Keith's Fly Fishing Log 20007
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May 7, 2008 - Delayed Harvest - Mitchell, Stone Mountain and Roaring River


I took my daughter out of school early today and we headed up the road for some fly fishing. We had an enjoyable ride up to the river and parked besides a nice little spot in the river. I thought we might get a few out of the deep run there with a woolly bugger but nobody appeared to be home. We went on down the river a ways and there we found trout rising under the trees on the far side of the river. There were 10 brazillion midges in the air and a few sulfurs popping off too, but the trout were taking the midges. We tied on a #22 black midge and the game was on. She didn't want to cast, just wanted to help net the fish and release them. She watched each drift with the same anticipation as I did and she saw the fish rise and the hook set or the last second refusal. After a couple of hours she wanted to go to another spot and despite the consistent catch we moved on up the road.

When we got to the other stream there was a noticeable lack of a hatch and two spin fisherman had just been through our stretch. I tied on a beetle and cast into the pool that my daughter had scoped out. "There's a bunch of big ones in there!" she yelled. The trout rose and smashed the beetle but unbuttoned before it could be landed. On down in the nest hole we caught a nice fat one and had a blast looking a nymphs and salamanders. We caught a few more fish and then I found one holding off to the side of a little plunge pool. It wasn't attracted to the beetle, and I changed flies, I told my impatient daughter that if the fish didn't take the ant I was tying on the I would buy her two scoops of ice cream. She said "but you would buy me two scoops anyway!" Well I cast the ant in the little pocket and the fish bolted for cover on the other side of the pool. "That'll be two scoop!" she reminded me.

Then we worked our was down the final stretch of the river an I was throwing a black bead head woolly bugger.  After a while she was ready to head for home, but I talked her into one more fish. Shortly, we had a rainbow on the line and it went into some nice aerobatics, which delighter her, however the fish threw the hook. "Man, I really wanted that fish," she cried. She headed down to a pool as I continued to work the runs and the head of the pool. I hooked a nice brookie and called for her to come with the net. She climbed on top of the rock jutting into the pool and inched down towards the water to net the fish. She had a little difficulty with the larger hook and handed me the net. She watched intently as I turned the fly and removed the barbless hook and she may have even leaned over a little for a better look, for as i released the trout, she lose her footing and slipped into the deep pool. I wish I had a photo of her expression as she hit the cold water! It was priceless and I couldn't help but to laugh at her shocked expression. She pretended to be mad and me for laughing, but really saw the humor in it and I told her how her brother had fallen face first into the same pool ten years ago. Needless to say that ended our fishing trip and we walked back to the car. I fished on for a little bit as she changed into a dry pair of clothes. Then we headed down to the ice cream shop to end a most memorable day. 




May 4, 2008 - South Holsten


Early mornings are getting harder to accept, so I didn't leave home until 7:40. The weather report was for a full sunny day and I was hoping for some super sulfur action. I had tied up some BOW nymphs and a couple of SHS with dun wing instead of natural. The first photo of the report was going to be a height warning bar the someone took out at McDonalds, they weren't even close the truck just push the sucker over, ripping the concrete block from the ground. But when I attempted to power on the the camera all I got was a red warning, "Battery Low." I was going to have to take picture with the cell phone, Argggg!
When I got to the river the sun was shining and my favorite run was unoccupied.

Despite a few sulfurs coming off and an occasional riser, I rigged up the SHS with a BWO dropper and worked my was into the run. On the first cast something big grabbed the fly as it hit the water and ran 50 feet down and across the river. The reel sung it's song but the line went slack, I still had my flies, Fish 1 WB 0. And so it went for a while, I missed a few hooksets and a couple more became unbuttoned. Fish 6 - WB 0

I  hooked another larger fish and as he was pulling line I was attempting to get the fish on the reel, using my finger to control the tension. With a sudden burst of speed this on broke off taking both flies an just leaving the split shot. Fish 7 - WB 0

Finally I landed a little brownie! Fish 7 - WB 1

Finally there were enough risers to make the switch to dries and I tied on a hair wing comparadun sulfur size 14. I made long cast up to the head of the run and watch the long drifts, I missed a few and the end of the drift, just as i took the fly off teh water. But the fish came to the fly eagerly and I was having another feckless day on the stream. I was also casting across the current to the seam on the far side. There I believed was where the bigger fish were feeding. I had a nice fish roll on the fly.

