The Shortest Watauga Report Ever

12 03 2009

 

My Apologies To Red Stripe

 

HOORAY TENNESSEE

HOORAY TENNESSEE

 

 

 

HOORAY TROUT

HOORAY TROUT

 

HOORAY ANOTHER TROUT

HOORAY ANOTHER TROUT

HOORAY FAT TIRE IS IN THE SOUTH

HOORAY FAT TIRE IS IN THE SOUTH

 

HOORAY NORTH CAROLINA

HOORAY NORTH CAROLINA

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Planning World Trout Domination

10 03 2009

It has been kind of busy lately so sorry for the lengthy absence.  The season is so close that I can smell the bird nests a brewing.  I have recently been picking up days at the shop which works out well since I desperately need the money and I get a bigger discount.  These two facts seem to have something to do with each other.  Between school the shop and the rest of the crap that seems to creep onto my calendar I actually did get to go fishing on Sunday.  I met up with Ryan from Bent Rod Media to catch a day on the boat.  This trip was the first time I had seen Ryan since we met on the river a month or so ago.  I checked out some of the short films the guys had done and was impressed.  Ryan and I had proceeded to correspond over email about how I could help out with some upcoming filming and other stuff.  When he showed up at the house I kind of felt like a fly fishing internet predator.  Technology has queered a lot of things.  Thankfully it seems that neither of us are complete douschbags (maybe just a little on my part?) and we headed out.   The Watauga “Trophy Section” was the chosen spot as no where else around was running any water.  I needed to get on it to scout anyway.   We were definitely not the only boats on the water but putting in late always pays off and we wound up being the second to last people off the water.  It was sunny, 70’s and frickin’ gorgeous outside.  We immediately got into a Blue Wing hatch.  The Watauga is the only river I have ever seen where the BWO’s hatch bigger on sunny warm days……weird.  Things started kind of slow as we bullshitted as much as we fished.  The flotilla was strong and we were happy to hang out at the top while the guides made their sprints for the lower end.  We eventually started picking off fish on micro mays, split-case olives, cdc bwo emergers, and soft hackle pheasant tails.  The fishing was not by any means hot but was more than good enough on a beautiful day in early march.  More importantly many plans for future trips to exotic locales were hatched, and sometimes planning can be almost as fun as fishing.  I am going up there again tomorrow and will take my wife’s camera this time (as mine has recently shit the bed) and get some pictures up on this rag.





Sticking Pigs on the Reservation

27 02 2009

I have fished the trophy water over in Cherokee a couple of times in the past week scouting for the season.  For anybody that doesn’t know about this water don’t read any further because there are already too many people there already.  This means all of you Georgia guys.  I got nothing against you guys but we already have every asshole from Florida up here and the infrastructure just can’t take you guys too.  The kind Native Americans have taken to stocking a lot of very big fish in a 2.2 mile stretch of river that is fly fish only, catch and release only.  When I say big fish I am referring to fish that are measured in pounds and not inches and make you start worrying about breaking your 6 weight when you have one on.  In order to fish this water you have to pay of course, but only seven bucks a day and a twenty dollar year pass.  This has officially become a public trophy trout club for the everyman.  The proletariat in me wants to bang my hammer and sickle and shout, “Fuck the elite”.  But as usual I just nod and wave and ask the elite if there’s anything I can do to help them out in hopes of getting a good tip.  Now that I have gotten a trophy club experience I have come to conclusion that these type of waters with pellet fed trophy stockers are really nothing more than a pay to play trout pond with water running through it.  This type of water is like a New Orleans hooker, fun at first but eventually maces you and steals your wallet (Didn’t happen to me but I know a guy).  Don’t get me wrong I have pulled fifteen or so bad mama jammas over 20″ out of that water the last two times I have gone and it hasn’t gotten old yet, but I fear like all things in life it will.  I just hope it doesn’t ruin 18″ trout for me.





What the Tuck?

17 02 2009

Yes, sports fans I am referring to the mighty Tuckasseeggee (I always forget how many ee’s, ss’s , and gg’s are in that word so I have added extra to cover my bases) River in beautiful Jackson County NC, affectionately referred to as the Tuck by most everyone ’round them parts.  Sorry for the colloquialism but I am southern and never feel like I can get away with writing southern without sounding like a jackass, but I digress.  Yesterday I was propositioned by my boss to join a shop flotilla on the Tuck.  As I am new to the shop and jockeying for days I graciously accepted the invitation to row some folks around  and maybe even get to see a fish or two as there were three guides, a fine bamboo rod maker, a fly shop owner, and a board member of our local TU on the boats.  The day started off as usual in February on the Tuck; cold, slow, and waiting on water.  Duke Power had said they were running the big generator and yesterday they actually did it.  The sun shines on every dog’s ass one day, or so the saying goes. We pushed the boats through the top section picking off a few fish along the way.  It was at this point of the trip that the ‘boo rod maker on the boat proceeds to tie on a fly that I was not familiar with.  I caught a fleeting glimpse of something fuscia but my mind was a flutter and I let it go.  Well he starts sticking fish at a higher rate than the other chaps and I ask what in the hell is that pink thing he is throwing.  I get a mumbled response which I press him on.  Well, I will just say that this man, that crafts beautifully expensive bamboo fly rods, was throwing a certain plastic product that the trout love and that comes in all different flavors including root beer and candy corn.  When I remark on the hilarity of what is transpiring in front of me, he looks at me with a smile and tells me, “It’s February, these are stockers, and I like catching fish.”  

