The Watauga River is located in Elizabethton, East Tennessee which is about an hour from Asheville North Carolina. This is one of the best fisheries east of the Mississippi. The river has a relatively large fish-per-mile ratio for our area. We have the ability to float several different sections of this river which makes it nice in the middle of the summer when it can be really crowded.
The upper section by the dam fishes the best in early spring and late fall when the leaves begin to change. It is not uncommon to "stick the pig" as some would say on this float since the upper river is known for holding bigger fish. Several fish have been caught in the 4 pound range this past year. Fly fishing for these large trout makes for an exciting and challenging day on the Watauga River.
The middle section fishes great all year round. We will fish a lot of dry/dropper rigs as well as nymphs below an indicator. It is not uncommon in this section to have a great day with several fish landed. We have good hatches of Caddis, Craneflies, Sulphurs, Blue Winged Olives and Midges in this section which keep the fish very active. The dry fly fishing on the Wautaga River is one of the most attractive aspects of the river to most anglers.
The lower section also know as the "Trophy Section" also fishes great year round. We will also fish alot of dry/dropper rigs but would prefer the nymph rig or a streamer since the water tends to be a little deeper. There are some really nice fish in this section but they can be really shy with all of the traffic on the river.
A fly fishing float trip on the Watauga in East Tennessee is highly recommended year round, especially for the beginning angler who would like to float!
Watauga River Fly Fishing Stream Report The Sulphers (14-18) have been hatching consistently and the dry fly fishing has been great. Nymph fishing between hatches has also produced well. The flows will stabilize when the summer recreational flows go into effect.