the river, so we put on a Caddis as the lead fly and used a black fly as a dropper.  Almost immediately, Will started catching fish on the Caddis.  No fish were hitting the black fly, only the Caddis; so we took off the black fly off. All in all, Will caught about 12 fish, lost 2-3 and had numerous strikes, which were not connected.   I was unable to get some pictures of the bigger fish that he caught--about 13-14 inches, because I couldn't get my camera out in time. 

This was Kendall's first time at flyfishing, although she was experienced at other kinds of fishing.  Kendall was a fast learner and very easy to teach.  Soon she was casting very, very well and will continue to practice at home.  Kendall had several strikes, but was unable to connect.

I would like to thank Will and Kendall for such a great day and for being so nice.  It truly was a great day for us all.  I wish them the very best in their business and in their flyfishing endeavors and hope to meet them again.


April 4,-5th 2009 Jonathan and Silas Lee in the Smokies
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I guided two extremely nice men on Little River and Abrams Creek this weekend. They were from Petosky, Michigan, where Jonathan is an Architect and owns his own firm. Silas is his 11year old son, and we had a great time in the Park. The river levels are much better this season, and we just need to have the numbers of fish to rebuild in the streams to be back to normal. I will have to say that both fellas put their whole heart into the time that we spent on the streams. Each day saw some success and some sore limbs by the time the day was finished. I want to thank Jonathan for the great job of raising such a fine , well mannered son, and both of them for making it such a good  time for me. We did get to see a lot of insects hatching, especially on Abrams Creek. A few of the flies that we saw were the Red Quill, the Little Yellow Sally, The Quill Gordon, and different Caddis.
I hope that they can make it back to the Park sometime soon. I look forward to meeting them on the stream again.


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David Threet and I had planned to fish in the Park today, but the rainfall last night caused us to change our plans to the Holston River. It turned out to be a trophy fish day for David. We caught the normal numbers before lunch and at about Noon, we broke for dinner. In about one hour we were back on the water and we were fishing one of my favorite sections for large fish. David hooked what appeared to be just a normal sized rainbow and after making a short twist and turn out in front of us, it decided to turn downriver. It made an explosive reel screeching dash for about 50 feet and came out of the water like a tarpon. What we had first thought was just a small to medium size fish turned out to be a huge carry over that had turned into a freight train that was heading toward Knoxville. On and on, down the river the fish went and there was no slowing it down. It was into the backing on David's reel and still going down river. I started taking photos and urging David to start moving downstream with the fish to see if we could gain back some line. This battle went on for about 20 minutes, or more. As the fish began to tire, he moved it toward some shallow water. At this point, we were about 300yards downstream. This was the fartherest that I had ever seen a fish take a client. We finally worked the fish close enough to get my hands on and I began taking  pictures of it. David never got to actually get the fish in his arms but we had it at his feet and could see that it was over 20 inches. When we tried to get it where he could pick it up, the line broke and the fish is still there to get even larger. David continued on catching more fish and he finished the day with some impressive numbers. I hope to see David back in the Park again sometime and I hope that he remembers today for many years to come.


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Jim Davis had a good experience a few days ago when he was ending the day on the Holston River. He had never caught a brown trout at his place on the river and as the day was drawing to darkness he made one last cast and hooked into a nice fish. It turned out to be a nice 18 inch brown and it was as fat as you could imagine. Hats off to Jim for a great fish.

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Richard Smith is from Grainger County and we spent the day on the Holston River. He is fairly new to flyfishing, but he quickly showed many skills that were to help him catch a lot of fish. He took to casting and mending as if he had done it all of his life. We started a very cold morning off with a BHPTN and a strike indicator. Richard soon had one of the biggest rainbows on that I have ever seen in the Holston River. It was so big that I thought that he had hooked a bass. It was as big around as my leg and almost as long as my arm. A good 5-6lb. fish. He fought the fish all over the river and it finally decided to leave the area. Up the river it went with Richard in tow. On and on and on it went and Richard's reel was about to run out of line. I said to him that he needed to start following the fish as fast as he could or he was going to lose a flyline. We began to move upstream with the fish and it made two nice jumps showing us it's size and that it was a huge rainbow. When it hit the water the last time, it started upstream again and the line flew back toward Richard. That was the end of the big fish and Richard was broken hearted.
  We fished for the rest of the day, and at lunchtime, the Blackflies began to hatch and he really had fish on almost all of the rest of the time we were on the water. It was a great day, with a picture perfect blue sky. I think that Richard will be back on the Holston real soon.


