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Smoky Mountain Flyfishing And East Tennessee
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JUNE 26, 2011 BILL AND JAKE WALTERS, AND ANDY HUTTULA
Bill, Jake , Andy, and I got an early start from the Hampton Inn on our way to the South Holston River. I had told them about the Sulfur hatch that takes place on the South Holston River and they were looking forward to some great fishing. They live near Huntsville, Alabama and they do most of their trout fishing on the Elk River. We had first talked about fishing the Holston, below Cherokee Dam and TVA decided to run water on the day they wanted to fish. The South Holston River was a great alternative. We arrived on the river and since Bill was more familiar with trout fishing I began to work with his son Jake, as well as Andy. We started off with nymphs and Andy had only made a cast or two and he hooked a huge fish on a Split Case PMD. It took off across the river and almost bent his rod double even though he was allowing it to take line out. It got to the other side of the river and the line just popped. That was the last that we saw of a huge fish and the last fish that we had to take a fly all morning. The heavier flow of water seems to really put the fish down until the Sulfur action starts. We had dinner and then moved to the River Bend section. It was somewhat early and it gave us time to find a place on the river that was not so crowded. A few Sulfurs were coming off and an occasional fish was feeding on top . We fished on and we were getting an occasional fish here and there. As I mentioned in my last report, the heavier flow seems to be holding the Sulfur hatch back from what has been normally occurring at 1:30 PM. It was about 4:00PM before any significant amount of feeding began. Everyone finally got some good action going and there were probably at least 5 people crowded around us within casting distance while all this was taking place. It really turned into a fun evening. At about 6:00PM, Jake got hungry and we walked backed to the car and let the other fellows have a few more minutes on the river before calling it a day. It had been a memorable time for everyone and I know they would like to spend more time on this river.

As a little side note on the way back to the motel we drove by all of the Civil War sites near where I live and I tried to give them a 3rd hand account of where the battles took place and I showed them as many sites to look for relics as I could.

I hope to see them in East Tennessee again and if I can help any of our followers with a guided trip to an area stream, just call 423-586-6198.

  Hugh

JUNE 11, 2011 JIM DAVIS TESTING THE MYSTIC FLYROD ON THE SOUTH HOLSTON RIVER.
Jim Davis and I left early for the South Holston River. We wanted to start the day nymph fishing and then switch over to dry flies as the Sulfur hatch began. I felt like this would be a good test for the  new Mystic Flyrod . I had told Jim about the new 4wt. that I bought and I wanted to see if he felt as good about the rod as others have. He had not heard of it and he had not fished the Sulfur hatch either. We began the morning on Big Springs Road where we caught several fish and after lunch we moved to a new spot on the river that he had never fished before.  We had only been on the river a few minutes in this new spot when the Sulfurs began to hatch off. Jim was using a G Loomis 4 wt. rod and I had the new Mystic 4wt. After catching a few fish we switched rods. They were both sporting a Tan Wulff dry fly and a Rockhold Sulfur Emerger. "Take notice of these flies because they are the two most productive flies on the South Holston River during the summer".

Jim dropped down the river about 100yds. and began to cast the new Mystic Rod. In just a minute he had a fish on. As he moved slowly upstream I could see him stretching the distance out with his casts. He was getting strikes real frequently and really having fun. As he moved closer to me he said: "I CAN CAST THIS ROD ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE RIVER IF I WANT TO." In a few minutes he hooked into a fish that looked to be 20 inches long. I took a picture of him fighting the fish and in a minute it turned straight down stream and came off the hook because of all the slack. We were both very impressed about the rods ability to stop breakoffs from happening.  It just seems that the shock absorbency of the flexibility of the rod saves the day. We did not have any breakoffs on the MYSTIC, BUT WE HAD SEVERAL ON THE G. LOOMIS. The hatch continued on until we had caught all the fish we could handle. We left the water at about 5:00 PM and the numbers of nice fish that we had caught was pretty impressive. Jim had experienced  a great day on the river and the Mystic Flyrod had made a new friend.

These pictures are just a small part of the fish that were caught. If you would like to experience a world class trip like this and be able to use this great new flyrod as part of the trip, just call 423- 586- 6198 to schedule a day on the river.

