View Full Version : SoHo Reports

10-10-2007, 09:24 AM
Anyone been on the SoHo recently? I'm heading up this weekend for a couple of days with some friends and I was wondering what folks are having luck with. It looks like cool weather is heading our way, I wonder if that will put the fish down for a few days or make them happy? I have a healthy stock of nymphs, sulphurs, BWO's, midges, and Hugh Hartsell's magic Rockhold Emergers so I hope we're ready for anything.

I'll put up a report with some pictures next week of our trip.


10-10-2007, 11:39 AM
My post on "MARY ANN AND GINGER" was about the SoHo....and I have a few more reports from the past 4 weeks on my page! Hope that helps, the fishing has been good until last week!

Tight Lines

10-10-2007, 10:24 PM
little gray midge size 24/26.

Hugh Hartsell
10-11-2007, 06:10 AM
Good morning guys,
I ventured to the South Holston yesterday after picking some beautiful tomatoes on the Nolichucky River (annual event). The river was covered with people fishing and the wind was blowing pretty strong. It was hard to tell which side of the river that your fly was going to land on, but I did catch fish. There were no hatches taking place, but the wind was bringing a lot of leaves down and the fish were feeding on the drift. I had a Sulfur Compara Dun and a Rockhold Emerger on from the last trip and they took the emerger real well. There was a hatch of Sulfurs the day before.
The temperature is going to be dropping and things are changing each day. You may find BWOs and Blackflies, or Grey Midges and Sulfurs later in the day. The fish will tell you at what level they are feeding in and if any thing is hatching off when you get there, just try to match it. They will probably be clued in to emergers of some sort. Good luck.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tenn.

10-11-2007, 09:11 AM
I spent an hour and a half fishing below the weirs yesterday. I hadn't fished up there in a while because of the crowds. I really had planned to post but after reading Hugh's report thought I would jump in. I actually spent my lunch hour plus 30 minutes there. I was amazed to only see a handful of cars and by walking down the trail and jumping in below the first big pool had the river to myself, could see a couple of guys way down and everybody else was up standing on the grates. I was rewarded with a 14" rainbow that on the first cast, he ate a sulphur comparadun that I actually had on just to keep up with the small dropper that I expected the fish to take. I didn't keep count, but I hooked several fish, most on the dropper, but enough on the sulphur to keep things interesting. Best fish of the day was an 18-20" brown that ate the dropper. He came to hand real easy (when I hooked him I was standing in ankle deep water and I dropped to my knees to bring him to hand), but when he got to hand he wasn't real cooperative so I didn't get a good measurement on him. He was a great looking fish as were most of the others. It had been a while since I had fished that area and the number of active fish is almost mind numbing. There were so many fish feeding that it was hard to decide which one to throw to. Most of the fish were feeding sub-surface, some very close to the bottom, others near the surface, and when a sulphur floated by, there was usually a fish ready to rise and eat it as well. Great way to spend lunch, beats McDonald's! I agree with Hugh, it was windy, and it seemed liked the wind shifted from your back cast to your presentation. It was blowing in every direction at some point. Maybe the wind had moved most of the guys off the water before I got there.

10-11-2007, 11:14 AM
I meant to say that I had NOT planned to post a report. But after being inspired by Hugh I thought I would jump in. I don't want to steal the thread, but Hugh I wondered when and where you were fishing. I keep expecting to bump into you on the river some day. I usually read the reports on your site and really enjoy them. Back to the original thread. You can always expect a crowd on the South Holston, especially if you are coming on the weekend, but every now and then you get lucky and find a "quiet" spot. I fished it one Saturday this summer, which I seldom ever do, and was shocked to discover that I practically had the river to my self. There is a real transition going on right now, and I expect that to be magnified with this weekends changing weather, Like Hugh said, just watch the fish and let them tell you what to do.

10-12-2007, 12:30 PM

Hugh Hartsell
10-12-2007, 09:54 PM
Mike, I just came back through your fine city about 1-1/2 hours ago. I was on Hwy. 44 and Big Springs Road that day and it was full of fishermen. That was strange that they had abandoned the Weir Dam area. Glad you had a good day.
I guided again today and it was filled with some of the strangest complexities and oddities that I believe that I have ever had on the stream. The fish were changing the insects they were feeding on faster than we could tie flies on,for awhile. Then, a Sulfur hatch started and the fish were going crazy. They were feeding with wild abandon and the river was full of people trying to catch them. We were using all the best imitations that we had as was everyone else. We caught about 4-5 fish and that was about all that anyone caught , if they did that well. The fish were turning the water to a froth and very few were being caught.
The last part of it turned into an absolute thing of joy for this old flytier. I accidently ran into CinciVOL and his friends as we were finishing the day up. Dave told me that his friend had just caught a beautiful 24 inch rainbow on the Rockhold Sulfur Emerger. He then pulled out his camera and previewed the fish for us. My head would not fit back into the car after seeing that. He will have more to say, with pictures, when he gets back in. Congratulations to all of them on some great fly presentation and handling of a huge fish, along with pictures. That is the biggest fish that has been caught with this great new fly. Can't wait to see more.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

