We all made it out to the tailwater for a training and fishing mission this month and it was an incredible experience to say the least. We floated a giant stretch of the Watauga River in Elizabethton, TN - fishing streamers for native browns mostly. My boat didn't have a floating line on it! We were throwing various sink tips, I really like this Rio Streamer InTouch that has a pretty aggressive but short tip. We were using various patterns and colors - mostly olive or brown - some lead eyed articulated stuff, but also some craft fur heads with glued on eyes. The back of the boat was on fire for the most part, and at the end of the day I was astonished to report 6 fish over 18" and two taped at 20"!
It was a fantastic day for training as the river was running over 2000 cfs and lots of water profiles and characteristics to read all day long. We worked on ferry angles, drift boat speed for various uses, netting fish, anchor drops and just general behaviors and techniques that HCGS guides need to exhibit. We feel it is paramount for all guides to be on the same page for professional quality and overall expectations. It was a long day by the clock, but worth the rewards! We packed our standard Melanie's Food Fantasy lunch and some beers from the shop - and shared these with our favorite; the Watauga Riverkeeper.
It seemed like the colder and junkier it got weather wise the better the bite was. The native predators were definitely on the hunt, the barometric pressure varied through the day but it was triggering an amazing streamer bite.
These were all from one day of fishing, and there are other photos floating around that I haven't been able to get posted just yet. We had multiple follows on the same strip sometimes, and lots of bumps all day!
We have been receiving new shipments weekly of new gear and new beer! We have a lot of resins and epoxies for streamer heads and nymphs backs from both Loon Outdoors and Gulff Fly Fishing. Just got in a huge order of ducktails in a lot of different colors, along with some new Kona streamer hooks. These things look like the real deal - a little bit better of a price point than most but look and feel to be very stout. Lots of new tools for the tying table, and some awesome Hareline Mega Pads and Bead Pads. These things are great for containing the mess, and are a great addition to anyone's table.
We're hosting a Tying Night with the Appalachian State University Fly Fishing Club next Wednesday night - February 20 at 6PM! We've been building up the materials just for this event and we really hope to engage the community in a way that hasn't been done in Boone before. Our neighbors across the street, The Turchin Center for The Visual Arts - has been gracious enough to allow us to use their space for the night! The Turchin has always acted as a common ground linking the campus and the downtown scene, and we feel like an event like this is perfect for their goal. We will be offering two levels of tying instruction; an introductory level for folks who have never done it or still aren't comfortable using the tools, and an advanced level for anglers looking to further their skill and knowledge. The intro class will be tying a couple of bead head flies, while the advanced class will be tackling articulated streamers! We will have lots of sales on materials and tools, but will provide some stuff for the FREE class itself. We will also have lots of beer specials and some pretty awesome news to reveal too!
There are lots of other happenings in the next couple weeks as well! Trout Unlimited High Country Chapter is having another meeting this Tuesday night at Valle Crucis Park at 6PM. They're doing a Fly Swap where you can swap out flies and share stories about said flies. We plan on bringing some stand-bys but mostly plan on bringing FREE BEER for the masses. The TU Chapter is providing Pizza, but we figured we might as well chip in and encourage more participants with some free alcohol.
Friday March 1 the state of NC will start stocking our Delayed Harvest streams in Watauga County and surrounding areas. Make sure to get out there and enjoy this awesome resource, and kick off the "Spring" fishing.
Friday March 1 we will also be hosting yet another Art Crawl First Friday at our shop in downtown Boone. Im thinking the theme of a "Fly Fest" - just kinda celebrating the fact that our streams are getting stocked and our season is kinda getting going. Also maybe trying to come up with some whacky 90's themed "Fly Fest" idea. We'll see. Lots of beer specials as always on First Fridays!