Fishing Reports For The
Smoky Mountains And East Tennessee Tail waters



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 I have been working with Jim Davis for several trips to try to find just the right Blackfly imitation to use on the Holston River, below Cherokee Dam. This has been a tough nut to crack. The fish are there in phenomenal numbers and the insects are there to provide the food. The fish have been feeding like crazy, but finding a fly that they will take consistently, has been a real challenge. I have tied many Blackfly imitations over the years, and most have been successful. This particular river has just about tried my patience. We have tried every fly in our arsenal with very limited success, but I just would not give up. Other fishermen may have found a fly that worked well for them, but it has proven to be a real challenge for us. After about 5 successive trips, we finally found a pattern that showed some promise. This particular fly was tied with thread and a CDC wing. I'll give a follow-up report, after we give it a few more attempts. We caught several fish today, and some were real nice. A couple went about 14-15 inches. I have also been securing a few more places to access with clients this season for wade fishing on this river. This will make for some interesting trips later this Spring. They will go well with float trips that I normally do. The numbers and size of the fish are really looking great for the Holston River this year. 

 I enjoyed the day with Jim and I plan to work more on this fly to improve it in the next few days. If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip to a great river, please call us at 423-586-6198.


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Don and Susan Stehsel came all the way from Anaheim, California  to fish in EAST TENNESSEE. The weather was bad medicine for them. The streams in the Park were blown out and the wind was fierce on the tailwaters. We barely got started with casting instruction for Susan, and the wind began to get strong. We were inside one of the barriers of the Weir Dam and we were still affected by it. Susan did hook one fish for just a moment, but it got off before she could get it under control. We weren't able to do much reasonable fishing from this point on , but they did try and they also got to take some great pictures with his Nikon D200 camera for their memories. I enjoyed guiding them on the river , and they were brave to stay out in such conditions; but hopefully they can return for another day of instruction later in the year.

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


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Niles Jennett lives just outside of Phoenix, Arizona. We met on the 8th and drove up to the South Holston River. Niles has had some experience at flyfishing so we began by checking his casting and mending skills. He needed a little smoothing out and it did not take long until it began paying off in strikes. He missed several and then he landed a couple. We moved onto a new stretch of water and as he continued to smooth out his skills the fish became larger. It was a great sense of pleasure to see him take advise and turn it into landing several nice fish. I had a very enjoyable day with Niles and I hope he gets to put these newly polished techniques in action on the San Juan, the Black, and other rivers in his home territory. It was a great day on the water with Niles. If Carolyn or I can be of help with a guided trip, please call us at 423-586-6198.


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Don Hazel and Ray Miner both live in Fairfield Glades, in Middle Tennessee. They became flyfishing buddies about 4 years ago. Don had been a client in an advanced Nymphing Class and he decided that he wanted to try the tailwater rivers in Upper East Tennessee. We met and made our way to the South Holston River on Monday morning to give it our best shot. The frost was still melting as we made our way downriver from the Weir Grates. We waded out into the river as it as falling and I stayed with Ray. We worked on casting and mending skills for about 2 hours and as he improved, he started getting strikes. As is normal, he was a little late at getting good hooksets or holding onto the fish when he did get hookups. The fish had begun feeding pretty well and Ray managed to get quite a few strikes over the course of the morning. He just could not hold onto any of them for very long. 
  I moved up river with Don and after changing flies, he began to get strikes. He hooked and landed a  few fish, and then we broke for dinner. 
  After a good warm meal at Webb's Store, we went back to the river. It seemed like the fish had turned off during the afternoon and evening so we did not do as well. A frontal system was moving in and this usually puts the fish down. We did have a great day and I hope the guys get a chance to fish some more of the tailwaters in East Tennessee.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, just call at 423-586-6198 or email us at


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Jim Davis is an attorney in Morristown and he has some property on the Holston River. He had fished some over the last week and he had trouble getting the fish to hit anything that he was throwing to them. He is a long time flyfisherman with quite a bit of experience, but this group of fish just had him upset because he could not get them to take any flies that he tried.
 He called me and we decided to hit the river today. After arriving, we saw that the fish were feeding like they had not seen food in a month. After examining the water to see what flies the fish were taking, we decided on a BLACKFLY ADULT. This did not prove to be very helpful because the fish were ignoring anything that we threw at them. We both tried numbers of flies without any success. The water and air temperatures were very cold and yet, the fish were feeding like crazy. We just couldn't seem to match what they were interested in. This went on into the late afternoon and finally I decided to try a Grey Ostrich Buzzer. Jim tried a larger one and I tried a size #22. On my first cast, I had a take. Right away, Jim was catching fish. We began to get strikes on a regular basis. Within minutes the fish were in a feeding frenzy. We were getting strikes on almost every cast. The numbers of fish for this time of the year were very high and the sizes ranged from 8in. to 14in. A good mixture of fish. Even though it had taken us a while to figure out just what the fish wanted, we really had a great afternoon. We caught all the fish that we wanted and it was a great time out with Jim. Again, the fly of the day was the Grey Ostrich Buzzer. 
If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, just call 423-586-6198.

