View Full Version : Soho/Watauga

11-20-2007, 09:48 PM
Does any one know how the South Holston and Watauga rivers have been fishing?

11-20-2007, 11:18 PM
I'm on vacation all this week so I did a little fishing. The river fished real well Monday with cloud cover and occasional showers. There were some BWOs as well as Sulphurs in the afternoon along with a lot of midges. I did all right without going to the little bitty stuff. The river fished a little tougher today, there just wasn't many bugs coming off and the fish were down. What was coming off was very small. I did see one huge fish on Monday 30+". Caught mostly smaller fish both days 9-12" range with a couple of fish going 14-15".

Hugh Hartsell
11-20-2007, 11:48 PM
Good evening fellas, I thought that I would add to what Mike experienced on the river today and let you know what I saw, and how the river can vary from one spot to another. I guided a couple today and we fished below the Weir Dam twice. We were there until about 1:30PM, and then we broke for lunch. Some Sulfurs were beginning to come off at that time and when we got back there were still a few hatching off. The water had gotten pretty low and a lot of Grey Midges were beginning to hatch as we got into the middle of the afternoon. My clients were hooking a few fish on small midges, but having trouble landing them, so we stayed right with it until late in the evening. This is when things began to happen. Sulfurs started hatching again, midges got even heavier, and just as it was getting close to dark, the South Holston December Caddis began to hatch. The fish began to turn the water to a boil, and it looked like a major Sulfur hatch was taking place. We were the last people off of the river and it was getting dark by the time that we got our fishing clothes changed. Just be aware that this little Dark Caddis has started to hatch and try to have something with you to match it in the size #22 range. Good luck to all of you, and I hope to get to meet you up there later this week, Mike.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

11-20-2007, 11:59 PM
I rarely ever fish late in the afternoon, I want to be home when my daughter gets out of school, playing with her is one thing I enjoy more than fishing and when I have time off she is going to get a lot of it. But, I am glad to hear that Hugh had some luck in the evening. I thought I would also mention to watch the water levels closely. I was expecting a pulse on Monday morning, but got a full hour of generation instead. I did notice some caddis in the brush while I was waiting on the water to go back down.
Incidentally Hugh, one of these days we are going to run into one another on this river. I had actually hoped to meet you at LRO on Saturday. I had helped our youth pastor bring a group of students to a conference in Gatlinburg on Friday and Saturday. When we left we went out through Townsend, to visit LRO but it was 3:00 before we got there. I did pick up a Fishpond waist pack to replace my 20 year old mountain bike fanny pack that I have been wearing all summer. I think I am going to really like it.

milligan trout degree
11-21-2007, 12:07 AM
Mtnmike, which river were you talking about on that last post?

The slow day you are talking about may be the same day I fished the soho this week. Monday evening. Me and two of my buddies fished for three hours before it got dark. FISHING WAS SLOW!! I saw a bunch of fly-fishers out and none were doing very good. I caught and missed one a zebra midge. My buddy fly fishing caught two on a sulphur and a zonker. My other buddy caught two on nightcrawlers. I don't know what such a slow day, but it was definately slow.

Today, on the watauga, I fished from 4-6 right at wilbur dam. I caught 4 or 5 on the zebra midge, another 4 or 5 on BWO, and two more on a wooly bugger once the dark set in. A much better day than yesterday. I also heard from a couple of guys leaving as I got there, that there had been a caddis hatch earlier. I guess the warm temps today brought that on. Lots of really small BWO coming off in the last few hours of the day though. Size 22 would have been the way to go, but the smallest I had was an 18. Still effective, but smaller would have been better I'm pretty sure. I took some pics with my disposable camera, I might put some up whenever I get them developed. I'll be back on the watauga all day monday and on the soho within a week I'm sure.

If you are planning a trip to either river (especially watauga) and want a recent report (within atleast week), just give me a holler on here or send me and email at bktaylor@milligan.edu . I usually hit the watauga once or twice a week, especially with my fishing friendly course load next semester on mondays wednesdays and fridays. No fishing on tuesdays on thursdays though, thats when I make up for my easy three days. Ouch. I'll be happy to let you know what's going on before your trip though.


11-21-2007, 12:22 AM
fished the SoHo both days, but was finished by mid-afternoon both days. Monday was the better of the the 2 days primarily because there was more bug activity. There was also more active fish, more cloud cover and less wind. I occasional fish the watagu, but have a hard time pickin it over the SoHo.

milligan trout degree
11-21-2007, 12:58 AM
I got on the holston below the weir at about 3 on monday. There was a lot of cloud cover for sure. Trout were feeding sor sure. Of course on some tiny tiny midges that I couldn't match. I haven't fished the soho very much, but this was my slowest fo far no doubt. I fish the watauga primarily because of the proximity. I can squeeze in a short fishing trip on the watauga more so than I can the holston with my class schedule. Hopefully next semester I'll spend more time on the soho...(atleast as long as I can afford gas up there). Maybe I'll run into one of you guys up there. I typically say hi to other fisherman when they seem open to small talk.


