Fishing Reports for The Smoky Mountains
And East Tennessee Tail waters


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September 22, 2006 Guided Trip With Katherine Holt from Hoschton, Georgia
I met a wonderful lady, Katherine (Kate) Holt from Hoschton, Georgia at Little River Outfitters in Townsend.  We had been corresponding via e-mail for some time.  Kate was on a business trip
in Knoxville, as she was frequently, and wanted to start fishing Little River on her way home from trips.  Kate is a director in her company and travels nationally and internationally.  She has

traveled to 28 countries.  Her grandmother is full-blooded Italian.                             
Kate's husband has not yet grown to love flyfishing as she does.   Kate has taken a few lessons before and has fished in some of the New England states, totaling about a year in experience.

We first went to Metcalf Bottoms. I first instructed her in the Pitzen Knot, and then she practiced casting on the grass.  We placed a bright Yellow Mayfly on to begin with, so that the fly would be easier to see.   I wanted to take a picture of her before she got into the water and planned on getting more good pictures as the trip progressed.  After we went into the water, I discovered that my camera case had a tear in it.  My camera had gotten doused with water and would no
longer work.

After practicing in the water with the Mayfly and no luck, we tried a Stimulator and later used a Tellico nymph as the dropper. We tried various combinations of flies, including a biot-bodied Cahill nymph and the Blackbird.   We saw a few fish feeding, but they didn't seem to want the flies that we were using.

We moved on up the River and tried a few more combinations of flies, with no luck.  We met a couple of other fishermen, who stated they hadn't had much luck either.  The wind was picking up, and a weather front was moving in.  We decided to go to lunch at the Subway in  Townsend.

After lunch, we drove to the Little River Trail.  By this time, it was starting to rain a little, but we went on up the trail anyway.  We met Hugh and Craig Lancaster.  After talking with them a few minutes, we went a short distance and got in the water.  We tried a combination of the Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle for the lead fly and a Green Weenie as the dropper.  In a few minutes, I heard Kate yell that she had a fish.  Kate was thrilled that she had finally caught a good fish.  She played the fish for a few minutes, and I instructed her in the procedure of landing it. The Rainbow was about 10 inches and very beautiful.  The Bow had taken the Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle.

By this time, the rain was starting to come down steadily, but we kept on moving up the trail.  We fished for about another hour and finally decided to call it quits, as Kate had to drive back to Georgia.  She told me that I had no idea about what a great time that she had had today.  She stated that she had some friends who were greenhorns at fishing as she was.  Kate stated that she was going to tell her friends about her trip and hoped that they would take some lessons.

I had a great time with this super-nice lady from Georgia and wish her the very best on her future fishing.   If Hugh or I can assist you, please let us know.

September 22, 2006 Advanced Nymphing Class With Craig Lancaster
I have been looking forward to meeting Craig Lancaster from Statesville N.C. for a few weeks. We have talked and corresponded for several weeks and he was as excited as a kid about taking the class. Today I met with him and the conditions were enough to cool anyone's ambitions. A frontal system was moving thru and the day was filled with rain and wind. We first drove over to Abrams Creek and found the stream to be extremely low. This was complicated by high wind and worst of all, a snake with a bad attitude. I came the closest to stepping on a Copperhead that I have ever come in my life. I may have even hit it with my foot, because I heard a splash and a loud hiss. I looked down to see the snake right beside my foot and it was coiled back with it's mouth open ready to strike. It was probably no more than 6-8 inches away from my foot. This snake was right out in the middle of the creek on a small rock. It was probably 3 feet long and as big as a broom stick. Needless to say, it shook me for a minute.

Craig and I fished a short section of the stream to see if the fish were cooperating and we only caught a couple of fish. We decided to move to Little River and see if things were any better there. We had been using a Biot Bodied Cahill and a Blackbird as a dropper. We continued to try this for awhile on Little River, but it was not working. We moved on up closer to Elkmont Campground and changed to a Stimulator and a Green Weenie. Craig caught one or two fish using these flies and we moved on up to the Little River Trail. Craig caught one or two more fish and then the rain started. We decided to call it a day with the offer to fish another time at another stream later in the year. Sometimes, Mother Nature just does not cooperate and we had a tough one today.