10-13-2007, 09:55 AM
Hugh, Nice post. Looked at your website. Beautiful tailwater flies. How will the SoHo fish thru Dec? Long trip for me from Chattanooga. I always put a couple of days together. Thanks

Hugh Hartsell
10-13-2007, 10:48 AM
Monk, thanks for the nice comment on the flies. The trout fishing remains good all thru the year and the biggest problem you will encounter in the months of Dec. and Jan. are when the air temps get close to freezing or below, you will have icing of your guides. The flies will get smaller and smaller as the winter months progress. Blackflies, Creme Midges, Grey Midges, and BWOs are the most important flies to use on the river in the colder months. You will need sizes tied in #20-30 to get their attention. Beadhead Pheasanttail Nymphs, Beadhead Rubberlegged Prince Nymphs, various types of Hot Wired Nymphs, # 16-24 will usually bring on some action all through the colder months. The water temps don't change too much unless it's bitter cold for long periods.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tenn.
Be sure to get in touch with LROs for all your tying needs soon, for that season.

10-13-2007, 03:25 PM
Hugh, Thanks for taking time with your response. It is appreciated. I rarely fish anything smaller than#22's and haven't used floro lately. Is floro a big difference maker in 6x? Do I need to start tying #24-26's? Also I especially like your sulphur emerger patterns. I've been looking for the silver bullet sulphur pattern for the Clinch for years Monk

10-13-2007, 04:59 PM
I fished friday afternoon (10/12) and did real well on a BWO with a small nymph dropper. About 2:30 I couldn't believe the number of sulphurs that started coming off. I switched over to a CDC sulphur and couldn't help but catch fish, on several occassions I had 3 or 4 fish in as many casts. No really good fish but just one 12" brown after another on a dry, I'll take it. I intended to fish below the weir but there were some guys waiting on the bank exactly where I was headed, so I decided to head back to the car and move down river a little ways and wait on the water to drop. Turned out to be a good decision. It was a great day for a sportsman to be outdoors. It was in the 50's and overcast with a nice breeze blowing, it really felt cold after 90 degrees on Monday. I saw a couple of deer on my way to the river, caught 40+ fish and before heading out I had 32 turkeys jump off the bluff in front of me and sail over my head into the woods behind me. Great day to be outdoors. The best fish of the day was a 15-17" rainbow that ate a BWO just shortly after the water dropped, nice fish in a strong riffle = a whole lot of fun! Glad to hear that CinciVol and his group were having success. Congrats on the nice fish and congrats to Hugh for a successful fly. I'm giving serious thought to the Beginner Fly Tying Class at LRO this year.

Hugh Hartsell
10-13-2007, 05:13 PM
I think that you can probably get by with the mono in the wintertime. It might not do as well in the summer if there are low skinny water conditions.
If the eyes can stand it, you shoud try to tie a few of the smaller patterns, ie. 24s, 26s, and even smaller. It can really make a difference in a good day or a bad day on the South Holston. Recently, the Grey Midge has been hatching off and you need it in a size 24-26 to get the attention of the fish. They will reward you for your efforts.
I wish that I could tell you that the Rockhold Sulfur Emerger is the silver bullet for the Clinch, but I just have not had enough experience with it on that water. The Sulfurs have been diminished for several years there, and they are just beginning to make a comeback in any numbers. Let's hope they continue to increase and we'll find something for sure that will imitate them on that fine river.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

Hugh Hartsell
10-13-2007, 07:13 PM
Mike, I didn't see your last post until now. It sounds like you had a banner day on your last trip to the river. Those days are the type that you can reflect back on during the coldest days of winter.
I really want to press the point of taking the flytying class at LROs this winter. It will reward you with a whole new perspective on flyfishing. It will increase your confidence, it will open up the world of insect identification, and it will give you an outlet that will seem just like a fishing trip when you are planning and tying the next batch of flies for an upcoming trip. It is a source of relaxation and accomplishment that you will truly appreciate.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

10-13-2007, 09:17 PM
Hugh, Good thoughts. The Clinch has seen some varied sulphur activity the last ten years. It seemed like a good spring this year. Got lucky on a couple of fish. I like using soft hackle variations, cdc, and this year I used a Tom Thumb with some success. Not as tuff this year as in years past. Flies seemed bigger, but not as many bugs as years ago. As for the SoHo , you never know what to expect. I will tie up some 24 gray midges and pt's. Maybe that will make a difference on tougher fish. Thanks

Mike, Sounds like you are ready to start tying. A decent vise, bobbin, and scissors will get you going. Go slow on buying pricey necks. You will add a new hobby that compliments your sporting activity. Remember, you can't always catch a fish, but you can always tie a fly. Good luck

10-13-2007, 10:20 PM
Just a clarification on my part, but you are talking about dry patterns aren't you? I already have lots of 22 and 24 zebra midge patterns in various colors, but don't have any dry patterns that small. Do you prefer to use ostrich herl flies or standard dry fly (hackle) patterns when tying these? When fishing those, do you also use a strike indicator to help in locating your fly?


