Delayed Harvest Around the Corner!

With March 1st less than a week away, it’s time to stock up (no pun intended) on all the DH necessities! Our local delayed harvest sections at Valle Crucis and the Watauga Gorge will be stocked on the first of the month. For the rest of the stocking dates, search “nc delayed harvest stocking dates 2019” and click on the NC Wildlife page.  

As far as bugs, be sure your box is full of DH go-to flies such as egg patterns, squirmy worms, prince nymphs, copper johns and pheasant tails. For those pickier fish, also be sure to bring along some BWO nymphs and emergers as we are still seeing occasional hatches on those warmer days. 

We also want to go over some basic fishing etiquette as these sections can often get fairly crowded; especially the first week or two after it’s been stocked. While everyone has the right to get out and fish, do your best to avoid fishing directly on top of ofther fishermen/ fisherwomen. This is known as low-holing or high-holing. Not only is this the polite thing to do, but it also avoids any issues with tangling lines, which no one wants to deal with during their time on the water. Though everyone will have their favorite spots and holes, believe us when we say that they put plenty of fish in the water for everyone to catch! Just grab a spot of open water and work it thoroughly and you will more than likely find some fish. 

That being said, if you are set on fishing a specific spot and someone is already there, your best bet is to either ask if they mind if you fish above or below them (assuming there is ample space), or ask them if you can fish that spot after they are finished. 

With that in mind, now we can go over what you’ll need in your pack before you head out to wear those fish out. Here’s our list of what we consider the necessities:

-A variety of nymphs and midges

-Strike indicators 

-Split shots 


-Line nippers

-Floatant (for dry flies and yarn indicators)

-Hat and sunglasses (preferably polarized)

-Boots and waders 

-Warm socks and layers of clothing

-Valid NC fishing license with trout permission

-Net (you’ll want it for that next big catch!)

As always, if you have any other questions about specific flies or recommendations on the different types of products listed above, just swing by the shop and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions! Until next time, tight lines y’all!

Spring Teaser in the Highcountry

For the past few days it’s been hard to believe it’s still February with temperatures climbing into the high 60s and even low 70s. Hopefully you were able to get out and take advantage of this warmth on the river like I was as it did not disappoint! Not only did this drastic rise in temperature get the fish eating, but there were also even some BWO (Blue Winged Olive) hatches coming off making for great opportunities to fish dry flies!

Smaller midges and nymphs have been the ticket of late, particularly baetis patterns in sizes 16-20. Fishing these below an emerger pattern like a soft hackle or sparkle pupa have been very effective, especially on those warmer winter days. However, be sure to bring plenty of splitshots as this time of year fish will be tight to the bottom in deeper pools and runs.

Delayed harvest waters also continue to produce fish, though they do tend to be a bit pickier as winter goes on. Zebra midges, small stone flies and caddis are good for enticing those pickier winter bites. Be sure to wear plenty of layers and the warmest socks you have as water temperatures are extremely low this time of year. Just don’t let that keep you from getting out there and finding your next great fish story!

Cold Hands + Big Fish

Though not everyone is willing to brave the chilling fall weather to fish, those who are can often be rewarded for doing so. Yesterday, guide Joe Kostura and I decided to do so, and boy did it pay dividends. Upon pulling up to the boat ramp in the morning, we were already seeing dozens of fish feeding up top on midges left and right. This was encouraging as we could definitely feel the chill in the air. Between seeing all of this early activity and knowing that we are moving into spawning season, we knew it was going to be a good day.

Almost immediately, we hooked into the first fish of the day. Nothing to write home about, but a beautiful wild rainbow. After about a dozen rainbows between 6-10 inches, we finally got into the first big fish of the day, an 18 inch brooder that put up a great fight! A couple quick pics followed by a safe release and we were back in action. So far, the key had been egg patterns and midges. After landing several more rainbows and a few browns, finally a big, mean, old brown is on the line that we were eventually able to get in the bot. The day had officially been made! 20 inches of thick, juicy, Watauga River butta! This fish had some beautiful fall colors and was exactly what we were searching for. A few photos later, we got him back in the water to hopefully make another future anglers day!

All in all, the fall fishing is seriously heating up on the tailwaters with the fish getting ready to spawn, and hungrier than ever. We highly recommend giving us a call to book your trip to get out while the gettin’ is good!