Our Guides

Jon Hooper

A native of Upstate New York, Jon has been fishing, hunting and living an outdoor lifestyle since he was a youngster.  Growing up around the Great Lakes, chasing lake run brown trout, salmon and his favorite, chromed-out steelhead fresh from the lake, was the perfect atmosphere for his career in the fly fishing industry.  Since 2008, Jon’s main focus is serving as the and General Manager and head guide of the South Holston River Lodge.  Although the office takes up most of his time but his passion for sharing knowledge and elevating your fly fishing skill set is what he truly loves to do.  His experience and vigorous standards ensures an educational, fun-filled day on the water.  Jon has guided from New York to Alaska and knows the meaning of exceptional customer service and professionalism.  When Hoop is not in the office or on the water you can find him enjoying the outdoors, likely in a tree stand praying on the next big buck to show up.  

Andrew Bright

Andrew’s family resides in East TN and SW Virginia where he was born and raised.  A true natural when it comes to flyfishing and guiding.  His carefree attitude and infectious smile is the reason he is one of the most requested guides at the lodge.  His dedication to the sport and his knowledge make him a true asset. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned angler, Andrew exceeds all expectations. When he is not guiding or spending time with his wife Ashley, daughter Sienna and son Holston, you can find him in the woods scouting for big bucks and gobblers..  

John Stunkard

John grew up in Elizabethton, TN.  Although he always had a fascination with fishing, he didn’t get his first fly rod until 12 years old.From casting to tying, John does it all. While fishing with him, you can expect to learn. His goal is to improve his client’s angling prowess while guiding, and his ability to share information keeps them coming back for more.  Don’t be surprised when you catch him on the river during his few days off. Not only does he love to guide, but he also still loves to fish. 

Brandon Barbour

Brandon is a native of  Franklin County, in Southwest Virginia just down the road from our tailwaters.  He grew up with an extreme passion for the outdoor lifestyle with fishing and hunting being second nature.  In high school he found his love for fly fishing and has not looked back.  Largemouth, Smallies,  Stripers and Trout captured his main focus growing up.  Brandon, a college athlete attended King University here in Bristol and was a standout pitcher for the Tornado’s.  After graduating college, he moved to Estes Park, Colorado where he began his guiding career.  Although he loved Colorado, the trout of the South Holston and Watauga tailwaters were calling him back to his home water.  Brandon’s knowledge of our rivers combined with his overall fishiness along with his infectious smile is just one of the reason’s he is so regularly requested.   When Brandon is not guiding you can find him scouting the river or chasing that next big buck!

Sam Presutti

From a young age Sam has had a passion for the outdoors. He started working in the fly fishing industry shortly after graduating High School and was a manager for The Orvis Company at their Pittsburg location. While doing this job he taught many fly fishing and fly tying classes that quickly made him realize his passion would take him to be a full time fly fishing guide. Since making his transition he has guided in multiple locations including Bristol Bay region of Alaska. He currently spends his days guiding on the South Holston and Watauga rivers from Spring- Fall and the rest of the year chasing steelhead in the tributaries of Lake Erie. If you are fishing with Sam you can guarantee that you will be in the boat with not only someone who consistently put you on fish, but also someone who prides themselves on making sure people leave his boat as a better angler then when they got in. When not on the water you can pretty much bet he will be in the gym, cooking up an amazing meal on his Big Green Egg, or spending time with his lovely wife Geneva and their 3 kids.

Preston Vance

Preston ( “Presto” ) was born in Bristol and raised on the banks of the South Holston River.  He has a thirst for everything flyfishing that is rarely quenched.  His passion and dedication to the sport makes him a great asset to our team and we are thrilled to have him.  He thoroughly enjoys teaching and assisting anglers putting a bend in that fly rod, whether you are a beginner or seasoned pro. His laid back calm demeanor is just one of the reasons he is so frequently requested.  When Preston is not guiding or spending time with his wife and three daughters you can bet he is on the vice creating the next HOT bug.

Braydon Wilhoit

Born and raised in the Tri Cities, Braydon is the future of the fly fishing guiding industry in East Tennessee.  This “Young Buck” is just plain fishy!! He rows the boat like a veteran and his fly tying skills are superlative.  He is an absolute joy to be in the boat with and has a constant smile that makes the day super fun to say the least which makes him a true asset to our team.  If you want to speak the language of baseball he is your man!  Braydon was selected first team all state and was named conference MVP!  He is an impressive young man and you will not find another guide that will work harder to make your day more enjoyable than Braydon.  When he is not guiding, fishing or hunting he spends a great deal of his time as an active member in his church with his family following his faith in God.