Wednesday, December 01, 2010

We've moved

Hello everyone. We've moved our blog to We've integrated the blog and our old site into one. We've also added more authors and better resources for planning your next trip to Tennessee. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

South Holston gives up a trophy

A long time client and friend, Jerry of Statesville came with his son to fish with me on the beautiful South Holston Tailwater, near Bristol, Tennessee. It was one of those days they will never forget. We got to the weir area and they waded before the water hit us from the generation. They landed lots of fish using a dry dropper rig with the black and silver zebra midge doing the best. We got in my new Clackacraft for its maiden voyage down the South Holston. It was nymphing the soft seams with good success getting many double hookups. Then it was on down the river switching over to big stuff going after big fish. Jerry and Adam weren't disappointed in their efforts. It was a memory filled day and they called me today still excited about the float trip.

If you would like to float the South Holston and have a chance at one of these great trophy native browns contact me through my website, and lets get you out there to create a memory of a lifetime for you.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer has been great

As we put a wrap on a great summer season, now is the time to be thinking about your fall and winter trips. The South Holston and Watauga have given us some great days of trout fishing this summer. We used Blackfly, Sulphur, Beetle, Ant, and Cranefly dry flies, and when there wasn’t a hatch it was Split Cases, Zebra Midges, Copper Johns, and San Juan Worms for the nymphing rigs.
The smallies were behind all season on their timing so it was shallow running streamers into the start of the summer and then they finally started looking up. Now it is white poppers and Gartside Gurglers. For the spin rod guys a small Pop-R is the lure of choice. The Pigeon River is rapidly becoming a popular destination for our trips, nice smallies, largemouth and walleye thrown into the mix.
Now is the time to book your trip to the private trophy trout waters in Southwest Virginia. We fish these waters all winter long. We have had some great catches on these waters during the late spring. On one of the rivers in the system there were fish landed that weighed 11, 13, and 17 pounds. You will catch 3 to 7 pound fish consistently on all the private waters we fish.

Starting Thanksgiving Weekend and running through March 13th, 2011 I will once again be running the Winter 6 Hour Float Trips for the discounted price of $235. These trips produced some nice brown trout while throwing big baits.
I will be in attendance November 6th & 7th at the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo in Asheville, North Carolina. Be sure to stop by the Orvis booth and watch me tie some of the flies I use on the Watauga and South Holston as well as the Holston Proper and Pigeon for smallies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Test Post

Sorry trying out something new, RSS feed to flyfishtennessee facebook.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Holston Smallies for the Buckeye Brothers

A panoramic shot of the Holston Proper with my new camera.

I had two brothers from Ohio for a Holston Proper smallmouth bass float trip, they really enjoyed the hard fight these bronzebacks give out. They had some serious bends in their 8 wts to get these river bruisers to the net. As you can see by the big smile they enjoyed the day and said they will be back for more of this action.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Clank and Topper fish the Clinch 5/30/10

Happy Memorial Day. I want to thank those who have given their lives and those who put their lives at risk to give me the freedom to be a Trout Bum.

I hope everyone has been able to hit the water at some point this weekend. I got to spend the day on the Clinch with Doug "Topper" Moore. While I am a competent guide on the Clinch and I know the river fairly well, Doug has logged many more hours on the river both guiding and fishing than I have.

The TVA was giving us a recreational release schedule today. The water was off until 10am, they ran 1 generator from 10am-2pm, and kicked on a second at 2. This is the ideal schedule to do a Peach Orchard to Hwy 61 float. Conditions were perfect. There was thick fog on the water, and pretty solid overcast above. We put on about 8:30am and threw dry dropper rigs as we floated down to the first shoals. This is usually a productive stretch, but we only caught one on the way down. However, once we reached the shoals things started to pick up. We started to catch fish on a PT nymph dropped about 24" below an elk-hair caddis. We also picked up a few on a double nymph rig in some of the deeper slots. A had my grand slam (Brown, Rainbow, and Brookie) completed by 10am or so.

We picked our way through the shoals and continued picking up fish in both the tailing riffles and flat water. Hitting the edges of structure is always a good idea, and this proved true today as well. The water reached us in the vicinity of Coldwater Farm, and things just got better. We caught fish on dry/dropper rigs, double-nymph rigs, and even picked a few on a small olive bunny streamer on a sinking line.

The sulphurs started to pop shortly after and fish started to rise. We might have done well if we switched to sulphur dries, but the PT nymph was producing so well that we never bothered. A few fish even rose and took the Elk-hair.

Sight-fishing to rising trout is one of the most exciting ways to fish. We would see a rise, cast about 6 feet above it, and when the nymph drifted by the fish would usually take it. When it started to rain the fishing got even better.

We lost track of the number of fish we boated, but it was several dozen between us. The majority were in the 12-15" range, but we caught several larger fish between 15-18". All in all a fantastic day on the River with a great friend.

