Author Archives: mcfaddenjosh

About mcfaddenjosh

Music Teacher & Fly Fishing Guide on South Holston and Watauga Rivers in East Tennessee

Friday the 13th 2012

It was a cold day yesterday, but in between frozen guides and finger warming sessions, in the afternoon I was able to catch 9 browns. Most of which fell subject to a Oregon cheese colored egg. The others where happy to take a small blue wing nymph. I was fishing falling water, and I was by myself on the South Holston in 22 degree weather with the wind blowing 25mpg. I feel it was a pretty successful 90 minute trip. Snow was falling the whole time. I just love to fish in the snow regardless of how the fishing is. It’s somehow even more peaceful. I did make it out with my newly acquire MK Lanyard yesterday. It was very useful to have everything I need at the ready. I’ll give it a full review and how I set it up on a later post. Until the next time, Josh McFadden

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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Trip Report


First Trip of 2012

Kevin and I made our annual trip to fish New Year’s Morning. We headed over the mountain to do a little small stream fishing. The first few hours didn’t yeild much as it was still cold. It started to warm up a little before the storms moved in. This was the prettiest wild rainbow of the year that was more than happy to take a blue wing olive nymph. I landed 9 fish this morning which is a great morning in the mountains. There were some small winter stones coming off. The South Holston had been very busy yesterday so it was nice to get out away from the madness of the tailwater.

Happy New Year
Josh McFadden


Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Trip Report


Fly Tying: Burnt Wings pt. 2

So I’m continuing with my experimentation with these wing burners. I found some nice light dun hen saddle I had laying around. These stems seem to be more delicate and supple so it should be less cause for any kind of twisting issues. The color seems to be spot on as well for either sulphur or BWO.
PhotobucketThese wings ended up a little further back than I would have liked. Here’s a top viewPhotobucket Then we have the blue wing olive version in a size 20. Natural Tan CDC was used for the sulphur and Natural brown for the blue wing olive. Overall same technique used as previously posted. Photobucket I’m happier with the placing of the wings on the blue wing. These things are so delicate to tie in sometimes your just happy they’re on the hook at all.

Merry Christmas & Happy Tying

Josh McFadden

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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Fly Tying


Fly Tying: Burnt Wings

I picked two mayfly wing burners from J:Son Sweden company. I hadn’t ever done any wing burning before so why not start now. Right? So my first few wings that I made from the colored wing material didn’t quite turn out. So I decided to try my hand at burning some feather wings. I started out with some dark dun cdc. By the way, I should mention I have a sneaking suspicion that leader twist may be an issue with all of these patterns. However; it’s a chance I’m willing to take for the learning aspect of all of it. With my next attempt a cdc wings I’ll look for finer stemmed feathers as I think that would certainly help.

CDC Burnt Wing Dun

TMC 900bl #16, Yellow 70 UTC, 4 Microfibbets, Sulphur Orange Turkey Biot, Burnt Natural Dark Dun CDC Feathers, CDC hackle make from twisting CDC fibers using split thread technique.


Photobucket Photobucket

Teal & CDC Sulphur

TMC 900bl #16, Yellow 70 UTC, 4 Microfibbets, Sulphur Orange Turkey Biot, Teal Flank Feathers Burnt, CDC hackle made from twisting Natural Tan CDC using split thread technique.
PhotobucketPhotobucket I do like the mottled effect that the teal feathers give off.

Teal & CDC BWO

TMC 111 #16 (very short shank fly here is about a size 20 with a size 16 hook), Olive Dun 8/0 Uni, 2 Microfibbets, Olive Turkey Biot, Teal Flank Feathers Burnt, CDC hackel made from twisting Natural Dark Dun CDC using split thread technique.


Until the next time,
Happy Tying

Josh McFadden


Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Fly Tying


CDC Split Wing BWO #21

After yesterday’s trip it’s time to start thinking about restocking blue wing olives. I’m going to be adding the normal comparadun’s, loop wing’s, & sparkle duns for blue wing season. I’ve been thinking about a pattern I had seen somewhere with split wing cdc. This was my first go at it.
. This is a fly pattern that at first look makes me think will work for some discerning fish. The olives we have here in East TN are quite small #20-28’s. For this pattern I’ve chosen a x-fine wire dry fly hook in size #21. Now for the recipe.

CDC Split Wing Dun BWO #21
Hook: TMC Barbless Dry Fly Hook 903? #21
Thread: Olive Dun 8/0
Tail: 4 clear microfibbets split
Abdomen: 70 Denier Olive Brown Thread/
14/0 Griffiths White Thread Rib for segmentation
Coated in SHHAN and left to dry.
Thorax: Sparse Olive Scud Dubbing
Wings: 2 Natural Dun CDC Feathers Split with butt ends.
Head: Trimmed CDC ends

The wings can be coaxed upwards to fish dun style or coaxed downwards to fish spinner style I suspect.
Here are some different views.

