The Hunt for Big Browns

Posted in Fly Fishing Reports.

I finally got a little down time from my business at the end of November. It has been really busy for me this year and it didn't seem like I could get away no matter how hard I tried. My buddy Evan called me and told me it might be time to go hunting again for some big brown trout, because the season is approaching for some spawning browns running up the river. He also had a little honey hole he found slap full of big rainbows if the big browns wouldn't cooperate. So I packed the bags and headed off to Tennessee for 3 days of fishing. Since business has been so good this year I treated myself to a good camera this year and bought the Canon 7D. I have been itching to take it out fly fishing, but just haven't gotten the chance. So I was excited to get this trip in and get some good shots. I bought a Sigma 10-20mm lens for some good wide angle shots; I could never get those angles on a point and shoot type camera. So I hope it brings out some quality shots for my reports from here on out, now I just need more time so I can go fishing more and use it more. The Canon 7D can also shoot great video with depth of field so it looks more like a movie. I am still working on putting a rig together for shooting video.

I arrived on a Wednesday evening and the ride up was nothing but rain and fog so thick you couldn't see headlights on cars till they were right in front of you. Needless to say it made a 3.5 hour drive more exciting in my overloaded work van, on slick blinding roads. So after arriving at my buddy's house we decided to go eat. We went to a Chinese restaurant around the corner from his house that serves sushi. I think our server was stoned because that boy couldn't remember a dang thing we told him. Food was good though.

Thursday morning we woke up and had put a game plan together since the generation schedules wouldn't allow us a float trip and the honey hole he talked about was blown out because it had rained so much. So we headed off to do some wade fishing. We started off in some areas on the Watauga River where we could wade. Then we hit another stream around the Watauga. It fished really good and we picked up a lot of wild rainbows in this stream. We fished there for about an hour while getting rained on, then sleeted on, then snowed on, then sleeted on again, then rained on again. Oh, by the way I found I had a hole in my waders in the foot section....it couldn't do that any other time, it had to be when it's freezing cold out. With all that we decided to move to the upper Watauga. There was a place my buddy wanted to try to get to since they had quit generating by now. We tried to walk down into this area of the river but it was on private property and they had it posted everywhere, so we decided not to go down in, afeared we might get shot at. Last time he floated through this area a guy was shooting BB's at them from his porch because he doesn't want people floating near his land. We decided to head back over toward Bee Cliff cabins and try our luck around that area. The water was still moving pretty good, but managed to pick up a few decent trout there. Then we decided to head over to the Siam bridge and fish around there for a while. I picked up a few here and there and did pretty good. The sun was starting to set and it was a good time to lay down the fly rod and picked up the camera. The golden hour for photos was here and I didn't want to miss it, I was glad I didn't.

It was a good long day and time to head back to the house for vitals. We decided on cooking some steaks on the grill and a side of collard greens, mmmmm was it good. After a full belly of steak and collard greens and a few beers, we started putting a game plan together for tomorrow's fishing, this time it looked like the generation schedule was going to cooperate, at least for half the day anyway. They were generating from 8am-12pm.

Friday morning we got up, hitched the drift boat up, and hit the McDonald's on the way to the boat ramp. We decided to hit the South Holston river for some big Browns. When we got to the boat ramp there was only one boat there putting in. The reason there was no one else on the river hardly is because it was 25°. I guess this managed to keep all the guides off the river, since most people don't want to fish when it's cold out. This was great for us though, we only saw two boats on the river besides us all day long. That is a rarity on that river and we enjoyed every second of it. When we started out a the ramp I took a few shots because everything was covered in ice and made a killer shot. Hard to operated the camera with frozen hands though. The sun started to warm things up and the weather was certainly clear this day. While we didn't catch any big brute brown trout as hoped, we did manage to bring about 26 decent sized fish to the boat for the day.

We had really watch the water levels on this trip because we had to get to the take-out before the water level dropped so low we couldn't get the boat out. This boat take-out is not on the map, it just happens to be a steep drop-off between two trees off of a road in the middle of nowhere. So we were timing it so that we could ride the tail end of the generations high water to the take-out. Luckily it worked out, otherwise we would be stuck pushing the boat over rocks in the river, which didn't sound like fun to either of us and have a heck of a time getting the boat out of the water. So we got the boat out in time and headed back to the house for some vitals. It was a good day of fly fishing the South holston river.

We got up Saturday morning and looked at the water levels to see if we can hit the honey hole he kept talking about where these bruiser rainbows where all stacked up. Sure enough the water levels were right where they need to be, so we headed over to the spot. All I can say is wow...this spot surely did not disappoint. Most all these rainbows were close to 20 inches or above. We caught fish after fish from the one hole, it was sick. We decided to try another spot and see how it did. It has one bruiser of a rainbow in it that my buddy Evan hooked up with. It took him a while to land that one. I ended up chasing him down stream so I could get a picture of it. Finally he landed it and I grabbed a shot. Seemed a good time to stop and call it a day since I had to head back and had a long drive ahead. While we didn't find any Big Browns we did find some gigantic rainbows. Hopefully I can get back in a month or so and try our luck again at the big browns.....till then tight lines