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NORTH CAROLINA COUNCIL OF TROUT UNLIMITED — Serving TU members in the Old North State

Trout in the Classroom Page 4

Featured Fly: Terrestrials Page 56

Streams of Consciousness Page 58



3 A Message from Mike 4 Trout in the Classroom 12 Tales from the Tank 14 STREAM Girls 18 Boy Scout Badges & Kids’ Fishing Days 20 Good Summertime Fishing 25 NCWRC’s Trout Page 28 Up A Creek with Sam Cathey 30 Council News 38 TU News 42 The Power of the Citizen Scientist 46 TU When Coldwater Isn’t Close 49 Pisgah TU’s Annual Fly Fishing School 52 Patagonia 56 Featured Fly — Terrestrials 58 Streams of Consciousness All contents Ⓒ 2019 North Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited and/or their respective owners.

Contact Information: North Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited • P.O. Box 2351 • Brevard, NC 28712 Council Chair: Mike Mihalas (mike@mihalas.com) Editor and Manager: Charles Crolley (charles@coldriverstudio.org) Graphic Design and Layout: Suzanne Crolley (suzanne@designsbysuzanne.com)


Spring 2019



elcome to the spring 2019 edition of “The Drift”, the newsletter of the North Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited! A quick look at the table of contents will show you that youth education is a big focus of this issue, and a significant focus for NCTU overall. We have Trout in the Classroom, Rivercourse, STREAM Girls and other programs that are focused on creating the next generation of coldwater conservationists. Youth education is a core part of our NCTU conservation plan. By sharing the beauty of a wild trout with a young person, we are one step along the way of bringing them to care about our coldwater resources. Through teaching a kid to tie a fly, we help motivate them to get outside and catch a fish with that fly, showing them the incomparable value of genuine outdoor experiences. Through teaching a child to tie a knot and cast a rod we create future TU members, volunteers, and champions for our streams. More importantly—and putting aside those conservation goals—these efforts also bring benefit to the children themselves. We have all seen the statistics on declining fishing and hunting license sales. We have also seen the statistics on increasing childhood anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders. Our children are the first generation to be raised without meaningful connections to the natural world.

A book that changed my entire outlook on our relation to the outdoors is Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. In the book, Louv introduces the idea of „nature-deficit disorder“ and how it affects our children—and in my opinion, many adults as well. Louv describes the benefits of engaging with the natural world, the issues that occur in children who lack exposure to nature, and then backs up all these ideas by citing relevant scientific research. It is a convincing work that covers what may be the root of many problems that begin in childhood. My priorities as a parent changed significantly after reading Last Child in the Woods. While I knew I wanted to make fishing a part of raising my kids, I had not considered the idea that the engagement with the natural world is what really mattered, not just the fishing, nor had I considered the consequences of a lack of exposure to the natural world. I just saw fishing as en engaging pursuit, but it turns out is is so much more than that and can have great effects on our emotional health. Last Child in the Woods has influenced my family and my life more than any other book I have read. If you have kids or grandkids, I would encourage you to read it, and then pass your copy on to any parents you know. Though Last Child in the Woods is not a fishing book, Louv is an angler and I also recommend his book Fly-Fishing for Sharks: An American Journey. I hope that all of you find time this spring to get out on a trout stream and get some of your own nature therapy. As I finish up writing this I know the mayflies will be hatching this afternoon and rising trout are waiting. Get out fishing—and take a kid with you! Mike Mihalas Pisgah Forest Spring 2019


The Premier Youth Engagement and Education Program of Trout Unlimited




Spring 2019

By Charles Crolley — NCTU Dana Hershey — Rocky River Ryan Rowe — Hickory Stoney Turner — Hickory Matt O’ Bryant — Blue Ridge