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Carolyn and I managed to catch a beautiful day in January to give ourselves a chance to test some of our newer flies. We started off the morning below the Weir Dam on the South Holston River. Carolyn went a little farther down the river and started using an Egg Pattern dropped below a Tan Wulff. We are continuing to test the Tan Wulff for it's long floating qualities as well as it's abilities to catch fish itself. Carolyn hooked one nice fish on the Egg pattern and several others on a fly we introduced a few months ago, called the Red Devil. I fished up above her with a Tan Wulff and a new fly called Ernie's Midge Pupae. This midge pupae proved to be a very good fly as well. I caught one small fish right away and then hooked a very large rainbow that was over 20inches. This was a very fat fish and I played him for several minutes to the point of thinking I had him subdued. I took my camera out and
was about to start photographing him, when he made a hard run down river. I did not get a picture, but he jumped 3 times, showing himself well. He appeared to be a 3-4pound fish and one of the biggest rainbows that I have hooked on the South Holston river.
  We later moved to the Big Springs section and both of us started catching fish on the Ernie's Midge Pupae right away. It proved to be "the fly" of the day. We were also very proud of the Tan Wulff because it only took one redressing all day to keep the fly floating well. It also caught a few fish itself. It is proving to have the dual qualities of a great dry fly as well as being an excellent strike indicator that does not need much attention to keep it floating.   
If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip or with flies, please contact us at: 423-586-6198.

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The Tan Wulff is a fly that I became familiar with several years ago. I had used it on mountain streams and in the tailwaters, as well. I remember the high floating qualities of the fly and while tying an order for a client, I felt like it could be a good replacement for the Sulfur Compara Dun. It looks somewhat like the Sulfur, but it has remarkable floating qualities. Constantly having to redress a Compara Dun with desiccant throughout the day begins to wear on your last nerve by the middle of the afternoon, so I tied some up for myself and my next clients. I was really impressed by the length of time that this fly would float, and float, and float . It also supports a Beadhead fly as a dropper very well. With just minimal care, the fly is good for an all day outing. Yesterday was a real test for this fly because it poured rain all day. The fly still held up and it caught several fish as well. I would like to recommend this fly to you as a great combination "dry and dropper". If you have been looking for a really good fly that doubles as a strike indicator as well as catching fish itself, then this is the one for you. Lots of fishermen don't like to use a strike indicator because it impairs your casting abilities to a degree. This will help to solve that problem. Order a dozen of the Tan Wulff to fish with thru the remainder of the winter, and see if it does not prove itself to be a great fly.

To order: just call 423-586-6198 or click here

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Today, Daniel, Mike, and I, resumed our holiday quest for browns and rainbows on the Watauga River. The water was on until 10:00 o'clock and we decided to make some quick runs all over the river to show the guys where stream access was to be found. This would give them lots of options for tomorrow. After showing them several places thru town, we decided to go downstream and we wound up at the lower end of the river, across from the mine. After getting permission to cross some private property, we began to try this lower section of the river. On the first cast with a Tan Wulff, Daniel had a strike. He caught numerous fish on the Wulff, or a dropper, until the water came up. Mike did not catch as many in this section, but he made up for it a little later in the evening. The rain was coming down all the time, but as the next part of the trip began, it really started to pour. It didn't seem to make any difference, the bite was on and both guys were catching fish. Mike was "Strip Jerking" a Bugger pattern and did quite well on this stretch of the river. Daniel continued to use a Tan Wulff and a dropper. Both methods worked effectively. These two fellas turned a tough day into a winner with good fishing techniques. I tip my hat to them! I was greatly pleased with the performance of the Tan Wulff. It was an exceptional two days of fishing with two great fellas. I hope to get to fish with them again this Summer.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please call 423-586-6198.              DSCN1290.jpg (126739 bytes)

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Daniel Freeman had arranged for a guided trip for his good friend Mike Roach while he was in for Christmas. We met at the Weir Dam and proceeded down the river. The water was just dropping and we had to go a long way to get away from all the other fishermen. There was a heavy cloud cover and it caused problems all day with any insects hatching. These fellas were both pretty good fishermen in their own rights and did not need too much instruction. It proved to be a tough day, at best. Both fellas caught fish, but they had to work hard for them A frontal system was coming through and it really played havoc with the fish. All in all, the guys did well, under tough circumstances. We are going to try it again tomorrow, if the weather holds up.


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I met Bryan and Chuck this morning and we were off to the South Holston River. We arrived just before the scheduled generation was to end, and we were surprised to see the weather as nice as it was turning out to be. Bryan had several years experience on the stream and Chuck had none, so that is where I placed most of my time on this day. We worked on problems with casting and mending for several hours and Chuck missed a strike or two. The fish were feeding very well and I know that Chuck was dying to hook one. After about 3 hours, I walked downstream to check on Bryan and he had hooked a few fish. While I was there, he had some more strikes and hooked another fish as well. While I was away from Chuck, he hooked a nice fish that took out line from him. After playing it for a short time, it got off. We took a lunch break and went back to the same area. This time both guys had fish on and we continued to work the river until it was getting dark. The guys are going to try another stream tomorrow and I wish them well. My thanks to the for allowing me to guide them. It was a beautiful day and just great to be outside.

  If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip, please call423-586-6198.     