 I want to say that Craig is possibly skilled about as good as anyone that I have fished with in a long time. He has taught himself well and he adapted very quickly to any of the methods that I tried to show him. He is a talented young man and I look forward to fishing with him again. I wish him well on the stream this Fall.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip or with flies, please let us know. Just contact us at:                                              

Pete Miller from Indiana met with me this morning and we drove up to the South Holston River for a beautiful day of Tailwater fishing. We arrived at about 8:30 and it was rather chilly, with the temperatures being in the 40s. Pete has a lot of experience and about all that I had to do was just tie on the right flies and show him some feeding fish. Small black midges were hatching off so I placed a Blackbird Deerhair Emerger under a Sulfur Compara Dun and he was into fish right away. He fished all the way to the other side of the river and moved downstream about 200 yards. He began fishing his way back upstream and within minutes a very big hatch of midges was taking place. It seemed like every fish in the river was feeding and Pete was just catching one fish after another. He moved on upstream fishing slowly for 2-3 hours and we lost count of the fish that he took. It was getting close to the time that a pulse was going to be coming down the river so we moved back to the car. After eating lunch, we started back at a new location, on farther downstream. Up to this point, almost all of the flies that Pete had caught  were taken on a Deerhair Emerger. He started catching them on the Sulfur Compara Dun in this new location. Several nice fish were taken here and after we had fished this section, we moved down to a lower one. We only had about 30-40 more minutes to fish and Pete really hooked some nice fish in this section. We were having so much fun watching the fish do aerial gymnastics that we let ourselves be late at leaving. It was really a fun day and I enjoyed being with Pete. I hope to see him again.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip to the Smokies or the Tenn. Tailwaters, just contact us at:                                               

Ralph and Monica Markarian from Drexel Hill , Pennsylvania met with me today and we did a wade trip on the South Holston River. The generation schedule began at 12: 00 PM today and we decided to begin our fishing just below the Weir Dam and then move down river as the water came on. The fish were feeding very heavily on a small black midge that appeared to be about a size #30. Ralph is an accomplished fisherman and very little instruction was needed for him. We began him with a Sulfur Compara Dun and a small Blackfly Emerger and he was into fish right away. Monica needed some casting and mending instruction so we only tied on a Sulfur ComPara Dun for her and began working a small set of riffles. There were several fish feeding and she had a strike in just a few drifts. She was a little slow on the hookset so we continued to work on this as we worked up stream. After a few more strikes, Monica hooked a small fish and landed it. This continued off and on for the next two hours. As it got close to the time for the water to come on, we decided to move down river. On this stretch of water, Ralph took off upstream and we decided to let Monica fish with my flyrod to see if it was better suited for casting purposes. She had another fish on pretty quickly. The fish were taking Sulfurs and emergers in this stretch and the casting was improving for Monica. It is pretty courageous for a lady to step into a strange river and began wading against a current while trying to cast a flyrod. We worked on skills and caught a few more fish for the next two hours. From time to time, we still had problems with hookset. After about two hours, we stopped for lunch at a local store and them moved farther down river. This section was a real challenge for Monica. We found a pod of large fish feeding and they were taking emergers. Monica cast several times over them but the wind was causing her to get tangles and windknots. After a few attempts, she hooked a nice fish and "ZOOM" the fish sped downstream and ran under a rock, cutting the dropper fly completely off. We really thought that she had a chance at a good fish, but it was way too smart for us. We tied a new fly on and went back to the spot where the fish were feeding. After just a few casts, we noticed the water was rising. That ended the day with several fish being caught and hopefully several new things being learned. It turned out to be a beautiful day and a very enjoyable one with the Markarians.

If Carolyn or I can be of help with a trip to any of the East Tennessee waters, please contact us at:                                                    