cross the United States, Trout in the Classroom (TIC) continues its reign as TU’s single most popular and widely-supported youth education and engagement program; reaching more students in more places than all other TU youth outreach programs combined. North Carolina is no exception to that rule. Nine of our fourteen chapters have supported TIC systems within the last 12 months, and eight chapters are active in the program today (one system lost its fish early in the year and was not able to recover). Together, those eight chapters support 75 systems and classroom teachers in 72 schools stretching from Hillsborough to Bryson City. Because the program curriculum is flexible and can be easily adapted to many learning environments, the systems are equally at home in high schools and elementary schools, public and private schools, charter and alternative schools, learning academies and nature centers; in fact, each of those is represented among our current list of program participants. A wide range of lesson plans and other resources have been developed and shared by teachers nationwide and are available to all program participants, parents and others who might like to learn more. Over time the curriculum has been adapted to many purposes but is most ideally suited to biology or ecology classes, science classes and general education classes where the conversations involve our environment and the connected nature of our ecosystems — and the sometimes razorthin tolerances of fragile life forms to changes in the environment. Spring 2019



Basic classroom systems consist of some of the components you’d expect to see in a home aquarium: a standard tank (usually 55 gallons or more), a water filter, and sometimes gravel and other ornamentation. What makes the TIC systems very unique is the addition of a chiller, which is needed to keep the tank’s temperature at a relatively stable 50°F. Since most chillers for aquarium use are designed to chill the water to around 60°F, TIC chillers must be outsized (for instance, a chiller designed for a normal 100 gallon tank will keep the desired 50°F in a 55-gallon Trout in the Classroom tank). At over $500, the chiller is also the most expensive component. Once a TIC system has been delivered to a school and set up, the classroom teacher responsible for the care and maintenance of the system and its fish starts the work of setting up the tank and conditioning the water to receive fish. This critical step ensures that all treatment chemicals have been removed and that the water has reached the appropriate temperature to host the trout eggs, which will eventually become fingerlings that are released into one of our area streams. Some schools will retain aquarium gravel from previous years’ systems to help jumpstart the development of the natural biofilter, which begins during this “setup” period. The biofilter is made up of bacteria that live in the rocks at the bottom of a tank and works with the filtration system to rid the water of harmful ammonia,


Spring 2019

nitrates and nitrites. The gravel must be kept the bacteria to survive.

Many schools also construct thermal “insulat keep the water cold and dark. Some of these affairs, with an elaborate system of peepholes and adorned with original student artwork — “STP” stickers that festooned many of the th years ago.

A delivery day is scheduled by one of our two hatcheries, depending on school location. T meet at the hatchery carrying plastic containe stocked with ice. This keeps the water and eg insulation (newspaper or a thin towel) must the ice to keep the water and the eggs from ge transport. Usually, a single volunteer will del on a route established by the chapter’s TIC c

A curious volunteer can learn a lot on their fi room in the hatchery. For instance, did you k trout eggs do not come from North Carolina do keep “brood stock” and produce brook tr eggs, but not rainbow eggs. This generally ha commercial availability of rainbow trout eggs to obtain. But right now, all of our state’s sto

The Art and Science of Trout Reproduction Dana Hershey — Rocky River Generating trout in the captive environment of a hatchery must take into account two biological issues: 1. Female trout in the wild release their eggs after a ritual dance with the male. (The lyric “Do you love me, Now that I can dance?” comes to mind) Without the dance the female cannot release her eggs, which will be resorbed with endangerment of her health. 2. There is concern for maintaining the purity and variety of the DNA of wild trout species. The idea is to avoid introducing a few monoclonal DNA strains of trout that outcompete the native trout and take over the stream.

t wet year-round for

— even the big ones stocked in some of our streams — begin life as residents of the great state of Tennessee!

ting jackets” to help are quite creative s to spy on the trout — a far cry from the hings in our schools

Fun Fact: The Erwin National Fish Hatchery in Erwin, Tennessee, one of 75 federal hatcheries in the USA, provides the rainbow trout eggs for the schools in the North Carolina Trout in the Classroom program. This particular hatchery produces approximately 12 million rainbow trout eggs per year for state and tribal hatcheries, research centers, classrooms and universities. North Carolina receives approximately 1.5 million of these eggs each year and is the second largest trout-producing state in the nation with a budget of about a million dollars per year derived from a combination of federal and state funds.

