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21 October 30, Mitchell River
  I was on the river today also, hadn't been in a while. Wow Parking Places! Fished on the dirt road from the bridge to the end of the road. Trout sipping midges. CDC rules, so did rusty spinners! Magic started at dusk. Tons of midges, caddis and some big old white mayfly (don't have a clue). Got a 20" fish to rise to my dry, but I pulled it out of its mouth, bummer! Caught my last trout about 20 minutes after I took this picture!
20 October 12, Roaring River
  I took the kids up to stone mountain, got my 6 year old daughter in her first pair of waders! My son is ready for his third pair! I helped both of them work on their casting, they kept me busy changing flies and untangling lines. We caught a few and then they proceeded to splash about the pool and put every fish off the bite. Then we hiked to the top of Stone Mountain! I just wish I had taken the camera with me!
19 October 5, Tuckeeseegee River - Float Trip
  After a hearty breakfast of country ham, sausage, scrambled egss and toast. Grary, Christopher and I hauled our pontoons to the Tuck to meet with HC, MoodyTrout, Jack, FlyChamps and Just Judy. The river was up about half way, (one fork generating) so the float was going to be easy but swift. After staging the 'toons and working the shuttle Jack, Mooody and Christopher headed off in the Mother Ship, FlyChamps and Just Judy in their canoe, and Gary, HC and I headed off in our one man pontoons. We anchored up a short way from the launch and I soon caught a number of rainbows and brookies. One bow went about 15" and the brookies were fat and healthy.

We floated and fished our way down the DH section and I caught fish in just about every place I stopped. HC, Just Judy and Gary were catchin them too, but the Mother Ship was having a bit of bad luck as they were not catching any.

We all held up in front of the bridge and I pulled 7 or eight out of they hole. Jack and I switched places, and we fished the rest of the way down to the take out below the water treatment plant. I don't think anybody caught a fish below the bridge even thought this is now part of the DH water.

On the way home that night my son asked "Dad, would you come back next year if you knew you weren't going to catch any fish?" I replied, "You never know what your going to catch." "Ok, I''ll come back next year" he answered
18 October 4, West Fork Pigeon River - East Fork French Broad River
  We started off the day with a trip over the Balsam Mountains down the west slope to the West Fork of the Pigeon River. This is some new delayed harvest water, the Wildlife Resource Commission has built a parking lot at the lower end of this fishery. We started there and headed downstream. We fished for a coupled of hours before we ran into privet property. Unfortunately we didn't have any luck, I didn't even see any fish! But we had fun just wading the gin-clear water (maybe the fish saw us before we saw them). Back at the van we had lunch and talked to other fisherman who had better luck upstream at a pool under the steel bridge. The hatchery boys must have made a couple of quick dumps into the stream and not spread them out along the entire 2 mile stretch of DH water.

After lunch we headed back to the lodge where Christopher discovered the joys of splitting wood. He split firewood for quite a while and didn't want to stop, but I needed to go to town to renew my license for tomorrows trip. We headed down the east slope and turned off to get to the head waters of the Davidson as we planned to stop at the hatchery and feed the fish. Christopher had a blast tossing trout chow to the big browns and brookies at the hatchery.

We had planned to try to wet a line under the bridge but there was a fisherman stationed under there and we had to pass. Stopped in at the "new" Davidson River Outfitters (fly shop) and got my new license and then headed west on 64 to go back to the lodge. But first we had to check out the DH water on the East Fork of the French Broad River. The water looked good, perfect for hatchery trout, with long deep runs. We suited up and hit the water, the water was a little too deep for Christopher and he risked floated away. I a few spots I had to help him cross the chest deep water (for him). He got one to rise to his fly but missed. That was the end of our day and we packed-up and headed to the lodge for dinner.
17 October 3, N. Mills -Delayed harvest.
  Picked up my son from school early and headed up to mountains for our TU Chapters's semi-annual gathering at Balsam Lodge. On the way Christopher and I stopped at the North Mills River. I suited him up in his waders and we went searching for trout. We fished upstream from the parking lot and were hoping to catch a few against the far bank, but no one came to our woolly bugger. Christopher was working on his casting and "twitch" of the woolly bugger, finally we hooked one under the bridge and he landed a nice brookie. It was getting late so we hit the road for the lodge. As the sun set the temps headed south leaving a winter chill in the air. A roaring fire greated us at the lodge.
16 September 28 - Watauga River TN
  I took my 9 year old son on a float with Jason Reep. We were on the road at 6:00am when Jason called with at stream report: the spilling has caused some staining but it was fishable. We met at the Food City in Elizabethton and were on the water by 9:30. Jason rigged us up with his usual 3 fly set-up and we were soon into some nice rainbows. Jason worked with my son an help he get the hang of slinging lead, he paitiently untangled the "birds nest" that 3 flies can cause and worked the boat into position so that both of us could catch fish. Overall the day was a little on the slow side but we had a great time and look forward to floating with Jason again.