   Hugh

JUNE 10, 2011 TESTING THE NEW MYSTIC FLY ROD

I have been reading some good reports about the new Mystic Fly rods that are being made right here in this country. I talked with the owner and he enrolled me in the guide program right away. I received the M-493-4 and the M-593-4 in a day or two. This translates to a 4wt. and a 5 wt. Yesterday I fished the South Holston River  and today I fished the Holston , below Cherokee Dam. I also took some pictures today and I will try to give my assessment of the rods. This is along with Rod Champion, of The South Holston River Fly shop and his working partner. All of us gave the rod a good casting workout and then I fished two different rivers with the 4 wt.

  Today, when I arrived on the Holston River the Caddis were hatching and the fish were feeding aggressively. I made several different types of casts and they included the Upstream cast, the Up and Across cast, the Curve Cast, and the Slackline , or  Downstream Drift Cast. I also continually used the Upstream Mend. The rod handled all the techniques with ease. I hooked into some very nice ,heavy fish today and I had paired the rod with a Lamson Litespeed Reel; which made fighting the fish a pleasure. Two of the fish were in the 16 inch range and were fowl hooked. They felt like pure beast and took the line into the backing several times. The Mystic Rod paired with the Lamson Reel worked flawlessly and you can see by the pictures that the two did their job well. I look forward to trying out the new 5 wt. Mystic Rod and I will give another report as soon as I get an opportunity to be on the river again. I highly recommend this new rod and you can check with The South Holston River Fly shop  if you decide that you want to give the rod a try out.

  Hugh

JUNE 3, 2011 Dennis Dwyer and Greg Stanley on the East and West Prongs of Little River
Dennis and Greg were visiting from southern Florida and they decided they wanted to try a guided trip in the Smokies. They found out soon that many things are different about flyfishing in mountain streams than Salt Water fishing where they hail from. We started the morning off below Metcalf Bottoms and with lots of instruction. The water was much warmer and shallower than I had excepted. It had been about a week since I guided in the Park and the water was actually a little high then. We caught a few small fish here and I made the decision to move much closer to Elkmont to fish cooler water. The fishing was still kind of slow there and we broke for lunch. After a good meal of Bar-B-Que we moved to the West Prong. The fishing was spectacularly different there. Dennis had a fish on with his first cast and 3 more within 10 steps of where he began. I had put about 100 yards between the two guys and as I moved back and forth between them I could see that both fellows were catching fish or getting strikes in almost every hole. The sun was so hot that I decided to move them off of the creek and do a little show and tell of the area for the last hour of the trip. They seemed to enjoy themselves and I believe they can handle a day on the stream without guidance on their next trip to the Smokies. Thanks to both of them for allowing me to guide them.

  Hugh

MAY 27, 2011 JUST TRY TO KEEP UP WITH LARRY PALUMBO  ON THE RIVER
Larry is a retired banker from New Jersey and he has a love for flyfishing. He really makes a day of it when he gets on the water. We found the fish feeding as soon as we got into the river yesterday and it only took a small amount of working on upstream mending skills to get him up and going. The hooking and holding part was a little slower to come by. We still are using Caddis patterns and their favorite is the one with such a narrow hook gap. We saw and hooked some really nice fish only to have the hook tear out in seconds. This did not deter Larry. He stayed at it diligently until just after 5:00 PM and the water was about to come up. He was a great client to spend a day on the river with and I hope to see him again some day.

 Hugh

MAY 26, 2011 MIKE BRIDGES IN NORTH CAROLINA, FISHING THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN BLACKBIRD SOFTHACKLE
It seems like this is a yearly event for Mike. He consistently catches some of the largest fish of anyone that I know and he uses the Blackbird time after time to make these beautiful catches with. Let's give him a hand and hope that he does this several times this season. A big hand for Mike and the Smoky Mountain Blackbird Softhackle.

