TVA says they are not generating.. well actually burping every 12 hours.. this weekend on the South Holston River.
Should make very good wade fishing…These fish are from Matt’s guide trip yesterday.
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TVA is not giving a lot of time for wading, but if you know your way around you can squeeze a few hours in. Mostly it is float time. And drift boat fishing has been OK. Not the best in the world, but pretty good. Mostly deep nymph fishing has been the ticket. I bet, if you are willing to chunk a streamer, you can catch fish.
The Watuaga is running a steady 1500CFS. So drift boat fishing there should be pretty good. We guide there also. Give us a call at 423-878-2822 to float.
Also, I have two New Hyde Low Profile drift boats for Sale. Boat, trailer, oars, anchor…ready to put in the water and fish out of. Good price too.
If interested just let me know.
Below is a rainbow trout caught by James Hollinbaugh and friend yesterday on a guided trip. Thanks gentlemen.

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Couple of fish from Guide trips the last couple of days. Fishing has been slower[ slower means 25-40 fish per day] the last couple of days due to cold front. But temperatures should remain steady this week and TVA is showing consistent generating schedules for both the South Holston and Watuaga Rivers. So fishing should be on!


Yellow is showing up on the South Holston river with regularity, now. Yellow means Sulphurs in this part of the country.
And so are the below:

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Thanks for a wonderful day Saturday. The fishing was great. Sorry for the cold weather, snow and wind that followed me from Vermont.
I loved the dry fly fishing in the afternoon to the BWO’s and Sulfurs.
The river is a fisherman’s dream with the number of fish and the hatches.
I am looking forward to returning and fishing with you again.
Ken Ledford

Thanks for a great day last Thursday. Hopefully you are having a better one today, Here are a few picks. I saw the one of Clay that you put in your blog. Here are a few more.
Thanks! We will see you in July/Aug.
Thanks again
Tom Franco
Drift baot picture

TVA is predicting all day wading for Thursday, Friday and Saturday on the South Holston River….probably Sunday also…always check then schedule in a.m. before you hit the water..The guys at the shop can tell you how long it takes for water to reach each spot on the river….423-878-2822


Chris Mundz and his son Austin fished with Matthew Guinn yesterday. They caught fish very well for 1/2 day float trip. Grant O’Neill and his son fished with Matt and caught 50 or so fish, on the South Holston River. Seems like the Rainbow trout have finished spawning so all is ready to go. Fish are eating bugs real well now. There are BWO’s on generating water, but trout don’t seem to be rising to them. But they are eating small nymphs well.
There are two distinct looking rainbow trout on this river. One is silver. with not much red on it. That fish is hot as afire cracker. They go nuts when you hook them. I caught a 5 lber a couple of years ago , that was a total maniac. He ate a white streamer and jumped so many times, it was unreal. Then you have the heavily red marked ones. They fight more like a brown trout. They stay in the water and tug…and shake their head like a brown. The pictures below show the physical appearance difference of the two.
We have openings for guided trips next week if you want to catch some. Just call us at 423-878-2822 and book it.
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Correction to make. I just talked with MattC. He is on the water guiding. Sulphurs and BWO’s are coming off and fish are rising to them. Matt’s words” until and hour ago we had ice in our guides. And sulphurs and BWO’s are coming off. We just missed a good fish on the Olive and one just ate the sulphur. Isn’t that crazy”.
So I stand corrected.. bugs on the water and fish are rising to them…


Fishing picked up yesterday on the South Holston River. Matt’s clients, Jerry and Joe Redman caught 60 or so trout yesterday.
Fish were eating bugs good. A lot of these:

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Matt Champion guided Gary Newton on the Watauga River yesterday and fishing was pretty good. Some Black Caddis’ are hatching now. It will get stronger daily. The steady 750CFS is an excellent float. So if you want some good dry fly and soft hackle fishing, give us a call. We will put you on them. Take advantage of this steady sluice.
Some 10 days to 2 weeks before Mother’s Day the big caddis’ will come off in masses on the Watuaga River. If TVA continues this sluice, the fishing will be out of this world. It is a massive hatch. Give us a call at 423-878-2822 to get put on them. You will love it.
Or if you want to fish the South Holston River, our guides know what they are doing.

