Ellis Ward Guide Service is a fly fishing expert specializing in streamer fishing for trophy Brown Trout. Trips offered range from Brown Trout on tailwaters to Freestone Smallmouth and Musky.

Ellis has spent thousands of days fishing and guiding these rivers, and as many days at the vise working on fly designs based on his personal experiences watching what triggers big fish to ‘go’ when in most instances, they will likely stay.

The program for the day changes on a trip-to-trip basis based on fish behavior, seasonality, angler preferences, and conditions. It can include streamer fishing, sight casting dry flies to rising Trout and tailing Carp, mousing for Brown Trout at night, fishing topwater plugs and flies for Striped Bass and lake run Brown Trout, or a healthy combination of many of the above.

If you’ve ever been bored by Trout fishing or wondered how anyone could stand to watch a bobber for 8 hours straight, you’re in good company! Anglers rarely nymph fish; if they do, it’s in targeted areas for a limited time. Ellis has developed his fishing, tying, and guiding business around the idea that fishing a tailwater for big Trout should be engaging, exciting, active, and adventurous!

Ellis Ward Guide Service runs catch-and-release trips, but the captain is happy to make some exceptions for a few fish! You’ll need to get a fishing license before the trip. This information is available online, or you can ask the captain. Food, drinks, and all the necessary gear are included.

For an exciting fly fishing adventure, book your trip with Ellis Ward Guide Service!



Select date to see available trips and rates:

  • Private trip
    Full Day Trip – Trophy Trout
    FREE Cancellation 30 days notice
    8 Hour Trip, starts at 12:00 PM
    US $575
    Guided fly fishing on the South Holston and/or Watauga River Tailwater for trophy Brown Trout. We won't catch 20 or 30 dinks and hope for one to be big – we target fish with streamers and cast to fish visibly eating on the surface.
    Targeted fish
    Bass (Striped)
    Striped Bass
    Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)
    Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)
    Carp
    Carp
    Bass (Smallmouth)
    Smallmouth Bass
    Brown Trout
    Brown Trout
    Brook Trout
    Brook Trout
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Customer reviews

Rating summary
Excellent
5.0 / 5
out of 5 stars from 3 reviews
Boat
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Crew
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Experience
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Photos & videos by reviewers (5)
Great full day trip
Floating Tripp with Captain Ellis
Floating Tripp with Captain Ellis
+2
Angler rating
3
0
0
0
0
Anglers claimed
Good experience
100%
Friendly captain
100%
Recommend this charter
100%
Appropriate for children
100%
Satisfied with the boat
100%
Caught fish
100%
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3 of 3 reviews
Christopher G.
Old Westbury, NY
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Experience:
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Boat
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Crew
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Overall

Great full day trip

VERIFIED   Full Day Trip – Trophy Trout on August 27, 2023
Ellis is an excellent guide— friendly, patient, knowledgeable. My 8 year old son and I greatly enjoyed spending seven hours...
Christopher G. recommends Ellis Ward Guide Service
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Christopher G. recommends Ellis Ward Guide Service
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Christopher C.
Wilmington, NC
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Experience:
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Boat
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Crew
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Overall

Floating Tripp with Captain Ellis

VERIFIED   Full Day Trip – Trophy Trout on August 21, 2023
Beautiful scenery and great trip overall !
Christopher C. recommends Ellis Ward Guide Service
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Christopher C. recommends Ellis Ward Guide Service
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Michael H.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Experience:
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Boat
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Crew
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Overall

Great experience!

VERIFIED   Full Day Trip – Trophy Trout on May 5, 2023
My wife and both caught rainbows and browns which was great because we’ve never caught them before. Captain Ellis was a great...
Michael H. recommends Ellis Ward Guide Service
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Michael H. recommends Ellis Ward Guide Service
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FAQs about Ellis Ward Guide Service

Ellis Ward Guide Service offers the following trip to customers:
  • US $450 per group, additional US $125 per person after 1 guest - Full Day Trip – Trophy Trout (8 hours)

When you book a trip with Ellis Ward Guide Service, you can expect the following amenities onboard:
  • Fishfinder Helix 7 CHIRP SI/DI
  • Ice Box

Trips booked with Ellis Ward Guide Service include:
  • Rods, reels & tackle
  • Lures
  • Snacks
  • Drinks
  • Lunch
  • Fly Fishing Equipment

Ellis Ward Guide Service offers the following types of fishing:
  • River Fishing
  • Lake Fishing

Ellis Ward Guide Service offers the following fishing techniques:
  • Light Tackle
  • Trolling
  • Spinning
  • Jigging
  • Popping
  • Fly Fishing

Top targeted fish species with Ellis Ward Guide Service include:
  • Bass (Smallmouth)
  • Bass (Striped)
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Carp
  • Muskellunge (Musky)
  • Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Meet the Captain

Ellis Ward
Johnson City, Tennessee, United States
3 Customer reviews
Response time within an hour
Member since March 2022
I am a full-time, year-round fishing guide in East Tennessee, based out of Johnson City. In 2018, I was working in healthcare finance consulting and living in DC. I had been there since 2011, after graduating with a degree in physics from Vanderbilt University. I worked hard to be where I was, but I was brutally unhappy with what I did for a living. I was stressed out and half-checked out when I was able to make it home to see my baby daughter before she was asleep. While my life was 'successful' on paper, it didn't amount to any form of happiness. I found fly fishing somewhat by happenstance after my stepbrother took me fishing for a few hours. I didn't catch any, got hailed on, and thunder stormed out. We broke a borrowed reel, and I was borderline hypothermic for the duration of our stumbling. I was also head over heels in love with whatever it was we just did! I fell in love with fishing because of everything surrounding the sport – the scenery, the drives, the solitude, the heart-wrenching line snaps, and knee-shaking personal bests or firsts. These days, I am excited about every day of work. I take the time to talk with clients extensively before every trip. I also spend a lot of time with my now-almost-5-year-old daughter, who loves fishing but cares very little about catching fish.

About this listing

Targeted species

Bass (Smallmouth) Smallmouth Bass
Bass (Striped) Striped Bass
Brook Trout Brook Trout
Brown Trout Brown Trout

Boat specs

Hyde (Drift boat) originally built in 2005. Powered by a 2HP Minn Kota engine, with a maximum cruising speed of 2 knots.

Length
15 ft
Capacity
2 persons

Types of fishing

River Fishing
Lake Fishing

Fishing techniques

Light Tackle
Trolling
Spinning
Jigging
Popping
Fly Fishing

Amenities

Fishfinder
Helix 7 CHIRP SI/DI
Ice Box

Trip includes

Rods, reels & tackle
Lures
Snacks
Drinks
Lunch
Fly Fishing Equipment

Cancellation policy

Free cancellation up to 30 days prior to trip

You can cancel or modify your booking up to 30 days before the trip date, free of charge. If you cancel or modify your booking later, or fail to show up, you'll forfeit 100% of what you've paid.

Listing policies

Pickup agreed upon reservation
Transfer to/from departure site may be available and included in price depending on your location and distance from the dock.
Child Friendly
Catch and Release Allowed
Catch and Release Mandatory
Happy to make certain exceptions for a few fish.

Payment

Book with 30% deposit, pay rest to captain

When the captain confirms your trip, FishingBooker charges your credit card a 30% deposit to guarantee your reservation.

The remaining balance is to be paid directly to the charter operator on or prior to your trip date in one of the following payment methods:

Cash
Visa
Mastercard
American Express
PayPal
When paying the remaining balance with a credit card, an additional 3.5% charge will apply.