I caught a few more and then hooked another nice fish, this one made a blistering run right off and then jumped several feet into the air. I had the fish on the reel went it raced straight up stream and I reed in frantically, then another amazing 40 foot run downstream screaming the drag. I worked the fish back in, applying side pressure left then right as needed, and then another run and ... nothing, the line went slack. The fish threw the hook. Argggh, I was angry that I lost this fish, the third good sized fish this day... I would have to honestly estimate this one to be well over 20"

I went back to catching some of the 12 to 14" fish before moving upstream to another location. There is a deep fast run full of rainbows and they were a blast to catch. The indicator would move I would set the hook and the fish would blast out of the water. What fun! I caught about 6 out of this run and then moved again to fishing the day on a narrow shoot.

The water really moves though hear and I put on 2 BB shot. I quickly caught a couple of decent bows and then as the sun was setting I hooked a nice fat 16" who ran downstream and jumped to be silhouetted in the bright sky. I had the fish in the net and removed the bwo dropper from the upper lip and was getting ready to get the cell phone out and the fish flopped and self released from the Gallatin Ghost net.

What a way to end the day! Final Score: Fish 20 - WB 24++ Wink




April 27, 2008 - South Holsten


Got up at a reasonable time and drove across the ECD (Eastern Continental Divide), actually crossing it three times on the way. The highest elevation is a little over 4,000. W-S is around 900 feet so that's a pretty good climb before dropping back off into the Tennessee valley. I was on the water by 10 and the sun was shining and it was quite warm, but that didn't last too long. Clouds started moving in an it started raining by noon. I caught a couple of bows on the BWO and SHS nymphs before heading back to the car for the rain gear. I moved on up the road a little bit and worked my way across the river to work a big run. BB shot took the nymphs down deep and I caught a nice jumping bow just before the lightening and thunder scared me off the water. The storm blew through in an hour and I was back on the water in the rain. I was using a lager than usual indicator because of the heavy rain. I some of the runs I couldn't hook a fish while in another faster run upstream just a little bit I hooked several bows in quick succession.

Then slowly sulfurs started coming off, but not in great numbers, at least as far as I could see in the driving rain. A few fish were rising but not steadily. I switched to a comparadun sulfur and worked the water hoping for a fish. The first one jumped right over the fly, the second miss came when I pulled the fly out of the fish's mouth. Finally I hooked one and it ran jumped and spit the fly. Finally I hooked another one and it jumped three times and pulled line off the reel, I thought it was a bow until it started head shaking. Nice brownie to the net. Caught a few more before what was left of the hatch ended and the fish refused to rise again. I had enough and left the river at 6:30

On the way home I passed a Toyota Tundra towing a drifboat with a Bowman Gray School of Medicine Decal.. hmmm wonder who that is......
Here are some pics of the day.




April, 22, 2008 - South Holsten


I left Winston @ 8 after taking my son to school, planning to fish till dark in order to make a good day out of the trip. However as soon as I pulled over and parked the phone rang, Yikes bad news, my brother is in the ICU @ Forsyth. Although somewhat expected it was hard news to handle. He had been admitted the night before and my parents were with him.  The hospital has limited visiting hours and if I went straight back there wouldn't be an opportunity to visit until latter in the evening, so I'd have to make this a short trip. I was a little indecisive but went fishing anyway. The fish were taking some invisible bug as it emerged, but I started out with a pair of nymphs. My mind wasn't on the fishing anyway, but I managed to bring a couple to hand on the bwo nymph. Then I switched to a dry and tried to get a strike, I must have tried about a dozen patterns without luck. I just wasn't feeling it at this location so I moved on up the river. There I worked the fast water with a BB shot and two emergers and the action really picked up! I caught six out of one run! Although the bwo worked I found another emerger pattern that attracted the big boys.

