Fly Fishing Stream Report for Western North Carolina

Updated Every Tuesday:    May 22nd, 2012

Sulphur right after hatching

Water Conditions:

South Holston Release Schedule

Watauga Release Schedule

Hatches: Midges and Sulpurs on the South Holston, and Midges, Caddis, and Sulphurs on the Watauga

Fly Suggestions: During the early morning hours on the South Holston a good bet is a Midge Cluster Dry with a Zebra Midge in Black or Red hanging underneath it. Black Fly Larva or a Sparrow Midge would make good droppers as well. CDC Comparadun Sulphurs when the hatch starts up and hang a PMD Split case behind it and get ready. On the Watauga Soft hackles in yellow and orange have been handing out sore lips in good numbers. Caddis Dries and mainly Pupae have had their times as well as Sulphurs. In dirty water Girdle Bugs in Olive/Tan and Black have been producing. San Juans and heavy rubber leg Stones will create enough camotion to get the fish’s attention.

Foggy South Holston Morning
Foggy South Holston Morning

General Information: The TVA has relaxed the flows slightly on the South Holston allowing for some wade fishing. And for the angler willing to hop around on the river, more or less a full day of South Holston Fun can be had. With the Didymo being flushed, better drifts can be had and so can easier wading. In the morning time Midges should be your main focus while the fog still hangs on the river. Don’t be afraid to throw a dry/dropper combo. Target specific rising fish and keep your casting distance to a minimum while keeping your leaders long (13′ at least). As the day warms, keep the same technique but change to match the hatch. As generation comes up, throwing a streamer as you make your way back to the back can bring some surprising results. The Watauga has been having a more generous release as of late which can almost eliminate any wade fishing but there is still some fishy water to be found. Look for bends in the river and fish the inside seam with streamers and even some heavier nymphs. Slow drifts are the key in the nymphing. Be creative in order to get that perfect drift. Racing ahead of the water has been the story of late, with good numbers of fish falling to soft hackles in various colors and fish also chasing a skittered Caddis. When the water catches up to you slam the banks with big streamers or look for areas of clearer water to nymph. Slower eddies and foam lines will hold bugs and opportunistic fish feeding on their misfortune.

MIdge Assortment
Midge Assortment

Projected Conditions: Fishing conditions will stay pretty constant for the upcoming week with warmer temps moving their way in over the weekend. The hatches will continue to heat up especially with the Sulphurs. terrestrial will continue to make their importance more and more known as the summer creeps closer, Midges are a staple on these rivers and finding multiple patterns you have confidence in can really save you from pulling your hair out on the days that the hatch never comes through. Be aware of afternoon thunderstorms, some being fierce. Get off the water when they make their presence known. However, don’t be run off by the occasional afternoon shower. It can really get the bugs moving and the fish feeding.

Fishing in the rain in WNC
Afternoon rainstorms can get the fish moving!