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TVA still generating

So it is float time. The lake is still 3-4 feet from where TVA likes to keep it. So they will generate fairly heavily til they get it where they want it.
Float fishing is picking up. Yesterday most of the boats caught around 50 fish each. And many of them were quality fish. It will only get better this week as temperatures level off and water schedules stay consistent.
You would enjoy a Drift boat trip. These guys know what they are doing. To book a trip, please call 423-878-2822.
On a store note, we have some Lifetime Warranty American made fly tying vises from Cascade. There are 3 vises; one $39,$49 and $79. Now that is a good buy on a lifetime warranty vise.
They are on the web page. Check them out.
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TVA is drawing the lake down now. So float trips are the way to go. Last week the fishing was ok. Nothing special by OK. There was a lot of rain bringing off colored water. But fish still ate.
Matthew Guinn said his clients yesterday caught a couple of Browns that were full of eggs. Go figure.
It is suppose to be the rainbow trout’s turn. But evidently some browns don’t obey the rules.
Matthew said his clients did not catch a ton of fish, but the ones they caught were quality fish.
TVA should continue to generate this week and fishing should pick up. For when they do a steady schedule, the fish turn on.
Give us a call at 423-878-2822.
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Here is a short video from one of our long time guides Josh McFadden. He fished yesterday for a while.
This short video shows you how to mend..which produces a good drift.. which is the key to catching fish on he South Holston River. The flies were small stuff…BWO nymphs.. Sawyers Pheasant tails..# 18-20 skinny flies.
The color of the water looks very good for streamers also.

Rod Champion

South Holston River 3.2.15


March. The month of the Blue Wing Olive. It is certainly a great month to be both a nympher and a dry fly guy/gal. The nymphal drift will be happening very soon if it hasn’t begun already, and the hatches have been great depending on the reach of river you decide to fish. No bugs? Move on and go find them elsewhere.

Dry fly stuff? Blue Wings and midges are trendy. Have ya heard? They are the name of the game right now and will remain that way through the month.

Nymphing? Still keepin’ it small. Olives…skinny too.

Midges. Definitely a player as per usual. More so up higher though than the rest of the river.

The water will be pretty dirty the next couple of days due to runoff. The TVA will be running some as well because of some events for some veterans this week. Not sure about weeks end though. Because of the big rain that is expected, they may run some. Be we’ll see.

March is a good month to fish here on the South Holston River. Watauga River too. Caddis should be thinking about making their appearance soon. We can certainly help you catch them on both rivers here at the South Holston Fly Shop. Let us know how we can help.


South Holston River 2.23.15


Snow. Quite the common scene here on the South Holston River the last week or so. It’s been cold too. Real cold. But how has the fishing been through it all? Good! Really good. “Steady” might even be the better word.

Blue Wing Olives have been the name of the game. They’ve actually been showing themselves pretty regularly. Even during the days that most can’t endure. Some days big too to keep the dry fly gang happy!

The nymphing has been more than solid as well. Again, Blue Wing stuff keeping them small and skinny.

Midges during the coldest parts of the day have produced. Small…22’s and smaller.

Have you heard? Spring is a good time to fish here. Really. Great nymphing and great dry fly fishing. Blue Wings, early season sulphurs, midges if your into that sort of thing? They’ll soon be here on the South Holston River. Will you? Come and give us a shout here at the South Holston Fly Shop



South Holston River 2.13.15


We have had a little bit of high water to float on this week on the South Holston River. Paul hopped in my boat this week and had some good nymphing. Low water has been little difficult though some days. Not everyday, but some. Matt also had good high water stuff earlier this week.

The weekend outlook and beyond? Cold with a chance of snow and lots of wind through next week. February is still here I guess. Winter huh? It gets cold…

Blue Wings have been out and about most days for the dry fly guys. Lots of fish up midging too.

The bobber watchers have had success with the itty bitty stuff…midges and small blue wing olive nymphs. Real small I tell ya. Beadless wouldn’t hurt either.

Low water flows in the afternoon at least for the next few days. Great for the wade angler.

Spring is a nice time to be here…it truly is. Call now to discuss booking options for the coming months. They’ll fill up rather quickly, so don’t miss out!


South Holston River 2.2.15

Just a little video stuff to change things up. Josh and I were out and about on an afternoon off playing with the go pro…it was fun. Sometimes you just need someone else to enjoy it with, as many know I typically enjoy fishing alone on my days off from the shop and guiding.

Big things happening on the South Holston River lately. Good nimping, good dry fly fishing and consistent midge fishing has had anglers from all walks of life enjoying the resource. The closed sections are also open again. So the river is WIDE OPEN…go fishing.

