View Full Version : Watauga

01-10-2008, 10:23 AM
We're thinking about trying out the Watauga this weekend. Have any of you been there lately? How's it fishing?

01-10-2008, 10:30 AM
Will you be floating or wading?

01-10-2008, 10:41 AM
Will you be floating or wading?
Since it will be our first time there we may just wade. Not sure yet. Which do you think is better for that river? Floating or wading?

01-10-2008, 11:12 AM
There are possibilites for wading if you know where to go. There are a couple of places to park and wade. You may have to do some hiking to "get away". I would suggest staying up river toward wilbur dam. There is parking right at the dam. Also down stream near what I call river bend there are some possiblities. Any further down from you need a boat, especially if you plan to fish the trophy section.
The fishing there is usually very good. I fish there very often and rarely get shut out. i have been out of town for the past week, but fished two days right before I left and had success on soft hackle, nymphs, streamers, and very small dry midge. The warmer the weather the more success I have had lately. It is a very good river. Sure worth giving a try. If you have a bad morning or have trouble finding some good wading spots SoHo is only another 20 min. drive. Let me know what you decide and I could help with some directions to the free parking.

01-10-2008, 11:17 AM
I can't address the wading or floating question since I only have wading experience. But I spent my lunch hour over there Tuesday, I wasn't there long enough to give it a real test, but it had been a couple of weeks since I had been fishing and one of the men in my church was going to be over there fishing at Hunter Bridge and asked me to join him if I had time. He got there about 11:00 and when I arrived at 12:00 he hadn't caught anything. I was there about an hour and only landed 2 rainbows in the 10-12" range. He also landed 2 fish during that time. There simply were no active fish rising. It was unusually (actually turned out to be record setting) warm that day. After I left my buddy moved down stream a little and only managed 2 more small fish. I didn't experiment but both of mine were caught on a zebra midge fished as a dropper under a dry fly. Hugh Hartsell had posted some reports on his sight for the end of December, they fished in bad weather but had very successful fishing. Maybe Hugh will chime in here.

Hugh Hartsell
01-10-2008, 12:00 PM
Good morning Connie, and everyone,
Daniel Freeman and Mike Roach really had a great day on the Watauga while we were out that day. They have quite a bit of experience so that helped. We were trying out new flies and new fishing techniques that day, which really turned out well for the guys. It was a day just about like today and it rained so hard that you could barely see your fly on a long cast. Both fellas just kept right on catching fish. One of the things that we did early on was to show them as many accesses to wade fish from as I could. This is very important when you're in new territory. If you're not familiar with the lower trophy section, it is almost impossible to explain over the internet how to find certain areas. If you can find the town of Watauga, just below it is a small amount of access. Coming back upstream from there, you might possibly fish around Smalling Bridge. That is not a good wading area unless you get on the River Ridge property. The next open area is Blevins Picnic and launching area. You can access it by turning at the intersection just a you are coming into town. Go just a short distance (200yds.) and turn onto Blevins Road. It is about 1/2 mile to the access area. You can access the river in town at the Ball Field or behind McDonalds. If you drive across the bridge behind McDonalds, turn left as you cross the bridge and go back under it. There is access from the bridge upstream. You can drive all the way through town on the strip and when you come to the large intersection at the other end, go straight thru and drive up the river for about 2 miles and you will come to Hunters Bridge. Turn left beside the large business and drive down to the launch ramp. There is a ton of fishable water here, both upstream and down. You can cross the bridge and drive up the highway going to Shady Valley and follow the signs to the dam. You will go about 1mile or more and turn right. This will take you up the river to the dam and just below the Siam Bridge is access to wade. I HOPE THIS HELPS.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn..

01-11-2008, 01:45 AM
Thanks all for the directions and the help. I think we may just start at the dam this first trip. We may bring the canoe and maybe do a short float and stop and wade awhile. Looking at the map, I think from here in Cosby we could just go right up 321 and turn on Siam rd. to the dam. Looks like a straighter route from here.
All this hinges on the weather Sunday. If it snows like they are saying it might we may just stay closer to home and hit the Holston or Little River (if the waters not too cold there) I hope we can go to the Watauga though. My goal is to try all the tailwaters eventually.

01-14-2008, 10:08 AM
We spent a few hours below the Wilber dam yesterday. Fishing was slow. Just a couple of small bows brought to hand. There were a few fish rising but very far between. The 2 little rainbows were caught with a #18 BHPT. I tried midges and soft hackles and even the trusty wooley bugger but no dice. When we left we decide to hit the Holston for a little while on the way back. Same thing there....slow. Got one 9 inch bow on a #18 BWO.

The water temp at Watauga was 44.4 F I forgot to check it on the Holston but it felt about the same.

Sorry no pics...I forgot to put new batteries in the camera and it died on me after a couple of pics of the Watauga when we first got there.