15 September 14 - No-Name Creek
  Moody, Gary and I meet up to do some small stream recon on a little know wild trout stream. After a little “off road” travel we arrived at our destination. At first look, I thought it was going to be slim pickings as the steam was shallow and it didn’t impress me. I was determined to fish on top, so I tied on a small hopper and after a few cast I caught an eight inch wild brown. He put up a fight and felt like a tiger on the end on the 6.5 ft 2 wt rod. I worked my way up the steam eagerly anticipating another strike. I didn’t have to wait long, just up the creek a little ways, a nice 12" brown slashed at the hopper. Fish on! I called out “I think I’m gonna need a net”, but there was no answer as Gray and Moody had tired of waiting for the “rest of the crew” to arrive and had headed up steam. The brown came to hand after doing everything he could to get under his rock and stay there. It had beautiful color of a streambred trout. I was beginning to think highly of the little jewel of a stream. Things slowed down a bit as I caught up to Gary and Moody. We leapfrogged on the stream and I caught two more before we ran into Texasfly. He had the jump on us and said he had a “so-so” morning. Gary was learning the ins and outs of a small stream and kept catching small dace. Moody hollered at me, and we cast together at this large plunge pool, he caught a 10” brown and I, after bumbling a few cast, got the “big one” to boil on a cricket, but I missed him. Oh well, Moody had six fish on the day and I had five!

14 September 7 - New River
  The boys built us a nice camp fire and we ate chili for dinner. The river was still rising and when we woke up it had come up another inch or two. We had to rush through the same float as Saturday in three hours, but the bite was on! We really had to paddle to get to the take out on time. Scott caught a smallie on his first cast to the bank! We fished whenever possible and he caught many perch and a few more smallies. Too bad we couldn't spend more time fishing!

13 September - New River
  I had such a good time floating the New that I went back again, this time taking the boys. This was their first "white water" trip.David and I took the boys down the New in canoe and kayak, Saturday float was good, we caught a number of smallies and perch, and other sunfish. Kids had a blast just doing the float. Spent about 5-6 hours on the river. Floated from the New River Campground to the take out on River Road. The fishing really started to pickup late in the day.

12 September 1, New River
  On Monday Moody was going to head on home since he didn't have anybody to take on the Mother Ship, so I volunteered for the job. The river was up and even more and was even muddier. I wasn't catching much so I offered to row the Mother 'toon so Moody could catch some smallies. I put him on some fish and only got stuck on one rock! Watch the water, not the fish!
11 August 31, New River
  Gary, Bkatz and Moody Trout and I camped at the New River Campground.We all had a good time on the New, just too bad the water was so muddy . Thunder was rolling in the hills as we floated, but it held off till we got back in camp. On Sunday the float was good and I managed to catch 5 smallies and a couple of perch.
10 August 17, James River - Buchanan, VA
  Gary and I bought the last two "White River" Pontoons from Bass Pro Shops in Charlotte last month. I got mine wet in a couple of lakes but have been itching to go on a river trip. The monthly 'tooning trip from High Country's BB got FT, Brent, Gary and me together for a great day on the Jame River. We had been keeping a watchful eye on the river guage, hoping the river would fall enough and the rain would stay away.

It was running 1660 CFS when we put in 3.6 miles above the Buchanan bridge and the water was heavily stained. I had a couple of quick hits on a yellow gurgler. Toonin' down the river was a blast and we covered a lot of water. The smallies were holding up against the bank and I managed to catch a few nice ones. A sudden thunderstorm caused us to seek shelter on the bank, twenty minutes later the sun was out and we continued on down the river. Even thought the bite was off it was a great trip

9 July 30 - Damariscotta River, ME
  We were in on vacation on the rocky coast of Maine, we had been fishing for tinker mackeral off of the public docks. I managed to take a few on the fly, the kids were catching them on the standard mackeral jigs. I also caught a small pollock on the fly rod.

We hired Capt. Joe Rego of Damariscotta Charters located on Schooner's Landing. After a brief orientation we pulled away from the dock and rigged up our rods. Capt. Joe handed Christopher a rod and told him that it was his "lucky rod". Mom helped Zoe and I got ready as we trolled over the first holding spot not 100 yards from the dock. On our first pass Christopher yelled out, "I've got something!" He reeled in a nice 20" striper. On our second pass he hooked another one and on our third pass he and I had a double. Zoe would have to wait a bit longer, but you could tell be the look on her face that she had better catch a fish soon.

