Foscoe Fishing Company Guide - Matt Maness
Matt's Fly Fishing Tales
Follow along with Matt as he shares his flyfishing adventures in the freshwater streams of North Carolina and Tennessee. Matt posts to this blog regularly so be sure to check back often or subsribe to our newsletter for digest updates.
Fishing has been excellent in TN recently. Significant hatches throughout the day of crane-flies and mayflies have made sight fishing with the dry-fly exciting. Nymphing fast water has also been fun producing good size fish. This is always my favorite time of the year to fish, its like the calm before a storm, as soon as October comes so will the other fisherman! Have fun out there and come by and see us at the fly-shop or on the river.
Local waters continue to fish well with the good water levels. Afternoon thunderstorms have kept rivers flowing greatfor this time of year. Nymph fishing continues to be good using a variety of stone-fly patterns ranging from size 8-16 as well as caddis larva patterns in the 12-16 range. The usual searching patterns like pheasant tails and hares ears in sizes 12-18 should work as well. Even though there are not an abundance of aquatic bugs hatching this time of year there are always terrestrials floating down the river.
I watch beetles, grasshoppers, inchworms, spiders, caterpillars, bees, hornets, ants and many other terrestrials happen there way into the river everyday. All of these are great food for trout through the summer.
The TN Tailwaters (Watauga, S.Holston), have been fishing well. Terrestrial patterns are working with thousands of June Bugs and Japanese beetles littering the river. As well as many other non aquatic bugs. Nymph fishing has been good in the afternoons on the Watauga with small mayflies hatching in certain areas. Midges are around throughout the day and will also catch fish.
The South Holston is finally generating again after some turbine work at the dam. The low water wade fishing has been good using scud, midge and mayfly patterns in various sizes. The sulfur mayfly hatch is in full swing on the upper part of the river and the dry-fly bite should be heating up right before and during high-water. Make sure to have sulfur yellow mayfly patterns sizes 14-18 if you plan on heading to the river.
Good Luck, and make sure to call and book a fishing trip if you are interested, 828-963-6556.
I am usually on the water over 200 days a year for either work or play. I can guide 20 or 30 days in a row and then go on vacation to do what else? Fish of course. I am really beginning to think this is some kind of illness.
I have had a lot of people coming into the shop the last few days worried the rivers are too muddy to fish. One thing to remember is that trout are mostly visual feeders, even if the water is muddy they will still feed as long as they can see. The way I judge water color is by how deep you can see the river bottom. If you can see about a foot down chances are you will have good fishing. Fish similar water to what you normally do but size your flies a little bigger. It might even be a good idea to try some streamers. So don’t be afraid of a little mud, get out there and see what you can find you might be surprised.
Fishing continues to be good on the S. Holston and Watauga rivers. With the generators finally kicked on, the Holston the high water sulfur mayfly hatch is wide open. Fish emerger, dun, cripple and spinner patterns in sizes 16, 18 during the hatch. Before the hatch fish a variety of mayfly nymphs in the same size as well as midge larva, scud, and sow bug patterns. Low water nymphing is much the same. The low water terrestrial fishing has been very good so make sure to bring plenty of beetle, hopper, ant and inch worm patterns.
On the Watauga river expect to use the same variety of terrestrials as the Holston. There have also been sporadic sulfur, tan caddis,small crane fly and midge hatches throughout the day. Both rivers are fishing good, this is a good time to find a big fish on a dry fly!
Small stream fishing locally has also been good lately, especially first thing in the morning or late in the evening . A variety of bugs will work on local streams so bring several mayfly,caddis, stone-fly and midge patterns to try on top and bellow the surface . Don’t forget terrestrials!
This is a good time to come up and fish because the crowds are usually a little smaller the fish are hungry and its not 100 degrees here.