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I guided Frank Seigler and his wife earlier in the summer on a float trip. His wife had to go out of the country and he decided to bring his Son, Carl, along on this trip for his first trout fishing experience. Boy! What a day to break a person in on his first flyfishing experience. We met at the South Holston River as it was getting daylight and the weather had really taken a change for the worst, the night before. The rain was over, but the temperature was dropping into the 30's and the wind was blowing very strong. Not to be outdone, we got into the river and started working on casting and mending skills. The strong wind was a menace to us all day long. To our surprise, the fish were feeding nicely and we managed to catch a few that morning. Our biggest hurdle to overcome, was trying to teach Carl how to cast and mend proficiently in such a strong wind. We worked hard at that one all day.
  We broke for lunch, and a good hot meal did wonders for our cold bones. We got back into the river and the fish were still feeding just as good as they were in the morning. The problem was, finding just what they would hit. We did not do too well on the second half of our day. We did continue to work on our skills and by mid afternoon all of us were worn out. The cold wind and water had just taken it's toll. It was an enjoyable day but hard on old bones. The guys planned to hit the river again the next day and I gave them flies and some advice. I hope they did well this next time around.
  Winter fishing is a little tougher than what we experience in warmer weather. If you feel like you might want to try a day on the river at this time of the year, you might see what we saw yesterday. A brown trout of at least  15 pounds jumped 2-3feet out of the water in a "free jump" right in front of us. This makes about 8-10 fish of a very large size that we have seen in the last few days on the river. If Carolyn or I can help with a trip, or with flies, just call this number: 423-586-6198.


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We are entering the Winter season and each day puts us a little farther away from the great Sulfur hatches that we have experienced all Summer long. Each time that I take a client to the South Holston River, I think that it will be the last time that I actually see the Sulfurs that have been so prolific all year. They can make a flyfishing trip be as exciting as it can get. They cause every fish in the river to become active and the largest of browns to come alive. My friend, Ernie Roberts and I, wanted to see if the river might just give us one more day of this fantastic action. We were not to be disappointed!  We arrived just after the water began to run down from a short period of generation and the river was full of fishermen. We made our way down the river from the Weir Dam and found the fish feeding on Grey Midges. Ernie had dropped a JU JU  Midge below a Sulfur Compara Dun and I had tied a Grey Ostrich Buzzer below the Com Para Dun. We both were into fish real quickly. It wasn't long before we started to see some Sulfurs scattered around on the water. We fished together for about 2-1/2 hours and I had to run to get some desiccant at the nearby fly shop. When I returned, I got back into the river at a different section and the Sulfurs were really beginning to hatch. The fish were turned on and I slowly fished a 100 yard stretch  back up river. There were fish taking my flies like crazy and some were very large. I saw three fish that just came up and followed my fly, but never swallowed it. I had counted 31 strikes by the time I finished this short stretch and had landed 22 fish. It was just amazing fishing. It is just phenomenal that these hatches keep on taking place this late into the season. We are experiencing some of the best late season fishing that anyone could ask for. Besides that, the browns are spawning and I got some great pictures of beautiful fish as we were starting to leave. The largest fish that I photographed looked to be about 10-12 pounds and there was another just about the same size. We saw numerous other fish slightly smaller and all of them were being fished for heavily. The day came to an end and we were both very pleased with the results.

   If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip while this fantastic season is still taking place, just call us at 423-586-6198 or email us at:                      


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Chuck and Debbie hail from Monroe, La. and they wanted to try their luck at some technical fishing on the South Holston River. They had a little past experience on the White River in Arkansas, and some float fishing on a Western stream. The day was so pretty yesterday that I thought that we might see some Sulfurs hatching. Our first half of the day was spent working on casting and mending skills and the Sulfurs did begin to hatch off, lightly. 
  We broke for lunch, after having missed  several fish, and decided we would come back to the same area for the rest of the afternoon. Even though the Sulfurs were hatching some, the Grey Midge had been the predominant fly all morning. The two of them were getting some strikes, but they could not manage to keep the fish on very long. The hooks are so tiny, that only the best hooksets would hold a fish. We arrived back on the river in the early afternoon and we saw lots of good fish taking flies. It took one move on the river to get us into a lot of feeding fish and they began to have some decent hookups. The farther into the evening we fished, the more the insects began to hatch. The Sulfurs got heavier, and then the Grey Midges increased. The hatch was becoming a full blown thing and fish were rising all over the river. Then, as the light was getting dimmer and the fly was harder to see, the December Caddis began to hatch off in earnest. We fished for a little longer and it got to where we could not see the fly. As we walked back up the river, it was litterly boiling with feeding fish. In the fading sunlight, it was a sight to behold to look down on the river and see it alive with feeding fish. We had an absolutely great time, and I hope they are able to come back to East Tennessee in the future.
   If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip or with flies, please call us at 423-586-6198.



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It has been almost a year since I saw the tiny little South Holston December Caddis hatching out. It was on the 25th of November, that I happened to be guiding there and this little tiny Caddis began to hatch off. It is one of the few Caddis that I have ever seen in any numbers there and it sure got the attention of the fish. I wanted to remind fishermen about this hatch that will soon take place and to let you know that we have a good imitation available. The fly is tied on a size #22 hook and will be ready to purchase right away. Be sure to have some when you are on the river.