The moral of this story is let’s not shame anyone for how they go about catching a fish on a fly rod.  To all you guys that have spent countless hours at the vise tying up the ultimate pellet fly, or even for you guys out in WY that chum up the water in the elk refuge by kicking up hoppers  (you know who you are, I saw you do it last summer you slimy bastard)…..REJOICE!!! Let there be no shame it’s all just fishing in the end.  Unless you are using spinning gear, then I won’t have anything to do with you…….cheater!

At the end of the day fish were caught, some even on flies.  My boss only caught one but it was the last hole and it was the biggest fish of the day.  I am sure it will be making an appearence on a certain shop site in the near future.  They were taking the usual DH stuff as well as midges.  My advice is spend the next couple weeks tying because it’s only gonna get better in march.





Wet Tail(water) Dreams

8 02 2009

So with guide season looming I am spending a significant amount of time scouting out wading water around my home of Asheville.  The weather has been generally cold, colder, and really frickin’ cold.  This doesn’t bother me so much as it does the trout looking up through the ice.  Half the wild water around here has been iced over as much as it hasn’t for the past month and every Mexican and redneck has poached all the fish out of every delayed harvest stream in North Carolina.  I will take a moment here to say that I have nothing against and generally admire the Mexican people as hardworking and honest BUT, can you please  go rape the catfish populations and leave the trout alone?  Seriously trout that eat dog food taste like dog food. That being said, I have been able to get some days on our fine smaller free stone waters here in the western corner of the state and I have decided that all you small stream, brook trout purist guys can keep that shit for yourself.  I love you guys but I have nothing in common with you except our shared disdain for all things not  trout on the fly.  Why would I haul my admittedly out of shape and lazy ass up or down a steep trail so I can fish a 20′ section of creek for 4″ fish all day when I can comfortably sit in my boat and fish 4 to 7 miles of river where the trout make their creek trout cousins look like Emmanuel Lewis (T.V’s Webster) compared to the Fridge (The fattest man of my childhood), all while drinking my beer out of a cooler like a civilized human being.  You savages of the woods be warned I will not tolerate your tom foolery on my tail waters.  There will be no bow and arrow casting, there will be no Taliban like belly crawls through the shallows, there will also in no way be demonstrations of your superior physical shape or fishing abilities at any time on our waters below the dams.  Any of this behavior will result in swift retaliation, mainly me complaining some more every time my clients hook the eightieth tree for the day.  Tuesday i go float the Watauga and leave all my small worries behind.





Holy Crap This Is The Best Thing Ever Created

21 01 2009

My friends I introduce you to the fishin’ buddy.

Now you don’t even have to cast or reel.  More hands to abuse yourself with.

My lovely in-laws (no sarcasm intended, I really do like them) are in town till Friday morning.   I am probably going to go fishing sat./sun./mon. depending on wifey’s tolerance.   I will once again crap the internet after that.

-“You best check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self. ” Ice Cube





The Suckers Are Spawning! The Suckers Are Spawning!

15 01 2009

It has been a while since I have been able to bear my soul electronically, mostly due to the recent move to Asheville, but also because of my constant self loathing.  A lot has been going on and not enough of it fishing.  In my internet absence the TVA has ruined one Eastern TN river by filling it with a BILLION tons of fly ash.   I read that the TVA blamed the subsequent Clinch River fish kill on a monster wave that traveled down the river pushing fish outside the natural banks of the river, into the flood zone. When the waters receded the fish were left high and dry on the banks.  Now, I am not calling the TVA liars (incompetent, maybe?), but isn’t it the least bit plausiblethat the unholy amounts of arsenic dumped into the river could have had a little to do with the fish kill?   The damages done to the ecology of the area are nothing in comparison to the poor sons-a-bitches who actually lived in the path way of this tsunami of shit.  The most frustrating aspect of this story is the non-chalance the national media showed for an environmental disaster that rivaled the Exxon Valdese.  To all my brethren that used to make a living on that river, come on down the road and I’ll buy you a beer and listen to your plots to overthrow the TVA with nothing more than an 12 wt. rod and a four foot long articulated streamer.  Vive le Resistance!

Now that I have hugged my tree for the day I will tell you a tale of a man, a river, and a week of rain.  I found out that I was guiding a float trip this weekend and figured I would make the run across the mountain and scout the Watauga as I had not fished it in a couple of weeks.  I did not however find any reason to check the CFS before I left at 6:30 in the morning.  If I would have checked the CFS,  I would have known that due to recent storms the river was higher than it has been in a few years as far as I could tell.  When I say high I do not mean, “Oh…the water is a little off color I better throw big flashy crap.” I mean the water had deposited debris twenty feet into the parking lot of the put in.

The sign on the tree actually says, "No Littering"

The sign on the tree actually says, "No Littering"

I decided there was no need for me to pop a tire so I decided to wait.  Day after day I checked the flows.  The river did not come down for six days straight.  Well yesterday was my day come hell or high water (the pun is completely intended so suck it).  I got to the river early and found the Department of Wildlife Services had brought the backhoe to clean off the boat ramp.  This was a good thing because the snow shovel I had packed, for the very same reason, would have take a wee bit longer.

Put on your big boy pants

Put on your big boy pants

These guys in the raft were nice enough to share their secret after a slow morning.  The secret was orange eggs.  Now I hate fishing eggs, but I like getting tipped by clients.  Weighing these two sides I have decided that the suckers are spawning, so orange eggs for my clients and little American flags for everyone.  I caught fish on orange and peach beads (pinned Alaska style), attractor nymphs, and streamers.  Turns out when you triple the flow and add in the sucker spawn, the Watauga Tailwater acts more like a DH stream.  That’s the great part about what we do though, you learn something new everyday.  Well school has started and I have to go learn how to read,  Ta Ta for now bitches.