Why Float Trips Are More Productive Than Wade Trips During The Summer

By Brown Hobson


We get a ton of requests for wade fly fishing trips during the summer months and it makes sense because many tourists flock to the mountains to escape the heat and the idea of standing in a cool mountain stream is very appealing to all human senses.  The problem is that what is cool to us as humans isn’t necessarily cool to trout.  The trout fishing world generally accepts that trout feeding slows down as the water temperatures climb into the mid 60s and drastically slows at 70.  There are exceptions to every rule and our guides find we can fool trout and successfully release them in these temperature ranges, but we don’t get the number of eats we would like to for our clients.  During the summer the small North Carolina trout streams that were teaming with insect life and feeding fish in May have temperatures approaching 70 every day.  We still catch fish, but generally %50 fewer fish than we do fall, winter, spring.  For some of our clients that is ok.  They really want a wade fishing experience and are happy to be out on the water in a beautiful place and catch a few fish in the process.  For those clients who want to see a trout river at the peak of its fishing potential the Watauga and South Holston tailwaters in Tennessee are the place to be during the summer.   A tailwater trout river is fed by a deep reservoir that supplies cold water from the bottom of the lake upstream.  That means even during the heat of the summer we have water temperatures that are in the optimum feeding range for trout and the insects they prey upon.  Many of our clients ask why Tennessee?  The answer is that the only tailwater river in North Carolina with cold summer temps is the Nantahala.  It is farther from Asheville than the Tennessee rivers and has a million whitewater rafters during the summer.   The Watauga and South Holston are big rivers that are most productively fished from a raft or drift boat.  That allows anglers and guide to move from spot to spot on the river efficiently and stealthily.   They also are wide open and allow easy casting with out worrying about constantly snagging trees.  We are now offering summer half day and full day fly fishing float trips.  Half Day trips are $350 and include 4 hours of fishing and a light lunch.  Full Day trips are $425 and include 7-8 hours of fishing and a shore lunch.