I finally got some time away to pursue some lunker browns in spawning mode. Since there was a window of opportunity for me to get away from my business for a day or two, I decided to hook up with a fishing buddy of mine & float the South Holston and Watauga rivers in TN. We hadn’t fished together in awhile so he invited me up to camp out at his house and go fishing for some lunker trout the next day. I drove up on a Sunday afternoon and arrived around supper time. As soon as I arrived after a 3.5 hour drive I headed right back out again, but the destination was to the steak house so we could get some grub…and some fine grub it was at the steak house. We swapped stories and told tales for awhile till the food hit us like a ton of bricks…normal behavior after eating 1 lbs of steak…. we drove back to the house in a beef induced catatonic state, but that hungry knawing sensation in my stomach was now gone completely.
When we got back to the house Evan tied up some flies for the next days trip as we gabba gabba hayed (term for gabbing). He had several patterns that he said would do well for the trout we were about to catch tomorrow. He proceeded to tie them up as I looked on pondering his tying desk and the mass confusion state it seemed to be in, but he knew right where everything was. We chatted some more and in the midst of chatting we decided we should check the weather because neither of had done that in the least. To our surprise it was supposed to rain latter in the night and into the break of the morning. It was not the weather we wanted, but since it was supposed to clear off in the morning and be partly sunny the rest of the day both of us had good hopes for the day. We finally laid the old heads down for an early morning rise…It’s one of those things where you are tired, but the excitement of tomorrow keeps you thinking half the night with anticipation…so I got a little sleep anyway.
We arose at about 6AM to find it lightly sprinkling rain, but it looked like it was breaking and only some cloud cover was all that we had to worry about. We loaded everything into the SUV latched on the boat trailer on and hit the road to pick up lunch at the local grocery store. Once we loaded up on lunch goods we were off to the local Mc Donald’s for coffee and biscuits. After getting some hot Java and a good biscuit we were on our way to the glorious Watauga River.
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We arrived at the put-in about 7:10 AM and geared up…rods, waders, hats, flies, food, camera & video stuff, cigars, chewing tobacco…yup that is all we needed to make a good float trip great and off we went down the river. We were the first there on the water for the day to our suprize. The water was calm and a nice fall breeze shuffled us along down river. Fish were already rising at the put-in so I knew it would be a good day. We fished a spot here and there but we were shooting for the Caddis riffles further down stream. We rowed down to the Caddis riffles as soon as possible because they planned to generate (open the Dam Gates)and we knew the water wouldn’t hit us till around 11AM so we wanted to get there as soon as possible. We caught several along the way nymphing.
We finally hit the area we want to fish. We floated down a few seams and hooked up with several browns and rainbow trout. Then we went to an area where we knew they were making Redd, so we drifted our flies through the seams and alley ways a couple times and got some smaller trout. We noticed a few big trout working a redd so we drifted some nymphs over their area, that is when I hooked up with a monster brown trout. That monster brown trout shot straight upstream, which was a relief to me because fighting them down stream is a heart ache waiting to happen. Fighting a big trout down stream has more of a chance of the hook coming out of it’s mouth, and I didn’t want to loose this one. The fish fought for a few minutes up stream and then headed down stream even at all my yelling....no...no...no, he did not respond to my instructions. He still hung on tight though and for that I was grateful. I played him for about 10 minutes and he finally gave up and started swimming towards the boat. We netted the lunker brown trout and took some pictures and them started the release to get him oxygenated and back swimming again. He finally swam off after a few minutes and headed back into his lane a normal daily experience for him........but for me that was the biggest trout yet brought to hand and one I will surely remmber. One down and more to go……. We fished the caddis riffles for a good bit and landed several good size brown and rainbow trout and then headed down stream for some streamside lunch and another good trout fishing hole
After some good deli lunch and a fine cigar we proceeded back to fishing. The water from generation had now hit us full tilt so we floated down to the Ledges and fished pockets and seams down there. We landed some good fish there also. It’s was getting late and we had brought several dozen fish to hand and the traffic was starting to come down river. We decided to pull anchor and head towards the take out. Finally arriving at the take out we started to pack everything back up as we reminisced about the days catches and the rivers beauty on a beautiful Fall day. It had been a day worthy of the 3 hour ride for sure. No sooner had I got back home from that long drive and an email was sent already discussing the next trip. Like kids waiting with anticipation again…..Let’s do it again next month.