More to come later

Josh McFadden

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Posted by on October 2, 2011 in Fly Tying


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South Holston River Fly Fishing Report 10.1.11

“First Cold Day”

A cold front blew in yesterday evening and carried on through this morning with some rain and good cloud cover. I met my clients up at the fly shop for a day out on the river. We had a wade trip today starting at 9. There was an early morning pulse this morning on top of a 340 sluice to give a cool burst of water for the morning fishing. We arrived at the river with several layers packed on a piece. You know that first day that it really gets down cold, it seems much worse than even the coldest days of the year. We had rigged up blue wing nymphs and midges to start out. It didn’t take an hour before blue wing olives started pouring off. You could get away with a size #20 CDC comparadun or a simple cripple. For a little while there were sulphurs coming off as well in the mix when we had burst of sun. A good tandem rig ended up being a sulphur up top with a smaller olive simple cripple on down below. The blue wings continued hatching off strong all afternoon. Just about everywhere you looked there were fish popping blue wings on the surface. It was a dry fly fishing day for sure. I encourage everyone who’s considering taking a trip to the South Holston to spend some time out in the yard on some casting practice a few days before your trip. You really do have to bring your A-Game on casting. You really do need to be able to hit a pie plate at 35-40 feet consistently to put numbers on the board in the dry fly fishing game. The South Holston is definately if nothing else, a year round dry fly fishery. In the CDC dry fly game there is two products that every savvy Soho angler needs.

Trout Hunter Preen Oil

The first is some preen oil ( Pictured on the left). The preen oil is a pretreatment to use on your CDC flies. The second necessary evil is a few bottles of frogs fanny. Not all dry fly dust is created equal.  Frogs Fanny is in my opinion a far superior product than any of the dry shakes or the like. You do need to take some time and really work the powder into the fly. Not only does it do a good job of getting your flies floating high again. But it also changes the color of the wing. It gives gets the color of the wing that natural light dun color like the naturals have making the patterns look even more realistic.

There was some good size fish out eating today. The rain kept a lot of fair weather fishers off the river. A good dry fly fisherman could have racked up today and cleaned some clocks. Everyone in the group had fun and caught their fair share of fish but admitted to needing some more casting practice. It was very cool to hang out with this group of long rodders. Everyone had their own 10 footer which is a perfect fishing tool on the big river.

As a reminder to those of you to fish the South Holston you’ve got a month before the the two spawning sections of the river will be closed. Now is the time to get out and have a chance at some good sized fish as they fatten up pre-spawn. I didn’t manage to take any pictures today as my finger weren’t up for the challenge of digging for the camera. A moose knuckle lanyard would be the perfect tool for a rainy fall day keeping all of your important tools at bay on top of your rain gear.

Until the Next Time

Josh McFadden – Contributor

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Posted by on October 1, 2011 in Trip Report


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South Holston River Trip Report- 9.17.11

“The Crisp of Fall”


Finally, the temps have come down at least for a few days. There is a crispness to the air, and wild fish on the rise on the South Holston. I got a late start today, I was up most of the night with a fevered 1 year old, I was due some quality fishing time. Most of the upper stretches of the river were already covered up. So I headed downstream to my favorite place to fish. I think that there are two different kinds of trips that we take in our angling pursuits. There are those times when we try to have a brand new experience. Whether it’s trying out new fly patterns, or exploring new waters to fish, to have the thrill of it all being new again. Then there are those trips like the trip I had today.  Where you go to one of your favorite waters or favorite spot you’ve been so many times before and try to tap into some of your past angling experiences. The water where you find yourself the most comfortable. The place where you’ve caught fish and had many memorable experiences. In our angling pursuits we are at times the sum of all of our experiences both situational and conditional. I was definitely in need of some solitude today. I was fortunate enough to find just that today, which is not an easy feat on a busy Saturday

PhotobucketThere was more flow on the river today, due to the sluicing that’s been going on. There’s nothing like fishing the sluice water. It’s just enough extra flow to get the fish fired up and eating very well. I got down to the water and rigged up the 4wt with a double nymph rig. A pheasant tail nymph dropper and a small blue wing olive nymph on point under a yarn indicator. I was working my way up the first run and hooked up with 3 fish on the pheasant tail in short order.
PhotobucketThere were some really nicely colored wild rainbows in the mix. These fish get so strong fighting this extra current. Even an average sized fish will give you a run for your money. I picked up several more fish on nymphs before making my way up to some good dry fly water. It was about 2pm at this time and there was a decent little hatch of blue wing olives going on so I tied on a bwo puff daddy and began picking of some more risers.

I made my way up around the bend to find another pod of fish working over some late season sulphurs. I swapped out to a Sulphur Puff Daddy and picked up several nicer fish from this run.
There’s nothing quite like watching a fish take in a dry. It’s during those moments when that split second of time slows down and it all comes together as the fly disappears back underneath the surface and it’s fish on.
PhotobucketThis run has been so prolific for me and clients in the past. I’ve had people stand in this same spot for hours on end railing fish one after another. The dry fly fishing was on in a big way this afternoon. It was a simple formula really. Cast-Drift-Sip-Set-Release-Frogs Fanny- and repeat as necessary. The fish were acting like someone shouted out last call on sulphurs and they were picking off every natural that floated by. When the hatch began to slow down a little I took a break to contemplate my next move over a pack of nabs and a water.
The angle of the sun had changed quite a bit and seeing the puff daddy became more difficult. So I tied on CDC Sulphur Comparadun “Old Reliable” up top and dropped the puff daddy off the eye. I picked up several more as I worked over the end of the hatch, including this nice rainbow.
PhotobucketI This last fish on the dry had fouled up my dry rig, so I swapped back out to the nymph rig to finish out the afternoon and nymph fished my way back downstream to the truck. What an afternoon. No monster fish or anything but healthy wild rainbows and browns giving me a good tug on the end of the line. I’m ready to welcome fall with open arms.

Josh McFadden – Contributor

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Posted by on September 18, 2011 in Trip Report


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