Friday, December 30, 2011

Another great new publication...southern style.

Check yoself before u wreck yoself......

High and Low on the Toccoa

As 2011 comes to a close I managed to sneak off by myself for some alone time, which happened to involve swinging flies. Almost all the tailwaters were pushing max water except the Toccoa. I had fond memories of my last trip with the Gubna back in September. There was also the Upper Toccoa DH as an option.

Monday, December 26, 2011

They Call it "Fishing" for a Reason

This is normally my favorite time of year for fishing: small crowds, cold weather, decent river flow, clear streams, and a requirement of decent angling skills when the fish are hunkered down.  Unfortunately, after a stellar month in November, I have had the worst month of fishing that I can ever remember.  December has been brutal! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Mighty D

I went with the wife to Asheville, North Carolina for a couple of days of rest and relaxation.  Of course, I managed to find a few hours to try my luck at the Davidson River.  As expected, it was difficult.  I managed only one rainbow, and a number of missed fish.  It was crowded at the trophy section, but not quite as bad as I expected.  Nevertheless, the crowds are a little much and certainly diminish the experience to a certain extent.  The fishing on the Davidson is very technical.  Every angler was using "bobbers" and micro midges.  With the exception of one individual who seemed to have the right spot and the right set-up, there were very few people catching fish.  It was tough, but I'll be back.  My skills are in dire need of improvement.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Toccoa Report

Streamer Rod and I floated the Toccoa on Black Friday from Curtis Switch to Horseshoe Bend.  We arrived at the put-in around 9:00 a.m. and it was cold.  I rigged up my 5 weight with a nymph I used on the Little Red River earlier this month - some type of scud pattern.  Rod rigged up a 5 weight with a nymph and his 8 weight with a gigantic articulated streamer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Minutes on the Caney Fork

I only had about 30 minutes to stop by the Caney Fork on the way to Nashville yesterday, but I was happy I stopped. This was my first time fishing the Caney, and I will no doubt be back in the near future.  I missed a lot of fish, but did manage to leave with the smell of brown trout on my hands! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fly Rod Reviews

If you are in the market for a new fly rod, there are quite a few resources available.  Of course, there is no substitute for trying a rod before purchasing, but I came across an informative website that attempted to somewhat objectively rate fly rods:
8 weight shootout (2011)
5 weight shootout (2011)
5 weight shootout (2007)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Top American Made Fly Reel Makers

The following is a non-inclusive list of American Made Fly Reels that seem to be worthy of serious consideration:  Aspen; Galvan; Hatch; Nautilus; Tibor; Ross; Bauer; LamsonAbel.   Some makers have low-end reels that are made overseas, but premium reels made in the USA.  It seems that most if not all of the Orvis and Hardy reels are now made overseas instead of in the USA or England.  I'm sure there are other American fly reel makers, but the above represent a few that I've researched over the last few weeks.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Aspen Fly Reels

We don't make any money on this website/blog.  There are no commercials/no advertising, just a couple of guys posting fishing reports and occasionally, random thoughts on fly fishing.  Lately, I've been looking at fly rods and reels, considering an upgrade and/or addition to my existing arsenal.  Obviously, fly fishing is a financial vice in many regards.  Of course, in the most basic sense, fly fishing shouldn't be expensive.  I started with a $100 package that included everything I needed to fly fish, and honestly, the ability to catch fish doesn't really have any correlation with the gear used, at least for the most part.  A $1000 fly rod will not necessarily result in more fish than a $50 fly rod.  That being said, higher quality fly fishing products can enhance the experience in a number of tangible and intangible ways.  For example, a good set of waders will cost more money, but they may last much longer, keep you warmer, keep you cooler, and keep you drier than a cheap set of waders.  Similarly, a good pair of wading boots might help keep the angler on his/her feet or get to less accessible areas of a river/creek.  In a nutshell, a Ford Pinto and a Lexus will both theoretically get you from point A to point B, but the manner in which you get to and from those points is quite different, assuming the gas tank doesn't explode.  All of above is a long-winded way to introduce a fly reel company I keep encountering during my searches for a new reel.  I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but I invite anyone that is interested in purchasing what appears to be a high quality affordable reel to have a close look at Aspen Reels.  I intend on purchasing one in the near future, and will post a report if I do so.  In the meantime, check it out:  Aspen Reels