 

May 25, 2011 Checking out the Sulfur hatch on the South Holston River
After finishing an order of flies this morning I decided to run up to the South Holston River and see how the Sulfur hatch was progressing. When I walked into the water the fish were feeding heavily, but it was on Blue Winged Olives. I could see dry takes and Emerger takes so I tied on a Tan Wulff with a BWO Emerger underneath it. I caught 3 on the Tan Wulff but they did not want the BWO. I then tried a dry BWO and this did not produce either. I read from Rod Champion's website where they had been doing the best on BWO Nymphs. I decided to tie on a tandem rig of Flashback Pheasanttail Nymphs and this seemed to be exactly what they were wanting. I must have caught at least 2 dozen fish and I was able to photograph some of them. Three of the fish went into the teens and really put up a great fight. If you would like to do a really good wade trip or wade and float trip on the South Holston River, just call 423-586-6198. The Sulfurs really started to pour off at 1:30 today.

  Hugh

MAY 22, 2011 MIKE  AND COREY ABOY ON THE HOLSTON RIVER
Mike and Corey hail from the state of Florida and we decided to try the tailwaters since the Caddis are still hatching. It appears that the Caddis hatch may be dying gown some, but they are still coming down the river in enough numbers to get the attention of the fish. Both fellows are new to flyfishing and we worked hard on skills for awhile. The fish were beginning to feed and I let them start trying their luck to rising fish. It wasn't long before Mike had a strike and he just wasn't use to seeing a rising trout. The strike was a little late and he began to work on number 2. Mike had this to happen 2-3 times and finally he hooked a fish, only to lose it pretty quickly. When you're learning to cast and mend there is always too much slack in the line. We fished several different stretches of water and finally found more fish feeding. Again, he had several misses and finally connected with a fish. He just could not get a solid hookset and lost this fish as well. By this time lots of people were coming into the river and we decided that a good steak would make it all be better. My thanks to them for allowing me to guide them. Take a look at this nice family.

  Hugh                                                                                                                                                                                                    

MAY 20, 2011 ROB BEATY AND JOHN PULLEN ON THE HOLSTON RIVER
It was really a tough day on the Holston River for Rob and John. We had fish feeding everywhere and it was difficult to get them to take a fly. This is a problem that several of my friends and guides have been having all week. The hatches are fantastic, but getting the fish to take your imitation has been difficult to say the least. We tried a  number of different flies ,and when the feeding was at it's peak we had a few takes, but even then we could not hold onto them. There were numbers of very large fish feeding today and both guys gave it their all. Most of the feeding was on Caddis with some Blackflies mixed in for good measure. Maybe we can get these smart fish figured out by the weekend.

Thanks again to Rob and John for allowing me to guide them.

  Hugh

MAY 18, 2011 FRED WOODS ON THE HOLSTON RIVER
Today I met with Fred Woods , from Greeneville, S.C. Fred did not have very much experience with a flyrod and we worked hard all day on his casting and mending skills. Surprisingly, one of his biggest difficulties was hookset. Fred Briggs , whom I guided the day before had problems with this technique as well and we wondered what each person might have done earlier in life that might have caused muscle memory problems that made it hard for each one to be able to set the hook . We thought about golf and we talked about using a spinning rod earlier in life. The positive things that we saw on the stream today was a very heavy Caddis hatch in the lower river and they have stocked brown trout there recently. Fred hooked several fish here but did not hold onto many of them since he could not get a good hookset. It was fun though and the fish were feeding like crazy. As it got close to the time for the water to rise from a 3 hour morning generation, we moved upstream. After lunch we started back in the mid section of the river and the water had not completely run down. The first thing that we noticed was a huge gang of Martins and Swallows feeding on flies. We made our way to the river and right away we saw PMDs and Sulfurs hatching along with Caddis. The fish were tearing the water up , even though there was still a lot of flow coming downstream. The bad part was that we did not have much success at matching what the fish were looking for. We tried different Sulfur patterns and Caddis that usually work, but to no avail. We had 2-3 feeble takes , but no hookups. This was very discouraging while watching hundreds of fish feeding. There are days that even professionals can be fooled and this was one of them. We still had a great time and hopefully we helped Fred work out some of the casting problems and we especially wish that he takes up this great sport for a lifetime. My thanks to Fred for allowing me to guide him and I hope to see him back in East Tennessee next year.

