Brown Trout Blog

Free Fly Tying 101 at ORVIS Asheville


Our Partners at ORVIS Asheville area offering their FREE fly tying 101 program again every Saturday from January 16 – February 27 9am – 11am.  Come to learn the tools, techniques and steps for tying a few patterns that are our favorite for catching North Carolina trout.  Click the link below to visit their page and sign up online.

ORVIS Fly Tying 101 

You can also call them 828-687-0301 for details.

Asheville Bachelor and Bachelorete Parties


Asheville, North Carolina has become a hot spot for Bachelor and Bachelorete Parties.  Asheville has some of the best food in the South East, More Craft Breweries per capita than any city in the country, and impeccable access to the outdoors.  You come for a long weekend getaway and want to cruise the South Slope Brewery District and hang out at Catawba Brewing Company in the afternoon and grub at Doc Chey’s Noodle House for dinner, but what are you going to do before lunch?  Go Fishing.  Brown Trout Fly Fishing hosts many bachelor and bachelorette groups every year and we have found it is a very fun activity for both serious anglers and never evers.  All gear is included and you don’t need anything except a fishing license.  Our guides will take your group to a river near Asheville and provide all the instruction your crew will need to enjoy fly fishing and catch trout.  Call or email us for details.  803-431-9437

Watauga River Description


The Watauga River tailwater flows from Wilbur Reservoir near Siam TN to Boone Lake near Johnson City.  The majority of the water that feeds the Watauga is held in Watauga Lake, but just below Watauga Dam is a second smaller lake called Wilbur.  Make sure when you check TVA river flows you look at Wilbur Reservoir not Watauga.  The river is approximately 17 miles long from Wilbur Dam to Boone Lake and flows through many different sections and townships.   Travel time from Asheville, NC is approximately 1 hour


The Upper Section – runs from the Dam to Hunter Bridge.  The first half of the river is mostly on private land and is very gorge like.  Huge limestone cliffs dominate the sides of the river until the river gets down to Siam.  From Siam to Hunter the river is mostly large shallow riffles with deep slow pools between them.  The bug life up here is mostly midges, small mayflies, and scuds.  Midges hatch year round and BWOs hatch most commonly from Oct-April.  This section is the most likely to stay clear if we see big rains.  The upper has the highest fish numbers on the whole river.

The Middle Section – runs from Hunter Bridge to the TWRA access at Blevins Rd. The first half of this stretch has many shallow riffles and smaller runs.  Once you pass through Elizabethton the river narrows and gets deeper.  There are many big ledges separating slow deep pools and even one small waterfall that must be navigated by boat operators.  Bugs here are larger than the upper, but many midges are still found along with bwos, sulphurs, caddis, and craneflies.  As you move through the middle fish numbers decrease slightly, but average size goes up.

The Trophy Section – runs from Blevins rd to Persinger Bridge in the town of Watauga, TN.  This is the stretch of river that receives the most angling pressure, but it has the largest concentration of big fish.  Special regulations forbid the use of bait or scented artificial and anglers can only keep two fish per day of at least  14” in length.  This allows many more fish to grow to larger sizes.  Insects here are midges, bwos, sulphurs, many different caddis, craneflies, and assorted other mayflies.  There is no public wade access except at the beginning and end of this stretch.

The Lower Section – runs from Persinger Bridge into Boone Lake.  The most popular take out is at the River Stone Campground and your shuttle driver can arrange for you to use that access.  It does require an extra fee.  This stretch has some of the coolest riffles on the river and several long flats that are great for picking off feeding fish on dries.  Bugs here are the same as the trophy section.

Generation/Water Flow:

The Watauga River flow changes dramatically due to releases from Wilbur Dam.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day the TVA has a recreational flow schedule they follow.   Basically Monday-Saturday there will be no water until noon or so and then they will generate power and release water for rafters.   The TVA usually does not release water on Sundays during the summer.  The rest of the year the TVA can generate power whenever they want.  Check Wilbur Dam for projected releases and always be ready to get out quickly if an unplanned release occurs.  The river is not really wadeable during a water release and you should plan to float it.

Shuttle Services:

Tracy Haynes – 423-342-8145

Gear Recommendations:

  • Waders- because the water is cold
  • Felt Bottom Boots or Rubber with Studs the rocks are very slick (No Studs in Boats)
  • Wading Staff
  • 9’ and 10’ 4 and 5 weight rods
  • 3x-6x tippet. Fluor when nymphing Mono for dries

Popular Flies:

  • Zebra Midges of all sorts, sizes, and colors
  • Pheasant tail nymphs
  • San Juan Worms
  • CDC comparadun baetis and Sulphur
  • Elk Hair Caddis
  • Beetles and Flying Ants
  • Wooly Buggers
  • Tiny Parachute Adams
  • Eggs

Call Brown Trout Fly Fishing LLC to Book your Trip 803-431-9437

The Infamous Worm Fly: When should you fish it?