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Toccoa River - Trip Report

September is finally here!  I met up with Doc and we drove to Curtis Switch, arriving at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday.  Two guys were getting out of the river when we arrived, and their report was discouraging.  One guy was a professional bamboo rod maker from Portland, Oregon.  Super nice guys, and beautiful bamboo fly-rods.  We put in at the launch and started wading downstream.  I started with a size 12 wolf and a size 20 zebra midge dropper.  Doc went with a similar rig.  We both caught stream chubs at the outset, which is usually a bad sign.   After about 30 minutes, I caught a nice 12 inch brown.  We worked on down river, and I caught another.  The fishing was a little slow at the beginning, when Doc suddenly caught fire, catching a good mix of browns and bows.  I ended up with 10-12 trout, all browns.   Doc caught somewhere between 12-15, with the majority being browns. This was our best trip in a long time.  Doc had luck with a large caddis and a small cream emerger dropper.  I caught fish primarily on size 20 and 22 midges.  The Toccoa has made a remarkable comeback.

Great New Website: Gink and Gasoline

There are only a few websites I view on a regular basis when it comes to fishing.  I may have just found another:  Gink and Gasoline.  I don't know the guys that are running this site, but one is a great photographer, whose photographs adorn many of my fly fishing books.  The other is a highly respected guide.  Their website is awesome! Check it out:  Gink and Gasoline

Thursday, September 15, 2011

August - a bad month for trout fishing in the South

I haven't posted a report since my trip to Alaska.  Truth be told, there has been very little fishing since that time.  I fished the Elk with Doc for about an hour one afternoon in August, catching a few fish, but the fishing was so poor that we packed it in after an hour and hit a local bar to cool off.  I went up to Gee Creek for a few minutes with my son, but other than stream chubs, trout were not to be seen.  And finally, I made another scouting trip to the Jacks with Brown Trout Zilen and my son, only to be told by the land owners located at the headwaters that the water was all private property.  Apparently, at least one of the landowners feeds the fish and considers said fish to be his pets.  That was a little frustrating.  September is now here.  Cooler temps and more rain should equal more enjoyable fishing opportunities.  First on the list is the Toccoa, hopefully tomorrow afternoon.  A trip report to follow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Coho on the Fly

I woke up at 4 a.m. on the last day of my trip intent on landing a Silver (Coho) Salmon.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Ultimate Alaskan Rainbow

I'm about half-way through my trip back home to Southeast Alaska, and it's been amazing!  I've fished a couple of lakes, a number of small streams, and one beautiful river.  I've caught plenty of rainbows and cutthroats, including a number in the 14-15 inch range yesterday. One 14 inch bow fought so hard I thought I hooked a salmon.  In fact, I hooked a Coho (Silver) salmon at the mouth of a small creek in George inlet earlier this week and thought I was going to break my rod.  Thankfully, he spit the hook.  I must admit, I've never wanted to catch salmon on the fly, but the thrill of that Coho (12-15 pounds) striking my fly is unlike anything I've ever experienced.  Yesterday, my dad and I caught over 50 rainbows in about two hours.  It didn't matter what we put on our line, the fish everywhere.  No real pigs yet, but maybe we'll get into one before heading backing home. Regardless, these wild Alaskan trout fight like fish twice their size. I've gone barbless on this trip because the fish are so aggressive that they often swallow the hook.  I'm still hoping for a pig and I would like to catch a Dolly or two as well.  I may also test my rod and try to once again hook a Coho salmon, but this time, on purpose!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Jacks River - Cohutta: Scouting Trip

