Watauga River Fly Fishing Guides


Now Booking Guided Trout Fishing Trips For All Skill Levels On The Watauga River Tailwater

The Watauga River in East Tennessee (Elizabethton, TN), like the South Holston, is arguably one of the best trout rivers in the entire nation. The Watauga River boasts incredible numbers of trout with chances of catching trophy (wild) brown trout as well.

The Watauga River is home to the famous “Mother’s Day caddis” hatch. It is not uncommon to fish dry flies to trout in the 16 to 20+ inch range, all day long during the month of April! The Mother’s Day caddis hatch is a short but rewarding time of year, but when its over, the fun doesn’t stop. After the caddis finish their annual ritual, the Watauga River trout switch to gorging on “yellow sulfur” mayfly nymphs, dries, midges ,and scuds (freshwater shrimp). Heavy feeding occurs year-round on these insects. Even summer and winter months are an important growing season for Tennessee trout. From July through November you can count on lower flows and lush foliage, making for excellent top water/terrestrial action, dry-dropper fishing and sight fishing opportunities.

Whether you’re experienced or just starting out, these waters are perfect for improving your fly fishing skills. Holston River Fishing Guides offers single and multi-day guided fishing experiences in this beautiful tri-state corner of the country – and we’d love to share these fisheries with you.

Call (828) 416-0159, send a message through our contact form below, or if you’re ready to reserve your date you can easily book directly online. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Float Fishing Trips

We conduct our float trips on 6 different rivers and lakes and are fully licensed and insured in 3 states! NC, TN and VA. We use the finest boats and equipment in the industry on our outings and provide a wonderful lunch as well. Usually this means sandwiches and sides on the boat to maximize fishing time, however, a streamside hot lunch is available, upon request for a small additional charge. Ask us about our fabulous menu options!

Enjoy fly-fishing from the comforts of a boat, and led by guides with decades of experience. A float trip is a fantastic way to learn the sport of fly-fishing for the first time, or for experienced anglers to capitalize on their skills by utilizing incredibly knowledgeable guides.

Full-Day: $550/2, $450/1
Half-Day: $450/2, $400/1

Walk & Wade Fishing Trips

We guide many of the famous streams, creeks and rivers in NC, VA and TN. If you have heard of it, we probably guide it! We provide all of the necessary wading gear that you will need along with rods, tackle, snacks, drinks and lunch.

In addition, Holston River Fishing Guides has been awarded “Special Use Permits” from the US Forest Service to guide you in National Forest Land. These permits allow us to take you to water that sees little to no pressure from other guides. Beaverdam creek, Whitetop Laurel, Laurel Creek and Upper S. Fork Holston are just a few of the 11 bodies of water included in our permits. The rest of them are so exclusive that we can’t list them here! Call or Email us for more info about our “National Forest Wade Trips” to target Brook, Rainbow or Brown trout. Or target all three of these trout to complete the “grand slam” by booking one of our multi-day fishing packages!

Many of these creeks and rivers are chock full of brown and rainbow trout. Trout over 16″ are caught wading, fairly regularly throughout the season! Our guide service is one of the few guide services that are permitted to take you to these wild and remote fishing streams.

On our walk and wade trips you are guaranteed beautiful river scenes, you can catch a lot of fish, and sometimes a big fish on the very same day. Regardless of how many trout and what size you catch, we guarantee you will have an amazing experience. We have had so many memorable days in these places over the last two decades, and are very excited to share our secrets with you.

NC Full-Day: $450/2, $400/1
NC Half-Day: $350/2, $300/1

TN or VA Full-Day: $500/2, $450/1

TN or VA Half-Day: $400/2, $350/1

Trip Details

Holston River Fishing Guides requires a non-refundable, 50% deposit to book any of our trips. The full value is non-refundable within 7 days of the scheduled trip date.

We fish rain or shine, unless the weather is deemed unsafe by the guide. In the event of dangerous weather, we will reschedule for a future date.

If you have any questions please give us a call at (828) 416-0159 or email us at [email protected].


Are the all-inclusive overnight trips (w/ lodging or camping) expensive?

We have spent years organizing our overnight trips and developing relationships with lodges, guides, landowners and catering services, which allows us to bring you an exclusive experience for the same price as if you organized it all yourself. The difference is we have done our research to make sure EVERYTHING in your package is of the highest quality and above the industry standard!

These trips cost the same amount of money if you were to organize them yourself. Often they are cheaper through us! We don’t add on any cost or fees. We have orchestrated, “value added” fishing and camping experiences without adding additional cost. Our goal is to make fly-fishing and camping easy to access and bring people from all walks of life to enjoy the sport.

Should I bring my own waders?

The short answer is bring them if you want. Leave them at home if you want to use ours. Holston River Fishing Guides is an all-inclusive outfitter so we will provide wading gear for members who do not have them, but if you have them already, bringing your own pair is always the best option.

We recommend wearing waders in case of cold weather or rain. We generally fish from the boat all day on our float trips, but waders can be very helpful for getting in and out of the boat in ankle deep water, loading on/off boat, etc. Wading socks and wading boots or simply bringing waterproof hiking boots suffices in warm weather (spring-summer). If you are planning to wade fish for most of your stay, waders are highly recommended as water temperatures generally stay under 60 degrees year round.

Should I bring my own rod?

Holston River Fishing Guides will provide high end, fishing rods and tackle on all of our trips. Bringing your own rod is optional. People usually like to bring their own rod when they aim to develop nerve and muscle memory specific to their own equipment. Because the tactics, water, and wind conditions vary, we may suggest one of our rods anyway. So the short answer, here, is that bringing your equipment is completely optional. Our guides usually have G Loomis, Hardy, Sage, Winston, and other top name brands in the industry for all applications and styles of fly fishing.

Do your guides have any certifications or permits?

We GUARANTEE, highly trained, veteran guides. Every HRFG guide is required to be certified in Wilderness First Aid, Basic Life Support and CPR. It is important to us that your experience is safe, seamless, and fun. Our goal is for you to simply book the trip, and leave the rest to us!

We have 15 years of experience guiding customers and teaching the sport of fly-fishing, decades of experience setting up, well stocked, campsites and planning and organizing all of the finer details of your trip. If you are imagining the perfect fishing or camping trip, we plan to show you one even better!

We have been awarded USFS special use permit no.0596-0082 to guide in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.

Still have questions?