We moved on down the river on the incomming tide and were soon over another shoal. Again Christopher caught the first fish and then I caught another one. Finally after my son caught a few more Zoe yelled out, "Oh, I've got a big one" and she held on with a little help from mom and reeled in her first striper of the season.

At the end on our trip Christopher had 22, Zoe 13 and I had 14 and the largest fish at 31". We had a great time and look forward to having another trip with Capt. Joe Rego next year.

8 June 29 - Watauga River, TN
  Had a pretty good day, started out below Wilbur dam and caught 6 10"-12", mostly rainbow and on nymphs, there was a sulfur hatch going on with few risers, I got one on a dry.
Typical Watauga Rainbow

After lunch I went to ###### ### on the watauga, got three nice rainbows out of that first run/pool all on a Jonnny's Green, moved on down to the lower pool-talked to the bait chunckers, they had an 18" brown on a stringer. No bugs on the flats, so I went back up to the first pool. Tied on a #14 BEADHEAD PT using 6x fluro and stuck a pig! I just picked up a spool of Orvis New Mirage Fluorocarbontippet, the 6x is rated at 3.6 lbs) He ran all the way to the end of the pool. I applied some pressure and stopped him from going over the lip, he bulldogged and I worked him for several minutes without a glimpse. Finally he rolled and I new I had a HUGE Brown on the line. He held is the slack water I couldn't move him left or right, he was playing SUNKEN LOG. Then he ran to the end of the pool again. After working him back up to the slack water I pulled out the net, one look at that and he was thinking about MEXICO. Man, I love to hear that San Miguel sing! One more run and he was done, barely fit in the net! 22" of stream bred brown trout!

It was at perfect catch, all of the elements worked together, the rod (Sage SP 590/3) protected the tippet (6x Fluoro) , the knots held (triple surgon and Pitzen) and the drag on the San Miquel (Ross San Miquel Two) was flawless

Temptation was to pull that pig out and show him to the bait casters and show them a REAL fish! But I was humble and as I passed them going home they asked if I had any luck and I replied "Oh, I'm just out here having fun, I caught a couple of small ones."
7 June 25 - Bullhead Creek
  There was a lot of chatter on High Country's bb about Bullhead Creek (pay to fish) at Stone Mountain State Park. I haven’t fished the stream in a couple of years; low water, increased fee (now $12, used to be $4) and other opportunities are some of the reasons.

Anyway I needed a trout fix so I went there last evening after work (actually left work an hour early) and was on the water by 5:00. Many midges and a few stoneflies were coming off the water, but I tied on my favorite Bullhead fly, a hopper pattern. I caught about a dozen 12”, 14”, 16” brown trout on the hopper, 1 brookie on a yellow sally and another on a yellow caddis. One of the big browns bulldogged for several minutes at the bottom on the deepest pool, I couldn't turn him despite all the side pressure I dared to apply on the 4wt with 6x tippet. He made a run at me and then back to the head of the pool. Then he jumped, clearing the water by several feet. With renewed vigor he bulldogged back down and then the line went slack as the hook came out. What a thrill and disappointment that was. Nothing else was happening in that pool so I moved on with plans to come back through in an hour. After catching several more I plopped the caddis into a little eddy where is was immediately sucked under. I lifted the rod and it felt like I was hooked on a log, but the it started shaking, pulsing as the fish darted around his small pool. I never got a chance to see him as he stayed glued to the bottom, then he went under a ledge and I tried to pull him out but he just kept on going rubbing the tipped against the rock and snap another fish lost.

Fished as late as possible, leaving the park at 9:00. Best $12 I’ve spent in a long time.

It was good to see the water level up in the creek; I hope we continue to get some rain to sustain the creek throughout the summer months.
6. May 26 - Watauga River Wading - Caddis Riffle - Memorial Day
  Had to go back over the mountain for some more of that tailwater fishing. On the way I picked up a hiker at the AT crossing of 321. He was a southbounder having left Main in early April. He was restocking and needed a ride to Food City in Elizabethton. After dropping him off I headed to the trophy section to fish the Caddis Riffle. The parking lot was just about full and when I got to the water it was stacked up with fisherman spaced about 70 feet apart. I tried to work my way down stream but encounter more fisherman along the way. Fished the runs up against the far bank and the deep hole in front of the first island. Caught about 6 all 10 - 12" some on nymphs others on a CDC caddis emerger. I always enjoy casting to a rising fish and catching them on the first or second cast