I hiked in to the Jacks River with my son primarily to enjoy a good hike, but also, to scout out a location for a future camping/fishing trip.  It has been about 3 years since I last hiked the Jacks.  This time, instead of hiking up to the Falls, I took a trail that put me at the river a short distance above the falls.  I think the hike was about 3 miles one-way, and relatively flat.  It was extremely crowded due to 4th of July weekend.  I saw quite a few trout; though none of any size.  The river was crystal clear, and beautiful.  I didn't have time to fish, but I can't wait to come back in the Fall for an overnight trip.  Years ago, the Jacks River held some very large trout, including brown trout over 5 lbs.  Apparently, the last decade has hurt the river substantially, but from my observations, there are still plenty of wild trout, and very little pressure from anglers.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

20 Hour Day - The South Holston

A trip to the SoHo we had planned for so long
Waking up at the butt-crack of dawn
Cruising to Bristol at eighty-fo in the Pilot
The Gubna and Doc, planning a riot
Arrived at the river not a moment to spare
Dog doo on Doc's shoe, but I don't care
Wading the SoHo, sulphers abound
But just one small brown on Doc's hook could be found
Meet up with Clint, he'll be our Guide
Get in the boat for the float in a Hyde
Started out slow, but fish are everywhere
Small ones, big-uns, pigs here and there
Chuckin dries, with a midge on the back
Can't get these fish to frickin attack
Finally.... the perfect cast and drift
See him come up, moving so swift
Got him to net, a beautiful brown
Yellin so loud, like a red-neck clown
On down the river, I landed another
Mr. Brown's cousin, or maybe his brother
That makes two, but it's been a struggle
Doc's line goes tight, and after a tuggle
Another colorful brown, safely to net
The fish of the day, the best one yet
The sun has now set on our day on the river
Could have been worse, but could have been better
A long ride home with blood shot eyes
Talking and planning, this river deserves many more tries
We'll be back, to the SoHo again
Doc and Gubna, let the adventure begin!
 Click here for more pics:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Too Warm on the HI

Went to the Hiwassee River for a couple of hours tonight with Streamer Rob.  We were hoping to catch the hatch at 7:00 p.m. when they turn the water off.  I got there about 20 minutes early and landed a small brown on a lightening midge.  It was a wild brown, which is somewhat unusual for the HI.  The water dropped and Streamer Rob joined me on the river.  The water temp seemed very high; I would guess above 65 degrees.  The fish were rising for a few minutes when the water turned off, but then they hunkered down.  I ended up with 2 browns and 2 bows, but they were all lethargic, small, and thin.  This doesn't bode well for the HI this summer.  We'll see how the DH does this Fall.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Big Creek

I decided to take my 2 year old son on a hike on Saturday.  I've been wanting to explore Big Creek, located in the Big Frog Wilderness Area, for quite some time, so we packed up the backpack, and just in case, I threw my rod and reel in the car.  It took us quite a bit of time traveling on a forest service road to find our destination, but we eventually started hiking upstream on a forest service trail.  We hiked for about 2 miles and the creek was suddenly undeserving of its name.   Nevertheless,  I rigged up a very large stimulator, and with my son on my back, creeped to a small pool.  I couldn't cast - the conditions were too tight.  I used the bow and arrow method and right when the fly hit the water, something came out of the water.  It wasn't big, but it was definitely a trout.  A few more attempts and I got one to take.  One fish was enough for me, so after some more exploring, we hiked back to the car and drove home.  It's not often that catching one fish will make for a good trip, but this is a trip I'll never forget! 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Don't leave me Hi; don't leave me Dry