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I met with J.C. and Adrienne today at LROs, and we went straight up the East Prong of Little River and found a spot where we could work on casting and mending skills. This was the first real experience that Adrienne had with a flyrod on a mountain stream.  J.C. had done a little fishing with the long rod, but he still needed some time practicing his new techniques, that he would use in close tight quarters. The water was very low and clear so we used all the stealth that we could. After working long enough to get the couple to the point to where we could place a fly out to the trout and not spook them; we moved to a new location and started to fish in earnest. The water was very cold and the trout were just not doing much feeding. I told them that this may just turn out to be a day that was spent on learning and polishing the new techniques that  will serve them far into the future. I explained to them how the fish become almost dormant and stop feeding when the temperatures drop to 40 degrees or below. We fished on for several hours and the only fish that we moved were a couple that Adrienne caught. These fish were both pretty small and it is an indicator of what is to come on the mountain streams as the temperatures drop.

 I was very pleased with the progress that each one of them made with their casting and mending skills. J.C. and I both commented at how well Adrienne was doing her sidearm and backhanded cast to not have been doing this before today. We had a great time on the stream and I hope to get them back in the Smokies sometime this coming Spring.

  It appears that the rest of the winter season would be best spent on one of the tailwaters to find fish in a better feeding mood. If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip or with flies, please contact us at 423-586-6198. You can also reach us by clicking here.


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Dr. Lindsey Monroe and I met at the Weir Dam on the South Holston River today. Dr. Monroe is a fine Southern Gentleman, who practices dentistry in Anniston , Alabama. We were both surprised at how cold it was when we were getting our fishing gear on at about 8:00AM. There was a heavy frost and the fingers would not work too well when trying to tie flies on. We only had a few minutes to practice on casting and mending skills, before the water was to be turned on at 9:00AM. They were to run until 12:00PM. We got in the water and made the most  of our time before the water came down and we had to move downstream. Dr. Monroe's biggest problem was not having any experience at fishing larger water where long cast and drifts are commonly used. Shorter snappier cast were a part of his past experience and we had to work hard all day to try to smooth out his casting stroke. We fished until it was time for the water to reach us at a lower part of the river and then we broke for lunch. After eating lunch, our plan was to move back to a section below the Weir Dam and wait for the water to recede. With good luck and pretty weather, we hoped for a Sulfur hatch to come off. We walked down the river and as the water started falling, I had Dr. Monroe to start moving out into the edge of the stream. In just minutes, the trout were feeding and pretty soon,  a few Sulfurs started to appear. It took about 1/2 hour for the hatch to get into full swing, but Dr. Monroe got to see what can happen when this insect really starts to show up. The fish just started tearing the water up and people were catching fish all up and down the river. This is where we really worked on his casting skills and it began to pay off. Dr. Monroe told me that it was so much different to be on a large stream where all your skills had to be put to the test and where the water is crystal clear. He plans to fish again on Saturday and I wish him the best, using the skills that I taught him.

If Carolyn or I can be of help with a guided trip or with flies, just call at 423-586-6198. Don't miss out on these last of the season Sulfur hatches.


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If you have been on the South Holston River in the last week an 1/2, you have seen the changing of flies that has been taking place. The beautiful Sulfur hatches that were so prevalent, have now started to become the dreadful micro midge hatches that drive people up the wall trying to match them on the stream. They are so small that you can barely see them.  I have been watching them for a few years and recently I have tried some patterns  that look pretty close to the real insects. The natural midge is about a size#40; and to match them, and keep some sort of decent size hook to fight the fish with, I have chosen a size# 30 Tiemco 2488. I have tied the fly in a sized down pattern to where it is about 1/2 the length of the hook shank. We have tried them on the last several trips and we have been very pleased with the results. If  you are looking for a midge pattern tied small enough to fool these very smart and experienced fish, you will find a winner in "The SPECK"- Micro Midge. I am also selling this fly with a 24 in.-7X leader, tied and ready to slip over the hook bend and tighten down. All you will have to do is take the rolled up leader and fly from the package and slip it over the hook bend of an indicator fly, such as a Sulfur Compara Dun. The Compara Dun will be your strike indicator, to let you know if they have taken the Micro Midge. We are offering this fly in a Grey and Creme version. These two colors are mostly what I have seen for the last several years. Try some of these new flies and see the results you can have when others are just scratching their head, trying to find something to match the hatch with. Be sure to order yours right away.


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I met today with Jim and Leslie Clark on Little River. We worked on casting and mending skills and while we were working on high stickin  techniques, Leslie caught her first rainbow trout. We moved on to different water and fish for the rest of the afternoon where each person hooked a fish or two. It was great getting to spend time in the Smokies with this great couple and I hope they get to spend more time on the water soon. They were each casting and mending well as we came to the close of the day.


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Jim Slaight and I have spent two days on the South Holston River this week and we were rained out on the first one. The very tiny Creme and Grey Midge were hatching and it was a real problem to try to match in the size #40 range. The next day I was able to spend a little time on the vise and I had a good imitation tied up for the next trip. Two days later, we were on the river again armed with some extremely small midges that were tied on size #30 hooks, but they were sized down to match a size #40 fly. We caught fish on these tiny midges and about 6 other flies as well. We seemed to do our best on a BWO emerger.

