Hiwassee Angler is the only full service fly shop in the area. We are located in the heart of some of the best fly fishing that East TN has to offer. We offer guided fly fishing for trout, smallmouth bass and striper. We also offer fly fishing classes. Visit our website by clicking HERE.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Time is Now

Now's the time for some great steelhead fishing on our Western North Carolina waters. Water levels in the tribs are up and the fish are making there move upstream. We have more rain coming throughout this weekend and that will only make it better. Water levels are high enough that we can do float trips on some of our select waters.
We have a favorite 8 mile, full day float that is possible as long as the water levels remain elevated. This trip involves floating and getting out to wade fish some of the larger runs. If interested, this is a great time to learn how to spey fish and swing tube flies for steelhead. If spey fishing is not your thing, you can do equally well with a single hand rod. You'll still be swinging big tube flies, so either method of delivery will work just fine.
These trips are available on a day trip basis. Our steelhead overnight camps will resume again in mid-January 2013. If interested, or for more information about this great winter fishery, give Steve a call. The time is now! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another Great Year!

We would like to say "Thank You" to all of our friends (customers) for making this another great year at the shop. We truly appreciate your business and your support over the past few years. We are looking forward to a great 2013 season on the beautiful Hiwassee River. Everyone have a safe and happy holiday season!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Fish Porn

They can't all be steelhead...here's a little brown trout love!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More Steel

Just another quick pic of some more steel. Like I've been saying, they are on the move. Great time to be swingin' flies in the mountains!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Got Steelhead?

After a couple of days getting some much needed rain our tribs are flowing at good levels once again. This increase in water levels means that our lake run steelhead population should be moving up on their annual runs. You still have time to do a quick fishing trip before the in-laws show up. Or maybe they fish too. If so, bring them along. It's hard to beat a day on the water swingin' flies!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Would like to congratulate my good friend Phil Croff on his latest business accomplishment. Phil owns a guide service in Michigan and also makes beautiful, custom wooden drift boats. He landed a deal with Orvis to make an exclusive Orvis edition drift boat. Check them out by clicking HERE. These are sweet...and functional as well. He makes a full line of wooden drifters and guides those skinny Michigan waters out of them. Check out his website by clicking HERE.
I had the pleasure of guiding him and his wife Trude last week when they were down on vacation. We spent the day fishing the Tellico DH and North River. Had a great time and can't wait to get up their way for some fishing. Phil specializes in fishing for big brown trout at night. He skates big, waking mouse patterns for these bruisers. See ya in August buddy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tellico River Fishing Report

Went to the Tellico River today in search of some big, love sick brown trout. Had some time yesterday so I tied up a few of these Hot Head Leeches that drive spawning brown trout crazy.

This is a great fly to use when trying to entice fish to bite out of pure frustration. Especially when you have cold, gin clear water like I had today. The river was a little low, but definitely fishable. Water temp was 45 degrees. I didn't notice any real insect activity, so a heavy nymph rig dredged through the deeper runs would have worked also. But like I said, I wasn't going after numbers. I was focused on big brown trout. After all, tis the season you know. Only problem was that these guys kept getting in the way. Caught several of these today but never laid eyes on any brown trout.

Today was one of the few times I can remember that I fished on the Tellico River without seeing any other fishermen. Saw a few hunters and campers drive by, but no fishermen. And as you might guess, that was fine by me. I enjoyed having it all to myself.
The delayed harvest section fished well today. Stealth is very important. As I said earlier, the water was gin clear and a little low. As you can see by the picture of Bald River Falls below, the water levels are still good, but we could use some rain.
Nymphs and streamers would be my choice on the Tellico. I didn't see any rising fish today. The only fly I used was the leech pattern, but the typical nymphs and woolly buggers would have worked fine. I just never had a reason to change. You can go with 5x tippet despite the clear water. You'll probably need it. These fish are strong. The ones I caught today were fat and averaged about 14 inches in length. I wouldn't go with anything less than 5x, especially with streamers.  
The weather has been perfect. The rivers are not crowded. The fish are biting. Get out and enjoy!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fishing Report

The Delayed Harvest fishing continues to be good on the Hi. Water temps are in the low 60's and there are good numbers of willing trout to take your fly. The fish are also better than average size for the most part.
Top flies continue to be olive buggers, princes, BHPT's and tan or dark soft hackle emerger patterns swung in the surface film. An olive bugger with a soft hackle dropper is a good standard rig right now.
We do have some sporadic BWO and dark caddis activity in the afternoon and evenings, but apparently the fishermen are the only ones on the river that are taking notice of this. The trout don't seem to care. I've noticed very few rising fish lately. Still, I can't resist tying on an EHC and drifting it through. Don't forget to let it swing at the end of the dead drift. That's usually a good technique on the Hi.
The fishing techniques needed to be successful continue to change from day to day as these stockers adapt to their new surroundings and the fluctuating water levels associated with a tailwater fishery. Feel free to stop in for the latest info. and advice. Tight Lines!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tellico River Report