I was able to make a quick trip to the HI after work on Friday.  I knew they were running one generator every couple of hours, so wading would be perfect.  My goal was to catch the sulfur hatch in the evening.  This was a last-minute trip, so I wasn't very prepared and didn't have a lot of time.  I started at a spot where I usually finish: on the road side of snake island.  On the way towards Snake Island, I saw fish feeding on the surface.  I had an old Cherokee Leader on my 5 weight, so I grabbed the biggest dry fly in my box, and started chuckin.  The fish were hitting it with abandon.  I tried a dropper when the fish stopped feeding, but after snagging a fish, I ditched the dropper, and tied on another gigantic dry fly, the name of which I do not know.  I caught about a dozen in the first hour, and then made my way over to the run above snake island.  I tied on a wet Ted's Stone Fly, and caught one, but the fishing went cold.  I worked my way up river, and then the water came up.  I waded up to a large pool and tied on the largest streamer I could find.  I fished for about an hour using a couple of different streamers, but except for missing a few fish, I didn't catch anything else. The water came down after an hour and I worked my way back downstream hoping for the evening sulphur hatch.  Much to my disappointment, I saw only a couple of sulphurs.  There were, however, quite a few bwos and what appeared to be cahills.  I tried both flies, but didn't have any luck.  I also tried sulphurs without success. A pheasant tail nymph caught a couple of more fish for me, but it was otherwise slow.  The real hatch was extremely small midges; probably size 30-32.  Interestingly, the fish really weren't feeding after 6 p.m..  I ended the day with about 15 to hand, but all of the fish were SNITs except one that was close to 12 inches, and all rainbows.  I must admit, it was a little disappointing except for the first hour where they were hitting the dry flies.  I'm still waiting for the time when the HI will once again produce more quality fish.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Big Easy at the Nationals

I was out of town during the national fly fishing competition in North Carolina, but Brown Trout Zilen a/k/a The Big Easy went and served as a Judge during the event.  Here is a short summary of his report:  As expected, the competitors used long fly rods, long leaders, and homemade competition flies of small size and weighted.  The technique of choice was the euro high sticking method.  The fly line very rarely touched the water.  The leaders were often of different high visibility colors, which apparently served as a strike indicator.  The zones for fishing were extremely small.  Brown Trout Zilen is a dry fly master, but I have a feeling I may see him dredging streams and rivers with nymphs and long leaders in the future.  I wish I could have gone - sounds like a great learning experience.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Against the wind. We were casting against the wind.

April 15, 2011, 20-40 mph winds, and a float trip on the HI.  Not a lot of fish, but a good time with Streamer Rob and Doc.  The following photographs show the best techniques for fishing in such conditions (click photographs to get a better image of shooting fly line/crazy loop):

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Noontootla April 2011

The Big Easy stalking trout on Noontootla, with the Gubna on a short camping trip.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Heading Home (Day Two)

Before driving up to Flag Pond on Friday I emailed a couple of buddies from high school who still live in the area and are really good fly fisherman. I informed them I was heading in this weekend and would like to get together on the South Holston on Sunday afternoon. Well, Mother Nature and TVA had other ideas.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Heading Home (Day One)

In 1996 I was standing in the Watauga River in Northeast Tennessee holding a fly rod watching trout rise, but having no idea that they were eating insects, much less flies.  I was 19 back then and getting ready to move to Montana. I was drawn to fly fishing, along with millions of others, by a River Runs Through It. I didn't  know anyone who knew anything about fly fishing and I was too impatient to read a book about it. That left me clueless about bugs, knots, dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, and about everything else in between. Fast forward to this past Saturday....I was standing back in the Watauga for the first time since that day in 1996 and this time I caught a couple of fish to boot.

Friday, April 8, 2011

F*** the Tenkara

What a difference a year makes. Almost a year ago to the day I had just been on a successful trip to the GSMNP using my new Tenkara rod. I thought I had found the perfect small/medium stream rod.....especially for in the smokies where wild bows and brookie rise conistantly to dry flies almost year round. Fast forward to yesterday around 2:30 pm where I had managed to find a couple of hours from a business trip to my favorite rainbow creek in the GSMNP. I was in a hurry and was rigging up when I proceeded to break the tip of the Tenkara for the 4th time. Yes, I was in a hurry and yes, the company is very clear about the caution when dealing with the the last section, but this was ridiculous. I am shelving the Tenkara. I am not ordering any more replacement sections. I hope someone researching this rod stumbles upon this post. If you are that person, I cannot stress how easily it is to break the tip of this rod.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chasing Wild Trout - A Pic Trip