 I had a great time fishing and guiding Jim and it was fantastic to be out when the colors were at their peak. I hope to get to fish with Jim again in the future, and we wish he and his family well. 

If Carolyn or I can help with these tiny flies or with a guided trip, just call us at 423-586-6198.


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Shane Crays and I started the day under some rough conditions. It was raining and the wind was blowing. The weather forecast was terrible and I did not think that we could finish the day. The water was so low on the Tennessee side of the Park that we decided to go over to the Oconaluftee River. Conditions were not much better over there but we did find some fishable water. We knew that the brown trout was beginning to go into their spawning mode so we kept our eyes alert for any big fish. We tied on the Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle and up the creek we went. We had a few strikes after getting Shayne smoothed out on his casting and mending skills. Shayne was a beginner and it did not take long until he was casting well enough to get his first takes. He was a little slow but in a few minutes he was into his first rainbow. In just a few more minutes, he had another. Then we saw a river otter up ahead of us and I said that bad boy is trouble. He will scare every fish. About the time that I said that he dove and went upstream with us watching. Within seconds, we saw a wake coming toward us and I thought that it was another otter. We watch as it kept coming our way and lo and behold, if it did not turn out to be a huge brown trout about 26-27in. long. Both of our eyes were about to bug out. We fished a little longer and walked backed to the area where we had started. We walked out on the bridge and looked down into the water to see if we could see any fish feeding. To our great surprise, there were several brown trout chasing after a female and there was one huge male that was keeping things in order.  He just circled the large hole and made sure that none of the younger fish got too close. He must have been 30 plus inches long and he would have weighed somewhere in the 10-12lb. range. We watched and took pictures for awhile and then fished higher up, on the creek. Shayne too another nice brown in this section.

Shayne was very pleased with the colors and of the fishing trip. We wish him luck as he fishes closer to home.

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

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I met with Bill Chiment, from San Diego, California on Friday. We drove to the South Holston River through rain showers and enjoyed the most beautiful Fall colors that a person could imagine. The colors are at their peak in Northeast Tennessee, and it is a site to behold. The mountains are on fire! We fished below the Weir Dam until lunch and had a pretty difficult time because the fish were feeding on very tiny midges. They were so small that we could not match them. We had lunch and moved downriver, where we caught a few fish and dodged showers and wind. The fly at this second location proved to be a small Stimulator. It was a great day to be on the river and we met some good friends as well. I hope that Bill enjoyed his day in East Tenn. at the Peak of Color and I hope that he can come back sometime.

   HUGH     To book a guided trip, just call 423 -586-6198. 

Frank Smith, and his wife April, decided they would like a combined tour of some parts of the Great Smokies and a small amount of Smokies Flyfishing for their second day in the Park. We first drove from Townsend to Gatlinburg, and from there we took hwy. 321 toward Cosby. We looked at all the streams that might be a possibility to fish and decided that the Middle Prong was the only one that had enough water to work for us. We first drove over to Carvers Orchard and walked through the Apple House and had fried apple pie and ice cream. We then visited the candy store and bought the place out ! It was delicious. From Carvers, we drove to the Greenbriar area and fished for the rest of the afternoon. The steam was pretty low, but Frank caught 5-6 fish and lost about as many on the Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle. We finished up at about 5:00PM and drove back to Townsend. It had been a great day outside in the Park with some good fishing as well. I hope that Frank and April are able to return to the Park in the future. I wish them good fishing until then.

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

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Frank Smith and I had a very good day on the South Holston River yesterday. We arrived at the Weir Dam about 1/2 hour before it was time for the water to turn on. I took him to the spot just below the bridge and we worked on his casting and mending skills for the amount of time that we were there. Frank just seemed to have a lot of natural abilities with the flyrod and he was catching fish in just minutes. We helped him smooth out a few techniques that he had not seen before and then the water came on. We immediately moved downriver  and began to fish in earnest. After this we had lunch and moved back to the area about 1/4 mile  below the Weir Dam. We were hoping to catch a Sulfur hatch as the water went down, but the weather was getting worse and even though the hatch started, the heavy cloud cover seem to cut it short. There were still enough bugs coming off to get the fish in an active mode and Frank took advantage of it. He caught several fish and lost several as well. His casts and mends had smoothed out and he was really targeting every rising fish. His best fish was a beautiful 15 inch brown that was loaded with color. I was really proud of Frank in the way that he adjusted to new types of fishing on completely new water. The fly of the day seemed to be a mixture of the Sulfur Compara Dun and the Grey Ostrich Buzzer. I sure hope that we have more days on the river like this.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip or the flies that you might need, please contact us:                                             