I moved over to the S. Holsten to see if my luck would be any better over there. Hit the Big Spring Road and found a group of fisherman at just about every pull-off.!
5. May 18 - Watauga River Wading - PFF day 3
  The cooks started early and the bacon and eggs were great. After breakfast I got everybody together for the PFF Group Photo. What a crowd! Several notables didn't make it, including Rusty and Red. Once that was done I quickly headed to some of my favorite spots on the Watauga. I walked in to a spot and then discovered that I only had 8x tippet! Not wanting to waste time walking back to the car I tied on my dropper nymphs with the 8x and height sticked the deep run. Missed a few early strikes and then caught 6 or so 10 - 12 in bows mostly on the dropper. Broke off a nice fish on the 8x and then caught 6 more including a 15" bow on the 8x. Orvis Super Strong 8x and my pitzen knots held and after five minutes I brought this healthy fat wild trout to net

Moved on downstream to Sycamore Shoals before they opened the dam. The "Over the Mountain" revolutionary reenactment was taking place and some of them asked about the fishing noting that they had seen the fish rising the previous evening. I told them that I almost always fished this section of the river on my visits to Elizabethton. The remarked that others told them that this section had been fished out. I waded into the shoals and worked my way downstream to the runs using a PT nymph with a couple of split-shot to work the swift current. I missed a good sized fish, but moments later hooked the fish of the trip. The bow jumped and ran into the current pulling line off the real and I really had to work hard to keep him in the eddy between the swift run and the rapids. Finally he made a run that took him over the lip and down into the next set of rapids. I knew if he got into the main current he would be on the way to Mexico! I ran downstream reeling in like crazy and putting pressure on him to hold him into another eddy. I finally reeled him in and netted a beautiful 15" bow with an attitude. I moved on down to the big run where the river comes back together. I nyphed this run and caught my last fish of PFF 7.0 a 14" bow. Nice fish, great river, great friends.
4. May 17 - Watauga River Float - PFF day 2
  Left over Loon Stew for breakfast, no time to wait for the bacon and eggs. Headed off with Psycho and Maniac to float the Watauga. The hatch wasn't great and the bite was a little off but we all had a good number of caught fish. Running under power we hit the ledges, which were crowed, and Psycho and I caught a few more while Maniac caught up on some sleep. The wind was kicking up and it made fishing dries difficult but I did manage to cast to a rising trout and catch him. While waiting for the shuttle Psycho and I chased down a swimming snake, a present for JT, but he holed up in the bank and got away.
3. May 16 - Shady Valley - PFF day 1
  After setting up camp and getting the fixings ready for the loon stew I headed out on a recon mission with JT and Joe up Laurel Creek in TN. The road follows right beside the creek allowing easy access for bait chunkers and other vermin. We picked a spot, JT headed up steam, Joe down and I jumped in at the big hole below the pull-off. It wasn't long before I had a nice bow on the end on the line, he had taken the dropper. I missed another and then moved up stream catching a few more rainbows before we regrouped for the ride back to camp

Midge had put 5 gallons of water in the caldron and set it on the cooker. I broke out the ingredients for the stew and by dark we had about 25 gallons of Loon Stew. Everybody had two or three bowls, but we still had about 5 gallon left.
2. May 4 - Bright Sun - 60 - 75 degrees
  A co-worker wanted to send her husband on a fly fishing trip. She had asked me about guides and places to fish. I recommended a few of the guides, she selected Jason Reep and I offered to go along to "split" the cost. Spring was running by quickly, I wanted to go before the PFF, so we decided to go on May 4. The weather had been miserable for several days before and we were prepared for rain. I met John for the first time at MacDonald's where we met for the the drive over the mountains to Elizabethton. By the time we arrived the sun was out and the day promised to be spectacular as far as the weather was concerned. We met Jason and were soon on the water! Jason got us rigged up with a "Puff Daddy" and we proceeded to catch a number of the stocked fish near the put-in while Jason rigged up our nymphing rods. He tied on a red San Juan Worm with a split shot and then a caddis pupa dropper followed by a silver midge. As we moved on down the river we switched to the nymph rig. John and I continued to catch fish after fish as we drifted through the trophy section where the fish were larger and more brightly colored.
watauga bow
1. Easter Monday - Partly Cloudy - 60 degrees - water temp 58
  Hiked into Harper Creek and went downstream about a half mile. Water was running high, fast and clear. Very sparse hatch or assorted mayflies and caddis. Fished a Royal Wulff in the pocket water and was rewarded with the sight of brook and rainbow trout rocketing off the bottom to snatch the fly. It was good to see the abundant flow replenishing the creek. I haven't seen the water this high in a number of years. As I was fishing upstream I noticed a large doe prancing downstream toward me. I marveled at the ease at which she navigated the freestone creek. She got to within twelve feet of me before she halted, paused momentarily, then turned and pranced back upstream out of sight.