Appalachian Angler

A page for fishing reports, guide ramblings, and angler folklore

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Appalachian Angler : Fishing Report Cont.

Wanted to add some more pictures from the wading trips this past weekend...We ended the day with a few studs as the water warmed up.  Most of our fish from the day were taken with a deep nymph rig with 14-16 olive hares ears and 16-18 soft hackle pheasant tails.
Favorite shot
Really nice fish with a Tremendous fight!!! Nice Job Jonathon!
Notice the eggs spewing out - I thought stockers couldn't spawn??!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Appalachian Angler: Late February

Small Stream Shakedown
So, now we've really got the season cranking up with a flurry of trips this past weekend!  With the TVA generating daily the floats have been consistent, with great nymphing on the South Holston and falling water on the Watauga if you can find it.  The South Holston has also been showing some signs of some streamer life!  From the first 3 mile float down has been consistent with streamer bites, along with a smattering of blue wings on the overcast days.  One of the guides went over and caught that falling water on the Watauga and had a fantastic day for numbers - and reported seeing millions of case caddis, with some big (size 12+) cases thrown in the mix.....This is a good sign for our caddis hatch in early April, so make sure to keep an eye on the hatch!  Most years the influx of boats occurs at the exact time of the hatch, but there is an easy way to avoid the crowds - come nymph fishing before the hatch occurs!!  Late March and the first week of April can be some of the most productive nymphing we have all year long!

With the wacky weather we have had this Winter - it has been quite the challenge to stay on top of all those generations and curveballs over on the tailwaters...So, we have been small stream fishing as much as we can.  All of our trips this weekend were on the small stream, including the Watauga right here behind the shop! With a big population of native trout, along with the healthy stocker fish, it can be quite the aquarium in mid-winter. Lots of mid-day Caddis, black stoneflies, and even some Cahills have all been showing up on the smorgasbord menu the Southern Appalachian streams have to offer.  The water temps have remained cool, but the water levels have been fluctuating full time...keeping lots of water in our water tables and keeping the mid-Winter trout nice and happy!  If the weather allows there has been quite the black stonefly (size 14-16) hatch that seems to occur daily right here behind the house.  There has been lots of signs of molting crayfish, so keep an eye out for the crazy crawdad bite!  With this in mind, along with the fact that a lot of these bugs are big meals, the wooly bugger bite has been fantastic! Even with the big buggers, we will throw a big (12-14) prince or similar nymph under a short indicator and has really been producing!
Nice wooly bugger brown!

Great stocked fish - quite the red cheeks!

If you would like to book one of these small stream trips, or just have some questions for your personal trip, please do not hesitate to give us a call @ 828.963.5050 or email us :

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Appalachian Angler: 2012

So - here it is, 2012!  Blog will be back up and running - streams are full and plenty of fishing needs to be addressed.  Thanks to all who came out the show to see us, and look for more reports as the days go by.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fishing Report: Appalachian Angler End of May

yeah thats on the trophy section!!
We have been quite busy lately with lots of floats on both tailwaters and have also struck some bronze with the Nolichucky smallmouth trips!  The sulfurs have started to pick up a lot of steam on the South Holston - and the peak of the sulfur hatch on the trophy section has come already - lots of fish still being caught on sulfur nymphs and cranefly larvae.  Midges (20-24) continue to be productive on sunnier days - and this bite will gain steam as the summer progresses.  The primary correspondent for this blog has since left the South and is now awaiting the biomass of Southeast Alaska, and will be handing the fishing reports over to the other guides.  Now all of my personal correspondence will take place on with updated fishing reports from the field and some visual stimuli!  Overall it was a good Spring season and will continue to pick up through June and the Appalachian Angler will continue to provide the highest quality fishing experiences in NE Tennessee and Western North Carolina.

Below are some pictures from some recent floats..

Guides note:  the trout above were all taken within 2 hours of each other with a lot of other fish thrown in...The bottom three were taken after a broken finger was sustained on the vessel.  A field splint was administered and soon afterwards some amazing moments for redemption....So next time that back is hurting, or its too hot or to cold - think about fishing right through the pain of a finger broken in two places and a disclocated knuckle...
Lots of props and respect Mr. Seay

 And some pictures from some "holy water" brook trout fishing..

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catawba rhododendron
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Appalachian Angler : Fishing Report May 5

Due to the recent incline in fishing trips and guide bookings in general it has been a challenge to keep a constant update on this thing - and I apologize.  The caddis peaked on Easter Sunday it seemed - with tan and blonde caddis still smattering the river, and fish still being caught on emergers.  As in years past, the sulfurs have not been too far behind - sometimes right on top of the same hatch!  Caddis continue to swarm on the small streams with lots of sightings of some relatively big (12-14) yellow sallys, and the inch-worm bite has gotten stronger.  The delayed-harvest was recently stocked and lots of fish have been stuck by lots of anglers already - so if you want some DH love you better get quick!
wild style
that is some DH love

There has been a mix bag of trips from small stream half-days with beautiful sunshine and great water levels, to full day float trips full of mayflies and rising fish - with all sorts of weather thrown in.  Obviously the South in general has had a slough of torrential weather and both East TN and the high country were not spared either.  Even in some of the trophy section's murkier water of the year on the 2nd and 3rd - the fishing stood strong.  Even in some fuunky generations - the fishing stood strong.

