View Full Version : Watauga Reports

10-29-2008, 02:42 PM
I may be heading up to the Watauga next weekend and was wondering what I might expect as far as fishing conditions, hatches, crowds, water levels, and generation schedules etc. Anybody have any info?



milligan trout degree
11-02-2008, 08:18 PM

I've fished the watuaga three times the last two weeks. two of the times were at the bend for about an hour and a half each time in the evening. first time out, there weren't any hatches. i caught a few on nymph rigs of copper johns, ptail, and then white black/gold zebra midge. i caught about six on a small olive bugger. the second time i went was last friday about five in the evening. water was just coming down and there was a decent hatch of small dark caddisflies. i caught two small bows on a white/silver zebra midge to match the creme midges i saw when i first got there. i switched back to the bugger and caught four fish, none bigger than 11" though. i switched to a nymph rig of san juan and ptail and ended the day sight fishing to a 12" brookie who i managed to fool that my wonderful girlfriend reeled in. my latest trip was yesterday morning to hunter bridge. i started fishing with a couple nymphs early but didnt catch anything. i moved upstream and tried the small olive bugger and caught three or four. moved downstream and flat laid it to some fish. finished the day with 22 fish to hand on the bugger and probably missed that many more. it was a lot like bluegill fishing where i knew when the fish would hit on each cast and expected it everytime. what was also like bluegill fishing is the fact that i did not catch one fish out of those 22 that was over nine inches. literally. small bow after small bow after small bow. i dont know if they've overstocked that bad in the watauga or what the deal is, but it isnt fishing the same as it has in the past. i used to expect about every fish to be around 10-12 inches. now im not even catching a 1:25 ratio of decent fish. thats even with fishing a fly normally thought to catch larger fish. this is why i like the soho so much better. if you want to catch fish though, the watauga sure has a ton of them, and it is a beautiful river. im sure the trophy sections probably fishes better right now if you can float it, if not, id say hit the s. holston, but remember some sections are closed for the spawn as of yesterday.

11-02-2008, 10:50 PM
I agree with you Milligan, I rented a cabin on the Watauga this past Wed. thru Sun. Fished everyday (all day) and had most of my luck on a size 18 split case pheasent tail. They were all small with only a few over 12". Caught a few on a Zebra Midge because they were hatching everywhere I was and I even saw a few Sulphur's popping at an hour or two before dark but the PT was the trick.

I would cast about 3-4 foot above a rise and bamm, every cast dang near it but all small. I did head over to the SoHo for a couple of hours on Thursday and caught about 8-10 on a stripper midge size 22. Saw some VERY large browns but none would take. All fish over 12" with 2 over 14...should have just kept fishing there but I have never fished the Watauga before this trip and really wanted to learn it. All in all, about 50 -60 fish a day but this was ALL day fishing as my cabin was in sight the entire time and food was close.

GO TO THE SOHO for better fish or go to the Watauga for more fish and beauty...just my opinion for this week.

11-03-2008, 03:58 AM
I've fished the Watauga alot in the past and still fish it occasionally. To be honest, to fish the Watauga and get bigger fish, you need a boat. So much of the good fishing is between areas with no public access and a float trip is in order. You guys are right, the Watauga is set in a beautiful area. A float trip down the river just to soak in the scenery alone is worth it!

11-03-2008, 10:16 AM
Well the plan was to float but my friend failed to get a 'toon, so we have had a change of plans. Thanks for the ideas. We may be heading to the SoHo or we may be going to NC. We don't leave until Thursday so I have plenty of time to decide. Thanks again for the replies.