It’s finally here; the long-awaited spring fishing. Delayed Harvest waters are freshly stocked and fishing better than ever with the perfect spring weather we’ve been having lately here in the Highcountry. Now is a great time to get out and hone in on any skills you may have become rusty with over the winter as these freshly stocked fish tend to be more willing to eat in the first few weeks of being in the river. Once arriving at the river, look for deeper runs where it looks as though fish would be stacked up, and more than likely they will be right there! Throwing double nymph rigs tends to be the way to go; fishing a larger attractor pattern as your lead fly, such as a Pats Rubber Leg or larger prince nymph with a smaller midge or emerger pattern below that (zebra midges, soft hackles, splitcase BWO) can be very effective.
That being said, this time of year can be some of the best wild-water fishing we will see with the opportunity to find some bigger browns in smaller water. When fishing skinnier water, often times you will want to avoid big, clunky strike indicators and instead fish a dry/ dropper where your dry fly doubles as your strike indicator. Bulkier dries such as stimulators and elk hair caddis are perfect for these situations as they are buoyant enough to use with beaded nymphs or midges paired with smaller split shots. Fishing and emerged pattern such as a soft hackle or sparkle pupa can be a great way to get a sense of if the fish are eating actual dry flies, or if they are eating bugs that are just beginning to emerge into adulthood.
As always, for more specialized local knowledge and tips on patterns to fish, be sure to stop by the shop and talk with our knowledgeable staff members!
Tight lines y’all!
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
-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!
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!