o state trout TU chapter volunteers ers and coolers ggs cool, but a layer of be placed on top of etting too cold during liver to several schools coordinator.

first visit to the egg know our rainbow a? Our hatcheries rout and brown trout as to do with the wide s and their low cost ocked rainbow trout

All of the eggs, whether from Tennessee or North Carolina hatcheries, are made into “triploids.” Once fertilized in the hatchery, they are pressurized for 5 minutes to produce sterile trout, incapable of reproduction. While this may seem odd to some folks, it’s an important part of fisheries management and helps our friends at the WRC control populations, particularly cross-breeding, and protect our state’s native brookies. After this, when the “eyed” stage is reached, they’re transported to one of our state fish hatcheries where chapter volunteers pick them up and deliver them to schools.

When the fish are ready, biologists from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission travel to the Erwin National Fish Hatchery to assist with spawning and to perform the triploid induction process. The female brood trout are sedated, and the eggs massaged into a colander. Sperm, or milt, is massaged from the male fish and mixed with the eggs. Twenty minutes later (the time from fertilization to pressure application is critical), the rinsed, fertilized eggs are placed in a pressurizer with 9500 pounds per square inch for 5 minutes. This process causes the fertilized eggs to have 3 sets of chromosomes (“triploid”) instead of the normal 2 sets of chromosomes (“diploid”), and the fish that develop from these eggs are unable to reproduce. The fertilized triploid eggs are then incubated in upwelling jars at the Erwin Hatchery for about 2 weeks. Cool, clean, aerated water flows continuously into the bottom of the jars and moves upward around the eggs. When the eggs have reached the “eyed” stage, the team of biologists from the Marion State Fish Hatchery pick up the eggs they processed earlier and bring them to their facility: some for distribution to TIC schools; most for hatching, growth and stocking of NC streams. The time from egg fertilization to hatching is very dependent on the water temperature. It takes about 48 days in 45°F water but only 19 days in 60°F water. TIC schools keep the water temperatures in the 52 – 60°F range. When a TU volunteer drives to the hatchery to pick up the trout eggs, they are placed with cool spring water into Tupperware containers which are positioned on moist thick paper towels overlying ice in a cooler. Upon arrival at the school, a 15 – 30 minute period is required to gradually introduce water from your tank into the Tupperware container to avoid rapid changes in water temperature and pH. The eggs are then gently placed in a softly netted cage positioned inside the tank at the top until the fish hatch, use up their yolk sacs and are able to swim to the surface to ingest finely grained fishmeal.

Spring 2019



Teacher Ryan Rowe‘s class at Alexander Middle School addresses water quality issues using a unique “aquaponies” strategy, adding a second tank to purify water and grow herbs.

Nitrate levels consistently stay low due to absorption from plant roots and pH has stabilized.

Upon delivery to the schools, the eggs are placed in a basket where they are allowed to rest until hatch day. Non-viable eggs are identified and removed during that period. After the hatch, the fry are freed to swim in the tank and are fed a graduated diet of food — formulated and supplied by the hatchery. Students and teachers watch the trout grow from eggs into viable fingerlings, and in the spring have the chance to take a field trip together to an assigned stream, designated and approved by our state’s Wildlife Resources Commission, where they bid the trout a fond “goodbye and good luck.” It’s a bittersweet time for the students, but we’re pretty sure the fish are happy to explore their new homes and settle right in. Some programs combine the trip to release the fish with other great opportunities for students to learn more about the world around them. These trips provide a chance for interaction with our dedicated rangers, wildlife staff and TU volunteers whose service and kindness serve as positive role and behavior models, and give students individual time to explore around the water and encounter the wild outdoors.