Here are the shots of the day.,4100.0.html




April 20, 2008 - South Holsten


Alarm went off way too early and I couldn't rise to the occasion, had to snooze for 45 minutes, stayed up too late last night watching Blazing Saddles with my son.... funny stuff there, hadn't watched it in ages...

finally got going @ 6:45 and drove 150 miles across the Eastern Continental Divide and to the S. Holston River in East TN.

ust as I was getting my first fish to hand it started to rain. Not enough to run back to the car and get the rain jacket but enough to be an annoyance. I was fishing a bwo emerger pattern and the fish were keying in on it.

Plenty of action, but the guys below me headed for cover and I moved down into their run. Ha! After catching a few more fish it really started to come down and I headed back to the car for some dry fleece and a rain jacket.

In the afternoon things slacked off so I headed to another productive run and when I got there the sulfurs were popping off and the fish began to rise with abandon. Easy pickings with the correct comparadun Wink

Then the rain came back and the hatch ended with the storm clouds.

Went back downstream and ran into Karl and Mike fishing a favorite run. Jumped in and saw the action and picked up a couple more fish on the bow nymph.

(Mike with a bow caught on his new Limestone  Sad)

Caught a few of these too, but mostly rainbows -- at least two dozen in the net!




April 18, 2008 - back to VA


After taking my son to school I drove to Krankies Coffee and smelled that aroma of some fresh roast Sumatra. I grabbed a cup to go and drove to the river sipping on the hot fresh brewed coffee. I was on the stream by 9 and when I opened the 1972 Orvis Battenkill rod tube I tried to detect an antique aroma of bamboo but no magical fragrance came from the tube. I was still thinking about how good that coffee was while I tied on a dry fly and began casting up into the runs of the stream. Yellow was the color of the day and many fair to middling sized trout came to hand. On the deeper pools that failed to bring a riser I tied on a big black woolly bugger and dredged into the depths. Viscous strikes brought the best fish of the day to hand.


I fished up to where the trail came to the river, right about where troutjedi broke his Sage Rod two steps off the trail on the way to the stream...funny how you remember things like that....

Now I'm back @ krankes sipping a Rolling Rock -- getting ready to take my daughter to soccer practice....

I don't know what coffee taste like @ 14,000' but I'll bet it's not as good as a RR @ 900' Cry




April 13, 2008 - South Holston River TN


All I'm going to say tonight is Karl and I caught some nice Browns during a BWO hatch while it was snowing!!!

The Report!

What a weekend. 80’s on Friday driving around town with the top down on the Miata, Saturday in the 50’s with thunder shadows in the morning and then Sunday morning it was in the 40’s in Winston but as I climbed to the Blue Ridge the temperature in Newland was 39. I met Karl at 8:35 in Bluff City and we headed down to the river hitting a popular run. The wind was blowing and the sun was threatening to come out but the fish weren’t bothered by either. I started off fishing a #20 Flashback PT with a #20 BWO (Karl’s newly rediscovered Pattern.) It wasn’t long before I had a hook up with a large trout who ran like a freight train across the river the reel screaming and then nothing, the line went slack and I reeled in to discover that my pitzen knot on the dropper had failed! ARGGGGg! The 6x fleuro had the tell tale pig tail curl. Usually I don’t have a problem with the Pitzen, it will “snap” in place when tied correctly and offers great strength. I tied on the other BWO pattern that Karl had given me  and a few cast later the indicator twitched and I landed the first of many Rainbows from this productive run!

It wasn’t all catching, many fish became unbuttoned from the tiny flies but it was still a blast hooking up with these aerobatic bows who rand and jumped with vigor. I lost a couple of real good fish who were in the 18” to 20” class. Most of the ones that came to hand were 14” full of bright spawing colors. Karl was having similar luck nymphing the same pattern.  We spent the morning fishing this section of runs before the wind kicked up and  we headed off for a lunch break and Webb’s. They serve a buffet on Sunday and for $8.00 you can get a great plate of food with a great selection of meats, vegetables and deserts!