By Brown Hobson


NC Small Stream Trout Caught on a Squirmy Worm

The worm fly has led a strained existence.  On one side of the spectrum exist dry fly purists won’t fish it and look down their noses at it.  In the middle ground are anglers who will fish whatever flies imitate food the trout are currently feeding on at the time.  And on the far side are fly anglers who have had great days fishing worms and can’t seem to start the day without one.  I reside somewhere in the middle.  The reason I fly fish for trout is primarily to solve the puzzle of what are the fish taking now.  If trout are eating worms I will tie one on.  If they are eating eggs I will fish one of those on too, but that is a different story.  I fly fish primarily in the South East for trout and we have lots of rain.  When rain falls the ground becomes saturated and worms crawl to the surface because the soil pores no longer have enough oxygen to sustain them.  Once the worms emerge the unlucky victims close to water are carried away into the stream flow and trout now have a crazy protein rich food source to gorge on.  I have always caught fish on worms during or after rains, but I had never seen a trout eat a natural for obvious reasons (my vision isn’t good enough to see worms under water).  This September I was fly fishing Flat Creek in Wyoming with my father in law.  It is usually dry fly heaven.  The weather was cold and rainy so we couldn’t fish dry flies.  We decided to fish streamers since our dries wouldn’t float.  My last trout of the day was  beautiful 18” cutthroat.  As I was removing my streamer from his mouth he vomited enough worms to fill an 8 ounce cup.  Point proved.  This guy had eaten an entire days worth of food in a few hours. I am really surprised he still wanted to eat my streamer.

Rain is not the only time to fish the worm.  It is the only time trout are seeing worms in the water column, but this summer on the Watauga River we had two months of super low clear water and little to no insect life.  If there is nothing in the water for trout to eat during periods of high metabolic activity I have found they eat random big flies because they are hungry.  This summer on a clear hot day when I saw no bug or fish activity I tied on a squirmy worm out of desperation and my modest expectations were shattered.  Trout both wild and stocked commenced to chew through my worm collection with a vigor.  For a month and a half I experienced a fantastic worm bite.  I believe this happened because trout hadn’t seen them since the spring and in the absence of food they ate my flies with insane optimism.

Any of us whose fly fishing journey have known since our pond days that fish eat worms. I believe you should fish whatever way you want.  I have no agenda, but to help people catch fish.   If you want to fish dries exclusively, no problem.  More fish will eat the worm for me.  If you are interested in fishing any item on the trout’s list of food items, then throw some worms in your box.  They will get eaten!


Holiday Gift Certificates: Everything is Included!


Many non fly fishing spouses or family members want to purchase the perfect fly fishing gift for their trout crazed significant other, but lack the confidence in their own fly fishing knowledge to select the perfect gift.  The one thing every angler can use is more time on the water and less time dealing with their own tangles.  If you buy a half day or full day guided fly fishing gift certificate from us you don’t have to worry about what gear your angler already has.  If they don’t have gear we can provide anything they need free.  We can always show them a new technique, a new fishing location near Asheville, or simply make their day on the water easier by handling preparation and detangling for them.  Just pick a fly fishing trip from either our wade trips page or our float trips page and you can pay by calling us 803-431-9437 or pay two %50 deposits online to be paid in full.  We will then email you a gift certificate for the trip you want.  As always if you have any questions please email or call and we will be happy to help you figure out which trip might be best.  For an additional $20 we will mail you a hat with a printed gift certificate so you have something neat to wrap!  All the gift recipient will have to do is call us to schedule their trip.



Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine: Brown Hobson Top 5 Gear Items

By Graham Averill from Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine


Photo by Beth Grant Photography

Brown Hobson likes to geek out on fish. The Asheville-based fly fishing guide spent several years managing an Orvis store in Jackson Hole where he fished often, but not often enough. “I wanted to be on the river every day and see how trout react to different things. I wanted to nerd out on the trout stuff.” And that’s exactly what he’s been doing since he moved to the Southern Appalachians and started his guide service, Brown Trout Fly Fishing, six years ago. Brown, an Orvis-endorsed guide, is also a member of the U.S. National Fly Fishing Team.

Yes, we have a national fly fishing team; fifteen of the country’s best anglers compete nationally and internationally (they won silver at the most recent World Fly Fishing Championship in Bosnia), catching fish for points. The trout he’s catching here in the South are generally smaller than what he was catching in Wyoming, where the rivers are wider and support larger fish, but Brown says size isn’t all that matters in the world of fly fishing. “Yeah, the water here is smaller and the fish are generally smaller, but everything in the Southern Appalachians is green and moist. It takes more effort to fish around here. It’s more physical, and I like that.”

