Our first stop in Tennessee brought us to the Bristol area, home of one of the most famous NASCAR racetracks, and, home of two of the TU Greatest 100 Trout Streams, the Watauga and the South Holston. Both rivers are tailwater fisheries with dams that generate power for the area. The scheduling trick for the gang at the South Holston River Fly Shop / Champion Outfitters & Guides was which river would be generating, and hence, pumping water downstream, that would allow us to best float the river on which day. Turned out, we hit the Watauga first.
We met our guide for the day, Matt “Scooter” Gwynn, at the fly shop on a foggy morning and headed for the river. We put in at a spot where a couple of guys were trying to corral a bunch of leaves that had littered the boat launch. We didn’t realize that sight was a harbinger of things to come.
We had a great morning fishing, catching several beautiful brown and rainbow trout. As we broke for lunch, we noticed the weather changing as the wind picked up and the temperature cooled a bit. The cooling was fine, but the wind began to blow even more leaves off the trees into the river. As we set out after lunch, you could see leaves not just on the surface of the river, but, up and down the water column as well. It was difficult casting and trying to keep our flies from hooking leaves. More importantly, it was equally difficult for the fish to even see our nymphs as they floated downstream among the leaves. Needless to say, fishing, or the “bite” as it’s called, turned off in the afternoon, but, we still hooked into a few fish. The Watauga was a beautiful river with high cliffs and lots of fall colors (and did I mention…. leaves?).
We decided to try the GoPro in the truck “Guide Talk” with Scooter as we drove back after a great day on the Watauga. We hope you enjoy his insights on the river, fishing and tips for a great day.