Hello and thank you for reading our first blog post! My name is Devin Mitchell and I am a local fly fisherman who is fresh out of college and just trying to make his way in the world. I have a deeply engrained passion for fly fishing, the High Country of North Carolina, and local craft beer. Over the last week, I have gotten the chance to get out and do quite a bit of fishing, mostly in the eastern part of Tennessee. Due to the low, warm water levels that we have been plagued with, Tennessee has been phenomenal in comparison. On Tuesday, we had an awesome forecast with cloudy skies, scattered showers, and a good generation schedule below the Wilbur Dam in Elizabethton. A college buddy and I loaded the canoe, grabbed some breakfast, and hit the road before the sun even thought about coming up. We arrived in TN as the first reaches of daylight began to peak over the horizon. We unloaded the canoe, tied on a streamer, and launched into the frigid water. We ended up catching quite a few trout ranging from 10 inches to 15 or 16 inches in length. Most were brown trout but a few rainbows were brought to hand as well.
On the next day, I got a chance to float on a raft with a local guide and another college buddy that I have quite an extensive fishing history with. Like Tuesday, we met early, grabbed a breakfast biscuit, and pointed towards the TN line. We launched the raft, anchored quickly, and tied on heavy tippet and big streamers to fish the high water. Within a few casts, there were nice browns and rainbows shooting from the depths to roll on our presentations. We caught a couple small ones and then my friend set the hook on what we thought was log until the drag began to scream off of his 8 weight reel. 15 minutes into the fight and the river monster on the other end of the line started coming to the boat. We finally netted, photographed, and released a beautiful female brown trout that measured 25 inches in length and was full of eggs in preparation for the spawning period. We all watched in awe as she swam away and disappeared back to the bottom of the river.
My other fishing trips of the week consisted of floating on the TN Watauga once more and wading the NC Watauga for smallmouth bass. My TN float ended up in a few fish to the boat but none worthy of bragging about. After flipping our canoe on an unanticipated rock and a thunderstorm rolling in, we decided that we would be better off to cut our losses and head for the take out. Once we got to the ramp, we realized just how beaten up we were from our roll-over. A deep gash on my ankle and substantial bruises on both legs were even more incentive to call it a day.
To finish out the week, another college buddy and I decided to fish a remote section of the Watauga River in NC that is known for being the home of some pretty awesome smallmouth water. As per protocol, we hit the trail early with coffee in hand. An entire day worth of fishing would yield many juvenile smallmouth bass with a few 1 to 1.5 pound kickers mixed in. The streamer bite proved to be a deadly tactic once more.
In the last four days of fishing, I have experienced many different feelings and emotions, but most of all I am grateful for the opportunity and capability to follow my passion and enjoy God’s perfect creation. I’m looking forward to taking that next adventure and getting back into the great outdoors. Thank you for reading!