If you can get out tomorrow, I would highly recommend it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Want to go after some big trophy trout, fishing at the base of Mt. Mitchell near Burnsville North Carolina. Is a hard fighting never give up river smallmouth bass on the Holston Proper near Kingsport Tennessee what you want? Check out some results from our recent trips on these waters.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fishing with a legend, Bob Clouser

This past week I had the honor to take one of the legends in the fly fishing industry, Bob Clouser and his business manager, out smallmouth fishing on the Holston River near Kingsport, Tennessee. The weather conditions and water temperatures were not at their best for this float trip, but after getting in tune with the fish and river we were into some nice smallies throughout the day. The water was 49 degrees when we started and there was a cold rain. Trying several colors of flies in one of the better pools on the river gave us a quick answer the the color the smallies wanted, chartreuse. They took these flies aggressively. As you can see it was a day of good sized hard fighting fish. Not only did we get smallmouth bass, but we got some nice largemouth bass in the mix.

Getting the call to take such a legend out on the river makes you nervous and you over think everything leading up the the day of fishing. Bob Clouser is such a down to earth person that he puts you at ease quickly and just wants to be one of your good friends out on the river for a day of fishing. To watch him work the fly rod and flies was a excellent learning experience for me as well. I am a good guide, but there is always room to learn more and Bob is an excellent teacher. He showed me some things that I had been overlooking and this will make me a better guide and my clients will benefit from this as well.

When you come to Troutfest or any other event where is is in attendance, go talk with him and thank him for his contributions to our sport. I am glad that I can now call him a friend and fishing buddy.

Randy Ratliff
Troutfishers Guide Service
Orvis Endorsed Guide

Sunday, March 21, 2010

South Holston and Clinch March 16 thru 19, 2010

My best friend Wade came into to town for a few days to do some East Tennessee fly fishing. He had been working a bunch and really needed a break. We really lucked out with some great weather and excellent fishing. Also another buddy joined us for a couple of days from Indiana. It's great getting on the water and sharing old stories all over again.

Wade and I have a really bad habit of planning fishing trips too early in the year and having to fight blizzards, tornado's and severe thunderstorms. Just name it and I'm sure it has ruined at least one of our past fishing trips. The fishing gods must have been watching over us this trip as the weather got better and better.

Day one and two we headed up to the South Holston. The blue wings and black flies had been hatching in abundance. We got up early, ran into traffic, but made it on the water by 10:00am. Nymph fishing started the day off until the dry fly fishing got good and we switched to a blue wing with a black fly dropper.

We stayed at Holston Castaways, which gave us access to some great wade fishing water. Check out their website at Holston Castaways. They are great people and have really fair prices and perfect fisherman accommodations. Also on the second day we stopped in at Webb's Market for some Breakfast/Lunch. We fished too long in the morning so all they had left was a little bit of biscuits and gravy, so we finished it off with their famous slaw dogs!

Day three and four we headed back to Knoxville to do a little fishing on the Clinch. I have been fishing the Clinch a bunch the last year and wanted to show it off to my friends. The fishing started off slow, but we eventually figured it out.

Small pheasant tails and zebra midges were on the menu. We saw a few sulphurs on the water, but not many. There were a good bit of midges hatching in the afternoon. However I couldn't get them to eat the same midges we used on the Soho, but a size 22 zebra below a dry would get an eat.

Day two we opted to do some wade fishing instead of drifting. We started at the church early until the water rose and pushed us off the water. For lunch we stopped at Harrison's off of the exit and were surprised to find some great wings and good beer on tap!

At the end of day four we all convened on the hill at Miller's island still reminiscing about past fishing trips and stories when we were a little wilder or do I mean dumber. Either way we survived it all and hopefully there will be many more to come.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Trophy trout sight fishing

Have you ever wanted to sight fish trophy trout in the 7 to 15 pound class. We have the waters for you to check this off your bucket list. There is nearly 15 miles of water on five different streams that can offer you this opportunity. It is not chucking and ducking with big stuff, these fish feed on the natural environment around them and you have to match the hatch as well as make those needed casts to get them to bite. If this interests you, give me a call or email and lets get you on this water.

Here is a sample from yesterdays trip, one of eight hooked in this class.

Randy Ratliff

Sunday, March 07, 2010

And it begins...

Some folks say that they don't care if they actually catch fish. I am not quite so Zen in my approach. I hate to get Skunked. I really, really hate it. That being said, some of the best, most memorable days I have ever spent on the water were days when I only caught one fish. Maybe the conditions were lousy, and it was an epic struggle to get the one. Maybe the fish were being persnickety and it took all day and all of my skill and luck to catch that fish. Maybe I forgot some important piece of equipment and had to improvise. But these one fish days are the ones that always stick out in my mind. Today was a one-fish day..and it was wonderful.

It was a really long winter. The Tailwaters were blown most of the time, I am not a huge fan of fishing for stockers in the various Delayed-harvest waters, and while you can fish the Park all winter long, it isn't the most productive winter fishery and we have had so much rain that it has been blown a good deal of the time as well.