March 17, 2009 Brad Liechtenstein and Son on the Holston River
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Brad Liechtenstein had brought his family to the Smokies and decided to give his Son a day on the water. We chose the Holston River because of high water in the Park, and had a real good day to enjoy flyfishing at it's best. You can see by the numerous times that they were fighting fish as to how good of a day they had. This is early flyfishing at it's best and they will take back some great memories to Birmingham. Good luck to them throughout the season.


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The weather was looking good for Saturday and it was time for my first full day trip. The doctor has said that I can start doing full day guided trips and it looked like a good day to spend on the Holston River. Jim Davis has a little more experience at flyfishing than his friend John Bell, so I spent most of my time working with John. He was into some fish pretty quickly. The Blackflies were hatching quite heavily all up and down the river, but sometimes the wind would get up and stop the feeding activity. Yesterday was a very busy day on the Holston River with a tremendous amount of boating taking place. All in all, we still had a great day out on the river and everyone enjoyed them selves. I think that John learned quite a bit about casting and mending along with doing downstream drifts. I hope to get to fish with them again this Summer and in a few days I'll be on Abrams Creek.

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My friend and fishing partner, Jim Davis called today and asked if I would like to get out for awhile.   Since the weather was okay and the water was off, we decided to run down to the Holston River. When we arrived the Blackflies were everywhere, and the fish were feeding like crazy. While we were rigging up I heard a fellow that was already on the river yell at his buddy. I stepped over where I could see what he had on and he was landing the fish in the pictures. I asked if I could take pictures when we got down to where he was fishing and he told me that I could and that I could place them on the website. His name was Steve Hixon and he lives in Grainger County. I believe this rainbow is the largest that I've seen on the Holston River. It appeared to be about 25inches long and I'm pretty certain that it has been gorging itself on the shad that have been going through the turbines. It is the fattest fish that I've seen. It was great to be back on the river and my thanks to Jim Davis for taking the time to see that I had a good day. Congratulations to Steve on such a nice fish. It will be great to get back out again.


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Bill Marks is a brave man to tackle the type of weather that we were facing on the day he had chosen to spend on the river. The temperature was 25 degrees as we drove up the Interstate toward the South Holston River. I wasn't sure if we would have ice freezing in our guides or not. The first half of the day was spent on the lower part of the river and Bill only caught one fish. There was ice all along the sides of the river, but we did not a problem with ice forming in our guides. We had some hot tomato soup and crackers to warm us up at about 1:00PM and back into the river we went for a second round. This time, the fish were feeding a little better and Bill finally caught about four. They were not very large fish, but they were feisty. All of these were taken on BHPT Nymphs. The water and air warmed somewhat and then it began to rain a little. A new frontal system was moving in, and it did not help the fishing for the rest of the day. Bill had really given his all to learning new techniques. He had progressed enough to be able to catch some  fish and then the next day he called me and said that he had hooked a very nice fish on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. I believe that Bill will carry many of the newly learned skills with him from now on. I wish him good fishing.


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Carolyn and I met with the Perez family, and his Uncle, Rick. They both had their sons, and we had a great day fishing on the Holston River. Blackflies were hatching when we arrived and since they did not have very much flyfishing experience, we used BHPTN. That seemed to work well all day. We stressed good casting and mending skills and after about 30minutes, all the fellas were catching fish. We just had a great time on the river and it was a nice winter day. Look at the pictures and you'll see how much fun was had by all.

We wish the best to both families.  If we can assist you with a trip let us know. 
Phone:  423-586-6198


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I had the opportunity to visit with my Granddaughter for her homecoming game at McDonald Elementary School on Friday night. She was also vying for Homecoming Queen and it was my great honor to see her crowned Homecoming Princess of the event. I don't get to see her as often as I would like and she sure is growing up and becoming a beautiful young lady. My congratulations to her for being chosen and given the honor at such a young age. I tried taking many more pictures, but they just did not turn out so well. I hope that you can see why I am so proud of her.


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I spent a raw , cold day on the river with two brave and determined people on Tuesday of this week. Both anglers were able to catch a few fish, but they really spent most of their day learning casting and mending techniques. I have to admire them for braving it on such a cold day. I'm sure they learned a lot about handling a flyrod. They were the only ones to catch any fish that I saw on this day. I hope they can make it back down from Virginia soon.


