View Full Version : Info on the Watauga
04-14-2008, 10:15 AM
I'm heading for a quick trip to the Watauga and could use any info that you all may be able to give. I would like to know places to wade or float, flies, fly shops that can give me info and flies, and also if there are any places that are willing to shuttle. I have a personal pontoon that I would like to float with if at all possible. Any info?
04-14-2008, 01:30 PM
Caddis, caddis, caddis, and hurry up. Size 14 and 16 Brown, Green, and Black. Black and brown at the moment. Take your toon, otherwise fishing will be limited to crowded water. There are shuttle services available through East Tennessee Fly Fishing Guide Services. It's a husband wife duo. The husband runs the guide service while the wife runs a ton of shuttles. Her name is Kelly Reet. You can google it. Run Blevins Rd. to the Twin Bridges at the steam plant. It's a three hour float if you didn't stop to fish! Otherwise it'll take you from about 9 to 7pm to fish thouroughly! It's a caddis and midge river! Have fun brother! I just went yesterday, in my new Hyde...Had alot of fun, but becareful in the rapids in a larger boat...it's a little technical in spots when the water is low...It's been low alot here lately!
It's definately worth the trip! I've been down the river alot here as of late so feel free to e-mail me with any questions! As far as wade access you'd have to ask some of the other members...I believe MilliganTroutDegree is one to ask, I believe he fishes it often, lives nearby!
My email is Fishermansfly@Gmail.com
Hoping I helped,
04-14-2008, 01:50 PM
I agree with all said here. The guide and shuttle are Jason and Kelly Reep not Reet. You can wade at Hunter Bridge and further up by Wilbur dam.Sycamore Shoals is OK too. Check the generation schedule first. Don't wade or toon in high water.
04-14-2008, 02:42 PM
Thanks Kyle, I though it was Reep, but when I talked with her on the phone I swear she spelled it Reet...It was wierd because it was if she was correcting the way I said her name?! I also second wading or tooning in high water! That river is generally navigable in low water! There are a few spots you may have to get out in! Sycamore shoals is a good wade spot, I've personally fished there and there are some pretty runs through there! The park there is a pretty place to picnic at as well! There is also a minor league baseball field just up from Sycamore shoals that has good wading access behind the fields! There is a walking/park trail there as well! The quality sections are really hard to access without a boat! The old campground is now a thing of the past...The guy who bought it has now started construction on his large rental cabins! There is one almost fully constructed! I was upset when I looked at it yesterday! Just a month ago it wasn't there!
04-14-2008, 03:37 PM
Thanks for the tips. I'll be sure to check it out and get the shuttle service. What number can I call to check generation schedules at the ****'s and do they forcast furture generation schedules so I can make the call Friday night or do I have to call that morning?
milligan trout degree
04-14-2008, 06:08 PM
I don't know much about floating that river. I plan on getting a toon for myself here soon, so hopefully I'll be able to give a report about that. I can help you out with some wading spots though.
I'll start as low as I've fished on the river and move up. The area called the bend is about in the middle of the river, just above where the trophy section starts. If you're looking to float the trophy section, this is the place to put it. It is a tva boat ramp. A lot of small brookies occupy this section, and you have a great shot at a slam if you fish this area. If you're going on a weekend, but I wouldn't recommend hitting this site as it gets hit hard every weekend. There's also not a lot of wading option up or downstream here. Moving upstream, you can fish at sycamore shoals park. There is a lot of access here, and I would call it dry/dropper water. About two hundred yards of slow moving water. I've caught some good fish in this area. Nymph rigs and streamers are difficult here because of the amount of sea weed type grass growing heavily in this area. With a big hatch coming off, this section is a great area to fish. Moving up still, you can fish around the twins stadium in downtown elizabethton (turn left at krystal, then left by the stadium). Even if you're going on the weekend, this area will not be overrun by fishermen. Simply a ton of fishable water here. Riffles, runs, slick water, mix of everything here. You can also fish up and downstream quite a ways. Above that, you can fish hunter bridge which someone else mentioned. I fished here last weekend and had a great day. It will be busy though. No doubt, always is on the weekends. I'm kinda partial to this area because its pretty much where I learned to fly fish on tailwaters. Downstream of the bridge offers the best fishing except for the section of water bordering the road just above the bridge, and perhaps a slower pool a little ways above the bridge. A fish I call the torpedo lives there. About a 24" bow that I've seen many times, but spooks at even the slightest of all abnormalities, sometimes even normalities. This is good water here. Above that, you can pull off the road headed towards the dam at some deep slick water, but I've never heard of much luck coming from this area other than at night, and there is a good story about that bridge being haunted (Siam bridge). Just above siam bridge, you can pull over at the "goat hole". You'll see the goats in a small pen beside a fly fishing lodge. I haven't fished that much, but there is a good deep run you can drag nymphs through. On up, I've heard of people fishing at bee cliff cabins (my baseball coach caught a 22" bow there this sunday), but I'm not sure about public access there. Finally, on up that road, you can fish right below the dam. A ton of fish are here, and usually aren't very picky. Dry and dropper will keep you busy all day here with small bows, browns, and brookies.