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Justin Gregory and I started our second day on the South Holston River very early Friday morning. The fish were feeding as we arrived at the spot that we were going to fish. We saw that Grey Midges were hatching and we started up the river. We only went a short distance and the feeding stopped. We tried to fish a little deeper and we only hooked one fish in this section. It was a good one and Justin played the fish well. He never got the fish under control before it got off. It was really cold and we ran to the store to get something warm for our cold bones. It was getting close to the time for the water to arrive where we had been fishing and we made our move to the Weir Dam and proceeded to walk down stream and wait for the water to run down. We were hoping that we might get to see a Sulfur hatch take place as the water was dropping. Justin worked his way out into the river as  fish began to feed. He hooked several fish on different droppers for the next 20 minutes. The fish were feeding on Black flies, then Grey Midges, and then a nice Sulfur hatch began to take place. It began slowly, and grew for the next half hour. It seemed like the river just burst into life with every fish keyed on the hatching Sulfurs. The fish were all over the place. They were feeding in front of us, behind us, all around us! I told Justin that it sounded like (Pigs at a hog trough). The bad part was, that we could hardly get the fish to take anything that we were throwing. You would have thought that this would be the time that you could catch a sackful, but we only caught about 4-5 fish. We watched and talked with others on the river and it was the same thing. Only occasionally, would someone catch a fish. It was driving us crazy, so we left and moved downstream. When we arrived at the spot where we wanted to fish we ran into Dave Reistenberg,  who had bought flies about a week or two ago. He related that his friend had caught a beautiful 24inch rainbow on the Rockhold Sulfur Emerger. He then showed us the picture. It was a hogg!  We hope to show more later.
  Justin and I moved to one last spot on the river where he caught one more fish. It was then getting late so we called it a day. It was great getting to spend a second day on the South Holston with Justin and I believe that he can make his way on about any part of it alone now.
I wish him good luck on his next trip up there.

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


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Carolyn and I had the opportunity to guide 4 delightful people on Little River for 1/2 day on Saturday. I had talked with Tom Carlin after he, his wife, and friends had taken a beginning flyfishing class at the Orvis Store in Pigeon Forge. We began our instruction about 1/4 mile below Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area and surprisingly, Tom and Mollie were into fish real quickly. The water is very low but we were having a good time and within minutes, Mollie had her first trout on. Two of their friends had planned to fish with spinning outfits, but they had no luck. They became interested real quickly after seeing the Carlins catch fish on the fly rods. We gave them instruction later in the afternoon and hopefully, they were able to fish some in Cades Cove the next day. 

We enjoyed teaching the group and maybe they will get to come back to the Smokies when the water levels are better. All the fish were caught on the Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle.

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


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We are getting to the time of the year that things begin to change on the rivers and streams. Today was one of those days of change for the South Holston River. We have been seeing the Sulfurs come off for several months, but as the temperatures begin to lower, there are changes that will affect the fisherman on the stream. My friend and I arrived at the Weir Dam this morning and as usual, I was still carrying the rod with flies that I had caught fish on this past weekend. We have had several cool mornings and I thought that I would just leave these flies on until I saw what was going on in the river. I began to see lots of fish feeding on emergers that were just under the surface, but I actually caught one in  few minutes on a Beadhead dropper. The Sulfur Compara Dun seemed fine for a strike indicator so I left it on and replaced the Beadhead with a Grey Ostrich Buzzer. I had seen these small gray midges flying around and the fish were really taking flies just under the surface. This proved to be exactly what the fish were looking for. I fished until 11:00AM and it was time to get out of the water for the pulse that was scheduled. I had seen a lot of people fishing above me and below me, but no one seemed to be catching any. I had caught 35 fish and one of them was a beautiful 18inch brown.  My fishing partner came down to where I was working my way to the bank. He asked how I had done. When I replied that I had caught 35 fish, he seemed disappointed and said that he only caught five and could not match the flies that he saw hatching off. I showed him what I had taken the fish on and we had conversation with several people who were walking back to their cars. Their results seemed to be similar. They had just not seemed to be able to match the flies that were on the water and it was keeping them from having a very good day. We showed the fly to several men and they went immediately to see if they could buy something that resembled what I had been using. This correct identification came from looking at insects for the last few years that I was seeing on the river. I had tried to match them as best as I could and the results are paying off for me and other fishermen. Our thoughts about today are to try to pass on to you, thru our fishing experiences, what we have encountered while we were on the river. This will keep you right on top of "what flies to have with you, and how to fish them," when you do get to make a trip. The fly for today was the Grey Ostrich Buzzer-size #24.
If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip or with flies, please call 423-586-6198.


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Justin Gregory and Rick Medley met with me on the South Holston River on Saturday. They had rented a house along side the water and we were in the stream immediately after arriving. Rick had quite a bit of experience and Justin had a moderate amount. We worked on casting skills for a few minutes and then settled in for our first round of fishing. The temperature had dropped quite low during the night and there was no insect activity to speak of for most of the day. We struggled to get any strikes for the first part of the morning. We moved upstream to an area that had sunlight hitting on it and caught a few. It was more of an area that Rick found to his liking. A few fish were caught here, but I felt that it was still slow.
  We ate lunch and moved back to the first section that we had started in and this proved to be a better spot than it had been  early in the morning. Justin hooked several fish here and finally hooked a very nice rainbow. The fish made several strong runs and jumped twice to give us a great sense of the color and size that we wanted to see. He finally made a strong run and tore the hook out of it's mouth. We estimated the fish at 18 in. and Justin said that it was the biggest fish that he had ever hooked. I FELT THE LOSS FOR HIM!
  We moved to another section and finished out the day. It was great fishing with Justin and Rick and I hope to float the river with them on Monday.

