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> > The South Holsten River

Martinlf has attached these 3 pictures to this report. The message is below.
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The 17" brown from the first day.
The 17" brown from the first day.
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21" resident male brown.
21" resident male brown.
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21" lake run brown.
21" lake run brown.

Report at a Glance

General RegionTennessee
Specific LocationThe SoHo
Time of Daymorning to evening
Fish CaughtBrowns and Bows
Conditions & HatchesMostly cloudy, with some rain, at times heavy. Midges, sulphurs, olives.

Details and Discussion

MartinlfSeptember 24th, 2021, 8:22 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
I traveled back to my home state of Tennessee for my last extended trip of the year, fishing the South Holsten River three days. The first two days found me in Patrick Fulkrod’s driftboat. The first day, fishing size 20 midges and soft hackles on 6X in the rain, we boated about six fish in the morning, including a nice 17” fish. After lunch the weather cleared, and we made a relatively short float down from the dam that let us slow down and fish intensively when sulphurs started hatching about 3:00. Patrick said the sulphurs don’t typically hatch this late in the season, but that they had started up recently. We caught a good many fish up to just over 13” on sulphur dries, and on nymphs before and after the hatch, using a dropshot rig. It was a very good day of fishing in the early fall. The next day, in the morning we tried the deep runs that hold the bigger fish again, and after a slow start switched to 7X. The sparse yarn indicator dipped and I felt the weight of a good fish. With expert coaching I kept the fish out of some logs and after several long runs we began to have some hope the fish would see the net. Finally a lift and Patrick slid the net under a heavy 21” lake run brown, the darker female in the photos. It felt surreal, and it took a while and a snort of spirits before I was ready to fish again. Soon after, the yarn dipped again, and a 21” resident male brown (more brightly colored) was on. After some tense runs towards weed beds the fish came up and to the net. Then the storms we’d been watching for all morning blew in and Patrick paddled us out in a hurry. With threats of lightning and wind for the afternoon, and more than satisfied with the morning’s results, we came close to calling it a day, but neither of us really wanted to, so we drove upstream and watched the skies. By the time we reached the dam the wind had settled, and though it was raining we had not seen lightning or heard thunder. So in went the boat. We quickly picked up some fish on nymphs, but when we reached the spot where we first saw rising fish the day before, the river began to erupt with fish everywhere. Switching rods, I expected to immediately repeat our previous dry fly success, and improve on it with so many bugs and risers. They hadn’t been easy the day before, but they seemed impossible now. There were sulphurs and olives this time, and lots of them. We targeted fish after fish but nothing seemed to work, and Patrick switched up the rig again and again. Finally, in his own laid back way, he coached me to extend my reach cast a bit further upstream and to hold the reach a second before starting to fish out the cast. It was the small adjustment I needed, and we began to boat fish. There were so many cool moments as we worked our way downstream--one I recall was Patrick telling me to put a fly on the edge of a fast seam and watching a brown come up from the bottom as clear as day to eat the fly. I lost count of the fish we boated, but it was, as we say in the South, a goodly plenty. What a homecoming! The next day I waded a run in the morning, catching a handful of feisty SoHo bows and browns, then headed out at lunch time so I could get home at a decent hour. Patrick had showed me a number of tricks for nymphing, and I put them to good use, practicing and improving my technique with his words in the back of my mind.
So that’s the fishing. Now the guide. Patrick is the real deal. He’s been named the Orvis guide of the year or a finalist for this honor in multiple years. But there’s not a pretentious bone in his body. As a teacher, I appreciate someone who understands the art of presenting a challenge, then providing the coaching necessary for the student to meet it. Patrick is a master of this, as you will see if you check my Facebook page and see the reach cast video I'm posting there. (I don't think I can post video here, but I may give it a try in another post.) And in another video you’ll see his sense of humor as he helps me distinguish left from right. I’ve honestly never laughed so much on the river or had so much fun catching fish. In fact, at times we didn’t fish. We just sat and told lies and jokes and stories and enjoyed the river and the company. I hope if he reads this, he won’t be offended to hear that I’ve come to think of him as a (much younger) brother from another mother in many ways. And I think he treats everyone he guides with warmth, humor, and honesty (back in the spring some buddies and I were planning a trip, and he said he could set us up with a guide if we insisted on coming, but he’d rather not—the fishing wasn’t good). The drive down from Pennsylvania is a long one. Seven hours. I’ll be making it again for sure if I can schedule another trip with him. From what I can tell, Patrick, who owns the South Holsten River Company, is often booked well in advance. But he has a talented group of guides, and knowing he’s vetted and hired them, I’d actually fish with any of them.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PartsmanSeptember 25th, 2021, 4:17 am
bancroft michigan

Posts: 420
Louis, those are some awesome fish! Thanks so much for a great fishing report and the heads up on Patrick. I don’t do face book but wife does I’ll try and find your video. Thanks again for some needed reading.
MartinlfSeptember 25th, 2021, 4:40 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Thanks, Mike. I'll get the Facebook posts up in a day or two. Hope you're doing well!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnNovember 11th, 2021, 2:43 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
Louis...Nice to see you are still getting it done, sir! Tennessee? Interesting.

Other than chasing big fish, how you been?

I finally tried fishing for Stripers and Albacore in the Long Island Sound at the end of September...Pretty much got skunked. Had a great time though.

Fished in front of Taylor Swifts mansion at Watch Hill Rhode Island...Was waving like hell, but couldn't get her to invite me in. ;)

I just got back from my annual trip up to the Manistee last Sunday. Caught a 28" beauty. Took a little of the saltwater sting away. I'll post it if I can remember how to post a pic.

Actually I've been fishing the Manistee pretty steady the last several years. I floated one day in May and two days at the beginning of June. June here was unusually warm...I mean really warm. Water temps too high to fish...Started out almost in the dark.

This was a truly odd year. Opening day the water level on the Au Sable was almost July like. I'm not sure I've ever seen it so low for the Opener?!

I should post my COVID trip from last year sometime...Torrential downpour...Earthen dams giving way, draining lakes I've seen all my life...Now back to a river bed...Then a forest fire both in the same week...I was thinking pandemic, flood, fire, this was sounding quite biblical...I asked, what next Locust? A friend answered back, "Hell Spence, don't worry about that. I'm sure you could whip us up something that would cover Locust. We'll just fish it out...What else can we do?!"
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
MartinlfNovember 18th, 2021, 8:09 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Spence, good to hear from you. I've been grading a stack of papers and just finished, so I'm free to spend a bit of time checking Troutnut etc. I'd love to see your Manistee fish--big brown? Steelhead? I don't know much about the Manistee, but that's a huge fish. For now I'm settling down to tying some flies and thinking about spring. I'll hit Spring Creek from time to time for midging fish when the weather cooperates, but mostly stay near home. I'd like to chase Erie steelhead at some point, but I'll have to do some research to make that happen. Have a great Thanksgiving; if you're in PA again, give a shout.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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