Niki knew that I have been out of my mind from cabin fever. It is already weeks later than we typically get to fish the National Park for the first time, but the weather this weekend was supposed to be fabulous and for once the forecasters were right.

The first trip of the year is always a bit of a mixed bag. Today was no different. The water level looked perfect, 200cfs. It was crazy-clear, but that is to be expected when the water temp is in the upper 30's low 40's. There was still snow on the ground in the shady spots and North-facing slopes. There was a solid brown stonefly hatch along with a smattering of blue quills and other unidentified mayflies.

However first trip of the year is more about promise than results. The fish were sluggish, they were certainly not rising, there was a short window of opportunity when the sun was on the water and warming things up. This time of year we always want more than the river will give us. We were given just enough to remind us of how good it will be in just a few weeks.

But the day was special because I got to spend it in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, I got to spend it with one of my best friends and favorite fishing partners, and in the end I caught one fish. It was a really nice 12" rainbow that took a Prince Nymph that I was high-sticking deep in a slower slot downstream from the Sinks. It will almost undoubtedly be one of the bigger fish I catch all year. And that one fish will still be special after the dozen fish days, 30+ fish days, etc. which I know are just around the corner.

H. Clay Aalders

Monday, March 01, 2010

SoHo wading

It has been good wading the past week on the South Holston near Bluff City, Tennessee. It has been Mercer's Micro Mayfly in the soft riffles. The rainbows are colored up and spawning. Those beautiful deep crimson red stripes and fins make you truly appreciative of God's work.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Buffalo Creek Feb 16

Well all of this high water and cold weather had gotten me down, because I couldn't get out to fish anywhere. Well the high water has receded a bit and I went exploring up around the Holston, below Cherokee Dam. TVA was still running 17,000 CFS but Buffalo Creek was fishable. I figured because of the falling snow and it being a Tuesday that their would not be many other fisherman or any at all on the water. I figured right and got a nice surprise.

I've fished Buffalo Creek before and I left with a bad taste in my mouth. Trash every where, almost no fish and very low flows. However this day I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was almost no trash, good flows and plenty of fish. All tough they were on the small side, it didn't matter cause they were eager to eat and I had fun.

The high water must've flushed the trash out of the river, or maybe someone did some stream side cleanup. It looked like a completely different stream. The flows were a little on the high side, but the water was almost clear with just a hint of color.

It turned out to be a great day and although the fish were on the small side it was a lot of fun being able to catch them on dry droppers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rainy Days on the SoHo

Floated the South Holston this week to check out a fellow guides new Clacka. Rowed nice and maneuvered easily through the runs and riffles.

It was cold and rainy most of the day. We were able to get them on deep nymphs, dry flies in a lighter shower, but the higher percentage was on streamers. Olive and grey Double Bunny was best for me, tried all black but didn't get any follows.

For those of you in the Louisville Kentucky area, mark Saturday January 30th on your calendars and try to attend the Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show, being put on by the Derby City Fly Fishers. It is a great show and I will be doing two presentations. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Birthday on the Clinch 1/18/2009

Got out with a few friends on the Clinch to celebrate a buddies birthday. The weather was amazing and the fish cooperated fairly well. We caught fish on zebras and pheasant tails sized 14 to 16.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Clinch Repeat

Generation is getting better and better every day. Mother nature also decided to ease up a bit on the weather. It ended up being an absolutely beautiful day. The original plan had been to float with a buddy, but that changed. He works nights and got in very late so it didn't work out. I guess I won't hold it against him this time. So instead I ended up driving around, looking at some new spots and hanging out at CROutfitters until the water dropped out enough to wade fish. Cal just started carrying Simms waders plus he got in a bunch of other stuff, it's worth the stop. I like his shop a lot and he's also got some great stories to boot.

The fishing was pretty good and the fish were all super healthy. I didn't catch anything that big, but they were all great fish that pulled really hard. I've got my fingers crossed. This year could be the year to be on the Clinch.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The South Holston Tailwater near Bristol, Tennessee fished very well today while wading. There were size 20 BWO's, size 30 grey Midges, size 26 Black Flies coming off as long as the sun was out. We had a brief cloudy spell just after lunch and the fish and bugs turned off, then around 2:00pm the sun came back out and the action was hot.
There were more of those beautiful South Holston browns caught than rainbows, probably a 66 2/3 to 33 1/3 ratio.
There was still some snow on the ground and ice around the edges of the river when we got there.
A couple of the flies used today

Thanks for reading
Randy Ratliff
Troutfishers Guide Service

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What happened to 33 degrees!

Wow it was a frigid day on the Clinch. However we caught some fish and had a blast despite the cold temperatures. I don't think it got above 30 degrees all day. Here is a few fish that fell for Pheasant Tails and Red Zebra Midges.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Holidays and Fishing

Working retail during the holidays is extremely busy. When I finally got some days off to visit with family and do a little fishing it was long awaited. I was able to get on the river with an old friend and do some fishing. It was a great day on the water.

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