Friday, April 24, 2020

Fly Fishing Tennessee



Will the fish be hungry? When we get back to what we consider a "more normal routine", for many of us, it will mean getting back to the water. We will dust off rusty casts and begin working on presentations in the runs, riffles and pools we know well. Perhaps we will venture out a little farther and try some waters we have always wanted to discover. While we recover economically, and we will, instead of leaving the country to fish some far away body of water, we might stay just a little closer to home and discover a body of water that has always been intriguing.  

To the friends and clients who have text, called, and emailed. Thank you! Those who have rescheduled trips and those who had to cancel, I am looking forward to fishing with you in the future. To my guide friends, this hasn't easy for any of us, but there are brighter days ahead and we will soon be talking about this as timestamp in our conversations. Meaning we will be saying "before the virus" and "since the virus" before we know it. 

I have been sneaking away to try new stuff on the fish. While practicing those new methods that are instilled in us now for our health, I still feel the need to stay on top of the tailwaters and freestones that people rely on me to know. The fish have been cooperative and it has been pleasant to catch them. They, the fish. are still there. The fish are holding in the same runs, riffles, and pools that they were holding-in prior to this lock down. Most of the fish haven't seen a fly in some time, so "the usual trickery" is working, maybe a little better on some fish. Maybe that's a little angler optimism, but I believe they were fooled a bit easier.

We are already working to get folks in the casting braces, while doing our best to keep everyone safe. Again, to everybody out there, I hope you have been able to remain safe and I hope your family and friends are as well. 

If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river call/text 615-796-5143 or email david@southeasternfly.co to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our HomepageTo sign up for the latest edition of Southeastern Fly News Click Here

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Spring 2020 Southeastern Fly News

We have been busy with newsletters, podcasts and some occasional fishing through the downtime. Southeastern Fly News - Spring Edition has been released and can be found at the link below. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Winter in the South




It’s winter in the south. Winter here means the weather patterns can change as quick as speed limits heading into a small southern town.

Just the other evening I did a presentation about winter fly fishing. As I went through the presentation, I realized that even with the big releases on the tailwaters, there  still a whole-lot of opportunities to go catch a trout and keep your skills sharp. You can’t keep your skills sharp or even learn new skills without fish...right. (That my story and I’m stickin to it)

Some folks let their fly rod and other fly-fishing accouterments sit idle during the colder months. Scary I know! They wish they were fishing or worse yet watch it on TV and sometimes even on YouTube. It’s just better to get out on the water. See, in Tennessee, and several other southern states, there are winter trout stocking programs.

In Tennessee, the TWRA winter stocking program stocks trout less than 10 minutes from my house. I know, I know, there are some pretentious “anglers” reading this and looking down their nose. I’m not talking to those folks and in reality fly fishing next to them on a river makes me look toward TV or even YouTube to get a fishing-fix. I’m talking to anglers who want to get outside and enjoy some fly fishing while sharpening their skills.

If you want to get your wintertime trout fix you can “search The Google” to find map after map and even dates when the streams will be stocked. Stick with me for just another minute... I said it will give you the map and dates, I didn’t say show-up and help unload the fish from the truck and into your net. The location and date are just a starting point. You still have to catch them.

This year I am looking at winter stocking as a way to get out on new water and keep my euronymphing skills sharp. Yep “highsticking” is all the rage right now and I’m getting inquiries about techniques in this style of fishing. While I started highsticking in the Smokys 2 decades ago, I have to admit until last year they have sat dormant. Highsticking takes a different set of skills than my usual winter streamer trips. And don’t tell anyone but I’m using that as a reason to keep my skills sharp. OK really, it’s just another reason to get outside and step into a river.

Working on your skills- When states stock trout for their winter stocking program they will put a fair number of fish in several locations. Once you have done your homework and you are dialed-into what they are eating, the numbers of fish can give you just enough repetition to keep those skills sharp.

Want to work on a new steamer pattern, highsticking, indicator fishing or just about anything else? Winter is a great time to try something new.  Whether you are developing new skills or keeping rust off your old skills, the winter stocking programs around the South might be a good program for you.

