2018 - A Watermark Year
2018 was most certainly the year of precipitation. With the High Country reporting the wettest year on record and a sharp curve on the obvious climate change occurring in Alaska high country guide service tested all of our rain gear and techniques.
2018 was a giant growing year for the business and we brought on Skye as the head guide. Skye grew up in Watauga and his streamer prowess is highly desirable for all guests! Just before our Alaska season he boated quite possibly the biggest brown trout in company history. I know it is a special fish in his world and I am happy that he was able to get it himself!
For the most part of was a high water spring, allowing us to explore and kinda float wherever we wanted!
My wife changed careers and is now part of the only real estate team in Downtown Boone - 828 Real Estate
So proud of her and motivated by her all the time.
After a fun filled and productive spring guiding season it was time to travel to the last frontier and experience the most special place on the planet to me. The Kanektok!
this was my second season as the head Guide for the Kanektok float trips through Beyond Boundaries Expeditions. We had six amazing trips down the river and each one was filled with different challenges. It seems like every week it rained and no question each guest had to deal with the wind in their own way. 70+ mile an hour sustained winds during one week tested all of the camping equipment and the mettle of everyone. I tried to be as proactive as possible and bring lots of tarps and even an extra tent just to provide some relief from the rain.
Technically we never got swamped that week - but plenty of others out there did!
something that I had never experienced in the 14 years that I’ve been out there was the river changing weekly. A typical summer revolves around a dropping water column through the entire season. This summer it seemed like the river just continued to rise the entire season. I’m pretty sure each week we took a different route because the braids would change so much. Found some new and interesting braids and also lost some old standbys.
The type III typhoon that made landfall on us will always send me into a semi PTSD state when I look at the big huge weather systems above my head. We had a brand new cook tent this year and I can’t speak highly enough of western shelter systems and the safety that they provided.
overall it was an incredible season for the salmon especially....it wasn’t quite the banner rainbow year that I personally look for year in and year out. High water levels don’t always create the best trout fishing but nonetheless some of the mouse fishing on certain days was incredible and needless to say the Coho fishing was as epic as I’ve ever seen it. The Kanektok is an outfitters dream because she will always give you something to redeem the trip with!
The end of the Kanektok season Brought me back home in time to see some great football games and still some pretty hot tail water fishing on both the Watauga and the South Holston. The “guide bite” was still on and I was fortunate enough to have plenty of trips to keep me busy.
After proudly rowing my handmade boat for 10 years I finally decided it was time to upgrade and add another boat to the fleet!
.My RO Tailwater Skiff is the ultimate vehicle for plying the waters of the South Holston and Watauga Tailwater Rivers. It is beyond stable and lots of room for any angler. I am proud to be a part of the RO team and have enjoyed every minute in this boat!
it is a welcome addition and will allow for us to accommodate even more guests!
as my fall season was in full swing I decided to throw my hat into the retail ring and open up a brick and mortar fly shop in downtown Boone right on King Street! I have lived here for 18 years and was basically waiting for someone to open one so instead of watching the world go by I figured it was time to put up or shut up.
Boone is changing and growing so fast - I wanted to be a part of something that I feel like I’ve always been on the outside looking in. As a downtown business we want to reach in to the market and spread the scene of catch and release fly fishing.
I opened November 2 and it has been a whirlwind ever since. I was fortunate enough to already have my head guide Skye - Who always has my back and is the definition of what a high country guide should strive for - but I was luckily able to bring Alyssa on board. She has been a huge help with her prior experience and a welcome addition to the team!
Our crew is growing and a home base has been established. There will now be a full time HCGS presence even in the Summer while I’m gone to Alaska.
when we first opened it was quite busy with guiding and some retail sales and after a short while I was able to attain my ABC permit to sell beer in the shop. This has been an idea of mine for over 20 years and it is humbling to see it come to reality. Hot Flies Cold Beer just sounds right doesn’t it?
Our location is across the street from App State campus, and literally mixed in to student apartments - we wanted a platform to bring in the students and open our doors to the downtown scene and literally to everyone!
Then the big snowstorm came in really kicked off our winter season here in the high country. My family and I enjoyed lots of snowy days and then my beloved Appalachian State football team decided to bless us all with a conference championship right here in Boone!
High country guide service is proud to call Boone home and honestly I don’t think there’s another place like this in the country. I just celebrated my 36th birthday and was fortunate enough to guide on the last day of the calendar year 2018. Looking forward to a productive and fish filled 2019! Stop by our downtown Boone shop for all your flies, fly tying materials, and beer!
Please feel free to contact us and let us know if there’s something you want in the shop. Or just to say hey!
We had our first taste of Winter before the season is truly upon us!
At the house we picked up a super dry and fluffy 17”!
All the snow has got the shop in full on tying and regrouping for the Spring mode. While the Tailwater rivers of the South Holston and Watauga stay consistent with the full on spawn/post-spawn bite our trips over to TN for guests has started to slow. The skiing and riding on the slopes right now is prime time so I can’t say I blame any visitors of the High Country for taking advantage!
With this hunker down mindset comes the avenue of new ideas at the vise....or just restocking the essentials....
We’re stocking and restocking the tying essentials in the shop in anticipation of the Winter tying sessions/the oncoming Spring Guide season/and hopefully soon announcing some community open tie Tying nights! Stay tuned...
As promised we are expanding the beer selection. Just brought on New Belgium, Foothills Brewing, Lost Province (literally down the street), Greenman, Highlands, and Rogue from out West!
As always this is all from everyone’s input:
If there’s something you want me to carry just let me know and it’ll be here!
Stay tuned on Facebook and Instagram especially on our stories - typically general shenanigans with huge beer sales!
Til next time Goodnight Grandfather!
Come see us downtown Boone -
We are #boonesflyshop right across from App State campus