Smallmouth Bass in Asheville, North Carolina
Gift Certificates are available for your fishy friends & loved ones.
Summertime is officially here in Asheville, NC! Water levels are above average and conditions are great for fishing and enjoying the outdoors. We've noticed the fishing has been better than the previous two years and we anticipate the trend will continue. Here's a few highlights of what you can find on the water in the Asheville area.
Water temps are just now getting above 70 degrees with average to above average water levels compared to the 100yr. average. While spring has been hit or miss due to rainfall and blown out rivers, the fishing has been very good this year. Those windows of time when the river clears just enough before the next rain are gold. The fish know the rain is coming and they must feed while the livin' is easy. As summer continues and temperatures rise, fishing will start to slow down mid-day. Please consider practicing catch and release and keeping the fish wet. An 18" Smallmouth Bass takes 8-10yrs. to get that big. The top water bite is hot and fish are exploding on frog patterns and boogle bugs. Enjoy!
Sulfurs are hatching on the both the South Holston River & Watauga River, offering great dry fly fishing. Any time now the Japanese Beetles will start falling out of the trees. The Brown Trout will be there waiting and so will we. This event is a blast and offers both beginners and experts the opportunity to sight fish. These rivers fish well year round and boast a dense population of wild Brown Trout. Both rivers are most effectively fished from a driftboat as water levels change daily. Please use caution if you plan on wading and make sure you know the generation schedule.
WNC Delayed Harvest waters have opened as of June 3rd, so wade fishing just got a whole lot tougher. During summer months we recommend floating but if you prefer wading, we recommend going for wild trout in the higher elevation streams. This will take you away from the crowds and into to the wilderness where native Brook Trout aggressively rise to dry flies.
A few shots from recent trips...
You can rest assured that you will be in safe hands with Asheville Fly Fishing Company. Our team has the highest level of Swift Water Rescue and River Rescuecertification in addition to the minimum required CPR / First Aid certification.
- ACA - Level IV Swift Water Rescue Certified
- Rescue 3 International - Level III River Rescue Certified
- Adult, Child, Baby First Aid / CPR / AED Certified
Here's a few highlights of what is required of us with these certifications:
- Swimming in 40-50 degree water for extended periods.
- Swimming class III whitewater rapids
- Swimming/ Rescue wearing boots & waders
- Hydrology and Hazards
- Technical equipment
- Trip Planning
- Risk prevention and assessment
- Rescue techniques using throw-bags, zip-lines and roping systems
- Knots and anchor systems
- Flipped, wrapped and pinned boat rescue.
Here's what Swift Water Rescue education looks like...
A big fishy thanks to the fine folks at Dun Magazine. We love them and Dun magazine. The magazine is available online and in print for your enjoyment.
It was fun answering their questions and that is what its all about! Thanks for keeping it fun! Check out the feature and this great fishing magazine by clicking the following link.
While your recovering from a food coma in your favorite chair this holiday, take a minute to check out the most recent issue of Southern Culture on the Fly. We had the pleasure of rowing the SCOF crew down the Natahala Gorge on a day off from guiding. We were in aluminum Drift Boats hunting for wild brown trout.
A big thank you to the guys at Southern Culture on the Fly for a great experience. It is always a pleasure with SCOF and we love their magazine.
Thank you to Asheville Fly Fishing Company's guides Zach Bassett and Anthony Esposito for their great work behind the oars and great attitudes.
To read the full article go to www.southerncultureonthefly.com
Here's a few shots from the article...