So, instead of wishing you are fishing or worse yet watching fishing on TV or even YouTube, layer-up, grab your fly rod and take some new ideas, then head to the rivers and streams and work on those skills. Just watch those speed limits heading into small towns...


If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river call/text 615-796-5143 or email david@southeasternfly.co to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our HomepageTo sign up for the latest edition of Southeastern Fly News Click Here

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Fishing Report

Elk River- The Elk saved our season this year. We nymphed all season with some days of terrestrials mixed-in to stir things up a bit. The Elk has always been my home away from home and a place to go when I want to get away. It's the perfect river for a full day float too. With great places for lunch and several different water-types to really help anglers with their techniques.

Winter on the Elk means small streamers and nymphs too. Both work well. The small streamers tossed against the many rock walls and across the gravel bars are deadly. Bigger trout come alive from places you might not think they would be sitting too. That includes the many gravel bars and shoals too. Try white and if that doesn't work try white (yes you read that correctly). Yellow is OK as well and on some days it's the ticket.

Nymphs produce throughout the year. Wintertime nymphing can be very rewarding when others are into midges. The Elk has midges and they work, but nymphs historically have produced 3-1 over a correctly fished midge.

The Caney Fork- As you can see from the photo above we have already been hard at work on the Caney Fork. If you read the Winter Means Streamers article above and apply those techniques you can have some good days on this river. But, be off your game just a little and it can be a long day.

The dissolved oxygen (D.O.) levels are once again on the rise. The D.O. levels were extremely low this fall and fish were "hunkered down" (that's a technical fly fishing term) which made most everyone's results dismal. But, we are seeing a turnaround with the fish and we have high hopes with some good early results to back up that feeling. Generation is going to be key to success.

Personally I cannot wait for the skipjack to enter the river. These fish, also known as Tennessee Tarpon" are an absolute blast to fish for and a good way to get ready for a pass down the river in search of trophy trout. 


Musky Waters- As I write this newsletter we have been on the musky waters. Since we had a such a dry fall the days and results have been limited. I do expect the musky action to pick-up as we move into the later stages of winter.

The Obey- This river has fished well this fall. We had a couple slower days, but as the Cumberland River level fell and we caught falling water on the Obey, we had really good days. This river is all about nymphs in the fall with some midges thrown in for good measure. If the generation cooperates there will be some good floats this winter as well. The Obey is a good getaway and the fish cooperate on nymphs even under one generator. There's also a secret the Obey keeps that is worth exploring in the winter. I will save that for another day though.


If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river call/text 615-796-5143 or email david@southeasternfly.co to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our HomepageTo sign up for the latest edition of Southeastern Fly News Click Here

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Fishing Firsts

Early last season I invited Callahan Woodbery on the boat. Callahan is a very good photographer and I wanted some pics to use in some future work. Naturally, after a few hours, I put her in the casting brace and after showing her a few basic techniques she was soon bringing her first "trout on the fly" to the waiting net. We had a really nice float and it was just a few days later that I saw a post about that day on Callahan's Instagram account. The photos were great, which I expected, but it was her description of the day that really made me a fan. I asked Callahan to write an article about "firsts" for Southeastern Fly News and below is her work. The article hits home for me in a lot of ways and I bet for some of you it will hit home too. Thanks Callahan I appreciate you letting us publish your work.
Fishing Firsts
Christmas of 1990, when I was three years old, Santa Clause brought me a blue and white Mickey Mouse fishing pole and a pair of scissors. It was a toss-up which I was more excited about at the time. There’s a photograph of me the following spring standing on the tailgate of a black and white Chevy, wearing a hot pink t-shirt, holding up a line full of tiny shellcrackers, and beaming like I’d just won the Kentucky Derby. Just on the edge of the frame is my mama’s daddy, Paul English, with a huge grin on his usually stoic face.
As the first grandchild, I had the unique blessing of being the first time for many things. The first time my Grandaddy Paul took me fishing was just the beginning. After that there were plenty of opportunities for fishing firsts: first time with a live cricket, first time reeling a bream all the way to the boat by myself, first time with a spinner bait, with a top water plug, first really big bass – every time I got a hook wet opened a new horizon. We would fish whenever I came to visit, which, from the ages of 2-6 was every month or so due to how close we lived to my grandparents.
But then my family moved overseas with my father’s military career and the fishing became special in a different way. Now we got in the boat every trip home because it was important to, as Grandaddy put it, “See if I still knew how to catch a fish.” It might take me a few wild casts to get the hang of it again, but I eventually would prove that I remembered how it worked. The years went on and teenage angst set in, as it does. Nevertheless, I was still ready to hop in the truck and go see if anything would bite in the pond, or the lake, or in our super-secret fishing hole back in the woods behind a peanut field. Fishing firsts got further and further apart but no less significant for us – my first time driving the truck with the boat trailer attached, first time taking out a swallowed hook without hurting the fish.