September 10, 2006 One-Half Day of Flycasting Lessons With Marian Young
Marian Young, from Lebanon, Tennessee, got in touch with me a couple of weeks a go and we worked out a time that we could do her first flyfishing trip ever. She had seen her Dad and others do this sport when she was a child and had secretly wanted to learn it for sometime. Today she received her first baptism at it on Little River in the GSMNP. Marian and her husband had gone to a class room event about flyfishing,  just a day or so before at the Cumberland Tansit in Nashville. She had bought herself a pair of waders and I gave her a rod to do this class with. We began with casting and mending skills early in the morning and after a while, we moved on up the stream in a fishing mode. Marian's husband, Jim, followed along streamside taking pictures with a very nice Canon camera and a tripod. I'm sure that he captured some great moments. As is always the case, casting and mending begin to work themselves toward some smoothness and following that, is timing on strikes. As I have seen happen with many other students, this proved to be a continuing problem for Marian. We had eventually gotten to where our method of choice was a Smoky Mountain Blackbird placed under a strike indicator. The fish were cooperating today but getting her strikes made in a timely fashion was really a problem. As we moved up the stream, Marian hooked about 3 fish long enough to feel them bend the rod, but they were fast enough get a quick release. She was a great sport and stayed right with the skills that she had learned, trying to perfect them. We ended the day with no fish in hand, but lots of experience had been learned and she seemed to have had a great time. At about 1:30 the clouds turned dark and we decided to call it a day. I had a great time with Marian and Jim and I hope to see them in the Park again soon practicing what she had learned.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please contact us at:                                                   

Bob Bagerski from near Roswell, Georgia and I met at Metcalf Bottoms and began our Nymphing Class there. The water temperature had dropped some and I thought that the high temps were over for the season. After catching a fish or two at the Picnic Area, we moved on upstream only to find the fish had turned off. We knew that it had to be either weather fronts or high water temperatures. We fished for a few hours and took a break for lunch. As we had to do in the last nymphing class, we again moved up above the Elkmont Campgrounds to see if the feeding activity was any better up higher on the stream. We tried a Stimulator and a Green Weenie for the dropper again, like I had last week. It only took a few casts until Bob had a fish on. We continued on thru the afternoon with Bob catching several fish. I'm hoping that conditions change for the better as the water temperatures continue to drop. I had a great time fishing with Bob and he is a gracious gentleman with a fantastic life story. I hope to fish with him again soon.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please contact us at:                                                      

I had forgotten since last year just how crowded things can get on the rivers during Labor Day, but I sure got an awakening when we arrived on the lower end of the South Holston River, this morning. Every pulloff had several cars in it and people were everywhere that we looked, already fishing. We kept going up the river until we came to a spot where there was only one car and the person was already back in it getting ready to leave. By the time that we got turned around and driven back to the pulloff, someone else had pulled in and was getting his equipment out to fish. We let him go on upstream and we fished a little lower for a while. To my surprise Ernie hooked two fish real fast and one of them was a nice brown that put up a great fight. We were all trying out my new flies that have been producing so well and pretty soon, I had a small brown on as well. This action gave the first man time to get on upstream and we began to work the water on above us on the opposite of the river, hoping it had settled down some. As we moved on upstream, we began to catch a fair amount of fish and I caught a couple of decent rainbows as well as a few small browns. To have been fishing water right behind someone else, it was not too bad of a day. The two new CDC Loopwing Emergers continue to produce nice fish, even under tough conditions. In the afternoon, the thunderstorms began to fire up and it was time for us to get back home. It felt great to be on the water with Chris and Ernie. If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please contact us at :                                                              



Phil Snapp and I tried to do a float trip on the Watauga River today, but  Hurricane Ernesto had dumped so much water on the upper reaches of the Doe River that it had muddied all of the Watauga River to the point of being beyond fishing. We just moved over to the South Holston River and began a wade trip there. Phil had been wanting to try strip jerkin streamers for large browns and that is the way he began. This did not seem to be profitable and he changed to nymphs and a strike indicator. After only catching one and getting another strike or two, he decided to fish a Pheasanttail nymph and one of my Beadhead CDC Softhackle Emergers. This began to produce some fish and he landed some and lost some. It seemed that the storm had caused a big change in the barometric pressure which was affecting the fish. The strikes got slower and slower. We did move in the early afternoon to a spot on down lower on the river. There were only a few fish feeding here but we managed to get a nice 17 inch brown. The fish put up a slow, determined struggle, and finally gave it up to be photographed.  He will be a nice one by this time next year. Phil and I are going to try some different spots in a few days and hopefully, the weather will be better. It was great to get to fish with Phil, again.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please contact us at:                                                   

