Where Fly Fishing is a Professional Passion…..

Time to Fish….

Wednesday February 27,2019…Of course , that is what a fishing guide is always going to say , right?  Well, its true.  Things are shaping up, have cleared up, and we are back to fishing.  The past two weeks, here has been the scoop….

We made a return to cooler (seasonable) weather…..that warm weather may feel nice but we do well in cold weather, and very little competition from other anglers! Small stream and tailwater fishing has been good, we had great days the past month in all kinds of weather and anyone who has ventured out with me has done well. We are catching numbers of fish, and some trophy sized fish as well. When you have been guiding for three decades you find ways to work in all kinds of weather, the bills gotta get paid. We catch fish in all weather.  Stoneflies, early browns and blacks, continue to be active as well as Aminephura, sp. and Allocapnia, sp. stones, the little 18 and 20 sized flies that pour off all our small streams and DH waters in winter. Fish are munching them, one of our trips during the past week with Dr Pat Burney we put 50 fish in the net , mostly with these little flies. I custom tie them, and I sell them. They work…….

As far as tailwaters , they continue to fish great, we have put over 60 20 inch fish in the boat on our floats streamer fishing since early December. Its been phenomenal. When its not streamers, the nymph game has worked well, along with some small blue winged olives and dry fly fishing that are always a winter option here and there. And its not over.  Tailwaters never freeze, and there’s hardly a time you can’t find some fishing on them. There we have fished in everything from teens and blowing blizzard of snow to 60F and sunny…..and caught fish in all of it. Lots of fish.

On the 15th, I guided David Carter, Greensboro, NC, on a float trip in Tennessee.  David and I dropped the boat in around 845am and shoved off, didn’t take long to get into some fish, we had great nymph fishing the first half of the day. Caught fish on deep rigs, two nymph swivel rigs and bounce rigs, did well with both. First half of the day we caught a nice mix of rainbows and browns, probably 3 dozen or so before breaking for lunch.

There were olives beginning to hatch as well. No rising fish yet, but that would come. We pulled over and had a nice hot shore lunch, just before the anticipated 2 hours of low water we thought we’d get based on how TVA has been releasing past couple of days. We had lunch, and just as we finished the water began dropping as the flow dialed back to 285 then 366 giving us three solid hours of great fishing ahead. We caught more on nymph rigs, then switched to dries and caught some on dries, then moved our way down river and switched off to a light low water nymph rig that I love to use on intermediate flows /sluice flows.

David started hammering fish on that one too, and we caught a good many fish on that rig, eventually making it down to one of my favorite stretches where we caught more on the same rig. About 415/420pm the water came on again or had eventually made it down to where we were and it went back up to full flow. We put up the light rigs, got out the heavy nymph rig we started with, and went right back to hammering fish on that. It was excellent. Probably around 5 dozen or 60 fish on the day. No bigs, I think our best fish was 15 inches and that is a quality fish anywhere, especially being a wild fish. Great day….

These trips we cancelled because the particular location we were headed to was either high and muddy or blow out, and all were super extreme cases of that….because we go unless its an extreme situation with flooding, muddy water, or travel issues (snow and ice) getting to and from the river.  Rain, heavy rain, all day rain, part of the day rain, snow, sleet, you name it we fish in all of it and don’t cancel trips based on that unless it is absolutely unworkable.  Anything less, we’re fishing.

2-16-2019 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Todd Collins, Madison , NC, Steve Sowden, Roanoke, Va, NC Mtns, ppd high muddy water where we were fishing….rescheduling to another date

2-18-2019 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Ron Davis, Paul Briggs, Winston-Salem, NC, NC, ppd high muddy water where we were fishing, a shame though tailwater fishing is fine!

2-19-2019 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, NC Mtns, ppd high muddy water where we were headed….continued rain, smaller waters are up and some are muddy but tailwaters are fine….ice/freezing rain not helping matters today

2-20-2019 FISHING REPORT – Guided Trip, Jeff Chalmers, Jim Bolling, Summerfield, NC, NC Mtns, high muddy water where we were supposed to fish, a shame though tailwaters are fine

Wet has been the theme though, and to beat a dead horse I’ll share all of this again.  If this weather has you down you are gonna have to learn to fish in the rain if you want to fish, or at least learn to overlook it. 2018 was a year of record rain and record fishing. Yes, I said that, record fishing. We had great fishing with all the rain……this year will be no different. Those going anyway will find opportunity, that is , those willing to go to plan B or plan C when plan A doesn’t work out. What does this look like? Like planning to fish river A and fish one way but being willing to go to plan B or C and fish another way. Flexibility is key. We are in a wet period, I am not suggesting fishing in flood conditions or red muddy water. But what I am suggesting is fishing right up to that point. Fish still eat in those conditions. Some fishing is better in those conditions than on your ‘perfect’ day. What does this look like specifically? You wanted to wade a small stream but the only option is floating tailwaters…or vice versa. This is going to be another spring where if you don’t fish anyway you might not fish. We are in a wet period, 2018 was a record wet year…wettest on record. 2019 is already starting ahead of that.

While wishing for the perfect conditions day is always at the forefront with and for our clients, perfect rarely ever happens. If we waited on that we’d guide three days a year.  Fishing is an outdoor sport in the elements.   To reiterate from the above we are now only canceling due to these factors…….(1) those where the road conditions (ice , snow) make travel to or from fishing dangerous, and (2) flooding or muddy water to the point that catching fish is not possible…all others we will go anyway or fish in an alternate location or alternate type of trip. No cancels due to it just being a rainy day. We have always been super flexible in every case, and in most cases not requiring a deposit, but we are having to make some significant changes because when someone cancels its often last minute and no way we can fill the spot on such short notice. That’s hard to swallow when there were other people who don’t mind fishing in less desirable conditions and would have fished on that day or who we could have booked for that day.

On a different note we have been steadily working on the launch of our fly business with a site and social media pages . Actually I have tied and sold flies for decades but making it a larger and separate entity …. things are coming along nicely, lots of flies going out the door! Some new logos that I have been playing around with, as well as getting things up and running.

Fishing has been good also on the coast.  Shad have shown up in some of our southernmost coastal rivers and the redfishing has been epic.  My son Ben has been in the reds , catching a lot of them on fly.  He and his best friend, Capt Jud Brock, who runs Muddy Fly Guide Service, and who he used to live with on Wrightsville Beach has been in both the reds and the shad.  He and Ben had some good fishing day before yesterday.  They have some openings also….folks interested can book with Capt Jud  here .  Here are some of them….

NC Delayed Harvest waters will receive their first spring stockings beginning Friday March 1, and stocking will continue through mid month until all waters have been stocked, these waters can be fished at all times and are never closed during any season.  Hatchery Supported waters will close to fishing on end of day Feb 28,2019 and these waters will be stocked through the beginning of April and will reopen to fishing on Apr 6, 2019.  Among the bugs that are active this month, there are…..Baetis (BWO) size 18, Blue Quill Size 16, Quill Gordon size 12-14, Hendrickson size 12 -14 (only lowest elevation waters front slope), Early Black Stones size 14 -16, Early Brown Stones size 12-14, Dun Caddis size 18, and Midges in sizes 20-24 and darker shades.  Click here for a FREE printable March Hatch Chart for our Appalachian Waters.  This applies to NC waters, tailwaters will differ slightly.

Its going to be a good week and upcoming month.  Our March calendar is almost full, as are April and May, and they soon all will be. Our dates are going fast, as always 12 months of calendar of availability is always listed here on our website.  Going to be another great spring.

Tight Lines,


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