Nymphs that we like? Small olive nymphs for the most part. Hasn’t really mattered as long as they are skinny and tiny. Small PT’s, Rod’s Olive Nymph, Scooter Midge, Skinny Nelsons etc…

Dries? Lots of Olive hatches lately. Sometimes big, sometimes not, but that’s winter fishing…at least we have it here all year long. The dry fly stuff that is. We’ve been liking Puff Daddy’s a lot lately. Simple RS2 type stuff as well.

Midges? Trial and error. Sometimes a darker pattern can lighten your mood, or the fishes mood…either way. But always small. 20-24 has been the name of the game.

Lot’s of low water it’s looking like here on the South Holston River for at least the next few days. Hooray! The low water fishing is getting good now, and should continue to be as we keep a consistent schedule.

Cold weather gear like Simms and Redington Jackets for those blustery February days. Gloves, socks and more here at the South Holston Fly Shop. Come on by or give us a shout for all of your trip and river needs.


South Holston River 1.24.15


Cold and a little snowy today, but all is well on the South Holston River. The fishing has certainly picked back up, and we have had decent bugs just about all week…nice. Good wading schedules too. At least as far as the afternoons go.

Dry/dropper type setups have definitely been the ticket on the upper end. Or a light nymph rig with a small blue nymph or midge under some yarn or palsa…try it, you may dig it.

As for the straight dry fly stuff? Been pretty good. Blue Wings mostly, but there has even been some sulphurs showing themselves. Pretty cool if you ask me. Don’t know if there is another river on this planet where you can say you get sulphurs almost all year, even in the coldest months of the year, a warm weather bug can show itself. They’re confused, but they’re still nice to see.

Open all year here at the South Holston River Fly Shop. Cold weather needs? We got ya covered. Guide trips? We can do that to. We would love to help you out.


South Holston Fly Shop 1.21.15


The fishing here on the South Holston River has been about as turbulent as it gets. Real good one day and real tough the next. So it goes. But the ship has seemed to right itself the last couple of days. High water and low water both.

The midge game is the game most of us have been playing for frequent success. Itty bitty. Real small. The blue wing bite at times has been pretty good. But not many bugs coming off to speak of the last couple of days. A few on the upper end, but nothing to really write home about. The constantly fluctuating release schedule and weather has impacted the fishing as well. But again, if we can get back to a steady pattern on both fronts, we should be looking good.

Call us here at the shop for anything you need South Holston or Watauga River related. We got ya covered at the South Holston Fly Shop. Trips, cold weather gear like the Simms Extream Jacket (really warm) and more.


South Holston River 1.15.14


The sluice is loose here on the South Holston River. How’s it been? “Good”, say many. Really good. The 200 cfs has really done wanders the last couple of days. REMEMBER: 200 cfs is EASY WADING! Ideal really. Some periods of extended hatches, better nymphing and great midging are all in play. So there is something for everyone! Maybe except for those streamer guys. Pitch ‘em if ya want though.

Bugs? Blue wings. Lots at times. Other times? Not as many. But still fish looking for them. Not as many sulphurs out and about. They may be over with. But I still wouldn’t go without at least a few patterns. We like puff daddy stuff and cripples mostly right now. Basic comparaduns can do the trick as well.

Nymphers are keeping it small for the most part. The olive nymph bite is back with a vengeance…mostly

Midges are real small. Black flies too as per usual in January. Have fun with them…or have fun being frustrated with them. Either way, the fish are on ‘em.

Plenty of trip days available these next two months here at the South Holston River Fly Shop. It really is a good time to be here. We promise. Even if it’s a little cold.



South Holston River 1.12.14

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Rain, rain, come and stay…we need it. Sort of anyway. We’ll need it for the summer. There has been a reported unit outage at the South Holston Dam, so they will be sluicing 200 cfs for the week according to the powers that be at the TVA. What could this mean? Should be good bugs. “Should” being the key word. Be careful though, they may open her up at any moment. Sometimes they’ll do that if they are performing any sort of maintenance on the generator.

Blue Wings have certainly been present most days. Some days better than others. Last week, the coldest days had better bugs.

Sulphurs? Occasionally. They’re about done for the most part. Might need to wait until April to see those bigger hatches again.

Midges? Definitely been the most prevalent as is typical of the winter. Black flies are also covering up the river at times. Fish love ‘em.

Nymphing? That’s been unusually up and down. At least for some of us. Olive nymph stuff and some egg stuff have been the big players. But those big players are small. So keep ‘em that way.

Solid week ahead here on the South Holston River. Especially if they stick to the sluice. Weather looks good too. Even though it’s a little on the chilly side. But hey, that’s just January fishing…

Drift boats are on their way soon. Hyde’s…give the shop a call if you’re interested. They’ll be here and gone before you know it.