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It was day 2 for Scottie and Shane and we decided to fish the Holston River, below Cherokee Dam. The fish were feeding there when we first arrived and we thought at first that the flies they were looking at were small Tan Caddis. After many drifts across the fish we realized they were taking small Creme Midges. Shane had several strikes and finally hooked one, but it was off in a minute.
   Our plan was to fish for a few  hours and break for lunch, hoping that the water had run down farther downriver. When we did arrive downriver, the water was still running high. We got into the river and started upstream hoping we could entice one or two to start feeding.. They didn't, and after fishing all afternoon, we decided that the fish had all gone to vote. It was a beautiful day to be out even though the fish were not cooperating. The guys got a lot of important skills down to a fine art and I think they will be back on the river tomorrow.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided  trip, please call us at: 423-586- 6198.


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Scottie, Shane, and I made our way to the South Holston river today and we enjoyed one of the most beautiful days that can be imagined. The guys also managed to catch some fish. Scottie was fortunate enough to land a very nice brown and both fellas caught several smaller rainbows. The leaf colors are at their peak and we hope to be back again on a tailwater tomorrow.


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I KNOW THAT EVERYONE HAS BEEN ANXIOUS TO FIND OUT HOW WELL THE HOLSTON RIVER, BELOW CHEROKEE DAM HAS FARED THIS SUMMER AND FALL?? Here is your answer. The water temperatures just below the dam are still kind of warm and it would probably be best to hold off for another cold snap to get the water temps cool enough to not stress the fish. The fish did survive for about 8 miles downstream again this year and the water temperatures are even colder the farther downriver that you go. I have spent the last 3-4 days trying to find out just what the conditions are since the water has begun to cool. Carolyn and I fished for about 2 hours today, about 8 miles downriver, and the fish are feeding on Caddis and very small midges. I managed to hook 3 fish and all were large to very large. I photographed 1 fish and made long distance releases of the other two. The first two fish that hit were very large and one of them even broke my line. The biggest problem in fishing the river at the moment is the generation schedule. They have been turning the water on very early and running it for about 1/2 day. This is not a problem if you are fishing just below the dam, but if you're fishing farther downriver, the water is high for most of the day.

   If Carolyn or I can help to arrange a trip to this river, please let us know. It looks like we could not get much more that 3-4 hours in during the week because of high water. The weekends look better. This should be some fantastic fishing with very large fish to be caught. If you can get away real soon, before the weather breaks, please contact me. I think that you will have the time of your life. 

  Please call 423-586-6198 for a day of fishing for some huge fish.


October 27-29 2008 Pictures of two trips that show the beginning of Winter
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This report is to show the changing of the seasons with the pictures focused more on the beauty of the area, than to show fish. The first four pictures were made in the Smokies while I was guiding Mrs. Sharon Thomas, from Indianapolis, Indiana. The last photo was made on the South Holston River and the weather was raw to the bone. Mike Thomas from the Mid West made a brave effort during some tough weather. He hooked a very nice brown trout.


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I met with Mike Rothwell today for an Advanced Nymphing Class. We knew this would be a tough one because of the extremely low water conditions that have hit the Park again this year. It was a beautiful day and we entered Cades Cove to see a great Fall morning unfolding. It was Mike's first trip around the Loop Road and we saw a lot of wildlife while driving to the Abrams Falls Trailhead. The creek was extremely low and Mike only caught 2-3 small fish. They were extremely spooky and no big fish were seen. After a few hours on this stream, we moved to the mid section of Little River. Mike caught several small fish and he was beginning to get all the nymphing techniques to work for him. Our problem was small fish. We moved on to the Elkmont Campgrounds and began fishing there. Mike caught more fish, but they were still small. By the time we had finished the evening, Mike was handling himself very well, and over the course of the day, he had hooked several fish. My thanks to him for allowing me to guide him and he is spending the day on the South Holston River  along with some advice for tailwater fishing. I wish him luck today.

Please let us know if we can help with a guided trip this Fall. The Holston River, below Cherokee Dam, will be in condition to start fishing  again in about 2 weeks. The fish seemed to have survived this year for a 3 year in a row. We should have some great fishing for the Fall and Winter. This one does not require a long drive and has very large fish.  