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Ed Chamberlin, from near Atlanta, and his friend, Bill Reid, met with me at Cherokee, N.C. on the 28th. We looked at Straight Fork as our first destination and fished it for about 2 hours. After hooking a couple of fish, we decided to move to the Oconaluftee River and see if there might be a little more water. All of the streams in the Park are very low and I felt like this might be the best choice that was available. We fished along the Tow String Road section and only caught a few small fish. The fellas were having trouble getting their timing just right and they missed several fish. We did, however see one very large fish in this section that really made things interesting. We broke for lunch and decided to fish a little higher on the stream. Even though the thermometer said the water temperature was a little higher, we did manage to get a few more strikes and in a few minutes, Ed hollered to get our attention. He had hooked a very nice rainbow, that produced several nice jumps and when Ed finally landed him, he was a very nice 15 inch fish. He had taken a Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle fished by itself. This turned out to be the nicest fish of the day. We fished on until about 5:30 and called it a day. Fishing conditions had been tough, but the guys had taken the instructions that I had given them and caught some fish. The 15 inch wild fish, was very respectable for the Park.
   I want to thank both men for allowing me to guide them, and I wish them the best for the rest of their trip.

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


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 I met with Louis Gaither, from Covington, Tennessee and we made our way to the South Holston River this morning. Louis was visiting Townsend and Pigeon Forge this week to demonstrate a new rescue vehicle that he had helped design. He needed some time on the water. Louis had, had a little experience on tailwaters in Arkansas so we worked on casting skills for quite sometime this morning. Timing on hooksets were giving him some trouble until I told him that he had to pay me $10.00 extra for each missed or lost fish. This helped him to pay extra special attention. He caught a few at our first location and lost one real good fish. We moved to another location as it got close to time for the water to turn on. We really pressed hard on mending and hookset  techniques at this new location. The wind was giving him some problems, but he began to make good progress and hooked a few more fish.

  I really enjoyed guiding Louis today and we had a great time together. I hope that we can get in another day at the first of the week.

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

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Today turned out to be the most productive trip that I have made to the South Holston River. The fish were not real large like they have been on some days, but there were fish feeding in every direction. It seemed like almost every cast was producing another strike. We caught nice browns and rainbows until we were tired. All of the fish were taken on the Rockhold Sulfur Emerger. This fly is turning out to be amazing. You just have to see it in action to realize how fantastic it is on the river.     DSCN1253.jpg (93476 bytes)    If we can help with flies or a guided trip, just call 423-586-6198


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Carolyn and I arrived pretty late in the morning on the South Holston River. This meant that all the pull off  areas were full and taken by other fishermen. We finally found a spot that a couple of guys said they were going to fish downstream and we went upstream. We had barely gotten started and we ran into a couple of other fellas that were fishing downstream toward us. They were bait fishing as well and one of the men had a really large rainbow in tow. We took a picture of the 23in. beauty and then moved on upstream to catch a few as well. After lunch we went farther down river and there were more people fishing there. We got into the water and fished behind them and you can see the results. A beautiful 18 in. rainbow. This was another nice fish that took the Rockhold Sulfur Emerger. The fly just keeps on making a name for itself.                                   

    Hugh                                                                                                        DSCN1253.jpg (93476 bytes)

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It has been a couple of years since I have fished with Rusty Fowler and I have always admired his abilities at casting and mending, as well as his boat handling skills. He had bought a new Hyde Drift Boat and we decided to do a trip on the Clinch River. It seems to have been under some stress from heavy generation schedules for the last couple of years and the fish size seemed to have dropped. We wanted to check this out and found a day that the water was off until late afternoon. We did the Peach Orchard to Hwy. 61 Bridge float and we were quite pleased at the results that we had. Rusty suggested that we use small, skinny Zebra Midge Pupa flies and we were into fish right away. As I mentioned, I've always been an admirer of Rusty's casting and mending abilities. I just sat and watched him put them to good use for awhile. He hooked several nice rainbows as well as some smaller ones during the first 1hour that we fished. We moved downstream a short distance and he did the same thing in the next stretch of water. This particular stretch held a beautiful surprise for him and I had the pleasure of photographing a brown that he hooked and played, right up to the boat. It turned out to be one of the most beautifully colored fish that I have seen this year. We took some nice pictures of the fish and released him to grow a little larger. This type of fishing held up all the way down the river, and even though I photographed a few, there were many more that we just released and then went on to the next fish.
  It was great watching Rusty show his excellent skills and boat handling became very important later in the day. If you run into him on the stream and you are needing guidance, let him know. Carolyn and I wish for as much business as we can get, but we also like to mention others that we feel like can offer great services to you. He loves to guide for Smallmouth as well as trout and this may be a special spot for you inquire about. It always refreshes me to spend a day on the river with another guide.


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I met with Alan Garbers, from Martinsville, Indiana, yesterday and we went to the South Holston River to spend part of a Labor Day weekend that he and his family had planned for the Smokies. Alan does some writing of sports columns for two or three magazines in the Mid West. We had an interesting day, and one of learning techniques that were somewhat outside of his realm of experience. He is from an area that boast more of Walleyes, Smallmouth, and Flathead Catfish, rather than trout. His methods of fishing for them were quite a bit different from our traditional ways to catch trout in the tailwaters. The flyrod that he had brought to use on this day, was a little too heavy and stiff for good dry fly fishing. We worked on mastering casting and mending skills for most of the day. Alan hooked or missed many fish, and getting his timing down to be able too hold onto these fish was really a struggle for him. We went over the skills and proper methods to cast , mend, and hookset, for most of the morning and afternoon. At dinner, we took a good lunch break for some great spaghetti at Webb's Store. We talked with other fishermen and a fly shop owner about how to stop the wrist from flexing while casting. This was a great problem for him. I hope that Alan continues to practice on these skills at home and I thank him for allowing me to guide him on the stream.