Justin Church from Durham, North Carolina and I met at the Bass Pro Shop yesterday morning for an Advanced Nymphing Class. It did not turn out to be an easy one and we struggled for the first 1/2 of the day because of the water temperatures. We started off by checking his casting and mending skills  at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area. It was obvious, by the feel to the hand, that the temperatures were too warm. It seemed that the water was about 67 degrees in this area and that will cause the fish to shut down. After telling Justin that we may have problems caused by this, we moved a few miles upstream, hoping the water might be a couple of degrees cooler. We only caught chubs and after fishing for 3 hours we had lunch and moved higher up on the stream, seeking cooler water. We also rigged one of the rods with a Stimulator and a Green Weenie. We now had a double nymph rig and a dry fly with a dropper available to us. Neither of them produced. We saw that we were going to have to move even higher up on the stream so we drove to the Little River Trailhead and started hiking up from there. We had walked about 1/2 mile when Justin started fishing. Right away, he began to get strikes. It was getting on into the evening and the strikes were becoming more frequent for him. This is what we had been wanting all day, but it took us more than 1/2 day to finally get into some water that was cool enough for the fish to be feeding. It had changed from a nymphing class to a day of using different tactics to meet the needs of the fish. The dry fly and a dropper had saved the day and the Green Weenie was our salvation.

Justin proved to be a person who could adjust with whatever the situation called for and still enjoyed himself, while making it be a productive day. I want to thank him for allowing me to guide him and for being a great all around sportsman.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please contact us at :                                                        

August 24, 2006 Shannon and Evan  Greene on the South Holston River

It has been quite a while since I got to fish with Shannon and Evan. It is almost time for Evan to start back to school and we needed to get a trip in real fast. The South Holston River seemed to be the right place, so off we went thisThursday morning for a wade trip. We began below the Weir Dam and fished for about 3 hours and the fish were feeding pretty heavily. Evan started things off by getting a fish to take an emerger right away. It didn't take but a few casts until he had another strike, but this one he missed. Shannon was having a little harder time because he was fishing a long slick where a number of fish were feeding. They could see his flyline and most were refusing to take the Com Para Dun that he was using. Evan was fishing in riffle water and the fish were being more cooperative. He continued to get strikes and occasionally he was connecting. We finished this section when it was close to time for the water to turn on and we moved downstream. The new section was one of my favorites on Big Springs Road. We began fishing upstream and Evan got the first fish and then the second. Then it was Shannon's turn. The strikes were coming pretty regularly now and Evan was getting his share. We fished on thru this section and moved farther downstream to a new one. This is where Shannon had a strike that broke his line. In a few minutes, the water came on and we had to call it a day. It sure was fun to be on the river with two good friends. Shannon is sure proud of his son and tries to spend time with him, even though he manages a booming business. I hope to get to spend time with them again and I wish them both good times on the water.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip or flies, please contact us at:                                                                  

August 21, 2006  A 1/2 day on Little River with the Simmons from Maryland
I was privileged to do 1/2 day advanced nymphing class with a great family from Clear Spring, Maryland on Monday.  We met at the Sugarlands Visitor Center in Gatlinburg.  Donnie Simmons was the father, Andy was the son, and  Kathy was the mother.  Donnie and Andy wanted Kathy to go and be with them, walking along the side of the trail and taking pictures.  Kathy had grown up fishing and hiking with her family, so she was used to rough trails.  Donnie is a retired game warden in Maryland and had obtained status as Captain. He is now the Hunter Education Coordinator for the Maryland Natural Resources
Police. Donnie's father lives in Greenville, Tennessee.  Andy is in college and majoring in Recreation and Park Service.  He hopes to do his internship out west, or maybe even the Smokies.  Kathy is in the Medical Records Department at one of the hospitals where they live.

First, we had to make a trip to Little River Outfitters and obtain their correct fishing licenses.  Along the way, I pointed out some good fishing places at the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, Elkmont, Tremont and along Little River.  I told them about Abrams Creek, and showed them how to get there.  Kathy also had a map of the Smokies.

After the trip to Little River Outfitters, we stopped at one of my favorite fishing spots on Little River. Andy had taken a class on flycasting before and had read many books, articles etc. He frequently practiced and has a real passion for flyfishing, his parents stated.  Andy has great flycasting technique and didn't need any coaching or even instruction in nymphing.  His casting was beautiful.

Donnie has done mostly fishing with a spinning outfit, but has obviously been doing a lot of flyfishing too. I gave him a few tips in nymphing, and  I gave instruction on tying the Pitzen Knot.