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Carolyn, Boomer , and I made our annual Fall Trip through Cocke County, and on to Max Patch. It is the place where I grew up and learned all of my flyfishing techniques, at a very early age. It is also a place of beauty, and since the season of color is beginning and the apple harvest is under way, yesterday was a great day to get out and visit. We always like to let nostalgia take us back to our roots and we love sharing part of the trip with everyone on the internet. We began by swinging by Carvers Orchards. It has been in operation since 1945 and it draws a huge crowd  at this time of the year. I think that everyone loves to see apples at harvest time, so please enjoy the pictures just as if you were actually there. Danny Ray Carver, who runs the orchards now, and I, are about the same age, and long time friends. We have know each other and fished together on a few occasions. He has an extremely successful operation and a great restaurant to eat at while you are enjoying the view. After enjoying some fried apple pies and good conversation with visitors, we moved to the Foothills Parkway and began taking pictures of the beautiful scenery. It was just a short drive to the Harmon Den exit and we were at Max Patch in just a few minutes. There are no words to describe this beautiful jewel of the Appalachians. I can't tell you of a more beautiful place to visit at this time of the year. There was a very large crowd there enjoying the Fall scenery and we found ourselves at the top of the summit in about 15 minutes. If I could ever give a more hearty recommendation for a place to visit in the next two weeks, I can't think of where it would be. Please try to make this little trip and you will be more than pleased that you did. Please enjoy our little photographic trip and it will help you to understand my deep love for East Tennessee.

   Hugh, Carolyn, and Boomer

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I met with Chuck Sabolovic and his son Jeff,  on the South Holston River on Friday morning. It was quite foggy when we first got into the river and the fish were not feeding. As soon as the sun burnt the fog away, the insects became active and they began to catch fish. We fished until dinner time and then we had lunch at Webb's Store. Chuck had wanted to fish all the different stretches of water that he could, so as to learn as much as possible about the river, in the one day that I had to spend with them. We moved up the river and they began to catch fish right away. I saw a small hatch of BWOs take place and we changed from Beadhead Pheasanttail Nymphs to BWO Matched Quill Winged Duns. They finished out the day using the dries and had quite a few strikes on top.
  It was a good day on the water with Chuck and Jeff and I hope they were able to catch lots of fish over the weekend.

  If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip to the South Holston or Watauga, please call us . Our number is 423-586-6198. A very beautiful time of the year is coming up and we would love to show you this fabulous area.


  Here are some new pictures that Chuck sent to me of Jeff, while he was fishing the next day.


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Richard Guthrie and I met on Wednesday morning and we made our way to the South Holston River. This was a cool morning and the first section that we fished was a slow one. The sun was hitting a little better on the water at the next location and we had a lot better luck. Richard has been getting a lot of fishing done this summer and he just continued to add to his good fortunes as the morning drew on. Most of the fish were taking flies under the surface and we did not see a Sulfur hatch take place on the river. The fish were still interested in nymphs so that is what we stuck with. 
As we got on into the evening, the wind became stronger and it made fishing a little tougher. All in all, it was a great day. Richard caught more fish than anyone else that we saw. He is going to try it again on the river for the next two days. Good luck to him.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip to a tailwater, please call us at 423-586-6198.


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After several days in a row of intensive flytying, I finally got caught up with orders and Carolyn, Boomer, and I decided to have a day of fun and relaxation on the South Holston River. We began in the Rockhold area and could not seem to find any fish that were interested in feeding. Boomer was having a great time and no one else was around, so we let him have all the fun that he wanted to have while swimming and running up and down an island that we fished closed to. Our next stop was to eat, and Carolyn found a yard sale taking place and, of course, she had to buy something. "It's a woman thing." We moved on down to Big Springs Road and the fish were feeding everywhere. The first thing we saw after getting into the water, was a Bald Eagle and an Osprey having words with each other. They were beautiful. We started catching fish right away and I could have taken 2 dozen pictures over the next hour or so. We just continued to fish and after a period of time, the arms were sore from so much activity. Boomer had , had a great time on the river and we were all ready for a meal. As we drove back through Johnson City, we stopped off at The Texas Road House and each of us got a rack of ribs. It had been a great day out on the water and what a way to finish it.

If we can share a day of guided fishing, like this with you, please call us at:423-586-6198.