Spring 2019

It’s a long journey from starting life as an egg in Tennessee to swimming free in a North Carolina stream, and there are lots of things that can bring it to a sudden end. Most of those are related to water temperature and quality; particularly control of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and PH levels as the fish mature, consume food and produce waste. Regular water changes (removing some water and replacing it with fresh, cold dechlorinated water) help. Be sure to do this in small doses, so as not to raise the temperature of the tank. Another common problem, particularly over a long weekend or holiday break, is an extended loss of power to the school. This causes the filtration and chiller systems to stop, and if not corrected in time will result in fish loss. Additionally, a highly successful hatch and early production may unduly load the tank’s natural biofilter system. About 1 gallon of water per fish is optimal and if you have a larger population, it may be wise to remove some to another system or release some early to maintain this ratio. Less-common but still of concern are

equipment fa something yo the shelf at P accumulated lessened with

Students are enjoying the success this year; this time last year they had about 45 viable trout, and this year they’ve nearly DOUBLED that number to 88!

ailure (the chiller, which is not ou can run down and grab off Petco), clogging of systems with debris over time (which can be h creative solutions like adding

The students are growing mint, basil, and rosemary. Once plants have matured they are allowed to harvest part of the plant to take home.

cheesecloth nets over visible intakes), algae blooms and other perils. But there’s a lesson to be learned, even in “failure”, about the serious nature of climate

change, the need for cold, clear, unpolluted waters, the connections and interdependence in all of the natural world — and the resilience, frailty and mortality of all living things.

Teacher Ryan Rowe‘s class at Alexander Middle School (Taylorsville/Hickory Chapter) has addressed the water quality issue in a truly ingenious way and completely organic way, bringing the connected nature of life systems home full circle.

Spring 2019



Finally, and most important, there’s the profound and long-lasting effect program programs like TIC have on the students they serve. One of our schools (River Bend Middle School, Stoney Turner) extended the TIC program by creating an essay contest for its students. The winner, Haley Soukthavone, contributed an essay it’s worth your time to read. It looks like the future of conservation is in very bright, very capable hands. This fall, the council will be introducing a new set of online tools for TIC volunteers and teachers, powered by our council subscription to G-Suite. These tools will facilitate discussion groups, enable video conferencing, and serve as host to a repository to share information and advice with other program participants and build a common library of images and pictures. We’ll be in touch this summer with our dedicated TIC chapter coordinators to determine the best way to share these exciting developments with our classroom teachers.


Spring 2019

There’s another exciting new program on the TU youth horizon: “Trout Out of the Classroom.” It’s the logical next step in the TU youth education continuum, intended to carry the classroom lessons of TIC into the field to conduct meaningful surveys, studies, and collect data for conservation partners to use and share; and to equip a new generation of citizen scientists. We’ll tell you MUCH more about that in the summer edition of “The Drift”, and how your chapter can get involved. A heartfelt “thank you” to the many dedicated teachers, students and TU volunteers who make this program not only a reality, but an incredible success story. We wish we could list the many, many names of the teachers and volunteers who make this program success every year, and hope you‘ll all accept our thanks and gratitude. We’re proud of each and every member of the North Carolina Trout in the Classroom family.


The Impact We Leave Behind By Haley Soukthavone — River Bend Middle School “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” As small as it may seem, it’s important to notice the details that make up the environment we live in. The life we are given needs a sense of purpose and in order to feel that, we need to take care of the ones on our planet. Notice how visible the options in front of us can be. How simple a cause and effect reaction can be taken into place? To be part of a much larger ecosystem rests a heavy weight on the shoulders of organisms alike. We rely on each other to live, and when the system is unbalanced, we all fall apart. For example, change your perspective into the point of view of trout. On a larger scale, there are three major species of trout here in North Carolina alone. There are far more, others worldwide ranging in either saltwater or freshwater. Likewise, the conservation of trout affects not only the fish itself but the things that surround it. Having a sustainable habitat for the fish maintains a steady livelihood here where we live as well as places we don’t. In order to demonstrate the importance of trout, we need to understand the life cycle of the species, where habitats are located, and how we manage the threats that surround the fish“ .... We encourage you to read the rest of Haley’s wonderful essay, available HERE on our state council website. Thank you, Haley, and congratulations!

