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Thread: first time on the watauga

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Knoxville, TN

    Default first time on the watauga

    well I've always wanted to fish the watauga, but never really got around to it. today I woke up and decided to give it a go. most of the day was spent as a fact finding mission. to my suprise, there's not much info on the internet. I finally discovered a fly shop in Johnson city and drove straight there to gather info. I talked with the guys there and they were really helpful. upon learning I was from knoxville, the first thing they asked was about the clinch. they wanted to know if it was really as bad as they'd been hearing. they showed me a few patterns that were working. the big issue however, was to figure out where I could access the river. these guys told me a few places and probably gave me the most accurate directions possible. the only problem was the directions sounded something like this: "take this highway, then left at this old house, the right by krystal, drive back one mile, take a dog leg at the baseball field.." ok, you get the point. the second I got back in my car I had no idea where I was going. after bumming around elizabethton for an hour or so I finally found some public access.

    the water was much smaller than what I'd imagined, so I decided to give the old 3wt some exercise. upon entering the river I saw a lone sulphur floating through the air. that was a good sign. within a few casts I was in business. I caught multiple bows, all nice and healthy, out of the same run. I then spent the next hour on some nicer looking runs downstream, but unexplainably came up empty handed. I decided I'd work the previous run a little more and call it a day.

    it's almost like a dream to me, but as I was watching my little sulphur bounce along the current, I saw a huge golden mass appear and inhale my fly. I set the hook and then, as john gierach put it, "it was one of those 'oh $h#t!' moments that only happen about twice a year". I thought the fish might actually break the 3wt., not to mention the 5x. I don't know how, but without a net, I was able to land that fish. he was about an 18" brown, hook jaw and all. that's not huge in the whole scheme of the trout world, but it is the biggest and most beautiful trout I've ever taken on a flyrod. thank you watauga.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Crossville, TN


    Awesome report! I've been wanting to fish the Watauga for awhile now, its just another one of the streams I haven't made it to yet. Maybe I'll have to make some time this summer...
    "Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" Matthew 4:19

    Guided Fly Fishing with David Knapp
    The Trout Zone Blog
    contact: TroutZoneAnglers at gmail dot com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Maryville, TN


    CooooL!!!! No camera phone adventure this time? Please tell me you have a pic...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Man I'd stick with at least a 5wt up there on both the SoHo and Watagua. Both rivers have been really good for wading currently, because of the rain issue. Get a good county road map for driving up there. I make the trip at least one to two days a month. Dry dropers on both rivers works great. Also think about lengthing your leader out. If you have access to a boat the SoHo is streamer fishing great right now. I was there on Monday and Tuesday, buying a 7wt this week to go back next (if that tells you anything). Lets just say if you want that oh S%$^ feeling x 10 go throw streamers. The 24 incher I landed on tuesday was more on the average size.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Middle Tennessee

    Default NE Tennessee

    Our local club had a trip planned couple of weeks ago but postponed due to a generator issue that was resulting in 70-degree water temps. Sounded to me like potential for long-term damage to the fishing but hopefully not, doesn't sound that way from these reports.

    I'm really anxious to get up there this year, never been there. Long drive though, and don't exactly know where to go either. Would love to tag along some time with some of you more local guys who know where to go...

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, unless they fly fish... with apologies to Thoreau

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