After not catching any fish at my favorite spot and wondering what the problem was, I looked up to see a woman with a creel walking back to us.  She apparently had been fishing with bait in front of us, even though bait is prohibited in the Park. We moved on up the river to another area.  I didn't pass anyone else along the road that was fishing.

There were a few isonychias on the rocks and only a few light Cahills hatching off at approximately size #20. We tried multiple combinations of dry flies and nymphs, such as the yellow stone flies, isonychias, thunderheads, terrestrials, beadhead pheasant tail nymphs, biot bodied Cahill nymphs and the Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle, and dry flies and nymphs that Andy had brought with him.  Andy was well stocked with a wide variety of flies, and fished with multiple flies that he had brought.  He caught a few Tennessee Cutthroats, and I felt that this was an indication that the trout weren't feeding.  He caught a Rainbow on a Copper John nymph, but I wasn't at the location where I could get a picture.  At the end of the second stretch of water, there was another fisherman that was ahead of us.  By this time, it was about
1:30 and the end of our day.  The Simmons were going to continue fishing after lunch.  I felt that they would have more luck with the fish starting 4:00 p.m. or so.

My day was one of mostly guiding and giving a few fishing tips here and there, instead of teaching a nymphing class.  I truly enjoyed meeting and talking with this very interesting family.  We were invited to visit them sometime and go fishing in Maryland.  A trip there would be wonderful.

If Hugh or I  can help you with any of the flies with a trip or flies,  just contact us at:

Carolyn (Beebo)                                               

Carolyn and I were back on the South Holston River this morning and we started at a different place than we had fished before. Carolyn had left the house and forgotten her wading boots so I got out in the water at our new destination with the flies that have proven so successful for us. I had only made a couple of cast and I had my first strike. He was on for a second but then he was gone. A couple of casts later, I had another strike. I was a little fast on this one and completely missed him. Then came the third strike. I saw it was a big fish and I set the hook. He instantly ran half way across the river and I could see that I had my hands full. The sharp fast runs went on for a few minutes and then he settled down to a bulldogging style of combat.

The fight went on and on and on until my arms were aching. Twenty minutes later, I had a beautiful male rainbow that was marked like a cutthroat along his side and throat, ready to measure and release. He measured exactly 20 in. and was colored beautifully. Carolyn fished a few minutes from the bank and then we moved to another spot.

This location was one that I fish regularly and that has some great fish in it. I got into the water and only made 3-4 casts when a fish took the emerger.  I set the hook, not thinking that it was very big, and much to my surprise, it really took off and made a wild crashing leap. I could see that I had hooked a monster that looked to be about 25 or more inches long. The fish hit the water and ran like a streak to the closest snag where he promptly broke my line. He didn't stop there, but rather turned back downstream and continued jumping for several more minutes trying to dislodge the flies that were still in him. This was my nicest fish to have on this year. A good 4-5 lb. fish. I continued on fishing and caught a few more but the highlight of the day was over. The fish continue to prove the new flies to be great choices on the water. If we can help you with any of the flies that have proven to fish so well, just contact us at:                                               

I have made several trips to the South Holston River as well as the Watauga River in the last two -three weeks. PART OF THE REASON IN MAKING THE TRIPS HAS BEEN TO TRY OUT NEW FLIES THAT I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH, AFTER LOOKING AT THE INSECTS IN THE RIVER AND AFTER PUMPING STOMACHS. This has given me the opportunity to tie up and use some real interesting patterns that seem to really be just what the fish are looking for. I have fished with Steve Wright and with Ernie Roberts, as well as Carolyn with each one giving the flies their own particular method of presentation. The results have been, two fantastic emergers that are tied with different amounts of weight that seem to fit whatever need the fish are hitting at a given time. On Saturday, I fished by myself, using a Sulfur Com Para Dun and one of the emergers, tied with just a small amount of weight. The results were absolutely great with several fish in the high teens  being hooked. On Tuesday, I fished with Steve Wright. He used the same fly with more weight (a beadhead) AND OUTFISHED ME THREE TO ONE. I was using the light weighted fly and it seemed that the fish were feeding deeper that day. "The fish of this day" was a beautiful brown that Steve hooked, which appeared to be about 23 in. long. It went airborne and showed us how to do a quick release. The same fly was still red hot but just fished in a deeper presentation.