Spring 2019


TUYOUTH Tales from The Tan Episode I

W Editor’s note: when I asked our amazing TIC volunteer coordinators for help with the stories in this edition, I got some truly wonderful input. But this, I never expected. I know you will all enjoy this three-part installment as much as I did so I present it in its untouched glory. Sit back and prepare for a great laugh and an insider’s wonderful look at a “year in the life.” Thank you, Dana!

hen I emerged, grizzled and squinting, from Carolinas Medical Center following my last sleep deprived night on call, I decided to give myself two years in retirement to just play. No commitments, no meetings; all options kept open. I reminded myself of the nameless narrator in Dostoevsky’s existentialist novella “Notes from the Underground,” who strove to achieve ultimate freedom by refusing to make any decisions or commitments, keeping all of his options open. Of course, the narrator was the least free person on earth. The two years were up when Tom Adams asked me to join the RRTU Board, and I said “Yes!” RRTU embodies many of the things in life I hold dear: fly fishing, fly tying, conservation and fellowship. One of the RRTU projects that fascinated me most was Trout in the Classroom (TIC). The opportunity to educate children in biology, physiology, and stewardship of the environment through direct experience with caring for trout was appealing. Besides, I had always wanted a first-class aquarium, and Quail Hollow Middle School (QHMS), which was struggling with its first tank, was literally in my back yard. I admit to some concerns about taking on this project. I do not have a good track record with aquariums. When one of my daughters was in grade school, we made a home for some goldfish we had “won” at the school fair. That little fish bowl devolved into an algae gel that warranted action from the ASPCA. After sequential “burials at sea” (i.e., toilet flushes), we gave up. And when I first visited the QHMS tank with Bill Thomas and Joe Harris, the few remaining rainbow fingerlings were on their last fins. No one knew why. Inexplicably, the plug for one of the filter pumps had fallen out of the socket. There were no test tubes left for measuring pH and ammonia, and so someone


Spring 2019

did a pH determination by putting a random amount of tank water in the bottom of a beaker and adding the drops. The liquid turned a faint yellow color. We looked blankly at each other, not having a clue as to what that meant. And so, my fly fishing friends, these notes come not from the Underground, but from a fish tank in the Science Room at QHMS, where 30 plus brookie fry are doing their best to survive long enough to make the May trip to South Mountains State Park for release. This is the first part of a journey, an evolving narrative that I hope you will enjoy. Alas, I know not whether it be a comedy or a tragedy.

Episode II In the first installment of my adventure with the Trout in the Classroom Program I described my exhilaration and my anxiety in taking on the Quail Hollow Middle School aquarium. The combination of my dismal track record with goldfish and the fact that the few remaining rainbow guppies in the QHMS tank appeared to have lost the will to live portended an unhappy ending. But Bill Thomas, Joe Harris, Katie Reynolds (the QHMS teacher in charge) and I pressed on and stocked the tank with 50 baby brookies in January after laying the last deceased rainbow to rest and exorcising the aquarium. My goal was simple: just get a few survivors to make the Freedom Ride to South Mountains State Park in May. My secondary goal was that if they all died, we would at least know why. So I visited QHMS two mornings a week initially, changing 15% of the water, measuring pH, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites religiously. I learned to ask another person to hold the distal end of the siphon used to vacuum the detritus of fish poop and food from the gravel. I just don’t multitask well, and I slopped water all over the floor when I held both ends myself.

Trout tolerat to some sour QHMS were algae. A searc fish tolerate a Therefore, I pH alone. W glass walls, I was light star off.

Bill Thomas at Charlotte C legendary for a visit to Ray rainbows. At cylinder wher days for dech and I use a pu from the cyli fish tank. Wh water, he disa hose. After fi with tap wate conditioner i the aquarium mathematica success. He i

On April 26 (the CCDS t third and fou at South Mou of 48 rainbo in length. Th hour while o early mornin chorus seren Bieber, Lady the way to ou sunny but co as the last tro kids and susp torpedoed in

After a hike a


Dana Hershey, TIC Coordinator • The Rocky River Chapter of Trout Unlimited

te a pH of 5.0 – 8.0 according rces. The pH measurements at consistently 7.6. Ideal for growing ch of the internet indicated that alkalinity better than acidity. lowered my standards and left the When brown spots appeared on the panicked before learning that this rved algae, which is easy to scrape

had told me about the custodian Country Day School who was r his ability to grow fish; so, I paid and his murky tank of robust t QHMS we have a large reservoir re we keep tap water over several hlorination. Once a week Katie ump to send the water in a hose inder across the classroom to the hen I asked Ray how he changed his appeared, then reappeared with a filling up several 5 gallon buckets er and spooning some water in each one, he dumped them into m. I tried to reduce Ray’s method to al ratios of buffer to water without is simply an intuitive master.