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I met with Jim Hamer, from Columbus, Ohio today. We made our way to the South Holston River under real gloomy conditions. Jim has recently retired from the school system there and then got called right back into the educational system. He has quite a bit of experience at fishing in the upper part of Michigan and several of the great lakes rivers that have salmon and brown trout runs. We worked a little bit on casting and mending techniques before getting into the river and going at it in earnest. During the course of the morning, Jim caught several browns on BHPTN. A light Sulfur hatch came off and we took advantage of that until early afternoon. We took a few minutes for lunch and moved from the river when thunder and lightening began. We next moved downriver, but the rain followed us. The rest of the time we fished it seemed that conditions deteriorated. We decided to call it a day at about 3:30 PM. On the way back home, we ran into the heaviest rain storm that I have seen in years. While waiting for the rain to stop, we enjoyed a nice cup of Marble Slab Creamery ice cream. My selection for the day was Coconut ice cream with pecans blended with it. Yuumm! A nice way to finish a trip.


If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please contact us at: 423-586- 6198.


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John Hand is a professional guide from Tampa, Florida. He wanted to learn more about fishing in the mountain streams as well as casting and mending techniques that are used with smaller equipment. We spent the day on the Oconaluftee River, and after watching him develop some new casting and mending skills on moving water, we waded up the river and he began to catch fish on a regular basis. John learned all the methods of fishing the tandem nymph rig without a strike indicator and later in the day he switched over to using a single fly with a strike indicator. We focused a lot on highstickin techniques and soon he was able to fish an entire run from bottom to top  and handle himself properly in each type of water as he moved upstream. John caught lots of fish which were about normal size, but he did hook one real nice Smoky Mountain trout that we were only able to watch make some hard runs and then do a long distance release. I was very pleased with John's progression and I know that he will be able to go to any stream and have a great day using the nymphing techniques that he learned.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please call at:423-586-6198.


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Mike Braun is visiting from Michigan and since the waters are low again in the Park, we decided to try the South Holston River. It was a beautiful day and we started by working just below the Weir Dam. The Sulfurs started to hatch and Mike had fish all around him. It was a brilliant sunshiny day and getting a fish to look at a fly was really difficult. Fish were feeding all around but they would not look at Compara Duns or Tan Wulffs or any other fly that we tried. It was discouraging so we moved down river and tried fishing with a BHPT and an indicator. Mike had a little better luck while fishing this method. We enjoyed a great day on the river and it is a beautiful time to be out. The seasons are changing and it won't be long until we start seeing cooler weather. Sulfurs are still hatching and if you want to try to get in on the last of this hatch, please call us at 423-586- 6198.


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Wayne and Traci Woods were visiting from Indianapolis, Indiana. We decided to make our trip to the South Holston River and away we went. We did not find too many other flyfishermen on the river yesterday and we began at Webb's Bridge, where the fish were feeding actively. Both people caught or missed several fish in this location and it was great watching them fish.
We moved up river and began fishing again along Big Springs Road. It seemed that this area produced better for Wayne, but Traci also caught some as well. We ended up the day about 4:00PM as the water began to come up. It had been a beautiful day to be on the water and all of us enjoyed the river. I hope that this very nice couple are able to come back during the Peak of Color season to fish this great river.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip to the South Holston or Watauga Rivers, please call



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Carolyn and I spent the last half of the day on the South Holston River. The first area that we stopped and fished was not productive, but on our next stop, they were feeding as well as you could have asked for. I only took a few pictures, but it seemed like that we were getting strikes on 80% of our casts. Browns and rainbows were feeding with equal vigor. I will probably be spending more time on this river for the rest of the Fall. If you would like to try this fine river through the Fall months, please call at:423-586-6198.


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This morning, I drove over to Little River Outfitters and picked up a new rod and reel that I have been wanting to buy for close to two years. I needed a small 3wt. rod for the many new beginners that I have been teaching for several years. The rod that I chose was the Temple Fork Outfitters-7ft. 3wt. 4 piece outfit. I had Daniel Drake to match it with a Ross Reel and a SA Mastery GPX line. I added a 7ft. 5X tapered leader to round out the lineup and off to Elkmont Campgrounds I drove, to christen it. The creek is running somewhat full and is in great fishing condition at the moment. I only fished under the bridge in the middle of the Campgrounds and it was just a minute until I took a nice 9 in. rainbow. The rod felt great and the fish felt great while I was playing it.