The Tellico River Delayed Harvest section is fishing great right now. TWRA stocked the river last week for the DH and the fish are holding up their end of the bargain. They are biting!
Good size fish noted on my exploratory trip. Many brought to hand in the 14" range with lots of better fish caught throughout the day. It would appear that good times are upon us for a few months. Get out and enjoy the many great DH fisheries in the area. They should all be fishing great right now. Tight Lines!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's Time

It's that time of year again when we start to stalk the big brown trout that have decided to venture out of their deep haunts in search of a mate and suitable spawning grounds. Thought I would post a few helpful hints for those that are new to the game of stalking these fish with fly rods in hand. I'm not going to write a disclaimer about not harassing these fish while they are on their redds doing their thing. You already know that, so just enjoy the read. Good luck and hope you get lucky too.
1) October is the time!...They are starting to move up right now. They're not full blown love sick yet, but they are moving. Get out and begin your search, especially on overcast days. 
2) Be stealthy...You must dress for success. Neutral, drab colors are a must. Stay low and don't highlight yourself. I know it's hard to stay crouched down, but it could really make a difference. Also, remember to wade carefully. Be quiet and sure footed. Stay out of the water as much as possible to keep the disturbance to a minimum.
3) Feed 'em meat...LEAVE YOUR MIDGE BOX AT HOME. Think big streamers and other sub-surface flies. They're not concerned about you matching the hatch. They want a big meal. They need the energy to help them get through this stressful time. They are also in a defensive mode. Big streamers give them a meal as well as something to vent their frustrations on. THEY WILL hit a streamer out of frustration.
4) Use the right gear...This is not the time to try out your new 2 wt. rod. Leave that shit at home! There's no need to stress these fish out trying to land them on inferior gear. Below is a list of suggested gear to use in order to get the job done without killing these fish. 
Rods - I recommend rods in the 6-8 wt. range. This will give you enough backbone to land good fish as well as to throw the big grocery flies that we mentioned.
Reels - Use a good reel with a quality drag. These fish WILL run when hooked. You also want a large arbor reel in order to bring in line as quickly as possible. This helps when they decide to run toward you in an attempt to gain enough slack to throw your hook. 
Lines - I like to use a running line with a shooting head set-up. This allows me to change my line sink rates at will. Remember, we're probably not going to be throwing dry flies. Throw big streamers and be prepared to run them at different depths if needed. The ability to change out your sink tips can really come in handy when they're staging in deeper water before moving up.
Leaders - Don't skimp. Go with the fluorocarbon leaders and tippet. Several advantages to using it here. It's not as visible in the clear water, it's more abrasion resistant and it sinks better than mono. Also, go with at least 3x if you think you can get away with it. They will violently strike a streamer at times. You don't want to get broken off on the take. This becomes a real possibility with lighter leaders and tippet.  
Well, I hope this helps answer some questions for a few people. We've had several inquiries about this subject at the shop recently. After all, it is that time of year when our thoughts drift towards the hunt for big spawning browns. There are many different thoughts on the best ways to pursue these fish. The most important thing is to be careful and to respect the whole process. These are magnificent fish and we need as many as we can get to successfully spawn. Please be careful and enjoy the pursuit. Fishing for migrating fish is the ultimate fly fishing experience in my book. Get out and enjoy it. Good luck!  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Delayed Harvest Has Begun!

The delayed harvest program has begun on many of our area streams. This is some of the best fishing of the year. Many local fly fishermen anxiously await the change in regulations that brings on fresh stockings of fish and thins out the crowds. Get out and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Huge Win for Brookies!

Here's a link to a story one of my clients emailed to me today. This is a huge victory for the brookies and all the other fish in the Tellico River. Click HERE to read the story.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Delayed Harvest Waters...and more!

It's almost that time of year again...my favorite time! On October 1st our Delayed Harvest (DH) season begins. This is the time of year that really caters to the fly fishermen. It is artificial only, catch and release only regulations.
The DH regs go into effect at the same time each year for many of our area trout streams, both in East TN and Western North Carolina. We guide in both states and stay very busy this time of year. With the stocking of better than average fish, coupled with decreased activity from tubers and swimmers, it is the best case scenario for many a trout fisherman in this part of the world.
We are also offering some great new fishing venues for lake run rainbow and brown trout this year. We are partnering with another great outfitter to put on a series of camps that we'll be operating out of for these venues. These will be all inclusive camps for clients to take advantage of multi-day offerings for these species. Our camps will provide all food, lodging and guide services for clients that would like to have an opportunity to target these fish. Here's the info. on the camps.
Dates and Rates
  Brown Trout Camp- November 8-18, 2012
  Steelhead Camp- January 18-27, 2013
  Steelhead Camp- February 16-28, 2013
    $300 per person per day with two day minimum
4 anglers maximum per day
Includes- guide, rods, reels and terminal tackle, lodging, meals
Does not include- sleeping bag, waders/boots, license, personal items
Waders and wading boots are available for rental


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bamboo Weekend!

