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NC Delayed Harvest Trout Waters Open to Harvest June 1, 2019



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here iz da low down on da trip, you know das right! So Ho 5/25/08

Started by Woolly Bugger, May 26, 2008, 13:22:33 pm

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Woolly Bugger

The alarm went off at 5:30 but the body didn't move till 5:45. The radio was playing some classical music and I almost drifted back to sleep. Hell, I went to bed early last night just for this trip, the car was packed and the tank filled up with $3.89 regular. The trip to the river has steadily risen and now the 10 gal, 300 mile trip cost $40, so I planned to make a full day of it.  I stumbled out of bed and got dressed. UV index was forecast to be 11, I thought the scale only went to 10, perhaps it's the depleting ozone layer, so I wore a long sleeve fishing shirt as there is little shade on the South Holston.  Temps in the 50's in the morning rising to 80 by mid-afternoon.

Since my last trip all I could think about was those big fish that I battled with and lost. I wanted, no needed, to go back and catch them! They have been haunting me and I hopped that today would be good. The GPS keeps telling me that the 321 route is 10 minutes shorter so I decided to try it again to make up for lost time. It is shorter but the drive isn't as pleasant as the route through Newland. When I arrived at "My Spot" I was disappointed to find several other fishermen "suiting up", I'd have to move on to "Plan B" up the road a ways. If only I'd had gotten up 15 minutes earlier I'd have had that spot to myself!

It was a little after 8:30 when I parked the car and hiked down to one of my favorite locations, a long riffle with a big pool at the bottom. The sun was climbing high in the clear blue bird sky. As I waded into the river there were a number of risers and I stalked them, but they weren't interested in my fly and an errant cast or line shadow sent them for cover. I walked on down throwing a comparadun sulfur as I went in hopes of a random hook up, none were to be had.

I decided to rig up for nymphing using a #18 Flashback PTN with the BWO emerger pattern that has been so successful. I was using 6x fluorocarbon tippet for those who care to know those sorts of details. The fishing was slow and it was a while before I had a rainbow on the line. A real jumper, he ran all around the pool leaping and somersaulting several times before I could bring him to net. I flubbed the photo, the fish flopped out of the "Ghost" net before I was ready, perhaps Trout Maharishi is correct, the net bag is too shallow!

I waded out into the riffle and caught a couple more on the BWO nymph but it was slow, I think the super bright, clear conditions made it difficult. I fished that area for four hours and came away with four fish. I was still hoping for a decent sulfur hatch that would send the fish into a reckless gorging frenzy enabling me to catch them on a dry.

I took a break from the river and then drove to another spot up river a ways. Nobody else was parked there so I'd have quite a bit of water to myself. I fished the deep runs and caught a couple of bows, but the sun was intense and illuminated the river bottom. I worked my way up to river and spotted the sulfurs coming of. I heard a fish rise and turned to see the ring.  I lined that one and put him down, but there was another one across the current. I dropped the fly in front of it and it took it immediately. The fish put up a decent fight and I could tell that it was a brown as it kept dogging to the bottom.  I landed the fish and was going to take a picture but he shot out of my hand before I could snap the pictures. It was about 16 inches long it was a rich, bold and robust fish.

I worked on upstream and took a number of bows and browns on the CDC comparadun sulfur. I caught a nicely fired up rainbow, no photoshop enhancements required, and again was going for the camera but couldn't maintain control and the fish bolted free. I kept thinking that this was not going to be a photo rich report. I finally got up to the big pool at the top of this section and was dismayed that there weren't any risers to be seen. I sat down on a rock in the shade and listened to the birds as I watched the water. There were only a few bugs coming off the water, I'd be told that the really come off right at dark, I might have to leave the river before then, need to be home @ 10:30 to pick up the kids.
Maybe ten of fifteen minutes later I spotted a pair of risers in a nearby run and another one a little further out. I puffed up the CDC with the magic powder, worked the line out and made a nice 40 foot cast that landed right above the target, the fish rose and took the fly and the fight was on! Another nice brown came to the net. Then I went after the one across the current and after a few cast I finally got it into the feeding lane and a this time a jumping rainbow took the fly. It jumped three times putting on a great aerobatic show. And that was it for that pool nothing else was rising and I thought about sitting back down and waiting some more, but I wanted to see if some of the lower reaches were now vacant.

A short drive later and I was back at my original destination, no cars! Now that's a good sigh. Oh, shit there are two dudes standing in the run. Looks like a guide and a old man or it it a father and son?? The younger man was giving advice and changing flies and watching the indicator, the old man was casting like well but it was not natural, it was forced and almost like he was trying too hard to get it right. I though he must be a client. Anyway I thought I'd go upstream a fish a couple of runs there. I stepped in the river and no sooner had I started fishing than they moved out of the best run on the river. I couldn't believe it, what luck. Must be the end of the day for the guide, I thought.

I rigged up my PTN, BWO dropper combo and went to work. Birds filled the air as the shadows grew longer and the air was cooling off rapidly. Still no sulfurs I thought as I watched the indicator intently. A subtle twitch and a hook set brought a tight line and pulsing rod. This was a good fish. It dogged and run down in the current, It made several long hard runs and was getting close to the backing. I worked the fish in and it ran again. Finally it showed itself and it was a beauty of a brown. I netted it, I really do think that the fish come into the ghost easier than any other net I've owned. He just glided into in and I was very careful as I removed the PTN not to let this one self release from the net. I was able to get the camera out and take a few shots before releasing it. The old man and the guide were still in sight up stream but I don't think they looked back, probably for the best.

I now thought that I could leave the river, but I wanted more. I caught a big bow out of the same run, and despite caution with handling, with one powerful flex, it leapt out of the net as I was composing the picture! The sulfurs were just starting to come off the river now, although the fish hadn't started to rise, but it was getting late and I had a two and a half hour drive ahead of me. I was satisfied and could leave the river for today, knowing that I'll be back another time to catch the sulfur hatch.

btw: found out the UV scale goes to 16, that's gotta do some damage!
ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!


Good story and great photos Woolly.

You are so right about the price of the drives to our streams steadily rising - Used to cost me $50 round trip to the Smith. Now it is pushing $100.

Told my wife I was thinking about moving to our cabin. Her response, "I'll miss you" - Then she added "burn the place down and built a real house there and I will come along, otherwise two nights is all I can handle".


Now that's a great report. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.
"Why, he wondered, did rich people call it sushi while poor people called it bait?"   -- Same Kind of Different as Me


We got run off the river at 8:35 with high water
Didn't see that one coming
They said generation from 7-8 pm



Woolly Bugger

Quote from: Mstash on May 26, 2008, 21:19:42 pm
We got run off the river at 8:35 with high water
Didn't see that one coming
They said generation from 7-8 pm



I recremember calling that AM and they said 6 - 7 !  :o

When did you call?
ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

Woolly Bugger

hmm, blast from two years ago year...

my how time flies....
ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

diaz dassie

Grand report, glad you got into a beast or two. BTW, you suck! ;D


Stalk softly and carry a green stick.


Cool deal man, I'd really like to get up there and fish those TN tailwaters someday, they sound awesome!
"Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right" - Grateful Dead

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