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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just moved into a new place with my girl about two minutes from the Watauga. I've fished my whole life but last week received a nice 9ft fly rod as a gift and some some flies to get me started. I've done lots of reading and research about the basics and been on the river everyday but I'm looking for some helpful hints specific to the area. Here's my situation, Ive got a great honey hole I found on the Watauga where the water is slow moving and 4 to 6ft deep that runs about 100 ft into a ledge and the over into some rapids where the water gets about 6 to 8 inches. Everyday I'm here i see at least a dozen bluegills and NUMEROUS brown and rainbow. Im talking good size. They seem to sit 4in. or so below the surface right before the ledge in the current occasionally swimming into deeper but always returning to pockets in the current. I've tried adams parachutes, and elk hair caddis on top, some gold and orange bead head nymphs with a striker adjusted to the level their at, as well as some olive streamers and some muddler minnows with a little split shot to get em down there. I CANT GET THEM TO HIT ON ANYTHING! Ive pulled a couple small bluegills and a smallmouth yesterday but i was literally 30ft. from at least 15 brown trout 10in. or more. Ive seen rainbows at least a foot in the pool, i've read the wild trout can be picky but I'm puttin in at least 3 or 4 hours a day out there for the last week and nothin. Yesterday I was there from 6:30 am till 3pm. If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them...I really want to get the experience of catching a good size trout on a fly but I'm almost ready to break out the bait tackle if things don't improve.
 

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throw on some camo clothing and face paint and crawl around to where they can not see you if they are skittish fish
 

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Red X Angler
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Not a clue to help you now, but if you will hang on till DH time it will improve. I have even been able to catch a few. Wonder what they would think of a San Juan Worm?

Darrell
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks for the tips guys. I picked up a couple San Juan's two days ago but i wasn't sure if the reds or oranges would be better in the evening in low light. I also went from a 9ft 5x leader to a 12ft and got some hits tonight before sunset. I think its just going to be a test of patience. I will get some pics up as soon as I figure it out!
 

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Dry fly tied directly on the leader and a dropper of 6x tippet tied off the dry fly about 15" to 18" with a nymph of some sort a copper John would be preferred in green even better.

Guaranteed to wake them up!
 
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Forgive me in advance, cause i haven't seen the fish.Are you sure they are trout.This situation comes up sometimes annd the fish are chubs and suckers.Very few times do you see trout in those numbers that close to the surface in good light.
 

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Forgive me in advance, cause i haven't seen the fish.Are you sure they are trout.This situation comes up sometimes annd the fish are chubs and suckers.Very few times do you see trout in those numbers that close to the surface in good light.
I've rarely seen suckers holding near the surface. They usually hold near the bottom and give themselves away by the flash of their sides as they roll over, behavior you pretty much never see with trout. If they really are only a few inches under the surface, the tell tale spots should be visible enough to make the identification of "trout" pretty near guaranteed. Plus, I see that kind of behavior frequently with trout. They're not school fish, per se, but they will bunch up pretty tight in places where the current funnels food into narrow areas (such as the tail end of a long stretch of comparatively quiet water).

It may simply be a matter of timing. Some fish habitually feed primarily in the morning or the evening, and, especially with browns (which tend to be at least semi-nocturnal), they may simply not be feeding at the times he's fishing. Maybe try something designed to elicit a reaction strike, rather than a feeding strike? You can also test if they're likely to feed by tossing a piece of natural bait (say a wax worm or meal worm) into the current so that it drifts down to where the fish are holding. If they've got eating on their minds, one or two fish should at least move to investigate.
 

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Dylar,I agree with you that suckers hold nearor on bottom.Here ,highcountry heron says they are 4 inches under water holding in 8 inches of water so they are just as close to the top as they are to the bottom.I've seen many more chubs,dace,and various suckers amassed in tailouts than trout.I have seen trout bunched like that as you say.i have also seen plenty of trout flash and roll in the same manner.Just sayin'.
 

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The sizes he's talking about basically rule out chubs and dace, and the suckers you see in tailouts are usually latched directly on to rocks. What he's describing sounds like trout behavior, especially the part where they move briefly into deep water, then return to holding shallow in the current. If there's an incorrect identification here, I suspect it's not that he's seeing suckers and thinking "trout," it's that he's seeing brook trout and thinking they're browns. It's entirely possible that there are a mix of rainbows and browns holding in those patterns, but maybe a slightly better chance that they're a mix of rainbows and brookies, which tend to like the same basic kinds of water. If there is, as he suggests, deep water nearby, I'd be a little surprised if brown trout were holding shallow when they could stay deep and only move shallow to feed. Then again, I've been surprised several times this year by big brookies that acted like browns, so why not browns that act like brookies?
 
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