  Hugh

MAY 17, 2011 FRED BRIGGS ON THE EAST AND WEST PRONGS OF LITTLE RIVER
   
I had the pleasure of guiding Fred Briggs on Tuesday. Fred is from the Myrtle Beach area and most of his experience has been on salt water. We began the day on the East Prong of Little River on a very dark , drizzly day. Fred caught his first fish right away and it looked like it might turn into a good trip on this stream. We saw several flys hatching here but no feeding fish. That was the first and last one that he caught there. The water was slowly rising from continuing rains and wading was getting harder all the time. I thought we would go up to the Elkmont Campgrounds and see if the water had dropped up there. We got out and fished some through the campgrounds and we did not have any luck. After lunch we moved again to the West Prong of  Little River . This proved to be a good move and Fred caught several fish . We finished out the day here and Fred was just about fished out from struggling against the high water. It was a very enjoyable day on the stream with Fred and his wife, who was doing some professional photography. I hope to see them again this Fall.

  Hugh

MAY 12, 2011 CHARLES AND CHELSEA ON THE HOLSTON RIVER

Charles and Chelsea are from Knoxville and they are beginning their fly fishing futures together. They had a small amount of experience and we worked hard today to expand Chelsea's casting and mending expertise. She was a hard little worker and at the end of the day I turned her loose to take the river on by herself. As you can see there were quite a few hookups and several times the fish got the better of the battle. My closing thoughts to her were to continue her hard work and stay on the water as much as possible . My thanks to her for allowing me to guide her.

  Charles had brought a Tenkara Rod and it was my first time to see one in use. To my surprise, he did very well with it on big water. Charles hooked a number of fish using Caddis dries and Nymphs as well. It was a beautiful day on the river and I wish both parties well through the summer.

 The water is great right now and if we can help with a guided trip just call 423-586-6198.

  Hugh

MAY 5, 2011 ROBERT WALKER AND MARILYN LOVE ON THE HOLSTON RIVER
This is the second year that I have spent time with these two fine people. Last year was on a mountain stream and today we tried my favorite tailwater. The Caddis have been hatching on this river and today a hatch of  PMDs was taking place when we got into the water. As the PMDs finished up the Caddis started in earnest. The first fish that Marilyn caught was an extremely nice 20 inch brown. I was really proud of the way she handled this large , strong fish.. Bob was able to hook a couple of rainbows and then he caught a very large Buffalo. A real battle ensued from this hook up. It was a great day on the river with a lot of hookups and many lost fish. I hope to see them again late in the summer and I hope that I can give some advise about their trip to Montana and points west some time later this year.

  TVA has really slowed down on their generation schedule and it would be a great time to do a guided trip. The hatches are taking place on a daily basis and the fishing should be great. Call 423- 586-6198 to schedule a guided trip. 

  Hugh 

   
 
APRIL 20, 2011 Caddis hatch at Nance's Ferry
We tried to take advantage of a 2 hour window at Nance's Ferry this morning and we arrived on the water at 9:30AM. As soon as we stepped into the river we could see things going on that really looked promising. The Caddis were hatching heavily and there was a huge hatch of dark colored midges. The fish were tearing the water up and we started casting right away. In just a few cast we had our first fish on. We were fishing a tandem rig of nymphs but the fish were feeding on top. That did not matter, because we were getting strikes in a hurry. We fished until I thought the water was about to get to us and our backs were getting tired. We must have caught at least 25-30 fish in that short time span and there was no let up on the part of the fish. I know you would want to get in on  some fishing like this so keep looking at the advise that I give right here about what sections are going to be fishable each day. If you need some guidance, please don't hesitate to call even if it's for only a few hours. Call 423-586- 6198.

 

The Holston River will not have many opportunities to be fished on the 22nd of April. Generation starts very early and it would be best to look at the South Holston River. That is where we will be tomorrow.