Does anyone like to fish to Bluegill with the fly? Well, I can tell you one guy that loves it. There is not a more eager fish to my knowledge that is more fun to catch on light tackle than a Bluegill. I have fished all over the country fresh and salt water and this is one of my favorite fish to catch. Joke if you will but try it and you will remember the tug of the Blue-gill is mighty.
fish till dark or longer,
This is a tricky season to negotiate around the regulations. With the hatchery rivers closed for the month of March and the delayed harvest waters catch and release until June a-lot of people get confused.
Be careful and check along the stream banks for signs showing the regulations. If you can’t find any check your NC fishing/hunting regulations book. It has a section outlining stream designations. The river is usually divided between bridges and or tributaries to show different designations. All else fails call the shop to make sure your not fishing where you shouldn’t.
Well, after a recent stocking of the Watauga Delayed Harvest the fish are responding well to the high water and the nymph fishing should continue to be good through June. We are still using an assortment of searching patterns, san juan worms, prince nymphs, hares ears,…. along with a small midge or mayfly pattern. A good blue wing olive hatch has been occurring through the middle part of the day. Fish are rising to a variety of olive patterns in sizes 12-18. Droppers have also been effective during the hatch.
After fishing through the weekend low water on the S. Holston the two major hatches observed were Blue Wing Olives, and Black Flies. The blue wing hatch happened around lunch time on both Saturday and Sunday. The fish responded well to nymphs, emergers, and dry flies in the 16-18 range. The major black fly hatch happened the two or three hours right before dark on both days. Although black flies were seen sporadically throughout the day the majority came off late in the afternoon. The fish were taking black fly and midge patterns in the 20-24 range.
Be paitent fishing tiny flies, dry them off frequently and make many passes by your target fish.
Well after another very wet and cold couple of weeks the rivers are back up and running. I don’t see any stop to the generators on the TN tail-waters in the near future. The local streams are up but are very fishable, high off color water are our favorite water conditions to really get into them.
We floated the Holston River several times in the past week and have had some great dry fly fishing as well as excellent nymphing, especially in the recently reopened spawn areas. Its nice to fish to fish that haven’t seen a fake bug in four months. Our dry fly fishing was most successful using blue wing patterns in the 18-20 range either olive, grey, or black. The prominent hatch that we have seen in the last week were black flies. Patterns in the 20-24 range seem to work well. I usually have an assortment of colors from light to dark for these little guys. If you have fished over there enough you know they will eat a variety of different patterns and colors so be prepared!
Nymph fishing the reopened spawn water was borderline cheating. We fished a lot of bigger patterns that usually are saved for the Delayed Harvest waters. Prince nymphs, San Juan worms, copper johns, and of course the normal small blue wings and midge patterns worked well.
Our local Delayed Harvest water, the Watauga River, has been fishing well. There are plenty of fish to catch and the water levels are great. We have had the best luck on bigger patterns in the 12-16 range. Prince Nymphs, zug bugs, San Juan worms, pheasant tails, have all produced fish. Try not to over complicate things, really try to spot fish from the bank, move in slow and sink your flies to the right depth.
Good luck and make sure to come by and see us if your in the area or even if your not.
Finally we have a break in the arctic weather, the rivers are thawing and the fish are hungry. After a month of the coldest weather I have ever seen in the mountains the Watauga Delayed Harvest has finally thawed enough to make a cast into the water, not on to the ice.
One good thing about all this cold weather and ice is the pressure on the fish has been non-existent which means the fish will not be quite as selective. Try bigger patterns, something that will catch their attention. Imagine yourself sitting in 30 degree water your not going to want to move for something unless its worth it! Behind that big fly you can put your killer, a small bluewing nymph or a midge larva or whatever deadly fly you have found to work in the past.
The fish sit deep this time of year so don’t be afraid to drag bottom. Adjust your indicator constantly so you have your flies at the right depth. Find depressions in the river bottom where they can get out of the heavy current and congregate.
I hope these suggestions help out and if they don’t make sure and go by the shop and complain to the management.
Good luck and happy hunting, Matt
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