   Today, Ernie Roberts and I fished a different section or two with some fantastic results. I counted about 45 fish for myself and Ernie lost count of the ones that he caught. Today, I used the lighter weighted fly and I was catching fish on about every third or fourth cast. In the last section that we fished, I managed to hang 3 fish that were at least 15 inches long. We got pictures of most of these and they were beauties.

If you're looking for a red hot fly to fish the South Holston River with???  THIS IS YOUR ANSWER!! Please contact all of your friends and tell them about the flies. We just ask that you give these new patterns a try. We're sure you'll be happy with the results.                                                             beeboflyfishing


August 10 and 11, 2006 A 2 Day Trip With David and Virginia Morris from South Eastern Florida
Carolyn and I spent two wonderful days with David and Virginia Morris, this Thursday and Friday. David and Virginia are very interesting people.  David is an attorney in Florida, and he is also fluent in the language of Mandarin.  Virginia is a Spanish teacher there, and is fluent in Spanish.  They have lived in Spain, many different parts of the world and different areas in the United States. 

We fished the East Prong of Little River most of the time, but we spent some time looking at interesting places, both inside and outside of the Park. The couple had come up to this area with a dual purpose. They wanted to fish, but they also wanted to look at some nearby property We spent the first hour checking out their casting and mending skills. This turned out to be a bit more exciting than what we had planned for.

We were in the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area doing this part of guidance, when two young boys came rolling off the side of the mountain into the river screaming and tearing their clothes off. They had apparently been hiking nearby, and they had stepped into a Yellow Jacket's nest. We helped the two boys get to the bank on our side of the stream.  Carolyn checked them out to see how serious the situation was. We counted 7 stings on one of the young fellas and 5 stings on the other. One of them said they had, had a reaction to bees during another instance, and we called for a Park Ranger. The boys received some help, and we were off to fish.

A frontal system was coming thru on Thursday and the fishing proved to be pretty slow. We met again on Friday and moved up to Elkmont. We had a few strikes while we were there, but the tubers came on the scene and we moved. We went up to the Chimneys Picnic Area and had some wonderful steaks grilled out, with all the trimmings. After eating, we went up to Newfound Gap and showed our guests what a beautiful view there was to behold up there.

When the food had settled; we moved back to the Millsap Picnic Area, and David put on a Pale Evening Dun. This seemed to be the fly that they were looking for. David had so many strikes that I lost count, and he managed to land some of them. It was getting into the evening, so we took the couple thru Wears Valley to let them look at some property. After this was over, we arrived back at Little River Outfitters to end the trip. It was certainly two fun days for us, and we hope to see them again someday.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip to the Smokies, please contact us at:                                                                   

Steve Wright and I got together again to try out more East Tennessee Tailwaters today. We arrived at the Blevins campground and launch site at about 8:00AM this morning. The fog on the water was so heavy that we could not see more than 50ft. We could see that several people had already started down river ahead of us; but the fish  were feeding, and we started the day off with Caddis dries and emergers. It did not take but a few casts until Steve had a fish on. The day was getting started right. We had to really go slow down the river, because numbers of boats were lined up ahead of us. Steve continued to catch the normal size fish which were about 11-12 inches long. After fishing for a short distance, he thought that he might need to change flies. I suggested a Beetle and a Flying Ant as a dropper. This proved to be a great combination and as we passed by Rivers Edge Campground, he took several nice fish. They were just hammering the Flying Ant. We continued on downstream, and we went thru a long slick stretch that had several fish rising. Steve would let me spot the rising fish, and he would cast downstream with a Tuck cast, allowing the fly to drift right over the feeding fish. As we moved down river; I spotted one feeding, and he cast upstream slightly from the fish, allowing the fly to drift over it. Up came a beautiful rainbow and softly took the Ant. A lengthy battle ensued. Finally, he landed a beautiful male rainbow that appeared to be about 16 in. long, on the Flying Ant. Just a couple of casts later, he had on another beautiful fish that looked to be about 15 in. long and had great color. We had a great time also while wading the Caddis Riffle, where we took several fish each. Most of the fish that I took were on a Crane Fly and a Caddis Emerger. It continued to be a productive day as we went on down river. It was good to be back on the Watauga River with Steve. He showed his great skills again, with great cast and down stream drifts. I hope that the flies that I tied helped a little in today's venture. It was blazing hot, but the fish were cooperative.