 

The generation schedule was right to fish the mid section of the river today, 4/21/11. I was on the water at 9:00AM and the small Little Dark Olive Caddis was already hatching off. I had a fish on in just a minute or two and this continued for the next hour. I was able to get more good pictures today and a great one of a nice 15 incher making a great jump. You'll want to get in on this great fishing while the hatches are taking place. As I mentioned before, the Little Dark Olive Caddis is the fly to have in sizes # 20-22. Call us for a few hours on the water and some great fishing.

Hugh                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 

FEBRUARY 26, 2011 CAROLYN, BOOMER, AND I ON THE SOUTH HOLSTON RIVER
JANUARY 11, 2011 TYING THE TAN WULFF
THE TAN WULFF is a fly that I learned to tie several years ago and I just did not realize the importance of it for sometime. Somewhere along the way it dawned on me that this fly could be a real good imitation of the Sulfur Dun that we tried to imitate on the South Holston River. For whatever the reason, we would see this fly hatching off and many of the Duns would be tan instead of Sulfur Orange. We would also see some that were yellow in their bodies. The fly that seemed to give the best results was a Sulfur Compara Dun pattern, but getting it to float after catching a fish was causing me to continually have to redress the clients fly after just a few casts. One day the lights came on that I might try this pattern to see if it would be more effective. It sure has turned out to be and it floats small beadheads used as droppers quite well. This has become our standard dry fly on all the tailwaters, and after testing it for about 3 years in the Smokies we found it to be just as effective there. We offer this fly in all three shades to our customers, so give it a try to see how great it is.

 

 

 

 

December 31, 2010 TYING THE ISONYCHIA NYMPH
The Isonychia is one of the oldest flies that I learned to tie by looking at insects on the stream and trying to imitate them. For many years I thought I was looking at a Stonefly when I would see the nymph cases on the rocks in the streams. They were especially prevalent in Paint Creek and Camp Creek and they seem to be all over the rocks when I would be on the stream. In the video you will see the early flies that I used and then you will see how the patterns changed as time, information and my tying skills improved. It seems like we have come full circle in regards to the fly patterns used when I was a boy just learning this sport.  WET FLIES WERE THE ORDER OF THE DAY AND NOW AFTER 55 YEARS , THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN BLACKBIRD SOFTHACKLE IS AGAIN THE TOP FLY OF THE DAY. It was originally developed to imitate an Emerging Isonychia Nymph just as the wet flies of that day did the same thing. I hope that you enjoy this video of a small time capsule of my fly fishing experience. To see the full screen HD view please click the small box at the bottom right corner.

 

DECEMBER 24, 2010 HOLIDAY FISHING ON TWO AREA STREAMS
I decided to take Boomer out today and fish for awhile on two of the streams that have always produced in the wintertime when the temperatures seem to get too cold in the higher mountain streams. Neither of these streams are at a very high altitude and one of them is a Spring Creek. Paint Creek and Camp Creek were streams that I grew up fishing and they were always excellent producers. They have both suffered from drought conditions for the last few years and Camp Creek has Vulcan Materials located on one of the feeders that really washes a lot of sand from their production of rock materials. I had felt like natural reproduction had just about come to an end after looking at it this Summer. It turned out that I was wrong. I only fished very short sections of each stream and I did short videos of each one. The last one turned out to be comical because Boomer wanted to be the "fish retriever". I also found out that you can't fish and do videos at the same time. I released the fish unharmed .The good and positive thing was that there are still spawning size fish in Camp Creek and lots of young fingerlings. That gives me hope for the future of this creek. It was the best that I had ever seen up until a few years ago. I want to thank the young man on Paint Creek who allowed me to video him after hooking a very nice rainbow. Enjoy the fun.

It looks like Youtube is adding double segments to the video because it is a short one.

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 20,2010 TYING THE SOUTH HOLSTON MIRACLE MIDGE
We are at the time of the year when much of the food the trout eat are midges. One of my favorites is the South Holston Miracle Midge. It is a thread midge that is very easy to tie. Be sure to keep the body on the slim side and drop it about 24 inches below a dry fly. It does not need a very large bead head since the fish usually take it in the upper part of the water column. Give this one a try and see if it produces for

 

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 16, 2010 TYING THE SPLIT CASE PMD NYMPH
The Split Case PMD is one of the newer flys to come on the scene in East Tennessee. It has been around for about 3 years and it is really making a name for itself on the South Holston River. It is also a very good fly in the Smokies. About two years ago I experimented with some changes to the old standard version of this fly and I really have been pleased with the results of it. Try this version and see how it works for you.