Hiwassee Angler is pleased to announce that we will be sponsoring a Bamboo Weekend here at the shop next year. This event will be held in conjunction with Stout Bamboo Rod Works during the weekend of May 31 - June 2, 2013. We will have Brian Stout, owner of Stout Bamboo Rod Works, on site for the entire weekend to answer questions and to showcase his work. He is truly one of the best at his craft and his work can be seen by clicking HERE.
This weekend will be all about bamboo. Feel free to bring your own bamboo rods to showcase as well. We'll have plenty of room for casting and for BS'ing with fellow bamboo enthusiasts. We will also be booking guided trips for this weekend so you can get out on a drift boat and experience one of the best dry fly rivers in the South. Only thing better than catching trout on a dry fly is to add a fine bamboo rod to the equation!
Make plans to attend this event if at all possible. We are currently taking bookings for cabins and guided drift boat trips, but the event is open to everyone. This will be one of the best times ever to have a true craftsman answer any questions that you may have about bamboo rods. It may also be one of the few times in your life that you'll have the opportunity to cast an actual piece of art. See ya then!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Striper Landed

Watched this young man land this striper at the steps today. It towed him approximately 100 yards down river in his kayak before he could get it landed. Good job!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fishing Report

Fishing continues to be great on the Hi. Water temp. 59 degrees and fish continue to look up. Still catching good fish on Isonychia dry and emerger patterns. Have a few sulphurs still hanging around. Haven't tried any nymphing or streamers in a while. They would definitely work though, if you would rather fish them instead of dries. Still catching fish on the dead drift and on the swing. Not very hard to get a tug on the line this time of year. Especially with the water temps remaining in the perfect range throughout the whole summer. All you have to do is to get on the water. The fish will eat. Enjoy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Demo Raft For Sale

Outcast PAC1400 raft with fishing frame. 2 months old and been on the water 6 times. Like new condition. This was a new demo that we have for 60 days and then we can sell below retail value. Priced at $4,500 including tax. Casting platforms front and back, self bailing floor, anchor system. 10 year warranty included. Call Steve at (423) 519-6081.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer on the Hi

Just a quick report to keep some of our customers up to date and informed on the conditions of the river. We have several that spend lots of time on the river during the summer months. When they can't make it in for weeks at a time they call to keep up to date. This time I thought I would save them a call and post some info here.
The fishing has been great all year long and the water temps have remained in the 50's. This is impressive given the run of scorching hot days that we've had recently.
We are all pleased with the results of the first ever Delayed Harvest season that began last year. This is a special regulation season consisting of artificial only and catch and release only through the winter months. This gives the fish time to grow and to disperse before the harvesting begins in the spring. It seems to have worked very well. The fishing this year has been very good by all accounts. We like to think that it helped and did exactly as planned.
The fly shop is having its best year ever. We've been very busy all season and have added a few new items to our inventory. We now carry Outcast fishing rafts and pontoons. We also added Waterworks-Lamson reels. We're very pleased to offer these new products as they are both known to be top-shelf gear in the fly fishing world.
The cabin rental business has also been in full swing. We continue to have repeat customers that stay with us each and every year. We truly appreciate their business. As anyone in this industry can tell you, repeat customers are a great way to gauge how well you are doing in providing your services that you offer. After all, if they're not pleased, they won't be back.
The guide service has continued to be very busy again this season. We've added a new guide and also added several destinations to choose from. We're always striving to add new waters, and this season we've added some rivers in GA and NC to the mix. These are great smallmouth trips, and some even hold very nice trout. Our TN waters have been producing well this year, especially when you consider the hot, dry summer that we've been having. Most of our waters that we guide on are tailwaters. This really helps keep the temps and water levels in a fishable condition. Some of the freestone streams have really been hit hard by the dry conditions. The freestone trout have a rough life at times. We give them a break during these conditions. The last thing they need is to be stressed out in hot, low water streams.
The striper run is in full force again. They continue to be a very popular target species on the Hi. They are also very good to eat. Surprisingly good in fact. It also comes with a bonus knowing that he can't eat any more trout if you're eating him. It's a win-win for everyone, except for the striper of course.
Well, I guess that's about it for the update. I can't think of any more breaking news from our little part of the world. Cindy, Mark and Johnny...hope that gets you guys caught up. It's good to hear from you and thanks for keeping in touch. I know you can't get to the Hi as often as you would like to. Hope this little fix will help and look forward to seeing you guys again soon. Cheers!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Clinch River Brown

Rocky, our Clinch River expert, had a client nail a big brown on a guide trip today. It measured 21" and weighed just over 3.5 pounds. Good job guys!
Give us a call to book your Clinch River trip today!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fishing Report

Hiwassee River

The Hi has been fishing great all season. The only thing that seems to change is what the preferred dry fly is from one week to the next. Currently, the isonychia's rule. We have been fishing these with great success, catching good numbers of 14" fish, including a 16" Brown that fell prey to a good drift. I would use a size 14 or 16. If you get a good drift in holding water they will eat. If you get too far behind on your drift and can't get a good mend without pulling your fly under, let it fish on the swing. They will still eat, it's just not as fun as seeing them eat on top.
The water temps have been holding up better than expected this year. The last one I checked on the upper river showed it to be 58 degrees. That is perfect! We could still use some rain of course, but so far, so good. The fish don't seem to mind.