We asked Brown to detail his five most essential pieces of gear for fishing small Appalachian streams. Here are his picks, in his own words.

To see the full article and the 5 products go to

Come Learn Advanced Tactis at our ORVIS 301


11/8, 11/15, 12/5, 12/6



Brown Trout Fly Fishing LLC


2015 ORVIS Guide of the Year Brown Hobson

Jake Chiles



Trip Layout

Each angler will receive 3-4 hours of guided fly fishing instruction with one other angler and 3-4 hours of unguided fishing in proximity to Brown Trout Fly Fishing Guides.  Lunch and Drinks included.  Waders, Rods, Flies not included.  Consult your local ORVIS store fishing manager for appropriate flies and equipment.


Sample Itinerary


7:00 Meet at ORVIS Asheville and follow guides to river

8:00-8:30 Rig Equipment

8:30-10:00 Fly Fish with a guide

10:00-11:30 Fly Fish on your own

11:30-12:30 Lunch

12:30-2:15 Fly Fish with a guide

2:15-4:30 Fly Fish on your own



$150 per angler


Not Included

Lodging, NC fishing license and Trout Privilege, fly fishing equipment, and transportation are not included. has a full list of recommended places to stay.  Payment must be made in full at the time of booking and is non-refundable.  Call Brown Hobson at Brown Trout Fly Fishing to book your trip.  803-431-9437



What is Delayed Harvest?

Delayed Harvest SignMany of our fly fishing wade trips take place on Delayed Harvest streams around Asheville, but many of our clients don’t know what that means.  These are generally trout streams that are easy to access(close proximity to roads/parking areas).  As of the writing of this post there are 33 Delayed Harvest streams in 18 North Carolina Counties.  Our favorites are The Laurel River, Shelton Laurel Creek, The West Fork of the Pigeon, The North Mills River, The Green River, The Tuckaseegee River, and The East Fork of the French Broad.  These waters offer catch and release fly fishing, artificial only from Oct 1 until the first Saturday in June.  The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission stocks these streams with brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout the first week of Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr, May.  They give us great opportunities to teach beginners to fly fish and sharpen skills for intermediate anglers in areas with a very high trout density.  They aren’t always easy, but they are some of our most productive streams in the area.  We mourn the arrival of bloody Saturday every June, and as I write this in August I can’t wait to get out on some of these rivers come Oct.  If you are ever unsure of trout regulations in NC just look at the trees along parking areas and if the land is public you will see plastic diamonds similar to the one above.  They represent different regulations and are color coded.  If you don’t know the colors yet look at the fine print.  It will be out lined for you.  To book your trip visit our Book a Trip Page.

Explore Asheville video Asheville: Return Again

The Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau released the video Asheville:  Return again on their tourism site Explore Asheville.  We were bummed fly fishing didn’t make the video, but though that this video does a great job of showcasing what your fly fishing trip to Asheville will include.  The CVB does get some great footage of rivers and we hope it makes you want to get in them with a Brown Trout Fly Fishing LLC Guide.  You will see in this video that while fly fishing may be the focal point of your trip, making Asheville your location affords you access to awesome food, incredible craft brews, and unique southern mountain town culture.

Click this Link to submit your Fly Fishing Trip Request

Book a Trip

Brown Trout in Garden and Gun Magazine Online

BrownWhalesbackfallsBethGrantPhotographyJared Sullivan included Brown Trout Fly Fishing LLC and the Davidson River in his Garden and Gun Article:  Five Top Southern Fishing Spots.  Click on the link and give it a read.  Photo Credit to our friend Beth Grant at ORVIS Asheville.

The Davidson River is one of the few Fly Fishing only Catch and Release streams in the Asheville area.  It is our main fly fishing wade trip option for trout during summer in Pisgah National Forest and one of the best places to catch a large trout in North Carolina.  There are three very different sections of the Davidson River.  The first is what we call the main river and it runs from the National Forest Boundary up to the Bobby N Setzer Fish Hatchery.  Here you will find both quality and quanitites of stocekd Brook Trout, wild Brown Trout, and wild Rainbow Trout.  They are also the spookiest fish on the river so angler be ware.  The second section is the Hatchery section.  It is only a half a mile long, but boasts the highest fish/mile count in our area.  The fish are not super spooky, but are very selective.  All three species of trout here are often caught on midges size 24 and smaller.  The third section is above the hatchery.  You may have to bushwack and hike a little/a lot, but trout up here receive less fly fishing pressure and behave more like the North Carolina trout you expect to find in our many other “blue line” streams.  Call us and come see why the Davidson is listed as on of Trout Unlimited’s top 100 trout streams to fly fish.