70 degrees and Fall is in the air! The fish are happy and hungry and flying out of the water. The leaves are already changing here in Asheville. The #Trout and #Smallmouthbass fishing is REALLY good right now and we are loving it. Here's a handful of highlights from the last week of guided trips... #wataugariver #southholstonriver #flyfishingasheville
Make your reservation now for fall season. BOOK A TRIP: (828) 779-9008
July was a good month. It was a hot, busy month on the water. While below average water levels and above average temperatures have made the Smallmouth Bass fishing challenging, the tailwaters in East Tennessee have been fishing great! Since the South Holston River and Watauga River are tailwaters (Rivers fed by a dam where the water comes from the bottom of the lake), they stay cold enough and flow enough for the fish to remain happy. We've been experiencing some extra happy fish this summer with the abundance of Japanese Beetles falling out of the trees. Both brown and rainbow trout are looking for them actively and the Big Brown Trout are on the prowl. The Beetles have been on for two or three weeks and we anticipate they will continue through August. If you want in on the action, give us a call! We still have a little availability in August, so book sooner than later!
Here's a few of July's highlights...
Asheville Fly Fishing Company guide Knox Campbell just got back from fishing Canada. His trip was of a "Guide's day off" nature. A little R&R, R&D, and quality time with friends. Upon his return he had a serious case of perma-grin and a skip in his step. We knew what that meant and being Smallmouth Bass fanatics, we wanted details. So we slid to the edge of our chairs and let the good times roll. Here's what Knox shared with us...
I touched down in Toronto just past mid-night on June 18th. Coincidentally this date has a lot of meaning for me, but for this post the most important fact to keep in mind is that June 18 is the opening day for smallies in Ontario, something we don't appreciate here in the south. The plan was set a year before. Ben, a buddy that I had originally met on a flight to Portugal a few years ago, picked my girlfriend and I up at the airport. Once through customs we walked out the doors and immediately saw Ben waiting. Hugs and back slaps were exchanged and then we were off. After a non-stop 4 hour drive we arrived at our destination- a tiny, glacial lake 20 miles from the St Lawrence Seaway that Ben's family had a cottage on and that had no public access.
It was 4:15 and the sky was just turning grey. Rod, reel, and fly box had been stashed strategically on top of the food rations in the back of the car for easy retrieval, and withing 10 minutes of pulling into the drive we were in the Lund, cutting through the morning air with me standing at the bow, 8 wt in hand, fly line lying at my feet, a freshly tied yellow popping bug on the leader, and the unforgettable feeling you have just before doing something you'd been envisioning and anticipating for a long time. The outboard was silenced and the boat went into a quiet glide. Before Ben even had time to point out a rocky reef I threw my first cast. One pop. Two pops. Pause. Rod tip just over the water. Boom. Big eat and even bigger fish. That first fish of the trip came just as the warm colors of morning bled across the horizon. There were countless fish caught on that trip, but that first fish, and that first morning in Canada, blending with all of the emotions of the past year and a half, was one of the most powerful moments of my life. I said a silent "thank you" to no one in particular, and for a few moments, even with my hands still wet and fishy, forgot about the fishing. I took in the lake and the light, looked at my buddy, and smiled. He knowingly smiled back, and without a word and with eye brows raised, pointed to a rise ring behind me.
Read more about Knox Campbell here
FISHING REPORT: Smallmouth Bass in Asheville
The Smallmouth Bass fishing has been above average this year. Currently we are getting rain and cooler temperatures and the fish are happy. Guided trips have been producing trophy fish on the fly and spin tackle. We target these fish by Drift Boat and Raft and offer all inclusive full day and half day trips. Here's one from last week...
BOOK A TRIP BY MAKING A RESERVATION IN ADVANCE: (828) 779-9008
The South Holston River has gained a reputation for being among the best Wild Brown Trout fisheries in the Southeast United States. With an average of 8,000 trout per mile, 20 miles of fishable water sustaining 85% wild browns, we can attest to its greatness. Being a Tailwater, where the water level is controlled by a dam, it is a year round fishery offering world class fly fishing with various opportunities. It's limestone riverbed and consistent water temperature provide excellent conditions for trout to thrive. The “Soho” is no doubt a “Brown Trout Factory.” We would love the opportunity to guide you to a great experience on the South Holston River!
