View Full Version : Greetings from Cen. KY

07-23-2007, 11:50 AM
Hey Folks!

Greeting from central Kentucky. At another forum site, a fellow fly fisher told me that I should check out this site for some information about fly fishing in Tenn. He said that there were some very knowledgable and friendly folks here that might be able to answer some questions I had about Tenn. fly fishing. And after checking out the site, I can see that he was right.

My wife and I have finally decided to make a getaway and we've decided on Sevierville as a vacation spot. We're heading there in the first week of December. She's also given me the okay to take my fly fishing gear for a little time on the water...which is music to my ears!! Now, I don't have a truck load of money to spend, but I also want to get onto some fish.

So, I've got some questions to post and maybe you'all can help me out. Any and all replies are welcome advice!!

1. Where would I find good water at a reasonable distance from Sevierville?
2. What is the fishing scene like in December in Tenn.?
3. Any suggestions for reasonably price guides?
4. Is topwater action still happening in December?
5. I may try a guide one day and venture out on my own on another...anyone have information on public access to these stretches of water?

A little info about me...I've been fly fishing for over a dozen years. Mainly warm water fishing in a Blue Ribbon smallmouth creek that runs through my town. I've had great success fly fishing the White River in Ark. for trout. My preferance is to wade fish...there's just something about standing in a river, in the middle of nature, stalking trout. I also tie my own flies when I can. If I have a weakness, I would say it is fishing nymphs...I mainly fish topwater or sub-surface.

So as you can see, I'm just trying to piece together as much information as I can before the trip. The South Holston and the Wataugwa rivers have been highly recommended as places to go...but I really don't know anything about them. So, any info at all will help me out. Thanks in advance !!


Gerry Romer
07-23-2007, 09:33 PM
I can definitely recommend the South Holston as a year-round fishery. I love being able to fish dries (sulfurs) in cold weather and the South Holston seems to have a year-round sulfur hatch. However, you're talking about a 2 hour drive from Sevierville. You should be able to fish Gatlinburg and the immediate vicinity. The Townsend side of the park is about 45 minutes away from Sevierville (with favorable traffic) and fishing in the Park in winter tends to be difficult at best. Who knows?? If we get some substantial rain this fall, and moderate temperatures, fishing in the park might be really nice!

Gerry Romer

07-24-2007, 08:29 AM
Thanks Gerry. I had heard that fishing in the park during December would be rather difficult and that the South Holston would be a better bet. I didn't realize that it was 2 hours away though....That might change my thinking.

However, it is a vacation...and for me, those don't come that often!! So, I might just go ahead and bite the bullet. Hopefully, we'll get that rain and with any luck, we'll also get some 60+ degree weather during that week. Boy, that's a LOT of "hoping".

I'm going to continue to plan for that trip...so if anyone else has some more ideas...feel free to chime in.


David Knapp
07-24-2007, 09:27 AM
You can't go wrong on the South Holston. Hugh Hartsell would be a good guide to check into. He is a member on this board and his website can be found here (http://www.smokymountainflyguide.com/). The SoHo will be your best bet for good dry fly action that time of year.

Don't discount fishing in the park as well. It is probably hit or miss at that time of year but if the weather has been warm, the fishing can still be phenomenal even when it is supposed to be winter.

Byron Begley
07-24-2007, 10:59 AM

I agree with Plateau Angler, book a trip with Hugh. He guides in the Park and on the South Holson. He is a great guy and excellent guide.

I grew up in Richmond, Kentucky but live in Townsend, Tennessee now. Where in Central Kentucky do you live?


07-24-2007, 02:21 PM
I actually got in touch with Hugh before posting on this site. I wrote him an email similar to my opening post here and he quickly got in touch with me. He told me that the SoHo would be my best bet for December fishing because of the constant water temps coming out of the dam. Sounds pretty reliable to me. I saw his site while doing some research and I'm glad to hear that he's got a good reputation with the folks here!!

I apologize if I seem to be asking too many questions in my opening post...but I'm the kind of fly fisher that likes to do research on an area that I'm not familiar with. I did that for my Arkansas trip and had an extremely success fly fishing trip. I just like to be prepared and try to take "chance" out of the equation. And what better way to do research than to get the info first hand from the folks who fish there regularly. And, quite frankly, December is not my ideal time to be fly fishing...but I've never done any winter fly fishing before, so I'm game. I might have to get back in touch with Hugh and set something up for the SoHo. And if the weather is nice enough, try the park as well.

Hey Byron...good to see a fellow Kentuckian. I'm originally from N.KY. but lived in Lexington for about 15 years. I then married a Frankfort girl and now work for the state and live in the capitol city as well. While living in Lexington, I got turned on to fly fishing on the Elkhorn and still fish it today...great smallmouth fishing!!