After lunch we headed up to another spot on the S. Holston that I’d not been to before. Here the river narrowed and flowed though some fast and deep runs with a nice wide deep fast pool at the top.  Deep nymphing was the order and I caught five bows in the first couple of runs.  Karl was catching them in the upper reaches of this section and I moved up above him to the deep fast pool, the fish were holding deep and I was tossing 2 BB shots with a RGHE and a black fly dropper. I  caught three decent bows and then hooked into a real big fish.  It rans 30 feet to the tail of the pool, jumped and then ran back at me before zinging off across the river when the #24 fly tore loose! Best fish of the day might have gone 24” But that’s part of the game when fishing small flies and light leaders!

The rain was coming down pretty hard now and the wind was blowing hard making for more difficult conditions. Having worked most of the water in this section we decided to move on downstream and finish the day on a section known for bwo hatches. When we arrived there we were greeted by the typical East Tennessee greeting, two car seats thrown down the river bank along with the usual assortment of trash. Absolutely disgusting! We waded across the river and noticed a few BWO’s floating down the river and the purple martins were swooping all about the river. The fish weren’t rising so we started off nymping while the hatch developed. The weather was turning colder in the evening and around 7 o’clock the hatch came off in force with browns rising recklessly. I tied on a #16 bow parachute but it proved difficult to see in the fading light and glare off the river. I missed a few takes when I lost the fly in the foam. I finally gave up and switched to a #14 and this new fly was the ticket, I was quickly catching the rising browns!  The rain started turning to snow and ice and we were pelted by the frozen precipitation. BWO really like foul weather. But the fish didn’t mind, they fought like pit bulls, violently shaking their heads and making blistering runs. Unfortunately the major hatch ended as abruptly as it started and the fish went back down to feed below the surface. I caught one more brown on a BWO nymph and then with raw aching hands and numb fingers we called in a day at 8 o’clock.

The river treaded us well and we were thankful that we waited out the weather and caught fish on the rise as the sunset.



April 09, 2008 - no-name creek in VA


The last time it was up this river I didn't have a camera, now that I've got a new one I was hoping to catch some decent brown trout. But the conditions were tough the water was extreamely clear and the sun was shooting straight into the gorge. Midges were everywhere but I didn't see any early risers, so I went to work with a PTN and a Copper Dropper. As I worked my way upstream I jumped a buck and he crashed through the forest in front of me. I finally started to hook up with smaller browns and caught a handful before I started getting into the bigger fish. All in all it was a pretty slow day, but it was nice to be out...

Here are some shots with the Olympus 1030 sw..



March 26, 2008 - Same no-name creek in VA


A little better planning and I was able to get up to the river @ 10 and fished till a little after 1 since I had a longer hike out and now Knew my exact travel time and I didn't want to be late two days in a row!

Started off with a prince and PTN dropper and quickly got into some of the small wild browns. The intense sunlight beat down on the stream and I'm sure that the line shadow scared away many trout before the fly even hit the water. Once again there were tons of midges and no evidence of fish rising, I did see a few mayflies, maybe a march brown or a drake about size 12 dome off but I stayed with the nymphs most of the time. There was a run that I knew must hold fish and they didn't take my subsurface offerings so just for the heck of it I tossed a small stimulator and sure enough I got fish to rise but failed to hook him. I pushed on up further into the gorge and hit some of my favorite runs and pools, remembering the fish that I had caught there in the past....

4 to hand, 7 on the line...  Headbanger




March 25, 2008 - Some Stream in VA


Tight schedule limited my stream time to a little under two hours while the windshield time was close to three Sad
The overnight temps dipped to 22 degrees and a chill was in still in the air when I hit the water at noon. There were a brazillion midges and some micro BWO's hover over the water. I studied a pool, looking for any sign of a rise, and then in the brilliant noonday sun I tied on a BWO parachute and cast into the edges of the current and back eddies of the pool hoping to entice a trout to rise. Non came to the dry but I moved up to another run and worked the water still hoping for a fish to rise. Then I decided to go with a nymph and tied on a tellico. My first good cast into the next run resulted in a hookup and then the fly slipped from the trouts mouth and ended up in a tree on the backcast. And that was the only tellico in the box today! No to be discouraged I tied on a prince with a PTN dropper. One small pool upstream and I was firmly connected to the first trout of the day! I caught a couple more in the next half hour and then the pressure of having to leave soon occupied my mind and fishing became a little frantic as I tried to cover only the most promising pools and runs. I was trying for force one more fish to hand. But it was not to be and I hiked back out and drove home for my afternoon appointments.