It got more difficult, of course. College and work pushed the trips to visit and fish further and further apart, limiting them to extreme weather situations: cold and windy winter, or scorching Georgia summer. Sometimes, we just couldn’t find time in a short weekend to even make it out to the dock. There were a few stretches, I’m sad to say, where I didn’t fish for a whole year or longer. Along the way, as I was getting older, so was Grandaddy.
My mama was 25 when I was born, and Grandaddy was 50. This even spacing between us was pretty special to us. In my head, Grandaddy will always be a version of himself in his early 60s, in the prime time of our fishing together. He spent his entire adult life farming in central Georgia, growing peanuts, cotton, soy beans, and canola. And when I say “entire adult life,” I really mean it: he retired this past Christmas at the mellow age of 81. Now that he’s properly retired, he looks after his chickens, hunts whatever bird is in season, and fishes whenever he wants. He hasn’t slowed down much, and he still handles the boat and trailer all by himself. Our family comes from hearty stock, my mama keeps telling me, but I can read a calendar as well as the next person.
Now more than ever, I make it a point to go fishing whenever I’m in Georgia for more than 24 hours. Time has a funny way of slipping away from you, wriggling out of your hands like a crappie. I am acutely aware that at some point our fishing firsts are going to become lasts. For now, we are both in good health, I’m glad to say, and he still out-fishes me most of the time.
It’s difficult to not end this story with a reprimand to cherish every moment – it is important to wrestle with our impending inevitability and let that struggle inspire gratitude in our daily lives. But I would like to leave you with this thought: every first time you do something is also the last time it will be a first time, and the last time you do something is the first time that you’ll have that experience, too.
                                                                                                Author- Callahan Woodbery
For our latest fishing report, podcast info and guest articles, plus useful technical tips, click here, and sign up for Southeastern Fly News.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Subscribe to Southeastern Fly News

For our latest fishing report, podcast info and guest articles, plus useful technical tips, click here, and sign up for Southeastern Fly News.

If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage. To sign up for the latest edition of Southeastern Fly News Click Here

Friday, October 4, 2019

People of the River Podcast

A couple weeks ago I got together with Dan Sharley to have a beer and to talk about "people of the river". We both have some interesting outdoor moments and recounted our own stories of people who manage to do a lot of things on the river. Some things are hard to believe.
Stories include; The Bushwacker, Gravel Bar Meemaw, Whiskey River, Over-Under 40 guy, and there are others that will amuse you while making you ponder the people, you may have seen while fly fishing your favorite waters in the Southeast and abroad.
So, sit down and have a beverage, mow the yard, or perhaps travel on a plane and listen while hurling through the air in a hollow metal tube. It's a good way to kill some time, heck tie some flies and enjoy the fun if that is more your style. It doesn't matter where you listen but it does matter that you do listen and enjoy your time with David and Dan. Listen HERE or at any of the links below.
Image result for apple podcast logoImage result for spotify logo      Image result for iheartradio logo 


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Free Southeastern Fly News

We are creating a newsletter to keep anglers informed. Sign up for Southeastern Fly News and find out about the latest fly fishing news and fishing reports from Middle TN as well as the Nashville area. You will receive helpful hints and tips for catching more fish on the fly. 

