Winter of 22
Well we are into 2022 and we have finally gotten off the water long enough to update our Around the Bend…. Page.
What’s around the bend in Western NC? Before we head around the bend let’s talk about the hole we are in.
Right now we are sitting in to doldrums of winter and the fishing has been hot. Finally getting some water back in the rivers and the fish are excited. Delayed Harvest Trout Streams are loaded with fish. We have had some amazing days lately even in the cooler weather. Dress in layers and keep warm by pulling in the trout.
Time to look around the bend…
March – as many of our former clients can testify to… Here in WNC the trout fishing in March can be incredible.
The Catawba Tailrace, if history repeats itself like it has for the past 25 years we have been fishing it will experience the biggest hatch of the year. We call it the ACC Caddis Hatch – happens while most people in NC are inside watching basketball. These Caddis apparently don’t care about college basketball, because they will be having the times of their lives! Everyone makes tough decisions but I’ll assure you we will be hammering brown trout that are gorging themselves dark brown Caddis flies.
Local DH Streams – with the fish getting settled in all winter by March they are spread out and eating natural stream morsels! Black Stones, black stones, black stones!!!
Hatchery Supported Streams – These streams are closed to fishing during March but opening day is the first Saturday in April. Here is my son on opening day last year.
See the tail on this beast??? What a great fight!
Smallies – we don’t fish or guide for smallies in March or April. This is spawning time and we don’t disturb them. But come May we will be hammering these post spawn beauties.
Spring of 21
busy! Between fishing all we can, dealing with COVID and raising a family, websites tend to get out of date quick. As I write this update (Feb 16) the rivers are nearly to their high water limits, it’s 36 degrees and the fog is so thick you could cut it with a knife but…… I’m thinking about Spring Fishing!!! So here’s a little of what we have to look forward to here in our neck of the woods.
Catawba Tailrace – Our March/April Caddis Hatch is just a few weeks away. We call this the ACC Caddis Hatch because it happens during the ACC Basketball Tournament and most folks in NC are at home watching their favorite basketball team all the while missing the best hatch in NC. Brown caddis size 14-18 will be emerging throughout the tailrace and the brown trout will be gorging themselves on them. If there was ever a best time to float the tailrace, this is it.
Catawba River (above Lake James) – The Delayed Harvest section along the Marion Greenway has been stocked heavily and with the current water levels the trout have had a good chance to spread out. With the extension of the Greenway that now reaches the Fonta Flora Greenlee Park the amount of fishable water has nearly doubled. Although not connected yet this new park offers easy access to the river just below it’s confluence with Buck Creek.
Of course with Spring comes Dogwood Trees blooming and here in NC most anglers realize when the Dogwood bloom the white bass and walleye make their way upstream to spawn. Nearly every lake in NC has a white bass population and although Lake James’ population is not what it used to be it’s still a solid fishery. Explore this waterway in early Spring because before long the tube hatch will begin and the river will be full of fun loving tubers enjoying their day on the water. BTW if you decide to join the tubers check out Catawba River Outdoors.
Let’s move on up the mountain and discuss what’s coming around the bend…
North and South Toe Rivers – With the Spring flows the North Toe and South Toe Rivers will be prime for fishing. Both of these rivers offer very diverse fisheries so I’ll break them down according to the NCWRC Designations.
Hatchery Supported Waters – The North and South Toe both offer many miles of Hatchery Supported Waters but please keep in mind these streams are closed to fishing during the month of March and will open on the first Saturday of April. So much water and so little time!
Delayed Harvest Waters – the North Toe has a Delayed Harvest section that flows through the quaint little town of Spruce Pine. This is a great fishery, is heavily stocked and has very easy access including a park with riverwalk trail. Great place to take your family to spend the day.
Catch and Release and Wild Waters – The South Toe offers several miles of Catch and Release Fly Fishing Only Waters near Black Mountain Campground and Wild Waters upstream. This water gets it’s share of pressure but the Spring flows really help the fly angler slip up on these wild fish. Dry / dropper rigs (I like Elk Hair Caddis dries with beadhead Pheasant Tails droppers) can be very effective in these waters.
So there is a quick snap shot of what’s coming around the bend in our neck of the woods. Hope this helps you get planning for Spring here in western NC. Of course we offer guided wade and float trips throughout this area and would love to be part of your spring plans. Here’s a few pics to wet your appetite for fishing in our area.
Spring showers have come and gone, well here in western North Carolina Spring showers brought Spring Flooding! We had nearly 30″ of rain from May 1st to May 15th, six months of normal rainfall in 15 days. Good news though….. our water table is full, streams and rivers are high, clear and fishing incredibly.
For those of you that missed our Springtime High Water Streamer Fishing, don’t fret… we have big smallmouth bass crushing top water poppers in our local rivers. If you haven’t had a chance to target river smallies on top water poppers you have been missing out.
These river smallies live in beautiful places without a doubt but it takes a special rig to get to these jewels. Our self-bailing Aire rafts with custom oar frames installed allows us to target fish in places where very few fishermen ever get to make a cast. The rivers we fish carve their way through huge granite boulders as they flow through these incredible Blue Ridge Mountains.
We offer float trips for these river smallies throughout the summer months. Come enjoy the mountains, float fish the remote rivers and get hooked on river smallies hammering your top water popping bug, On The Fly!
Spring of 18
After a wetter than normal winter our spring fishing is on fire! The Caddis Hatch on the Catawba Tailrace is coming to an end but the brown trout are fat and looking for more! We have had several great days with dry fly action all day long. Casting dry flies to rising brown trout in March is hard to beat.
With the higher than normal water levels streamer fishing has been the ticket on many of our float trips. If you haven’t chunked streamers to fat trout living in the heavy currents of our local river trout you are missing out. Our local trout bite will continue to stay hot through June, so if want chase big trout on our local rivers now is the time to get your trip booked. Our smaller streams will continue to fish good through the heat of the summer during early morning and late afternoons. Mid day action will slow as the waters get warmer and warmer but that means it’s Top Water SMALLIE TIME!!!!!!!
Around the bend… Top water river smallies on size 4 poppers using 9ft 6wt flyrods! Now is the time to get your top water smallie trip booked! Our schedule is filling rapidly as we have developed a following of loyal clients that come back year after year. These hard fighting river smallies are pound for pound the hardest fighting fish in freshwater. Catching river smallies on top water poppers, in gin clear water, on the fly is something all fishermen need to experience. Our self bailing whitewater rafts with custom oar frames installed are the perfect craft to chase these river smallies. Come experience the best top water smallie action around, float a scenic remote section of a beautiful river and enjoy some mild whitewater action to boot!
It’s been cold and wet to say the least here in WNC. Our streams are flowing high and the outlook for a wet spring looks promising. The winter trout bite has been solid but the colder than average weather has made it challenging to say the least. When the temps do get above freezing the bite has been good. We have been having good success throwing streamers (sz 4-8) on sink tip leaders slow rolling them through the deep / slower pools.