Here are a few shots of the day!




March 24, 2008 - Smith River VA

  After going to church and having supper at mom's and buying a new VA licence ($76 makes TN look like a bargain) I slipped away for a few hours of fishing on the Smith. There were three or four vehicles in the parking lot by the mirror plant when I pulled in. As I was donning my gear I hear two fishermen coming up the tracks and when they got to the lot the recognized me  and introduced themselves as Fire-fly and the Zman! FF was talking about the BWO's and Sulfurs that were hatching and i was trying to get on the water as it was already 4:30. FF and Zman were took a few but were complaining about the winds, at the parking lot there was barely a breeze but they reported that it was really blowing down and sometime up the river. FF was using a 2 wt. and I had brought my 5 wt. my standard for the Smith. I finally got dressed out and hit the trail down behind the mirror factory.

There were two guys in my hole there, one flailing away with a fly rod and the other chucking hardware. Upstream I could see a number of risers and the BWOs were still coming off in numbers along with an occasional sulfur. Well I tried a number of drys and emergers, but only got one take before the hatch tapered off and the fish stopped rising regularly. I fished some nymphs for a while but went back to drys at there were sporadic risers to work on. There was a large back eddy with a number of risers and I worked that water for a while but in the failing light I lost sight of the fly amongst the foam and bubbles and when the fish took the fly there was too much slack in the line and I snapped the tippet.

After a while I headed back to the car and left the river just before eight.

First skunk in a while... but it was good to be out if only for a few hours......




South Holston River TN - Feb 24, 2008


I finally got caught up with work and family obligations and was able to make the drive over the mountains to hit the South Holston River. My friend Karl had been over on Saturday and reported an excellent bwo hatch and some intense fishing action. The weather promised to be a little better on Sunday, low temperatures, cloud cover and a little rain, but the wind had passed though and wouldn't be a problem.

I started out nymphing some deep runs below Rock Hold Church, with a tandem rig of PT and BWO nymphs. but nothing was working. I worked up stream, planning to return to the big run before meeting up with Karl, but another fisherman jumped in below me. I saw Karl drive by and we headed off to another spot with some decent riffles. We were fishing behind a couple of bait chunkers, and I didn't catch anything. There were some risers in the long slick water and I failed to entice them to strike and then after moving on downstream the BWOs started coming off in numbers and the fish went nuts. In a run that i had nymphed with out a strike suddenly there were dozens of fish rising

South Holston River TNSouth Holston River TNSouth Holston River TNSouth Holston River TN
South Holston River TNSouth Holston River TNSouth Holston River TNSouth Holston River TN




Conway River, VA SNP


I was somewhat shocked when I received an e-mail from Steve stating, “We were looking at getting together some friends of Brent's to acknowledge his passing and honor his memory by fishing together and having him close in our thoughts.” A whole year has passed, I was reflecting on memories of the past year’s events and especially the camaraderie of the fly fishers that attended Brent’s funeral. I immediately fired off PM’s to “Thelow, Damselfly and ODG3 ” to work out travel arraignments and car pooling for the 4 to 5 hour drive.

ODG3 and Disco were out, no reply from thelow and Damsel had a busy day of traveling across the state on her way to the reunion, part of which involved “lunch” at a deer drive on the lower Bremo plantation. After a few Google searches and mapquest plots I decided that it may prove to be an interesting road trip, so I made plans to travel with her.

First stop was the rendezvous in Martinsville and then we were off to Roanoke to pick up some prints at that Damsel had made of an original painting that she had done of Brent fishing on a brookie stream in the Shenandoah. Troutchaser had provided some photos for her to use as reference and the painting captured the feeling of light and water and the stealth of an accomplished fly fisherman on the stream.
Check those tires, all four of them! We were riding with right front and left rear way low! Then we were off to the Fork Union, a redundant name if you ask me. We were following Mapquest directions and just after passing Appomattox National Park we turned right on a small road and were suppose to continue straight onto the “Old Richmond Road”, we never saw it, and had to back track, finally finding a small brown wooden sight about one foot high with Richmond carved into it. It appeared to be a private drive not a real road. We could hardly believe that Mapquest would send us on a dirt lane. Although outside of the park, this wagon trial looked like the old state road to Richmond on which Gen. Lee asked to meet Gen. Grant to discuss the terms of surrender on April 8, 1865 the day before they finally met at the Appomattox Courthouse.