All these spots are publically known, so I'm not giving away real secrets. I wish I knew about some secrets on the watauga, I'd love to have a special private section of the river, but its a great river. If its crowded, don't be afraid to hike around them, I have found some beautiful water that probably never gets fished because people always congregate towards the main access.
If you float it on your toon, let me know what section you float and how difficult it was. I'll have a toon to bring up here next school year and would like to know what to look out for. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great trip, I'll be either there or the S. Holston Sunday.
04-14-2008, 09:56 PM
Nice post Ben. I have always enjoyed the Watauga. You are right about a little walking will move you away from the crowds, even in the main access areas you mentioned. Early April is usually good fishing on the Watauga. I miss living up that way. What hatches are you seeing?
gmreeves, Good luck on the Watauga. If you are not familiar with the generation schedule on the Watauga be extra careful when wading. I've gotten mesmerized by a hatch and didn't notice the rising water. It took some time to move off the river. I always thought the Watauga schedule is a little different than most tail waters. Enjoy yourself but give yourself plenty of time and know where the bank is.
milligan trout degree
04-15-2008, 01:12 AM
The watauga does seem to have some funky release schedules sometimes. You can usually still fish around the water rising and falling though. I meant to put this in my last post, but I'll add it now. It takes about five hours for the water to get to the bend, maybe a half hour less. It takes near four hours to get to the twins stadium with sycamore shoals being between those two sections. It takes a about two hours for the water to get down to Hunter bridge. Fishing any public access above that, you should probably get out within an hour or half hour from release times. Obviously, fishing right at the dam, the water comes up very fast.
Monktrout, I haven't fished the watauga as much as the s. holston lately, but I did fish downstream of Hunter bridge not last sunday, but the one before that. Not a lot of bug activity that day. I saw just a couple black caddis, and some sparse blue wings. Fish weren't rising to either, however I caught fish well on pheasant tails and blue wing nymphs. The hot fly was the copper john in orignal copper. I didn't fish it till I was about to leave, but I caught back to back fish out of a run I had been hitting hard with pheasant tails before. I also talked to a buddy of mine fishing near the dam who did well with a copper john too. I'm afraid the cooler temps have put hatches down some. Maybe not blue wings though. The best blue wing hatches I've been seeing on the watauga have come around the bend. I've seen just a few dark stoneflies also. Pretty small. I have another buddy who has been doing a lot of fishing in the town of watauga (I've never fished this section of river), but said that hatches were a lot better down there and fish were rising to blue wings, caddis, and stoneflies. He's been catching nice bows from there. He also said he found some late spawning bows where he and another guy caught 10+ in the 18+ inch range. I don't think I'm allowed to release the information on where they were though. Actually, I have no clue how to get where they were, but just know generally. Impressive though. I've got a killer work load on me this week with papers and exams, so I'm celebrating the end of the week by laying out of my one friday class and hitting the river all day. Probably the S. Holston though. I'll be sure to take some pictures and leave a report.
04-15-2008, 02:20 PM
I have another buddy who has been doing a lot of fishing in the town of watauga (I've never fished this section of river), but said that hatches were a lot better down there and fish were rising to blue wings, caddis, and stoneflies. He's been catching nice bows from there. He also said he found some late spawning bows where he and another guy caught 10+ in the 18+ inch range. I don't think I'm allowed to release the information on where they were though. Ben
sounds like the ledges..private access
04-15-2008, 02:25 PM
I just went yesterday, in my new Hyde...Had alot of fun, but becareful in the rapids in a larger boat...it's a little technical in spots when the water is low...It's been low alot here lately!
Brett, you're killing me...where are some pics?:biggrin: Wish I could have joined you but the HI was fun...
04-15-2008, 03:02 PM
Brett, congrats on the boat. if you're ever in need of a partner to help you row, I'd be down for the task. :biggrin:
milligan trout degree
04-15-2008, 03:49 PM
sounds like the ledges..private access
I'm not sure about that area, I haven't heard of it. The spawners my friend was catching wasn't there I'm sure. They weren't fishing the watauga that day. But I wouldn't mind stumbling across some spawning bows in the watauga and give my reel a test.
04-16-2008, 03:11 PM
Watauga around Boone area fishing great. Big trout.
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