On either end of both days of falling water the sulfurs decided to pour out in some pretty epic numbers at times.  At one point in the ledges there were handfuls going through rip seams and current lines at a time.  Plenty of fish fell victim to the wet flies before the hatch and during the hatch - as well as big size 14 comparaduns for the risers in the pocket pools.

nice wet fly fish

Nymphing has continued to be strong with sulfur emergers and nymph patterns (p.t. micro-may anatomay), soft hackles for the wet flies - all staying in the 14-18 range.  Midges (20-22) have started to pick back up again with the cycles of the bugs through the bulk of the spring - and there has been a lot of terrestrial-like bites under the trees and in the shadows...

For more info or for trip bookings call us at 828-963-5050

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Appalachian Angler : Fishing Report April 24


Nice dry fly fish
With the hot temps our area has had lately there have been caddis showing up everywhere.  Small stream caddis have been cinnamon, tan, black, olive in 10-16 - with some even bigger and a spattering of stoneflies to be thrown in the mix.  The caddis have finally started showing up on the tailwaters - with tan in 16 and olives and blacks in the 12-16 range on the trophy section.  Yesterday we floated in the evening and only fished dry flies (rare) and ended up with some nice size and numbers!  Visually there are certainly more bugs flying up in the air and in the trees than actually on the water - but 90% of the fish are keyed in on those emergent pupa as they make their way to the surface.  This take results in quite the crash on the surface - referred to as the pyramid rise - and can make for some amazing visual dry fly fishing!  There were still fish eating as the night crept in, and Im sure they ate all through the night....But the hatch will last for a few more days - so if you're looking for the big bugs - they're here and ready to be fished...
mmm more dry fly

as native as it gets
Went small stream fishing last week as well again, and stumbled upon some of the best water for native fish I have ever fished.  We were cruising in Pisgah looking for some of the same haunting grounds as usual, but decided to fish in some smaller water than usual.  Ended up crawling through rhododendron and making a mess for a few pools then found openings in the riffles and had 3 hours of some of the finest fishing one could ever have.  We could barely pull ourselves back from continuing on, as the river just kept giving us hole after hole of fish after fish.  Sight fishing, blind fishing, dabble the fly on the water fishing, it was lights out!!  After 8 years in the industry I have never found my own little native brook trout fishery and I must say that it made me feel like a 12 year old again, honestly.

return of the native

If you want to float for some big caddis - or do some small stream dry fly fishing bonanza - give us a call at 828.963.5050. or mail us at

The caddis will only last so long - then the beloved sulfurs will start to inhabit our thoughts...but for now - if you have a desire to do some dry fly fishing with 12s and 14s....come with us if you want to live.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Appalachian Angler : Fishing Report April 18

Rain Rain Rain
nice looking rainbow

We have been super busy out on our local waters so there has been a lapse in the fishing report and I apologize.  The trips have been a mixed bag of all conditions - high muddy water, low clear water, rain, hail, wind, sun, heat, cold, you name it - we saw it the past 10 days.  Returning home last Sat night proved to be a true adventure with pelting hail and incredible amounts of standing water in the road...  The TVA has been continuing to generate almost 24 hours a day - with the tributaries of all the streams as high as they can get it can benefit for the future to pound all that mud out of the tailwaters.  The floats on the South Holston have been very weather dependent - on sunny days we have seen intense hatches of midges, on low water Sunday (the 10) before the generation we had some UNREAL wade fishing - midge dry fly fishing, excellent swift water nymphing, etc. then the generation came through full of mud and guts and for the most part (one of the few instances) blew us out.  The days that have been 24 hour generation have been good nymph fishing but very few adult flies on the surface for dry fly fishing.  The most consistent thing I have found is around 2-3 pm there have been a lot of blue wings (even in the sunshine) and a scattering of sulfurs - with a lot of the nymphing imitating those sulfur nymphs that are swimming around preparing for the big hatch.  Otherwise the major nymphs have been 20-22 midges, 16-18 sulfur/mayfly nymphs, 14 san juan worm (especially in the rain) in pink and purples (wino).
San juan victim

The Watauga tailwater has been generating as well - we have been floating the upper section during generation, and also have had a chance to fish the trophy section in some very high non-generation levels.  The Doe has consistently been above 500 cfs so the flow in the trophy section has been BIG.  With all of that water pouring through the biggest challenge is just the fish finding the fly - but when they do there is a 90+ percent chance the fish will eat it.  They are very hungry and very willing to eat a well presented fly that is in their general vicinity.  With muddy, murky water we have had some slow fishing - but have been finding the fish in the same spots they always haunt - even in HUGE flows.  It has been gutters and strikes with the weather and the flows, but the angler that has the right day with good clear water flows will benefit!  Some caddis dries on Friday before the generation came, with reports/sightings of them further down river.  This week should be our caddis week, even if it means during generation.  Caddis pupa in the 14-16 size olive or black, bigger mayfly nymphs - soft hackle pheasant tails 14-18, micromayfly 16-20, scattering of midges, and some cranefly larva have all been producing.

Perhaps the greatest benefactor of all this rain and water are the small streams.  All of our local waters have been fishing very well - big water levels but lots of clear and healthy water to be found everywhere.  All of the small stream bugs - Hendricksons, Cahills, Caddis, Blue Wings, Stoneflies, etc. have been seen throughout different times of the day.  Yesterday my wife and I identified over a dozen species of bugs, and also identified countless amounts of wildflowers and songbirds....Even though this is a fishing blog and I would encourage just fishing - the wildlife viewing right now is INCREDIBLE.  Countless species of lilies, iris, and groundcover can be identified on a short hike.  This is usually a sign of poor fishing that a guide points out so much flora and fauna, but I assure you it had more to do with the intensity of the biomass that is growing around us as the season progresses than the fact the stream we were fishing was 4 feet beyond its banks....
large flowered trillium
crested dwarf iris

For trip info or to talk some fishing:  828.963.5050
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