If Carolyn or I can be of help with guidance or with flies, please call us at 423-586-6198. You may also contact us at:                                            

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Most of the time, our reports are about guiding other flyfishermen. Some of the time, our reports are about working on our own skills to better serve you, our clients. There are also times that we spend on the water, to just help perfect our flies that we are constantly working on to help you have the best day that you can possibly have. Last week and this week have been trips that have helped us confirm that a fly that I developed last year is as good as we know how to make it. I reported last week how effective the Rockhold Sulfur Emerger was for Carolyn and me. Today, Ernie Roberts and I went back to another section a little higher on the river. We had one of the best days that we have ever had using this fly. We caught so many fish that we lost count and not only did we catch high numbers, but we caught fish that measured 15 - 16- 17- 18- 19 - and 20 inches. The fish just ate the Rockhold Sulfur Emerger up! DSCN1253.jpg (93476 bytes)  We feel like we have another Star Performer for the tailwaters, just like the Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle was for the mountains. These were some of the nicest fish that I have ever seen for a day of fishing. They just kept taking the fly, time and time again. They finally slowed down when thunderstorms started moving in.

  There is still time left to get in on a guided trip while the Sulfurs are still hatching. Call or email right away and get secure dates to fish this magnificent fly and just see how effective it really is. You can also order this fly from our website and make it a part of your fly selection immediately. Match this emerger up with a Sulfur Compara Dun to have an irresistible combination when you're on the South Holston River. If you wish to have guidance, just call 423-586-6198 or email at:                                             

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Well, Saturday, 25th was race day, at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Carolyn and I had some work to take care of at the house during the morning so it was about 12:30- 1:00PM when we arrived on the South Holston River. We came in from the lower end and decided to fish in the Rockhold community on this trip. It turned out to be a great choice because the Sulfurs were hatching when we made our way to the middle of the river. Carolyn started catching fish right away and we both took turns  working short stretches and trying to keep an eye on Boomer at the same time. Taking care of Boomer turned out to be to be an exercise in futility. He went after all the fish. They didn't hang around long when he showed up. Even though the hatch was not very heavy, the fish were feeding extremely well on Sulfurs and the emergers. We caught fish after fish, and as usual, Carolyn caught the most.

  It was a hot day, but it was a great day to be on an East Tennessee Tailwater. Many of the streams in the mountains are not in good condition to fish right now, but the tailwaters are still producing well. If Carolyn of I can help with a guided trip to a tailwater, or with the flies needed to catch these beautiful fish, just call us at 423-586-6198. You can also email us at:                                            


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It had been quite a few years since Carolyn and I had taken a vacation, so this turned out to be the year for us to visit the Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding areas. We have placed a few pictures on the Report Page, and a link to a full story, with all of the pictures that we took on the trip. If you would like to read about our trip and see the images of everything that we encountered while out West, just click on the link. It was a great and exciting time, and we met some people from Tennessee as well as making many new friends while we were there. (Click HERE for the full report)

Hugh and Carolyn   

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This is the second year in a row that I have had the privilege to guide a group from the Atlanta Flyfishing Club on the South Holston River. The new person in the group this year was Pat Williams. He was sporting a new Sage Z Axis rod, which I got the opportunity to cast several times. It is a very nice piece of equipment! JD and Mike were their usual selves and always a lot of fun to be around. We started off fishing just below the Weir Dam and stayed there until about 1:00 PM. The pulse brought on a small hatch and this started the fish to feeding. Pat seemed to have a little jinx on him in this section, because he missed 10 straight fish. One of the first fish in this group was a very large brown. We worked on hookset and it still seemed to be a problem until we left for a new site. 

  When we arrived down on Big Springs Road, two of the guys got into the water and I walked out to the edge of the river,  waiting on Pat to get something from the car. A small rainbow jumped out of the water, out from me, and instantly jumped again. There was a slashing chop in the water and it came back out again, heading right toward me at the bank. There was a huge brown trout pursuing it and it ran the small rainbow right up to the bank and the small fish tried to escape downstream, to no avail. The big brown stayed right up against it and finally killed and ate the young rainbow. I was hollering to the guys just above me and they could see the wake and the splashing , but did not realize what it was. Pat came walking down to where I was, AND I EXCITEDLY TOLD HIM WHAT HAD HAPPENED RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. I had barely gotten the words out of my mouth when another small rainbow jumped out of the water in midstream. It was the big brown after another small bow. It chased it down and killed it, with Pat and I both watching. The fishing did not seem as productive here so we moved on downstream to Hwy 44. This area had some Sulfurs hatching and a few fish were caught here. 

  We ended the day with best wishes for the rest of their trip and I hope to see and talk with them again soon. They are  a great flyfishing team and I enjoy being with them.

If Carolyn or I can help with a guided trip or flies, just call or email. 423-586-6198                                            


Phone Number:  423-586-6198 or



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