Also, get news and inside information related to the latest episode of Southeastern Fly - The Angler's Influence Podcast. There is always additional information that comes from the podcast and we want anglers who are connected to Southeastern Fly to get the inside scoop from the latest podcast.

What's the catch? There's no catch when it comes to signing up. We are leaving the catch to the anglers who fish with us. Just click this link to start receiving the free newsletter. Thanks and see you on the river.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Fall Fishing in Middle Tennessee

Throughout the southeast August was made of humidity, the local county fair, and people seeking A/C. For us, August was made of mornings where the fog fended-off the sun, dew on spider webs in the branches of overhanging trees and lunch that was a time to gather in the shadiest places along the river banks. Along with all that, the anglers caught rainbows, brookies and brown trout.
We fished nymphs a lot and we caught good numbers of fish on each trip. As we floated down the river the anglers in the boat were treated to some nice fish too. 

We fished some foam along the way with nice fish coming to the top and eating just the right pattern. But that's been the exception and not the rule. The foam has produced in the right types of water. Water that is just the right depth to get just the right clarity for bugs that seemingly drop from the sky.
Southeastern Fly- The Angler's Influence Podcast was released in August and Mark Brown of Chota is the guest on that episode. Mark gives us a different way to look at water. Mark comes from a white water kayak paddling background and he sees water differently. Mark also provides a couple resources that can help all of us with getting just the right drift. 

The podcast has been a fun way to pass the time when I am not sitting behind the oars. The folk we have interviewed always bring something that not only tells their story but also offers the listener a technique they can take to the river. You can listen to the episode here or anywhere you listen to podcasts. If you listen it would be great if you could give us a 5 star rating and any positive comments are always welcomed.

Our redfish trip to the marsh was planned in August. This trip gives the group going with us something to look forward to in December. 

But that was August and we are now into September. Already we've boated good numbers of fish and some quality fish as well.

We are still fishing a little foam and results on top have been just OK. Hopper-droppers will probably move back to just nymphs under indicators as this month moves along.  Anglers will be encouraged to get their nymph-drifts just right throughout the floats.

The streamer rods will find their way back into the boat and there will be some streamers tossed as Fall kicks into full gear. 

SEC football will keep some of the weekend crowds on the couch as long as their team is doing well. Let's go SEC teams! The early starts may not have to be as early as the recreational folks find football and other interests to fill their time. Waders and fleece are just around the corner.

Thank you to all the anglers who filled our casting braces in August. As for September, we have some open dates on the calendar for those of you who are still looking for that opportunity to get on the river. Lunches will move back onto the sunny gravel bars and I expect anglers to continue catching rainbows, brookies and brown trout.


If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Tennessee Bass On Poppers

This day promised to be long, very long. It will start with trout and before the end of the day I will be geared-up and ready for some rest and then some bass! Up at 4:45 a.m. and load the boat cooler with lunch. Lunch. It’s now almost 5:00 a.m. tell me who wants to think about lunch? Grab the cup and pour the coffee. Coffee is the early morning lifeblood, the world's very first and always loyal energy drink...and a drink that requires the coffee pot to be preset the night before. Crap. Push start and go outside to hook the boat to the truck, load the rods, rain gear and other coolers. Done. Back upstairs to the office. Step over the dogs, turn on the light and grab flies from the drawer. Grab the one in the vise too. Downstairs, pour the coffee and remember the tippet. The tippet. Yep the tippet in the desk drawer. Upstairs again and turn on the light. Back to the drawer. 3x, 5x and 6x. Which did I need yesterday and did not have? Can’t remember so bringing them all. Grab the poppers too. Stop and pet the dogs for a few minutes then grab the coffee, the flies and keys. Out the door.