A Scenic Hike
Getting Closer to Trout Water
A few miles upstream, and this looks good!
Even Better

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday High

I got to the river at around 1:30 to meet up with Streamer Rob (Strob) and Doc.  They had already done some floating and fishing, and did very well using stonefly patterns.  Doc landed a 12 inch brown before I even got there.  We started at the boat-launch, working down to Towee on a short float trip. Stoneflies were hatching all afternoon, with a few bwos mixed in for good measure. We caught about 30, including a number of quality fish in the 13-15 inch range. We didn't get any pics, but Doc has some video.

Streamer Rob and I got the boat in the water a little after 11am and saw fish rising on the far bank from the powerhouse ramp. It took me a little while to figure out what they were eating, but after tying on a little BWO emerger I was into fish. I had 6 fish to hand in about 1 hour of fishing. Half of them were on my Junk Yard Stone size 10. The others were on a CDC BWO emerger that I tied....size 18. Since we were still at the ramp area we decided to row back across on wait for the Gubna. We were back in the water around 1:30 with a full boat. The stone and BWO emerger combo shutdown in the afternoon. I was skunked the rest of the afternoon, but the Gubna and Streamer Ron picked up several fish on buggers and streamers.

Monday, March 7, 2011

They call it stormy Monday. . . .

I met Doc at the HI after taking care of some business in Knoxville.  I didn't get there until about 5:30 p.m., but we managed to fish for a little over an hour.   I landed a nice bow; one of the better fish I've caught on the HI.  Doc caught a couple of nice browns, including one on his homemade articulated stone fly pattern.  Doc also explored a new creek prior to meeting me at the HI. I'll let him fill in the details and perhaps post a pic or two.  We plan to return to the HI next week for a float trip.

This was my first outing of 2011 and I was really wanting to explore an area I had been looking in Google maps. So before meeting up with the Gubna I headed into the Big Frog/Cohutta Wilderness area. This stream has a borderline elevation for wild trout, but the headwaters are over 3000ft. I was optimistic that there might be some fish to be found, but I was mainly just scouting.

 I arrived at the wilderness boundary at noon and was very pleased at the look of the water. Some very deep pools preceded by long riffles. I rigged up and decided to throw a SH squirrel nymph from the bank just to get a feel for the water and see if I could spook a fish. The water was a little high from the recent rains, but I didnt see any activity after 30 minutes of fishing, so I decided to keep driving up higher. I went a few miles upstream and got out of the car to put on my waders. Unfortunatly, I forgot that my rod was sticking out the back window and ended up breaking the tip off. Not a great way to start 2011. I ended up fishing downstream for about half a mile without seeing any fish. I also saw very little bug activity....even under rocks. I'm not completely giving up on this stream yet. The next trip probably needs to be even further back into the wilderness area.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


The following is a list of books I’ve read (with reviews) during the last year concerning fly fishing. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

First two Weeks of February: HiLoUpTocElk

 It's been a tough 10 days for the hometeam.  I managed to fish the Hiwassee, the Toccoa tailwater, the upper Toccoa DH, and the Elk river over the last ten days. "Fishing" is the key word, as there was very little catching.  The following is a short summary for each river:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All the Rage

Although fly fishing in general has changed very little from its origins, the techniques seem to be in a phase of progression. This is probably due in large part to the fact that fly fishing is becoming more popular as a competition sport.  The competition anglers are using techniques that irritate some of the purists and traditional fly fishing enthusiasts.  In fact, many would argue that the whole idea of competition fly fishing is counter to the ethos of fly fishing.  The image of fly fishing anglers running around like bass fishermen is enough to give many a feeling of utter disgust and consternation.  Putting that aside, the techniques being employed by competition anglers are compelling.