I hope to become better aquainted with east Tenn. fishing in the future. My stepson just married a girl from Johnson City. They currently live in Lexington as he is starting Med School this fall. But a hospital in Jcity has offered to pay off his school loans if he comes to work there when he's out of school. So, east Tenn. may become like a second home to me. I'm thrilled to hear that fly fishing is alive and well in the area!! So, you can bet that I'm going to be a regular at this site.

Gerry Romer
07-24-2007, 10:32 PM
But a hospital in Jcity has offered to pay off his school loans if he comes to work there when he's out of school. So, east Tenn. may become like a second home to me. I'm thrilled to hear that fly fishing is alive and well in the area!! So, you can bet that I'm going to be a regular at this site.

All the more reason to break yourself in on the S. Holston!! Man, you are going to wear that river out!!


07-25-2007, 01:34 PM
I grew up in and near Louisville, graduated from Oldham County in 1980 and eventually UK. Always meant to fish the Elkorn more but didn't do it. You ever fish the Licking River? I have wanted to fish it (Henschall's home waters for the black bass!), maybe a weekend float in the canoe. Any thoughts on that subject or the Elkorn? I spend most of my time troutfishing, but like to fish for smallmouth as well.

07-25-2007, 02:32 PM
Js, looks like we're the same age then. I liked the "eventually" graduated from UK...lol...don't we all...eventually!!

The Elkhorn is awesome for smallie action. But the key is to find a place that gets less action than other places...and those places are getting harder and harder to find. I have a few friends that let me have access...but those places don't fish like they used to. The only problem with wading is getting to know the bottom of the creek...you'll be waist deep and one mistep and you're over your head. I've fished it enough to know the bottom of my favorite stretches...but it can be dangerous in high flow. Your best bet is to contact Canoe KY and take a float trip. They have several different packages to choose from as far as the length of the trip. I've never done a floater, but I'd love to do that some day. The key there is to do it in the late spring or early summer (June/July)...when the water flow is pretty good. I've found that the early summer is the best fishing on the creek...slower, warmer water and the fish become more stationary. About the only fly I use for the creek is a dear hair slider called a "Hairy Mara". It's a killer!! If you ever decide to take a float trip on the Elkhorn, contact me via yahoo or on this site.

I've never fished the Licking...but I'd love to some day. I hear there's some good action around there, too. Again, looks like a canoe is the best way to check that one out.

I'm really looking forward to doing some trout fishing in E.Tenn. I told my wife about fishing the S. Holston and she said "go for it". So, I think I will. I will more than likely get in touch with Hugh. I'd like to get a pro's take on the river. Plus, I've never hired a guide before...so that should be pretty cool.

07-25-2007, 09:22 PM
Hi Kreyfish,

I'm in Louisville and fished Elkhorn yesterday (Tuesday) and it was great. I have been going to Otter Creek and hiking in a bit and have had some luck there as well.

I'm heading to Townsend to take class at LRO in September and was wondering about a trip back in December as well. Hoping for some good weather so I can make the trip.

I'll be interested in any comments about December fishing in GSM.

07-26-2007, 09:06 AM
Hey David...boy, I hate to admit this, but I haven't fished the Elkhorn ONCE this year. The summer has just been crazy and seems to be slipping away. I just can't let myself be shut out this year. As a matter of fact, I can't remember any year, since I started fly fishing, that I've totally missed out on fishing the Elkhorn. I might have to take care of that this weekend...I've never fished the Otter before. I'll have to put that on my "to do" list!!

Yeah, I'm really looking forward to doing some December fishing. Not my most ideal time to be out on the water...but I'm ready for it!!!

07-26-2007, 01:42 PM
Otter Creek is OK. You do need to hike in a bit to get away from the swimmers and tubers. (See, I am starting to learn the lingo from the board here) :smile: I have caught some rock bass and caught, quite by accident, a brown trout.

Have you been to any other places up your way? I'm looking for some new ones in KY....

07-26-2007, 03:19 PM
where do you usually put in on the elkhorn?

07-26-2007, 03:34 PM
David, check out this site http://www.kdfwr.state.ky.us/pdf/smb.pdf and go to the last two pages. This might help with what you're looking for. This year, I've been mostly fly fishing in ponds...it's quick and easy. My job(s) have been keeping me away from the water this year, thus my wife is quite accepting of the fact that I want to go fishing on our vacation. I paint and wallpaper on the side and business has been good this year...but the down side is lack of fishing time.

Hey prouse, if you're talking about puting in a canoe...most park a vehicle at Canoe KY (with their permission) and then put in at the Forks of Elkhorn. Again, you'll need permission to leave your vehicle at the camp ground there until you come back for it. You're best bet...and trouble free...is just to rent a canoe from them. They drop you off with the canoe and then your vehicle is already there when you finish your trip. They have a couple of different packages to choose from...distance wise.

07-26-2007, 10:06 PM

Here is a link to canoe kentucky.

www.canoeky.com (http://www.canoeky.com)