After correcting our course we were soon on the highway headed toward the James River and the Bremo  Plantation. The instructions were for us to meet our host at the barn, which turned out to be an impressive structure. After wondering around for a few minutes I ran into Woody, the groundskeeper, and it wasn't long before we met the guide for the hunt. We were given the outline of the deer drive hunt and told to make ourselves at home and wonder the plantation or stay on the hill and watch the deer drive.  We did a little of both and finally heard the news that one of the hunters had gotten her first deer.  I wasn't sure how I was going to spend the afternoon, but knowing that we were going to be on the James the thought of fishing for Smallies came to mind, but my research concluded that the water was way too big for wading, so I packed the camera instead. Damsel and I walked the plantation grounds and took pictures of the unique architectural features of the barn, Lower Bremo, and the Smokehouse with their massive stone walls, enormous chimneys, and slate roofs. One unique feature of the plantation was the large stone pillars where gates once hung across the many roads on the plantation.

Lower Bremo PlantationBremo Plantation Deer DriveLower Bremo Plantatin BarnLower Bremo Plantation Smokehouse
They brought the field dress deer down to the barn and then at 4:30 they started the second drive of the day and the hunters went off to their stands and the drivers rode off in the truck with the dogs. Leaving us to explore the grounds further, we were still anticipating the after hunt meal up at Woody’s lodge, but for now with the cold wind and long shadows we sought the comfort and shelter of the Jeep. We drove on up to the Bremo road and past Bremo Recess and out to the highway. Then we traveled into the small town of Bremo Bluffs and across the tracks to the James River. Yes it was a wide and deep river without any reasonable wading opportunities even at the rapids under the bridge.  Then we drove back to the plantation and up to Woody’s place. The chili was boiling on the wood stove, deer sausage and crackers were served along with “refreshments”.  Everybody congratulated the young ladies’ first deer and toast to a successful hunt. The chili was fantastic, it part due to the fact that we had not eaten anything all day.

It was getting late and we still had a couple of hours drive to get to FT’s, we didn’t want to arrive too late, so we left at seven. After goodbyes we headed back out to the highway and debated whether to get directions for a FT short cut over the Shenandoah Mountains or to follow the easy route taking I-64 to I-81. We chose the easy way even if FT said it was a longer drive.

We reflected on the day’s events, our work, family and friends and before we knew it we were approaching Broadway a small hamlet in northern Virginia. We were warmly greeted by FT and his wife and we all sat around and had a few beers and shared a bottle of “Goat do Roam” wine.

We needed to meet up with some of the crew at 7:30 and then drive over to the Conway, so the alarms were set for 6:30 and we were off to bed by 12:30. Asleep as my head hit the pillow I awoke in the dark listening to my cell phone playing Cat Power, I got up, packed my bags and had a cup of coffee with DF and FT and off we went to meet up with GHBrowser, FT’s brother and nephew.

FT, TroutChaser, GHBrowser, damselfly, 9ft4wt, pelcrk, Bobby and Andrew gathered on the Conway River and its major tributary, Devils Ditch, within the Rapidan Wildlife Management Area and the Shenandoah National Park.

The nine  of us had gathered on the stream to remember BrentG, a departed fly fisherman and friend whom we laid to rest last January. We fished together on some of his favorite brook trout streams, the Conway and Devil's Ditch. The nights were cold and the water temp was 36~37 degrees. We managed to encourage a few brookies and browns to the surface despite the winter chill. The sun kept threatening to break-out and warm the day, but after a lunch side meal the long shadows chilled the air as we returned to the water.

We all knew that if Brent was with us he would have returned with a little smile on his face and when asked how he did his reply would have been "oh, I caught a few."

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Conway River SNPConway River SNPConway River SNPConway River SNP

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Conway River SNPConway River SNPConway River SNPConway River SNPConway River SNP

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