11-26-2007, 11:19 AM

I fished here Wednesday and Friday. The temp. got warmer around 1:00 on Wednesday and did see a good sulphur hatch. The fish are still active if you can be there for the right conditions.

Everyone is right about the midge hatch. It is very difficult to match. Dropping a PT off my dry has really paid dividends. Can't speak much for SoHo as I don't get out there much.

I also fished Watauga on Friday, but as soon as the hatch started here came the water form the generators. I have had some luck fishing during generation by throwing a dry very close to the bank where the water is still. These areas will normally be grass or rock. When the water rises however the fish will move to these calm spots and be looking up.

11-27-2007, 02:25 PM
Fished the SoHo on Saturday with my step-dad. We got to the river about a mile and a half below the weir at about 9:30, just in time to see the "large pulse" folks are mentioning lately, come roaring in. It lasted about 30 minutes (felt longer in the cold!). As soon as the water was dropping, we got into the water and started working a sulphur CDC and midge dropper and the action was pretty unbelievable. This was my fifth time on the SoHo and I have never seen fish activity like this. They were taking flies with reckless abandon. In two hours, I caught about 20 trout (mostly browns, 12-15 inch range) and missed or at least drew interest from at least 5 times that many. It was incredible. I (very) briefly got into a couple of large fish, but they demonstrated to me that I need to work on my knot tying in the worst way!

THe action tapered off around 2 pm and we headed down river. Not a lot going on down there for us. All in all a GREAT day.

We were having the most luck with drab olive or grey colored midges with bead heads and a little pheasant-tail in the back (to simulate shedding?).

11-27-2007, 03:25 PM
Were you wading or in a boat?

11-27-2007, 04:03 PM
Falling water from the pulse can really put the trout on the bite. If you have a little current on the SoHo it can be a beautiful day. Glad you had a good one. Only wish I was there. It sounds like more was going on even after the pulse.

11-27-2007, 04:37 PM
CinciVol I was talking to your wife a couple of hours ago and she was telling me of your good day on the Soho. I was up there about 3 weeks ago and also had good results on the falling water.I think it helps cover up some of my mistakes.I usually fish the mountains but had to result to tailwater fishing to find some water.Maybe we can get together and fish some time.I have been fishing the mountains for 15 years but still have alot to learn about tailwater fishing.

milligan trout degree
11-27-2007, 08:27 PM
I fished the watauga yesterday and it was on fire. The secret to catching fish? Just look in your box, pick a fly, cast, and set hook. I caught fish on every fly i threw. All seven of them. Here's the list: 1. black zebra midge 2. bwoemerger phase II 3. bwo 4. cream midge dry 5. black caddis i was using for an indicator...and the two flies the fish really couldn't resist 6. pheasant tail midge (i asked about it in another post...pheasant tail fibers wrapped around scud hook with gold ultra wire ribbing and bead), 6. white zebra midge with red ribbing. the fishing was on for sure. The kind of day where I reasonably expected a strike on each cast. Nothing too big. My biggest fish was probably 12-13", but I saw some big bows cruising the same laps in a pool. They didn't want small insects though and I forgot my streamer box ( I was in the transition of moving back to school from thanksgiving break). Anyway, the fishing was great, weather was great...wind wasn't as bad as forcasted, and it all went by too quick.


11-27-2007, 08:48 PM
Yo Ben,

I remember not that many months ago (July to be precise) when you had just graduated from "flycasterman to flyfisherman". Way to go, Dude! Sounding like a real pro. :biggrin:

11-28-2007, 09:10 AM
AC, I was wading on the SoHo. We parked at the end of the TVA road that is on the right just after you pass the weir (on your left) on Emmett Rd (if you are heading towards the dam). From the parking area, its about 1/2 mile to the water and the fishing was pretty solid all through that area. I'd love to float the SoHo or any of the tailwaters some time. It's in my plans once things warm up in the spring.

Vern, thanks for the hello. I'm pretty new to flyfishing, so I haven't ventured to the mountains yet for fear of multiple tree snags and spooked fish. Guess it's time to suck it up and join the LRO crowd and hit the hills though! I definately think we should plan a trip some time. I can make it most weekend days...

milligan trout degree
11-28-2007, 09:58 AM

If I graduated to a fly-fisherman then, I've since graduated into a severly addicted fly-fishingnut now. I'm eat up with it, and I try to fish atleast once a week, usually can fit in twice a week. I don't see this being a habit I'm gonna be likely to shake loose...and as a matter of fact, I'm okay with that.