I rode the bus with Taryn Page teacher in charge), Ray and 30 urth graders to meet Bill Thomas untains State Park for the release ow trout averaging 3 ½ - 4 inches he journey was quiet for the first our students emerged from their ng stupor, but then an enthusiastic naded us with songs from Justin y Gaga and assorted pop singers all ur destination. It was a perfect day, ool, and we all felt a bit nostalgic out, nicknamed “Monster” by the pected of cannibalism on campus, nto the stream. He was hungry.

along the stream and a picnic

lunch, we boarded the bus for the return trip. My nap was interrupted by someone shouting “Michael is throwing up!” Michael was sitting directly behind me, but no worry. I had just enough time to lift my backpack before Mike’s lunch trickled by. On May 14 Joe Harris and I are set to accompany 40 seventh grade QHMS students for the release 16 brookies at SMSP as far away from “Monster” as possible. Our fish average 1 ¼ inches in length, a fact I have not mentioned to the crew at CCDS. We have instituted twicea-day feedings and feel cautiously optimistic.

The Finale This is the third and final installment of observations along the way of my inaugural journey through a season of Trout in the Classroom. In my last piece I described a very successful trip with the fourth graders from Charlotte Country Day School to South Mountains State Park for the release of 48 vigorous rainbows. On May 14, it was time for the first such excursion from Quail Hollow Middle School (QHMS). Joe Harris and I arrived at the Science Room at 7 a.m. to transfer 16 brookie fingerlings to a makeshift transport container consisting of a styrofoam bait bucket with a portable aerator and floating sandwich bags filled with ice cubes. We experienced early difficulty in catching the fishlets in the aquarium. They were too quick for the net, but we worked out a way to trap them one by one in the intake cup of a siphon. The net was placed under the cup, and when both were lifted together, we had the flip flopping youngster captive. One poor piscine soul got sucked into the outlet tubing and disappeared down the drain. We didn’t tell the kids. The school bus, loaded with 30 seventh graders, two teachers and Joe and myself, lurched onto Park Road at 7:30 a.m. and

arrived at SMSP in perfect sunny, but cool weather two hours later. As we released the undersized brookies, a random thought crossed my mind: the statistics on the average lifespan of a second lieutenant after the front ramp of the landing craft went down approaching Omaha Beach on DDay. The Park Rangers then divided the students into two groups. One group stayed for a “What’s in the Stream” session. They learned about how fish hide and feed, what trout eat and the importance of clean cool water. The rangers were able to retrieve, among other things, a large crawfish and a sizable mayfly nymph, which the children could view through a magnifying glass to see the action of its gills. The other group of students went to the picnic shelter to hear an informative and often humorous presentation of “Skins and Skulls” about the local fauna. They were impressed by the ranger’s true story about a man who tried to bathe his “pet” groundhog and lost a finger. The message: These animals are wild!! Don’t try to handle them. After lunch we made the journey to the falls. I had never seen them before. I was impressed. We then boarded the bus for an uneventful (no digestive rejections) trip back to the school. Watching these young students engage with the rangers during the programs about fish, critters, wildlife, water quality and conservation brought home to me the value of our Trout in the Classroom Program. The experience of observing trout develop from eggs to fingerlings to small fish in a classroom tank can be an excellent jumping-off point for learning about the beauty and fragility of their natural environment and their very real connection to it. Please read the essay written by one of the QHMS seventh graders in support of his inclusion on the field trip. I think you will see the potential for providing school children with an educational experience that goes far beyond the aquarium.