If I can help with a guided trip or with the flies that were so effective, please contact me at:                



Steve Wright and I decided to hit the water together again yesterday; so we put in, as a pulse was ending, at the dam on the Holston River. We knew that we were going to have to move on down river pretty fast to keep up with the water, but the fishing was so good that we really were in skinny water most of the way. Steve is a great fisherman and all he had to do was just cast the fly out, in the vicinity of rising fish, to find action. This was repeated time and time again. He was making perfect drifts  with a Dark Mottled CDC Olive CDC and Elk and Elk, that I had tied, and the fish were just all over it. This was my day to work the oars and Steve did most of the fishing. It was just fun to watch fish after fish in the 14-16 in. range succumb to the fly. By the time that we had gotten a couple of miles down river, the Caddis were really hatching off, and that made every fish in the river look up. Best of all, we had the fly they were looking for, and the action was endless. It was hard to make ourselves move on, but we knew that we had to stay ahead of that generation schedule. Steve's prior knowledge of the river at low tide made things a little easier. He still had to get out and lead the boat thru some shallow shoals. The new trolling motor also was a blessing when we came to the mile long stretches of dead water. We just whizzed on thru in a few minutes, where it normally took an hour of hard oaring to get this far down stream. We kept on moving. At every shoals, Steve would pick up another fish or two. I used all the memory space on my camera but I did not capture 1/3rd  of all the action that took place as we were going down river. I estimated that we hooked at least 35 fish and that is a modest estimation. All these fish put up a great fight and were bigger, on average, than what you will find in almost all the East Tenn. Tailwaters. We ended up with a great day of fishing and I again want to say, "What a fine fisherman that Steve is".

If we can help with a guided trip or with the flies that were so productive, just contact us at:                                                                 

July 14, 2006 Fishing With Steve Wright On The South Holston

Steve Wright is an old fishing buddy from right here in Morristown, that I get to fish with a few times each year. He is retired and owns his own drift boat so he gets to fish a lot of water whenever he wishes. We have had some good times on the water in the past and yesterday was no exception. We decided to fish the South Holston River on this trip after talking with Mike Adams at Mahoney's in Johnson City. Mike said that the Sulfur hatch had been a little better for the last week, and that was good enough for us. We got  Jack Prater to shuttle us and the water seemed to have just come on when we arrived at the launch ramp. We backed the boat into the water and while we were rigging the rods, we looked over at the Weir Dam and the water was going down again. We weren't sure what was taking place so we continued to watch; and low and behold the water went down and left the boat setting on dry pavement. We picked the boat up enough to scoot it into the water and within 20 minutes, the water flow had started again. We sat there anchored until the water had come up enough to make the run down river. Since we were the first boat going down, we decided to fish along side the left bank. We came to a good spot and some fish were feeding along with a few Sulfurs hatching. Here is where we dropped anchor and watched for a few minutes as more fish moved into position to grab insects that were caught in the drift. Pretty soon, we had spotted at least 7 nice fish and a couple of smaller ones actively feeding. I began casting and right away a nice one took my fly. My timing must have been off slightly, and I took the fly right out of the fish's mouth. In a few more cast, another nice fish took the fly and I was connected to this one. I fought the fish right up to the net and just before Steve could get the net under it, it pulled free.

It was Steve's turn now, and he did some nice casting and mending to bring up another nice fish. This one was successfully played to the boat and after landing and photographing it, we returned it to be free again. It was a nice 15-16 in. brown and one of several that we would get to take a well presented fly. I began casting again and had another very nice fish to come up and take a Com Para Dun. Again, I set the hook a little too fast and missed this beautiful brown. This one looked to be at least 20 in. long. We both kept on working different sections of this eddy and before we left, I had a couple more fish in the 20in. range to take a fly, only to set the hook a little too fast and ended missing each one of them. My average was really looking bad for the day. We moved on down river and came to a spot that had quite a few Sulfurs hatching and the feeding activity was looking good. The situation got even worse as I missed a few more nice fish. We were having a pretty good day at fooling the fish, but I was having a terrible day at connecting. It wasn't too long until the clouds started getting darker and we decide to move on to the takeout. We had just gotten the boat loaded when the rain started coming down in buckets. It was a good day on the water with Steve and I hope we get some more time together soon.

If I can help with a guided trip to one of the local tailwaters, please contact us at :


Phone Number:  423-586-6198 or



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