  OKAY DADS! We have great water conditions and a new flyrod and reel that will feel great in your child's hands. If you are going to be in the Smokies over the Labor Day weekend, here is your opportunity to give your young son or daughter the training that they need with great new equipment. You may even want to try it on a Brookie Stream. Give us a call at 423-586-6198.


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As I mentioned in  the last report, the water temperatures are getting warmer  on the lower sections of the Holston River. We decided to try a few miles upriver to see if the water would be colder, and it was. We drove to a friends property and while we were adorning our gear, he drove up. He had planned to move an RV and we just followed him to it. It sat overlooking the river right where we wanted to fish. While he was hooking things to his SUV, we waded out and began fishing. Both of us had BHPT Nymphs  fished under a strike indicator and it was only about 8-10 minutes until I had a fish on. This one was a nice fish and appeared to be in the 18- 20 in. range. I had it almost to my feet and it came off. Our friend was watching as we moved out into the river and in another 5 minutes I hooked a real nice fish. Within a minute, he had me down into my backing and was all the way to the other side of the river. I knew that I had a very large fish, so I hollered to my friend up on the bank and asked him to bring his camera. After several minutes of playing the fish and many hard runs, he began to tire. My friend walked to the edge of the river and as I got the fish close, he began to take pictures. His camera turned out to be a film camera and we don't have any pictures back yet. That may take a few days. The fish measured (twice) at 24inches, and was possibly the biggest one that I have ever caught in the Holston River. He was beautiful and a pure trophy. The water was colder in this stretch of the river and he put up a good fight. We released him completely revived for another day. Let's hope that he makes it for another season. We caught one more and left. It was a great few minutes on the river.
If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please call 423-586-6198.


I met with Fred and Steven on Thursday morning. We went immediately to the Holston River and began working on casting and mending skills. It was the first attempt for Steven and it had been a few years for Fred. The water temperature is warming up in that section of the river and I will probably not fish that section very much longer. It has been a great part of the river and it will be like loosing an old friend. I'll be trying a section up closer to the dam later this weekend.

  I worked with Fred for a few minutes and his biggest problem was putting strong wrist action into his false cast. As the wind began to pick up later in the day, this became a problem for both guys. I felt like after about 10-15 minutes, that I could turn Fred loose to fish and I began to work with Steven. Steven had used a spinning rod and this old memory problem haunted him for the rest of the day. It is really difficult to break a habit that has formed from many years ago. It caused a lot of tangling for Steven. Never the less, both guys caught a few fish and missed some more strikes. The wind finally drove us off the river and we called it a day. It was a hard day of teaching and learning for all of us. I hope they get in a lot of practice real soon and smooth some of those strong wrist actions out.


Bob Bandeen is an attorney from Michigan and he has been used to fishing some pretty big water. We hit the Holston River pretty early and he showed me some fine long distance casting. It wasn't but a few minutes until he had a nice fish on. This was a moderate size rainbow and just shortly after hooking this fish, he was into a nice brown. The day just got better for him and within an hour he had caught 3 browns. After that, it seemed like the rainbows came alive. Bob caught lot of nice fish until just after lunch. The water began rising from a pulse and the fish just seemed to turn off. It was really a great day on the water with Bob, and I hope I get to fish on another stream with him later on. He was a very fortunate man to be able to catch so many brown trout in one day. I commend him on his skills.

  If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please let us know. 423-586- 6198.


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Carolyn and I had the morning off so we drove down to the Holston River. TVA has been generating very heavily for almost a month now and I was interested to see how much the water has warmed up. It was not bad. I estimated it to be about 62 degrees to the feel of the hand. We started up the river and Carolyn hooked the first fish right away on a BHPTN. I was trying a Blackfly pattern and came up empty. I switched over and in just a few minutes I hooked a very nice fish. It took about 20 minutes to wear this fellow down and he turned out to be the best that I have ever taken from the Holston River. He not only was one of the biggest, but he was colored more highly than any rainbow that I have ever landed while fishing this water. Carolyn came in close and began to photograph the fish with the new Pentax W60. I think that you'll like the results. 

 We are still doing trips on this river and this will show the type of fish that you may encounter while fishing this excellent water. If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please call 423-586-6198.