Tellico River

I haven't done any trout fishing lately on the Tellico. I spend my time smallmouth fishing this time of year and give the trout a break. The higher water temps, along with the lower water levels, really stress the trout. I figure that we could both use a break, so I switch over to smallies. It's a real sacrifice, but I get by...Ha Ha!
The smallmouth fishing has been stellar so far this summer. I went a couple days ago and caught about forty, all on the same popper. Nothing wrong with that. Water temp was 71 on the section of river that I was fishing on. This was in the afternoon, not during my normal prime time evening smallie trips. It's a very special time right now for the smallies. Low water conditions make them alot easier to locate and to sight fish for. They can also spot you too, so stealth is very important. You really have to make that first cast count. If you do it right, they'll come up and crush the popper. That's one of my favorite sounds!
It's only a matter of time before they seek out some deeper water to escape the heat. I think I'll tie up a bunch of crawfish patterns today so I'll be ready to make the switch. Once they get on the crawfish bite in deeper water it's hard to get them looking up again. Especially in this heat. It always pays to have some of those patterns in the box. They can really save the day.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fishing the Little T

Had a great 3 day stretch of guiding some good fly fishermen in North Carolina and Georgia. We had a great time and caught lots of fish. Always good to open up new waters for our guide service destinations. We look forward to getting back on those waters soon...very soon!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

North Carolina Fishing

Nice Brown Trout by a young angler on the Tuck today. He also stuck a few smallies on the Little T yesterday. Fishing in Georgia tomorrow!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Waters

OK, time has come. We are now offering guided smallmouth fishing trips to the Little Tennessee and the Tuckasegee Rivers in Western North Carolina. We've been working on bringing these into the mix for a month or so now. We're excited about it, and we know that our smallie fishing clients will also enjoy the great fishing that these rivers are known for. Give Steve a call and book your time on these waters while the smallie bite is HOT!
Rundown of the waters that we currently guide on:
North River
Sycamore Creek
Little Tennessee
We are in the process of adding more waters as we speak. We'll keep you posted as other venues become available. Gonna be a great year!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fishing Report

Had several guided fishing trips over the last week. Sulphurs popping each and every day. Some days the fish were rising to dries and others they were only wanting the swung emergers. Isonychia dry flies are also becoming more important in the evenings. River is still holding lots of hungry fish. Water temps are perfect at 55 degrees. Rain is falling right now and that can only improve the conditions.
Had a nice surprise the other day while finishing up a float. Saw this guy hanging out and enjoying the scenery. Beautiful juvenile bald eagle perched in the same dead tree snag that I have seen an osprey in on several occasions. Must be a prime fishing spot for those guys. Come to think of it, I've done pretty good in that stretch of water myself. Oh well, plenty of fish in there for all three of us I guess. I certainly don't mind sharing.
(Sorry about the photo quality. Couldn't get zoomed in any better.)

Friday, June 1, 2012

New Rig

Got a new raft rig set-up this week. These boats are perfect for the Hi and for floating the skinny smallmouth waters that I guide on. I have been scouting some new smallie waters and can't wait to put this boat to work on them. The new waters have been fishing great and are almost ready to be added to the menu of offerings. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Update to the Post Below "Now Taking Orders"

Needed to update our post due to forgetting to add some info. to it.
Got a call from Alex, a fly fishing guide from Michigan, and during our talk I realized that I had forgotten to include a very important statement in my post about ordering the Outcast PAC 1400 rafts. What I forgot to add is the fact that if you order these rafts from us, we pay all shipping costs to the lower 48 states. That saves you at least a couple hundred bucks. What a deal! So there's your incentive and a great selling point. Now give us a call and get one ordered for yourself. You won't beat this deal!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Now Taking Orders

We are now taking orders for new Outcast PAC 1400 fishing rafts. These rafts are ideal for float fishing on tailwaters or skinny smallmouth rivers. They are essentially an inflatable drift boat, without all the fiberglass damage to worry about when you hit a rock. They are very versatile and can be set-up and rigged by the owner to suit their needs perfectly. Check them out by clicking HERE.
We are offering these boats as a pre-pay option only. We don't have the facilities to store them in inventory, but I will be guiding out of one this year and will have it at the shop for you to check out in person if you're interested. Feel free to call Steve with any questions. Oh, almost forgot. These boats come with a 10 year warranty!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lower Tellico River

The Lower Tellico River is fishing great right now for trout and smallmouth. Fished it back to back consecutive days and caught tons of fish. Don't miss out on these trips!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Drift Boat is Sold

The new ClackaCraft drift boat that we had for sale at the shop sold today. It has a new home in Georgia.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Spawn is over and they are hungry. Eating on top! Love it!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fly Fishing Class

We have 2 slots open for a fly fishing class on May 25th at 9AM at the fly shop. Give us a call if you're interested. Check out our website for more info. about these classes by clicking HERE.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Boats, Toons and Yaks

Outcast one man pontoons now in stock!
Brand new 2011 ClackaCraft 16LP on sale. Price reduced!
Freedom Hawk kayaks in stock!
If you're looking to buy any kind of watercraft for this season check us out first before you buy. If we don't stock it we can drop ship it to you....and as always, we pay shipping on all orders placed with us!

