The fun is being had
This is a true story of events during a guided trip on the South Holston River in spring 2019.
Gloria is a name you may hear being yelled from any number of rivers surrounding Asheville, NC. Sometimes its a coaxing whisper, sometimes a frustration yell and sometimes a chuckling cheerful G-L-O-R-I-A. My client, a dry fly purist and wonderful person to vicariously fish through is always searching for HER big fish, "Gloria." Today I heard Gloria's name being called several times from the back of the boat on the South Holston River.
The first time, I heard it echoing off the rock bluff to my 9 0'clock, glooooo-riaaaaa.
I turn around and the rod is bent over and the reel is singing. "Oh gloria" she said and I absolutely chuckled and netted a beautiful 18" wild brown trout caught on a size 18 sulfur mayfly emerger.
A few sighs and sips of water later and I hear the name again. Same deal, same fly, same chuckle. She taps her feet, claps her hands and dips them in the water for a quick grip-n-grin.
The FUN is being had.
While these were solid fish I knew they weren't Gloria. Gloria was a mile or so downstream. I saw her there in a particular location I had been two days prior with my client's husband. He and I spent about 2 hours working a big brown trout on dry flies. We trusted the process, rested the picky eater, tried again and again. We gave it our best but the stars just didn't align during that particular 2 hours.
I think many guides could say that women usually out fish men. I am not sure what magic is working there but its real and i've witnessed it time and time again. I will continue to observe and hopefully learn the magic. I say all this because when we pulled up to Gloria's doorstep she was waiting with a red dress on and passing out lemonade. We spent over an hour presenting flies and resting the fish. Of course, Gloria eventually ate HER fly. If we weren't the last boat on the water, everyone on the river would have heard Gloria's name shouted in unison by all three of us at the top of our lungs. It was such a joyful noise you'd think we were at church or a Van Morrison concert.
Cheers to all the G-L-O-R-I-A-S out there!
This is a great pattern to use when fly fishing for Smallmouth Bass. When the little frogs known as spring peepers come out to play, so do the smallies. Here in Asheville, NC this pattern has produced for us time and time again on our freestone rivers the Nolichucky River & French Broad River.
The video we did last year "A trip into the wild", which features Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing, Overnight Trips with Safari Camp and Whitewater option, has recently been featured by R.L. Winston Rod Co., Dun Magazine, the Angler Report and Moldychum.com. Check it out!
Special thanks to producer Josh Branstetter and all those involved!
If you are interested in this experience, we are now booking mid-June through mid-October 2018. You can read more info on this experience by clicking here.
Smallmouth Bass + Whitewater Float Trips
These trips are not geared toward whitewater like a whitewater rafting trip.
We venture into these class III & IV waters to target the big,
aggressive Smallmouth Bass that live within.
Trips are full day floats with a two boat minimum.
Multi-day trips with Safari Camp are available.
All guides are River Rescue 3 International &
ACA Level 4 Swiftwater Rescue certified and fully insured.
Spring weather has been like a roller coaster. Never the less, the spring fishing for both Trout and Smallmouth Bass has been excellent. The following pictures are from recent trips...
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...
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...
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...
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
S.C.O.F (Southern Culture On the Fly) is an online fishing magazine filled with informative articles, fishy humor and vivid photography. So when they told us they wanted to do a an overnight trip for Smallmouth Bass on the Nolichucky Gorge and feature the story in S.C.O.F's Fall 2015 issue, the perma-grin set in.
Three rescheduled dates and seven months later, we were packing the boats and checking water levels. For good fishing and easier rowing, we typically run the gorge between 700cfs and 1600cfs. The water level was a boat-dragging 350cfs the morning of the trip. This is an extremely low level, making it hard to navigate anything bigger than a kayak. At this level, the rapids grow teeth, the slots become cracks, broken oars are common and dragging the raft is sure to occur at least once. We were running rafts with fishing frames and oar rigs. Each boat carried one angler, one oarsman/guide, fishing/camping/camera gear and a cooler. Three rafts, eighteen rods and reels, enough food and flies for six adventurists and every smallmouth bass in the gorge, we headed north from Asheville to bring it all down 9 miles of class III-IV water 2,500ft down in the Nolichucky Gorge. The "Noli" gorge is sacred to many, loved by more. If you go, please treat it with respect, play safe, and practice catch and release so that others may enjoy its splendor.
In the end, memories were made, fun was had, many fish were caught, oar blades got broken and lessons were learned. We safely made it out of the gorge wishing we could immediately do it again. Thanks to S.C.O.F for bringing us on board for this one. Thanks to everyone involved for making it an epic trip. That was fun! ~ Galen Kipar
- S.C.O.F Writer - David Grossman
- S.C.O.F Photographer - Rand Harcz
- A.F.F.C Guides - Zach Bassett, Knox Campbell, Galen Kipar
- Crooked Creek Holler
Read the article here... S.C.O.F 2015 FALL Issue #17
Since the article came out, we have received several inquiries about fly patterns and the smallmouth in the Western North Carolina and East Tennessee mountains. If you have questions or are looking for info, contact us anytime!
Asheville Fly Fishing Company / 828-779-9008 / email@example.com
Happy 4th of July! We are looking forward to watermelon, fireworks, homemade peach ice cream and good days on the water. Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!
We find S.C.O.F. to be an entertaining read filled with great artwork, info and other fishy news. S.C.O.F. is an online Fly Fishing Magazine based in the Southeast USA. They've got some fishy apparel, funny stories and timeless pictures.
Galen was featured in SCOF's 2014 Fall issue. Click here to read