Recent fly fishing trips on the South Holston River have been very productive. With the spawning sections opening up as of February 1, 2016, the fish haven’t seen the normal fishing pressure. In turn, fish have been aggressive towards streamers on low pressure, cloudy days. Streamer colors have varied based on sunlight and water clarity. The following formula is a good place to start:
- Cloudy Skies / Clear Water = Natural Colors
- Cloudy Skies / Dingy Water = Black, Grey, Purple
- Sunny Skies / Clear Water = Natural Colors, Bright Colors
- Sunny Skies / Dingy Water = Florescent and Bright Colors
In addition, use streamers in darker colors in the winter and early months of the year and as the water warms graduate to the lighter-colors. Use florescent and bright colors in muddy and dingy water, and lighter colors in clear and warmer waters.
With all the snowmelt, rain and demand for electricity, the Dam generators have been running 24/7. During these periods, the fish acclimate to high water holding spots and the bigger Wild Brown Trout come out to play.
On high pressure days with abundant sun, nymphs, midges and soft hackles are getting the job done. As Spring and warmer temperatures approach, dry fly fishing will get better. Until then, warmer days reaching 60+ degrees will produce some great Blue Winged Olive hatches and rising fish.
Because the South Holston River’s levels fluctuate depending on generation, we recommend two days on this river to get the best conditions and maximize your experience. We offer all inclusive guided fishing trips and various lodging options to accommodate you best.
We look forward to getting on the water with you!
Asheville Fly Fishing Company, LLC
BOOK A TRIP: (828) 779-9008
Photography: Copyright 2016 Galen Kipar
Asheville Fly Fishing Company’s guides love fishing, but sharing the experience is far more rewarding. Come fish with us!
FISHING REPORT for Western North Carolina and East Tennessee:
*So far, the Smallmouth Bass fishing this spring has been the best we’ve seen it in 2 years. The water temperatures have been above average, and there was no significant flooding that interfered with the spawn. The magic water temperature for the top water bite is around 70 degrees. Two rivers in this area reached that mark this week and sure enough, the top water bite was hot. We anticipate the top water action will be great until temperatures flatten out into the upper 80’s and 90’s. Then, mornings and evening will be best. If you are out there on your own, don’t forget to check the water temperatures, it will tell you a lot about what the fish are going to do.
*The tailwaters of East Tennessee are renowned as some of the best in the southeast. This reputation holds true, and especially this spring. Both the Watauga and South Holston River have been fishing great as significant hatches bring fish to the surface. The Dry fly fishing has been excellent this spring, but it doesn’t stop there. The Sulfurs on the South Holston River are just getting started, and the big fish come to the table. The “Soho” is undergoing more maintenance at the dam so we can expect irregular flows. If you go wading, don’t forget to check the generation schedules and flow arrival times, better safe than sorry. On the Watauga River, the Caddis hatches have been thick, with some of the best black Caddis hatches we’ve seen in years. Spinners and tan Caddis are currently working well on Watauga. Both these rivers fish great year round, but as summer sets in and water levels are low elsewhere, they offer some of the best fishing opportunities.
*The Tuckaseegee River (NC) is managed as a Delayed Harvest regulated river. Harvest opens June 6th. If you are interested in having a great numbers day and catching upwards of 40 fish, we recommend hitting it before June 15th. We don’t recommend the “Tuck” between June 15th and October 3rd, as the majority of the 20K pounds of fish will end up in someone’s freezer. We practice Catch and Release and encourage anglers everywhere to fish with a conscience.
*Wade trips on Delayed Harvest streams are winding to a close. While some streams get hit harder than others, many will be fished out by June 15. At that point, the Davidson River is a sure bet for Catch and Release anglers. For the angler who prefers the canopy of rhododendron and the intimate hunt, there are hundreds of miles of Backcountry streams that are home to beautiful, eager wild trout.