Hugh Hartsell
10-14-2007, 03:58 AM
Good morning Travis,
I use some of both types of materials for these flies. For instance, I use hackle to tie the dry versions of the Creme Midge and the Grey Midge. They go all they way down to size #30. If I'm tying the emerger pattern of either of these flies, I will use a few wraps of wire with small tips of Ostrich herl for legs and then tie in a CDC feather which I fold over and back to the hookeye to show an opening wingcase. They are both very effective. You just have to watch the way the fish are feeding and see if it is emergers or the dries that they are taking. Many times thay will just rise to the surface and sip this tiny insect. These flies have proven to be extremely effective. I use a Sulfur Compara Dun quite a bit as a strike indicator when fishing these small size flies. Good luck with them.

10-15-2007, 08:34 AM
Hey guys,

Thanks for all your advice last week on the Soho, especially to Hugh who tied some great flies for me and my friends. We fished the river on Friday and Saturday and absolutely had a blast on the water. On Friday morning, we killed some time down river waiting for the water to fall up near the weir and caught one little 'bow on a beadhead near Rockhold. When we thought the water would start to drop upstream, we headed up to the TVA road and hiked in about 1/2 mile down from the weir and, as others said previously, the fish were really feeding heavily on sulphurs. Hugh's emerger pattern worked really well and we each caught a several browns in the 10-14 inch range.

The story gets good though when we headed downstream to fish below Big Springs Rd. When we got there, the water was only beginning to fall so we tied on some beadheads and drifted them in the fast ripples to see if a 'bow would bite. Well, a big one certainly did as you can see (hopefully) in the links below. My buddy caught a 22 inch rainbow that was the highlight of the trip and our collective flyfishing careers to date. It fought for about 20 minutes and really put a pull on the rod due to the heavy current in the water. I had thought that it was caught on the sulphur emerger pattern, but it turns out Todd was using one of Hugh's rubber-legged beadhead prince's. This fish was caught just a cast or two after Todd caught a 16 inch 'bow from the same spot!

By a happy coincidence, Hugh showed up within minutes of the catch and we got to talk for a few minutes about it. I was glad to share our success with him, without whom none of the fish we caught would have been possible. Hugh guided us on the SoHo last OCtober, showed us the best parts of the river, taught us the dry/dropper method, and tied the flies for this trip. He even gave me a free tip on the location of a feeding fish that resulted in a nice rainbow. So a big thanks Hugh!! I'll send you the pictures directly in an email.

Well, all the fishing after that big beast was bonus. We didn't do nearly as well on Saturday as it was sunny and the fish seemed to be a lot more picky due to the low water and high clarity. It did give us a chance to see how absolutly many trout there are in that river as we drifted our flies over about a thousand small to absolutely gigantic fish. THe highlight of that day was hooking a 15 inch (guessing, he was a long-distance release) who took about 30 yards of line down a long, fast set of ripples as I held on. He made quick work of my 7x tippet. He was also on one of the prince. I think that pocket-water type fishing in the fast water may be an under-utilized technique on the SoHo since everyone fishes for the risers in the slow water?

Needless to say, I give two big thumbs up to the SoHo and to Hugh's guidance and flies. The first two links below are of Todd's big rainbow and the third is of one of the bows I caught later in the day (a good fish for me, just not when compared to his monster). BTW, all the fish including the big fella were released and swam away with some pep.





David Knapp
10-15-2007, 01:44 PM
Great fish and report! Glad ya'll had a good trip...

Hugh Hartsell
10-15-2007, 07:28 PM
Well Dave and friends, that is about the best report that I have seen in awhile from the South Holston. What a great Friday you guys had.Thank you for sharing all the good times and great pictures with everyone on the board. Thank you for the kudos on the flies and the advice. I hope to run into you again on the river.

10-16-2007, 09:24 AM
Sounds like you had a good trip. And glad that you caught some nice fish.
I had been waiting on the post-trip report and pics. Didn't get to read them yesterday because I went to Cataloochee (will try to post that later today).
I have got a little money put back to invest in fly fishing and I am having a hard time deciding whether to put it toward a vice and some equipment for tying or whether to buy a waterproof digital camera. One will help me catch fish (I hope), the other will help me verify the catch. (maybe this would be a good debate?) I am more concerned with catching fish than proving that I caught them. But I really would like to include pictures with reports, I know I enjoy it when others do that. Of course I am completely computer illiterate and may never figure out how to post a picture (I hope that LRO keeps that information on the board).