Fishing Report

Hiwassee River
The Hi continues to fish well. We're enjoying some good rainfall today and that will only help things.
Look for sulphurs, caddis, yellow sally stones and baetis for your dry fly action. Standard nymph patterns prevail. Dry fly and nymph fishermen have been catching fish side by side. Lots of hungry trout for sure!
Tellico River
Water levels have been a little lower than I like lately, but today's rain will cure that. The river has still been fishing well and the temps have remained good all year. Did a guide trip on the upper Tellico last Wednesday and the water temp was 57 degrees. Perfect!
Only used 2 flies on that trip and caught tons of fish. A #16 BH Prince and a #6 Olive bugger produced all day long. Had a little drizzle all day long so never tried a dry fly, although I'm sure a BWO would have worked well where we were fishing.
Did a short little trip Thursday evening with my son and one of his buddies to check on the local Tellico River smallmouth community. I won't elaborate much, but we found them to be alive and well. They appeared to be hungry however, and we did our best to try and feed as many as possible during our trip. They couldn't resist the yellow poppers. Nothing better than smallies on top with a fly rod. Gotta love it!
Speaking of smallies, we are presently working on offering a new smallmouth trip to our clients. We're still doing our homework and feeling it out, but it looks very promising so far. Stay tuned for more info. on these trips. If it all pans out, you WILL NOT want to miss it!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fishing Report

Hiwassee River
Fishing continues to be great on the Hi. TVA continues the pulsing schedule and lots of wading opportunities are available. If you play the pulse right you can fish up and down the river and never see the high water.
Did a wade trip yesterday and lots of fish rising to #18 BWO's early while we still had cloud cover. After the sun came out #16 EHC seemed to be their preference. We also caught a few on a #16 Prince nymph when the fish quit rising. Lots of smaller browns stocked up around the powerhouse which makes for good dry fly fishing. Water temp. was 57 at the powerhouse.

Tellico River
Better size fish being stocked on Tellico this year. At least it appears that way to me. Water levels have been good along with the clarity and temps. We've been fishing a lot more on the upper river this year for some reason. I don't know why, but I just seem to gravitate up that way on every Tellico trip. I think it's due to the fact that we've been able to catch wild fish all day long up there. In fact, I know that's the reason! Nothing like high stickin' nymphs in little plunge pools for wild trout. Gotta love it! If you get bored with that, tie on a dry fly and you'll still catch fish. Choice of dry fly doesn't seem to matter as long as you can get a good drag free presentation with it.
As bad as I hate to admit it, I have not done a run on the lower river this year.....yet! I usually canoe the lower section and fly fish for smallmouth and other bass. I really enjoy my time down there. I think I'll make a run down there soon. I've thought about offering guided trips down there, but not many people like to fish out of canoes these days. They also usually want to bring a buddy with them to fish. Not a problem in a drift boat, but a canoe is a different story.

Our spring time weather continues to amaze. We've had some rain lately and more coming tonight. That's a good thing. It keeps our water levels up in the freestone streams and helps to bring the lakes up to summer pool. The sooner the lakes get up the sooner they start running water on the tailwaters. Yep, spring rains are a good thing.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pulsing Schedule

TVA has been running a pulsing schedule for the last couple of weeks. They are bringing the lakes up to summer pool and still have the one generator down for maintenance. What does this mean for me, you ask? It means great water levels for wading! This is the best time of year for a wade fisherman to get out and fish the Hi.
The recreational release schedule runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Once we get our recreational flow started, which is 1 generator from 10AM-11AM and 2 generators from 11AM-7PM, the wading opportunities are limited. They give us this flow so we can book drift boat trips and the rafting companies can rent rafts. It's the only time of year that we have a somewhat guaranteed water release schedule. As much of a guarantee as we can get anyway.
The moral of the story is this: Get out and enjoy the great fishing that the Hi is giving up this year. Perfect water levels for wading, rising fish, bugs and gorgeous weather. See ya out there!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Good Trip

Great day on the Hi yesterday with Greg. Dry flies all day, drifted and swung. Rain off and on, but we got lucky and the hard stuff missed us.

New Shop Hours

New shop hours:
We are now open 7 days a week.
Monday-Friday 8AM-4PM
Saturday-Sunday 7AM-5PM
Looking forward to a great season!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fishing Report

Lots of rain early yesterday. Cleared out and turned into a gorgeous day. Some guys waited around the shop for the skies to clear and others fished right through it. Josh and Abe came into the shop and told us that they had fished just upstream of the railroad trestle. Josh quit counting at 20 fish. They were in their pontoon boats and fished right through the storm.
Chase called into the shop yesterday and said that he's still killing 'em on an olive woolly bugger. He knows I love to hear about fish eating streamers. Keep feeding 'em meat buddy, just a matter of time before that big brown that you want jars your teeth with a vicious strike on that bugger. Good job!
Dry fly fishing continues to be good on the Hi. The Hendricksons are here along with some caddis and BWO's. Standard nymph patterns continue to fish all day long. The river is still full of fish that eagerly await your fly. Not very picky about which fly they eat either. This is a great time to get out and shake off that winter rust in your casting arm. Also good time to fine tune your skills or to take the wife and kids fishing. The fish are definitely eating and they can catch them throughout the whole day, minimizing the possibility of the kids getting bored during a lull in the action.
If you've ever wanted to take up fly fishing, now is the time. Outstanding weather, plenty of fish to practice on and a friendly, full service fly shop right on the river to help you get started. Everything's in place, just waiting on you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Generation Schedule