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How is that for form? Bill had just hooked a fish when I took this photo. It was one of a very few that we hooked into yesterday. This was my first trip to the Caney, other than looking at it from afar. It was a tough day for both of us and for most other fishermen that we talked to. The generation that had taken place in the morning must have disturbed the fish and they had not settled into a feeding pattern while we were there. Bill is a great fisherman and I want to thank him for showing me the ropes on this fine water. We tried the water at the dam, at Happy Hollow, and finally at Betty's Island. It is beautiful water and I hope to catch a better generation schedule at another time.


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As you can see, the new Pentax W60 has arrived. I have not had the opportunity to try it out on the stream as of yet. After down loading some software, I did take some pictures of the peaches that are ready to pick. This will give you a little sample of what you will be seeing soon. I hope that you enjoy the pictures of the fruit, and maybe I'll be on the Caney Fork tomorrow.
Steve Davis is a saltwater guide in Key West Florida. He has taught his son, Heath, about everything there is to know about fishing in that region and now it is time for Heath to start to school at The University of the Cumberland's, in  Williamsburg , Kentucky. To help broaden both of their experiences, they wanted to learn as much as they could about flyfishing in our mountain streams. We spent the day working on many different skills that are used here and how they differ from the heavier gear that they normally use on the saltwater outings that  they are so familiar with.
The gear and lines that we use are much lighter and require a softer presentation than the 8- 12wts that they have used for so long. The strikes yesterday were very subtle and as expected, it took a while to begin to catch fish. It was a very interesting day for all of us, as three professionals tried to alter the methods and techniques that both had engrained into their memory. They were great sportsmen and adjusted to whatever I would try to show them. They caught fish and especially enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the Smokies. Heath will probably begin classes this coming week and I wish him success in his career that will follow. I hope they both are able to fish and explore new water as time permits. Good luck to them.


  Our new Pentax Optio WD60 camera is due to arrive tomorrow. It has the new 8GB memory card with it, so we hope to be placing videos on our reports soon. 

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Carolyn and I had the pleasure of guiding a great group of saltwater fishermen from Florida yesterday. We began by giving casting and mending instructions at Metcalf Bottoms. This took a couple of hours, but was very necessary to acquaint each of them  with the fundamentals of casting and mending under tight stream conditions. It also had it's downfall as well. It allowed several people to get on the stream ahead of us and it caused problems with catching fish all day. The warm water conditions have pushed all the fishermen into the upper reaches of the mountain streams and if you don't get a real early start, you are automatically fishing behind someone. It turned out that we were behind about 8 people and that made for tough fishing. We had several strikes, but only landed small fish. I commend all the fellas for their hard work on the stream and I saw lots of improvement as the day went on. Their rod handling abilities improved greatly and that is what I wanted to see. We thanked them at the end of the day for all their  hard work at mastering this skill. We hope to see them again in the future. 

  I did want to comment on what a pleasure it was to guide such a fine, well mannered young gentleman as Kelly. Great job, Mom and Dad on raising such a fine Son.

  Because of the intense heat at the moment, we are recommending 1/2 day trips until it cools down some. If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please call us at 423-586-6198.


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Logan Delinger and I spent the day on Little River working on skills and catching a few fish. We tried 3 different areas of the stream to finally finish out the day. The area through the campgrounds seemed to produce the most fish. We just had to deal with swimmers and tubers and, as we were beginning to get into a lot of fish, the tubers took over the stream. That is probably over now since school has begun. Hook set and timing was the last thing for Logan to accomplish and by the afternoon, he was doing well. We finished the day with Logan buying a new rod and reel from Little River Outfitters and I think this will make a great deal of difference in his fishing from this point on. Good luck to him and good fishing.


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Carolyn and I wanted to start a new page off by showing you what type of fishing is still available in the Holston River, below Cherokee Dam. We spent about two hours on the river several miles downstream of the dam this morning. The water was off and the fish were feeding like crazy. We caught fish on Elk Hair Caddis and Beadhead Pheasant tail Nymphs for the whole time we were there. The size of the fish is outstanding and the fight that they put up "will wear you out." We want to invite you to take advantage of the fantastic fishing that is so close to us and you don't have to drive a lot of miles to get in on this mid summer bonanza. You can see by the look on Carolyn's face in the top right photo, that there is a slight sense of shock or astoundment at the way the fish she has on, is peeling off line as it streaks downstream. Don't let another week go by without letting us take you on a guided trip where the fishing can be as good as you can find in the U.S.A. Call us at 423- 586- 6198 for your trip to remember for a lifetime.


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