A buddy from work asked me last Tuesday if I wanted to fish up around Tennessee and North Carolina over the weekend. I didn't even need to think about it. We left at 2am Saturday morning and headed due north. At around 7am, we arrive to buy some flies and get some intel on the river.
It was extremely foggy most of the morning.
It didn't take long for the fog to burn off and opened uo to one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever had the pleasure of fishing.
We were told that it would be around 11am (eastern time) before the water they were releasing that morning would make it to where we were fishing. So we hit the water and immediately noticed a few risers. We both kept working downstream with no luck. I had on a small stimulator fly with a small gray zebra midge dropper. After a while we noticed the water was moving a lot faster. Suddenly rocks that were easily visible were not anymore. We noticed a drift boat banking across the river and the guide came running towards us yelling for us to get out. Well we had already decided we needed to do that, but it wasn't that easy to move against that water, in fact I almost just gave up and let the river have me. Thankfully the guide rowed over and picked us up. His name is Patrick, a guide with Mountain Sports LTD in Bristol. Nice guy and we thanked him for saving us from a 3.5 hour wait for the water to come back down. So we decided to drive around until the water would be lower. Unfortunately, everyone else was there too. At least the scenery was nice.
This experience alone made the trip for me. A lot of you guys might think this is no big deal, but for a newbie like me, and my first time seeing this with my own eyes, it was awesome. To preface, we get to the water and there are lots of insects hatching. We find a spot among the other fisherman and begin casting to the dozens of rising fish. I am not sure if these were blue wing olives or sulphurs. Some of you that know feel free to identify these bugs for me. Fish were clearing the water hitting these bugs. I saw some nice size rainbows (~16in) and browns leaping which further made me extremely antsy to hook up. However, they weren't touching my fly. I even watched them not only reject my fly, but swim out of the way of my fly as if it was kryptonite. I eventually had a few hits, but kept missing the strike.
My fly (sz16)
There were fish jumping a few feet from me. It's like they were teasing me, and they knew it. I can't describe how many fish were jumping/rising, but as soon as I would cast in the area of one, one would jump over there. So I played the "cast to every fish" game to no avail for an hour or so. Then finally I managed to connect with a little brown that slammed my fly, clearing the water.
That was my only fish, and I didn't see anyone else catching that many either.
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So, we decided to break for lunch and headed out to try a new spot.
We fished here until dusk, and after getting up at 1am, fishing all day, and being extremely hungry, we decided to call it a day.
Had a great dinner at a place called Cootie Brown's in Johnson City, TN.
The next day we opted against getting spanked by the South Holston again and decided to try somewhere else. We headed to a river that my buddy grew up fishing in North Carolina.
This is right outside of Asheville, and is where my buddy learned to fly fish. I am amazed at how scenic this river is and jealous that people live so close to this.
So for this stream I tied on a BHHE and caught this little guy out of a pretty fast riffle.