Just wanted to write a post and clarify the recent published generation schedules on the Hi. Everyone has heard about the generator being down for maintenance. The question people are having is "Why are they still showing a 2 generator release on the schedule?" The answer is simple...we don't know. They only have 2, so if 1 is down, simple math tells you that they can only run 1, right? And we have been assured by TVA employees that indeed, 1 generator is down, and will be down until sometime in May.
They are showing flows in the 1700 cfs range. This is well below a normal 2 generator flow. So maybe it's 1 generator wide open, maybe including spillage, or maybe accounting for the natural flows from the tribs. Who knows? Anyway, it is not a 2 generator flow.
The reason I'm posting this is because that some people have called the shop and said that they would love to have fished the Hi on that day, but they weren't going to attempt to wade with 2 generators on. It's misleading to people who aren't familiar with the generation schedules, and understandably so. After all, it says that they are running 2 right there on their site.
The moral of the story is that you can still wade and fish on 1,700 cfs. Also, they can't be running 2 generators right now. So get out and enjoy the fishing on the Hi. It is red hot right now. See ya there!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fishing Report

Well, it has been an interesting week in our part of the world. We've had tornadoes, hail and about 3-4 inches of rain this past week. We are now on the tail end of a cold front that should be over on Tuesday with the highs going back into the 60's. That will help bring the water temps back up, increasing the trout feeding activity.
Our delayed harvest period is over now. Hopefully it will prove to be a success with improved numbers and better dispersed fish. I know that they have at least had the opportunity to grow a little bit.
We've had reports of brown stones, little black stones, dark caddis, blue quills and BWO's. Lots of insect activity reported lately with hatches beginning a few weeks sooner than normal due to the spring like weather conditions. The standard sub-surface patterns continue to produce. I know you guys get tired of me saying that, but it's true. The standard nymph and streamer patterns will produce all over the southeast at any given time. I could dazzle you with some form of BS if you want, but it's not rocket science. You just can't go wrong with BHPT's, prince's, hares ears, copper john's, olive and black buggers and any type of brown soft hackle. These are proven patterns and will produce consistently.
We have had higher than normal water levels due to the above average rainfalls this winter. The waters are running clear again though, just high for now. Remember to add split shot and get those nymphs down in the strike zone. That alone will provide many more hook-ups than just fly selection alone. Like I said above, there are several patterns that will work. No fly can entice a strike if it can't be seen by the fish. You have to get them down.
It should be a decent week to fish the Hi. Plenty of fish, insects and tolerable weather. Definitely worth making a trip to the river. Good luck and tight lines!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pre-Spawn Smallies (Part 3)

Now that we have reviewed almost everything else involved in the taking of smallies on the fly, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss the flies that we should be using. Not only the flies, but also how to fish them. This is one of the most misunderstood areas of fly fishing for smallmouth. People are familiar with the flies, but they have no idea how to properly present them. I hope this quick review will clear up some confusion for those of you that are new to the smallie game. We will start from the bottom of the river and work our way up.
As I said in Part 1, when we start fishing early in the morning the water temps have not had a chance to warm up yet. For this reason the smallmouth are still going to be holding in the deeper water and they will still be somewhat lethargic and resistant to chasing a fast moving fly. They are going to be looking for a crayfish pattern that can be fished slowly along or near the bottom. I say crayfish because it is a big, rich, high calorie meal for them. They are coming out of a dormant stage and are preparing for the rigors of spawning. They have no choice, they have to pack on some calories. A big crayfish, fished along the bottom, is the perfect meal for them when they are holding that deep. This is what we mean when we say that we are "dredging a fly".
When choosing a dredging fly, it is very important that you use a heavily weighted fly that sinks quickly. It has to get down fast in order to cover the water quickly. A good retrieve is erratic with lots of quick, sudden stops that portrays an injured or weakened form of prey. They will take it when it stops about 90% of the time.
As the water warms and the fish start moving up into the water column, they will start moving toward the more shallow water. This is when we would throw an intermediate type fly. These flies are usually unweighted streamers that will suspend in the water column. Naturally, you can use a weighted streamer or throw it on the sink tip line if needed in order to get it into the strike zone. This is when we would use the count down method to judge the depth at which we need to be fishing. Once the fly hits the water, let it sink to different depths in order to find the holding depth of the fish. You could start by letting it sink for a count of 4 before you begin the retrieve. Continue to mix up the count and the delay until you find the magical depth.
When it comes to choosing a streamer, we want to choose a big one that has a large silhouette. This will increase its visibility in the water. This is important because the name of the game is to cover lots of water as quickly as possible in order to locate the holding areas of the fish. As a general rule, the more stained that the water is the darker the fly that you should be using. This will also increase the silhouette of the fly.
The retrieval speed of your fly should vary in order to find the proper speed and depth that the fish prefer. The retrieve should be erratic with lots of sharp, crisp movements, including many stops. We are imitating a wounded bait fish. They will attack the fly when it stops 90% of the time. DO NOT become complacent on your retrieve. I know it's hard to do, but you must stay focused and really "sell" it on your retrieve.
Now for the fun part. As the water warms and the fish move into the shallows, it's time for some topwater action. We get to throw poppers! If the thought of a big smallie crushing your popper doesn't excite you, take all of your fly fishing gear and burn it right now! There's nothing that can be done to help you. Sorry!
When choosing a popper, choose one with a big head that pushes alot of water when "popped". It can be made of deer hair or foam. It doesn't matter at all. However, losing a foam one doesn't hurt near as bad as losing a nice deer hair one. Especially if you tied it yourself!
When fishing a popper, cast it near the bank and let the rings on the water settle before giving it any movement. Once they settle give it a pop. Let it sit again for a 4-8 count, then give it another pop. Continue this type of retrieve until time to pick it up for another cast. Lots of people do a series of fast pops during the retrieve. This is NOT the way to fish a popper. As with the other flies, the fish will strike it while it is sitting still 90% of the time. Sometimes you can actually see them settle in below or behind it as they stalk their prey. The pop will attract their attention, but they will strike as it is sitting still. This is very important and often misunderstood. This one little piece of info. is worth the price of admission for those that were not aware of it before. It can make or break your day out on the water while fishing for smallmouth.
Well, there it is. Smallmouth fly fishing 101. At least to the best of my knowledge anyway. I hope you have enjoyed the series. And if so, let me know and I will try to write more informational type articles on the blog. And as always, feel free to contact me or leave a reply requesting any other articles that you would like to see written here. Sometimes you just run out of ideas about things to write about and any help is appreciated. Until next time, Tight Lines!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pre-Spawn Smallies (Part 2)