South Holston River 1.7.14


Long time client and friend of the shop, Willie Drake. He has  spent the last few days fishing with us, but it only took one fish to make his trip a good one.  Congratulations Willie, it’s all down hill from here!

Not much has changed here besides the extra cold weather we will be having the next few days. Windy too. Cold doesn’t normally bother us here on the South Holston River, but the wind can sure make things a little more difficult. Have you practiced your wind cast lately? You’ll need it today.

Nymphing? Picking up a little as we get into a more stable release schedule. it’ll will begin to climb out of the cellar as we keep consistent temperatures too…might not be today though. Blue Wing Olive stuff mostly, some egg stuff too if you’re into it.

Has midged well the last few days as well. Itty bitty.

Bugs? Yay say some. Nay say others. But there has been at least SOME blue wings and sulphurs flying around each afternoon.

Cold? Yes, it’s January. Come by the South Holston Fly Shop to get all you need for the rest of the winter.  Hats, Simms gloves, maybe that extra warm Simms Xstream jacket? We dig it. You may as well.  We’re still fishing too. Trip dates are available through the rest of the winter and early spring. Come get some with us here on the mighty South Holston River.



South Holston River 1.5.14


Spring anyone? We are certainly looking forward to it here on the South Holston River. Watauga River too. The fishing now has been about as up and down as it gets here in East Tennessee. With the constant fluctuations between release schedules and weather patterns, the fish have definitely mirrored those changes. Good one day, tough the next. Fish don’t like sudden change…

Bugs for the dry fly enthusiast? Some. It’s depended on the day…and time. But there have been some, with some very good hatches happening. Not daily though. But ya got to go to know, right?

Nymphing? Good. But again, at times it has been a little tough.


We will certainly welcome this low water stuff. Especially once the fishing starts to pick back up again. It should once the weather figures out what it wants to be. Winter or spring, Mother Nature? She’s fickle sometimes. I wish she would decide.

Cold weather on the way. But back to nice-ish by the weekend? Some low water options to. Come by and brave it with us here at the South Holston Fly Shop.


South Holston River 12.29.14


Well so much for a low water week. Mother nature must have read my last post. Big rains this last week have caused the TVA to run a lot of water. The lakes need to be kept low this time of year, so that’s what we’re dealing with today. Tomorrow and the rest of the week? It’s looking like they may be cutting back again. At least a little bit of wade fishing can be done. “Hopefully”, says the wade fisherman.

The low water bite prior to the last few days has been pretty good. Lots of midges, lots of olives and some lingering sulphurs. Cool stuff.

Nymphing? Keep ‘em small. Keep ‘em skinny. Blue wing stuff mostly. They like them especially as the bugs get moving.

Midging? Absolutely. The smaller the better.

High water has rocked for the most part. Some days better then others. But mostly good. The dry fly bite during the big water times has also been a blast. Although yesterday they seemed to be a little more selective than they have in days prior.

We hope Santa delivered all of those good to our fishy friends here at the South Holston Fly Shop. Now we’re on to the new year. New beginnings? Not here, we’ll just keep on rolling on the place with no off season…the South Holston River


South Holston River 12.22.14

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Low water is back here on the South Holston River! Sorry for the hiatus, but Christmas has consumed many of us here at the shop. We’ve still been fishing though! We may still have some high water in the mornings and later in the days to come, but for the most part, the wade fishing will be a major possibility barring any huge rain events in the near future.

While the high water fishing has been great, the low water fishing will pick back up if it hasn’t already as we settle into a low water pattern.

Will there be bugs? More than likely. Sulphurs are still on the docket. Blue Wings too. Lots of them mixed in. Midges as a filler. The dry fly gang will be more than pleased most afternoons.

Nymphing and midging? Absolutely. Itty bitty blue wing nymphs doing really well along with the usual assortment of midges that we like to employ.

Should be a good week of fishing for those who have their priorities in line during this week of Christmas. The shop will be closed Christmas Day, but open before and after for all of your needs to make a day on the South Holston and Watauga River an enjoyable one.


First Cast of the day….

Tom Wolf caught this brown trout on his first cast with Matt Champion yesterday on the South Holston River.
The dry fly fishing has actually been very good the last couple of weeks on high water. Both BWO’s and Sulphurs have been on the water and heads popping up to eat them.
Come see us or call us at 423-878-2822.
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Thanks ,

Couple of Nice Fish

Bill Bolinger and his freind Mike floated with Matt Champion yesterday. The big fish do what big fish do, get off.
But these are dandies.
If interested in a trip call us at 423-878-2822
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The bugs abound also. Joe says the dry fly fishing is outstanding.