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 14, 2010 GETTING SOME PRACTICE WITH THE NEW CAMCORDER
I HAVE BEEN TRYING FOR MONTHS TO DECIDE WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST CAMCORDER TO BUY AND USE FOR THIS WEBSITE. I FINALLY DECIDED ON THE SONY HDR DX550V 12MEGA PIXEL CAMCORDER. I AM IN THE PROCESS OF LEARNING HOW TO USE IT AND YOU WILL SEE SOME OF THE TRIPS OUT ON THE STREAM AS WELL AS SOME GOOD FLY TYING VIDEOS. IT WILL TAKE A LITTLE WHILE TO LEARN TO USE IT PROPERLY SO JUST GIVE ME TIME AND OVER LOOK SOME THINGS THAT MIGHT LOOK AMATEURISH. I'll GET BETTER. Have a look at the Hi Vis Thunderhead and the Hi Vis Parachute Adams. 

 

 

 
NOVEMBER 30, 2010 FISHING REPORT IN THE SMOKIES BY DAVE REISTENBERG
Hugh,
 
I hope all is well with you and Carolyn and hope you had a happy Thanksgiving.
 
I went fishing on the Little River in the Smokies last week on my birthday. We fished between Metcalf Bottoms and Elkmont and had a tough but enjoyable day. The weather was perfect a (60 degrees and sunny) and the water levels were up but by no means high. I caught only three fish but one of them was my personal best mountain trout, a 12"+ rainbow. All my fish were caught on your Smoky Mtn Blackbird. I think it has officially become the only wet fly I use in the mountains as nothing seems to outfish it or even come close! I attached a pic of my fish. Feel free to post the report and picture if you'd like.
 
 
Happy Holidays,
Dave Riestenberg
 
 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

NOVEMBER 25, 2010 THE TAILWATERS OF THE HOLSTON RIVER
The time of the year has arrived to check the water temperatures of the Holston River , below Cherokee Dam and to see if the fish have survived in the areas that I like to guide in. We always see magnificent growth in this river from the time they are stocked in the Spring until the late Fall. We have had holdovers for the last 4 years and the fish are some of the strongest fighters that I encounter on any of the East Tennessee Tailwaters. I was really worried that all of the fish had been killed this year, because it was the hottest Summer on record in my lifetime. I made my way into the water and very quickly I saw a few Caddis hatching. There were also some fish feeding as well. I was seeing some takes on Emergers and some slashing strikes at flies on the top. I really wasn't sure if this was trout because the strikes were violent and they looked like Bass feeding sometimes. My thoughts were : Can this be trout? They really looked huge and vicious when they would take an insect. I cast to one straight above me and I had a wild slashing strike at the dry fly and when I set the hook, I missed the fish. The fish were beginning to feed all around me and I cast to another farther out in the river. This fish took the dropper and I set the hook. I had the fish for just a few seconds and the hook tore out. I was really tensed up and this time I cast to another spot upstream. I had another slashing strike on the dry, so I thought, and when I set the hook the fish just went airborne. Again and again it jumped and I could see that it had taken the dropper. After 3 jumps I got my camera out and started to try to get an "in the air" shot. The next jump was close, but he had already landed in the water before the shutter snapped. After releasing the fish I cast to another spot and immediately had another fish on for just a few seconds but it also tore the hook out. These were very large , strong fish and I was not holding on to very many of them. Just as soon as the hatch started, it was over and the fish totally quit feeding on any thing. I fished for another hour and the wind got up making casting a nightmare. It was good being back on the Holston River and feeling the power of these brutes. I'm glad they have survived again this year.

If we can find a few hours where TVA has the water turned off, please call and let me take you to this river to see if you can catch one of these very nice fish. Check the TVA generation schedule after 4:30PM right here and if it looks favorable, just call  423-586-6198. You will enjoy a late Fall trip to the Holston River.

  Hugh