For the second installment of this series I thought we would go over some of the equipment that is used for smallie fishing. Not alot different than trout gear, but still worth a mention.
Fly Rod - I like a 9 foot rod in anything from a 6 to 8 weight depending on how heavy the flies are that I'm throwing. Also depending on whether I'm using a sink tip line or not. These fish fight with everything they have. Use a big enough rod so that you can land them without having to play them to exhaustion. We owe it to them to release them in a survivable state. Playing any fish to exhaustion causes unnecessary harm to them. And remember, we want them to be able to spawn!
Fly Reel - Not really a huge deal, believe it or not. Most of the time you will be stripping the fish in versus taking him to the reel. The reason is that they don't make the big, long runs like a big trout will. They try to go deep or they may fight by running from side to side in front of you. They will make a jump or two, but they mostly fight in close to the boat versus making a long run. You will lose alot of smallies by trying to take them to the reel, especially if fishing with barbless hooks. I see this alot because the fish will often make a run toward the boat and the angler can't reel fast enough to keep pressure on them.
Fly Lines - I use either a weight forward line or an intermediate sink tip line. The specialized lines with the bass tapers on them will help to turn these big flies over, but they are certainly not a necessity. The clear "ghost tip" type sink tip lines are nice as well. This is due to the fact that you don't want to use a long leader when using a sink tip line. The clear tip gives you a little more distance between the fish and the visible part of your line. Any advantage can help, right?
Leaders - Smallmouth bass are not usually leader shy. I will use a 10 pound test leader and tippet most of the time. You should not be breaking smallies off! Don't be afraid to use a strong enough leader to get the job done. After all, he will not be sipping midges out of the surface film. He is going to attack and explode on your fly most of the time. A light leader will often break during the take. If that happens, so will your heart! Also, as mentioned above, you don't want to use a long leader when using a sink tip line. Using a 9 foot leader defeats the purpose of the sinking tip because the fly will not be getting into the strike zone, only the leader will. The fly will still be hanging out above your line and not pulled down to where you need it. In general, a 5 foot leader should be plenty long enough when using a sinking tip line.
Well, that's it for part 2 of the series. Stay tuned tomorrow for the third and final installment of the series. We will discuss the flies used and how to properly present them to a smallmouth bass in order to entice an explosive strike. After all, if he won't take your offering, none of this other stuff really matters does it? See ya next time!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pre-Spawn Smallies (Intro.)

I have had several requests lately to post on this blog more (LOL...inside joke) and to post more educational type info from time to time. In response to this I have decided to do a 3 part series of posts about fly fishing for pre-spawn smallies. We are approaching the time of year for this phenomena to begin and the interest level that fly flingers have in fishing for smallmouth continues to grow, noticeably, each year. So I thought that this would be the perfect topic to start with. I plan on posting 1 part a day to cover the 3 part series. Hope you like it!