The Weather-Guessers are talking about the 40% chance of rain and storms throughout the day. Rain gear, check. Lightening gear, hmmm. The parking lot is empty except for the me and some empty beer cans from a baot ramp parking lot party the night before. Grab the cans and put them in the trash bag, transfer everything from the truck to the boat and that’s when clients wheel into the parking lot. They have been on the F/B Southeastern Fly before and have trout on their mind. Both are good guys and I’m off, off to meet the shuttle and soon to return. The first sign of clouds shows across the horizon as we top the hill. Down the hill and onto the river bank. The guys get in the casting braces as I quiz them on the number of fish brought to hand. They are good anglers so I multiply their number by 30% and subtract. Even after the math they still had good numbers and the boat hasn't even left the ramp. 
They fishing is hard in the early morning. Bringing fish to the net can be exhausting and make a guy hungry. We all need something that would go with coffee? Donuts. We have those and luckily there is a hole in the middle which makes them a bit less fattening and makes it "ok" to eat one more than you think you should. Donuts all around...donuts for anglers and the guy on the oars. 

Cast, mend to adjust presentation, and wait. We continue the day with a good rhythm of cast, mend for a correct presentation and set! Fish to the net and release. Then cast again...

We end the day with multiple doubles, a couple of slams.  Load the boat on the trailer and stow the rods. We didn’t really need the rain gear or the lightning gear, thank the Lord. Back to the Boro and saw goodbye to the guys. 

Home again. Pet the dogs, unload trout rods and load the bass rods. It's 7:30 p.m. and I have a 2 hour drive. Put the cover on the boat for the long drive and threatening rain. Upstairs to grab more poppers that probably will not be used. Load coolers and text the guys. They need more paper towels and Pringles. Out the door and stop by the grocery for more snacks including an arm load of Pringles. The cashier gives me a look like she wants to ask about the Pringles but she doesn't and I am not offering anything but a smile. Driving to the condo it's late, past my bedtime and I am tired. It was a good day on the river but my mind is shifting to bass on the two private lakes. It's my favorite get away with my family and with friends.
I'm on four lanes, then two lanes, then one lane and then gravel. Cicadas are singing and I can hear them over Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band sing about a small town in West Tennessee and how they "try to keep the city clean". For those of you who are not fortunate enough and don't know that line, check Google and it should lead you to a great song. The live album has many other good Seger songs on it too. Anyway, the gravel leads to the gate. Punch in the code and the gate swings open. The headlamps hit two sets of bright eyes and I recognize them as deer. Soon I am pulling up to the condo. The guys are there and quickly come down. They grab the coolers and my luggage and I grab the Pringles as well as the paper towels.

We are on the water the next day by 8:30 a.m. There's no need to get out too early as the bass are plentiful and willing to eat our poppers on top water. Yep, top water bass that are ready and willing to eat poppers on top water. 
Casting to structure is key all weekend. We cast, let the popper sit, like a frog. See, we've watched frogs and when they decide they need to swim to the other side of the lake they jump in and make a short stroke. They stop momentarily and begin swimming to the other side. So we cast and as the fly adjusts, turns over and gets settled then we take a strip. The strip has to be just the right speed and then BAM! (insert Batman emoji for BAM!). Hopefully you've seen the Batman emoji for BAM! 
We spend a couple days throwing these poppers. About halfway through the first day someone notices the dragon flies are swarming. Bass are jumping to get a dragon fly and the dragon flies are active along the banks. So we row to the dragon flies and plop a big ole popper into the action. BAM! Again we found another way to catch some bass. It's the dragon fly hatch but we don't even have to match the hatch, just find it and we are getting good results. There are some bluegill that get into the action too. We take advantage of both bluegill and bass as well as the Pringles throughout the next couple days.
As always it was a good getaway for all of us. The fish were friendly to our offerings and we were friendly because we turned everyone of them loose to be caught again. If you are looking for a good getaway that is relaxing and frankly a place where no one can reach you unless you want them to reach you, this is a fantastic trip. We can make a bass weekend or even a day of bass on poppers well worth your time.
It's a relaxing drive home, but the next morning is very much the same as other mornings...up at 4:45 a.m. and load the boat cooler with lunch. Lunch. It’s now almost 5:00 a.m. tell me who wants to think about lunch? Grab the cup and pour the coffee. Coffee is the early morning lifeblood, the world's very first and always loyal energy drink...

If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.