Couple Of Big Browns …

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ole Denton caught these dandies on a Float trip with Matt Champion on Saturday,here on the South Holston River. If you want some of this action, give us a call at 423-878-2822.

We have some Scientific Anglers’ Matery Sharksin and XPS 3 wt. Lines on Sale.
Plus some Airflowe Delta Floating Lines 3,4,5,6 wt. lines on Sale.
They can be seen on the HOT Deals section of our online store.
Thank you

South Holston River 12.3.14

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December and all is well here on East Tennessee’s, South Holston River. Well, for the most part anyway. There has been some up and down moments for many. Bugs one day and then none the next day. Fish up on them one day and then not the next. Nothing has fallen into the “consistent” category for whatever reason. She’ll bounce back though. She always does.

The midge fishing? Mostly good. Still saying with things on the darker side. Sweet Things, your favorite zebra, Olivia’s, darker strippers, etc.

Nymph Bite? Finding loads of fish eating BWO nymphs. But not every stretch of water. Keep those patterns thin. They like skinny stuff here…

Dry Stuff? Nearly everyday, something is happening. Sulphurs, olives or midges…take your pick. Maybe all three at the same time? It’s happened before…

Some rain on the horizon for this weekend. We may be having some more high water days soon. All day even.

We plenty of dates open for this month of December here at the South Holston Fly Shop. Some sale items as well. Ask about both. We can help.







South Holston River 11.29.14

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We now climb ever so closer to our winter season on the South Holston River. Which is typically much like our fall season just with a little bit more cold. But we catch the fish. And lots…normally. As we wrap up November, the Sulphurs are still here. Mostly during low water periods. The Blue Wings are also present during both high and low water. Nothing new on that front either. Lots of bugs and lots of fish up on them.

The nymphing? Pretty good with the BWO type stuff, but it has shown some symptoms of inconsistency during low water especially. Some days we have been able to smoke ‘em. Others? Might take a little more time and effort. That should level out as we get some stable temperatures in the coming week. Remember, cold temperatures don’t necessarily make for poor fishing here. It’s the up and down, hot and cold stuff that can make fishing a little funky. And that’s what we’ve had this week. Snow, then temperatures in the 50’s. Not always conducive to fantastic fishing, but we’ll roll with it. It’ll be a good weekend for sure.

Midging? The big ticket lately. Midge fishing is about as good as it gets right now. Should stay that way through the winter.

High Water? We dig it still. Well, we always dig it. Nymphing is good when we have the water to float. That’s typically been the morning and early afternoons. Half and half, anyone?

New Simms winter stuff has arrived. Hoodies, guide jackets, ExStream Jackets that will keep you warm forever and much more here at the South Holston Fly Shop.
We have some killer deals on HOT DEALS page here on web page.
Check them out!


South Holston River 11.24.14


Weather dude says windy here in Bristol, TN. I hope everyone has practiced their wind casts. You’ll need them for the bugs this afternoon. Sulphurs and blue wings don’t seem to mind the wind here on the South Holston River. Or anything for that matter. They come off whenever they feel like it seems lately. This place can be 365 day dry fly river. There is no question about it. Maybe that’s why I sold my soul for it?

Lots of blue wings around some sections of river the last few days behind the release. Maybe even in front too? We’ll see today with a back to “typical” morning release from the dam. Sulphurs will be present on the upper end after the water falls out this afternoon for sure. And tomorrow, and the next day…and the next…

Nymphing has picked up the last few days as well. Olives, man. Lots of ‘em now. Slow and deep, or the shallow riffle too. Take your pick.

Midges are catching loads of them too if you haven’t heard…Strippers, Olivia’s, Sweet Things and Rainbow Killers during low light. Keep it small.

REMEMBER: There are two sections of river closed until February 1st for the spawn. That means NO FISHING. A few people now have been spotted in these sections. We can see you. We’re out there daily. I promise. There are signs posted for these sections. You can also stop by the shop for assistance. We’d be more than happy to help you stay out of them. You’ve been warned. I have no intention of calling anyone out, but it’s starting to become a trend. These sections contain some of the best spawning habitat on the river. And they contain the future to this fantastic resource. Don’t ruin it. Not just for us, but for yourself. The fine for being spotted is a pretty hefty one as well. Just sayin’.