Pre-Spawn Smallies (Part 1)

Anyone who knows me in the fly fishing world can attest to my love affair with fly fishing for smallies. That is what I truly love to do. I love trout fishing too. However, the hunt for smallies, especially big smallies, has an irresistible charm to it. I like everything about them from the way they fight to their overall personalities. They are considered by many to be the hardest fighting freshwater fish, pound for pound, that exists. How could you not love that? They give it their all every time you hook one. You can't ask for anything more than that.
To begin the series we'll discuss their behavior during the pre-spawn period. As the water temps approach the 50 degree range the smallmouth begin to move from their deep water haunts where they spend the winter months. They move up to feed and to begin looking for spawning grounds. These fish have been fairly dormant over the last few months and they need to feed due to their metabolism increasing. They also have spawning on their minds.
The fish will hold in areas that offer deep water with current breaks and shallow water access. Preferably a long, sloping type bottom versus a steep drop off. They don't have the energy to fight the currents like they will in a couple months. Early in the morning they will be holding deep and will progressively move to shallower water to feed as the day progresses and the water warms. Obviously, the more shallow the water the quicker that it will warm up.
If fishing early in the morning before the water has had a chance to warm, you will have to dredge a fly down deep to have a chance at tempting a smallie to bite. As the water warms he will move up and so should you (we will cover the flies to use during the different parts of the day in Part 3 of this series). You will be covering the entire water column throughout the day. The standard approach is to cast near the banks and to retrieve your fly at a speed that will allow it to cover the portion of water that you want to cover. If you are fishing a crayfish pattern, you want to fish it slow in order to crawl it along the bottom. The fish are still lethargic due to the colder water temps in the morning and they won't chase a fast retrieve. If fishing a suspended streamer pattern, you would use a retrieve that would allow it time to sink to the proper depth, and so on.
This is a constant trial and error type of fishing. From fly selection to retrieval technique, it can change several times throughout the day. Most fly fishing is like this though, so really nothing new to the smallie fishing. With the exception that we are not concerned with insect activity changing throughout the day like we are when fishing for trout. Here it is more about concentrating on your preys movements in relation to water temps and water depth. They can really keep you on your toes!
Well that's it for Part 1. Hope you enjoyed the read. Tomorrow I will post Part 2 which will cover equipment needed. See ya then!

Cool Footage

Saw this video on The Trout Underground blog and thought I'd share. Check it out by clicking HERE.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Good News for the Brookies!

Great info. on the only successful Southern Strain Brook Trout hatchery in the world. Check it out HERE and show your support for our only native trout species!

Fishing Report

Well, after much delay and criticism from people who apparently do read this blog, I have discovered that it has been a very long time since I've updated the fishing report. This was an honest oversight and I thank those of you who brought my attention to it. Thanks for reading! Here it goes:
The fishing on the Hi has been nothing short of spectacular lately. All area trout waters are fishing great right now due to the spring like weather that we are experiencing, along with the overall lack of winter weather that we have had so far. Hope we can keep it up!
The Hiwassee DH has fished good throughout the whole DH season. The river is absolutely full of hungry fish right now and they are seeing some of the spring hatching activity very early this year. We have some little black winter stones, brown stones and a few quill gordons on the water right now, not to mention the BWO's that can make an appearance any given day on the Hi. The sub-surface action is dominated by the old standards: princes, pheasant tails, hares ears and black and olive buggers. Also, very important, don't forget to swing those soft hackle emerger patterns. That one simple technique can often save the day on the Hi when the trout may be very selective and you've tried almost everything in your fly box. Hiwassee trout are suckers for a swung fly. Any type of fly.
Again, thanks for reading and for keeping me on my toes about updating the fishing report. Also, don't forget to LIKE us on facebook. Some posts show up there instead of on the blog. I usually post the same stuff on each of them, but the little quick updates are mostly done on the FB page. See ya there!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One Generator Down

Looks like 1 turbine flows until sometime in May on the Hi. TVA took 1 generator down for maintenance. They can still spill along with the 1 generator flow of course, but we should see much lower flow rates during this time. This should also make for some good fishing as well. We like fishing it on a 1 generator flow. Good things happening on the Hi!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sweet Sticks

Walk softly and carry a Green Stick!

Come by the shop and give it a test drive. You owe it to yourself!

Guided Trip Rates for 2012 Season

We are pleased to announce that our prices for guided fishing trips will remain the same for the 2012 season. We have been able to keep our rates locked in for another year due to the increasing volume of trips done each year. Thanks to our ever increasing client base, WE HAVE NEVER had to increase our rates for guided trips. It's just another way to show how much we appreciate your business!

Rates for 2012 season

$250/half day trip

$350/full day trip

Same price for 1 or 2 anglers. Check out our website for additional information about our guided fishing trips. As always, feel free to call with questions or to book your day on the water.

Updated List of Waters

Customer recently asked for an updated list of the waters that we guide on. Thought I would post it here as well.
Hiwassee River
Tellico River
North River
Clinch River
Holston River
Nantahala River
Toccoa River
Many area lakes....call for details.
We specialize in guiding for trout, smallmouth bass and striper.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Clacka Sale

Got an email from John at ClackaCraft yesterday. He told me that they are placing all their 2011 16LP's on sale. He also authorized us to do the same with the boat that we have for sale at the shop. This is a pretty good discount, so if you're interested in a new drift boat now is the time.