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Spring 2019




omposer Aaron Copland was so inspired by Appalachian spring he wrote a symphony about it. Countless other artists and musicians have also found their muses once the days lengthen and the very seams of the earth burst with the green of new growth. May apples, trout lilies, redbuds, dogwood, bloodroot, trilliums, wild violets, rue anemone, Dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn — the list goes on. When you take a walk in the woods in Appalachia’s southern highlands, you are stepping through one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. The forests seem to literally vibrate with life. It comes as no surprise, then, that spring is a wonderful time to get kids outside. There is so much to discover, so many things to see, touch, hear and experience. This vernal world is not only a reminder of the wildness beyond smartphones, tablets, and other screens; it embodies the hope that, no matter how royally we screw it up, the planet will bounce back, recover, be reborn. As author Ed Abbey pointed out, “Concrete is heavy; iron is hard — but the grass will prevail.” This spring marks the third that a troop of scouts from South Carolina’s Mountains to Midland Girl Scouts Council have gathered at Camp Wabak for a weekend of STREAM Girls. TU’s Headwaters staff, along with volunteers from the Pisgah Chapter of Trout Unlimited (Brevard, NC), run the program on the waters of nearby Gap Creek and help the girls fulfill the eight core requirements needed to earn a STREAM Girls patch. STREAM Girls is one way that TU is trying to celebrate the natural world. This two-day program encourages girls to see their watershed through the eyes of an artist, a scientist, and an angler. STREAM Education is TU’s version of Spring 2019


TUYOUTH Such was the case that recent chilly spring morning when this year’s group of Girl Scout Cadettes (middle schoolers) joined Tara Granke and me for a STREAM Girls weekend on Gap Creek in South Carolina.

To a girl, each Scout took the plunge. Goodbye dry sneakers, socks, and blue jeans! So long warmth and comfort! But what better way to become a STREAM Girl than to become, well, a girl in the stream? It makes a lot “The girls that com of sense. Yet I personally was not about to give up are generally from my waders and follow communities and w suit; guess I’m not a true offering this no blue STREAM Man, not yet. program in this lo

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as it adds the ever-important Recreation and Arts to the curriculum. The girls participate in a streamwalk assessment activity, learn the basics of casting and fly tying, and inventory their stream’s macro invertebrates. They also journal, sketch, and, of course, fish. Done properly, the program takes at least two full weekend days, but it can also be conducted in an afterschool setting. The girls’ time on the creek this year was perfectly synchronized with a prolific dragonfly hatch. Everywhere they looked streamside, girls found discarded nymph husks — or exuvias —with a baby adult dragonfly perched on top, new wings still folded back like a stonefly. The favorite STREAM Girls activity soon became letting the dragonfly perch on index fingers long enough that the young adults tested their wings and launched into inaugural flight. Goodbye, Steve the Dragonfly! And just what is it with kids and creeks anyway? How does all of that moving, riffling, sometimes very cold water work its spell on the young brain, rendering whole groups of boys and girls into zombies who (use your best zombie accent here): “must go into the water…must get soaking wet…must wade up to my armpits… uuuunnnnhhhh…” Moths to the campfire, every single time. 16

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The saddest part was the weekend had to end, that our time with this group of amazing girls was over. As one by one they got into cars and began their journey home, I thought about how incredible it is to share a river with a young person. And I realized that, by jumping in feet first and getting completely soaked, these girls are simply reconnecting to that streak of wildness that runs like a current through each of us.

Pisgah TU’s volun program thrives a your help, to build foundation that’s with SC’s Girl Sco Midlands for man

— Tara Headwate Program C

Who can blame them for that? Piloted in Wisconsin in 2013, STREAM Girls has been adopted by TU volunteers and staff in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, with additional states coming on line this summer and fall. STREAM education is the central, grounding concept behind the TU Headwaters program’s new five strategic priorities, and there is enormous potential for watersheds to teach kids science and technology, all while getting wet and having a great time. Trout Unlimited’s Headwaters staff could not do programs like this without the help of the GRTU Tomorrow Fund. In 2017, members of our largest chapter, Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited (GRTU) in Texas, demonstrated an enormous amount of passion and commitment by establishing the GRTU Tomorrow Fund. The sole purpose of this annual $10K Fund is

to raise money for Headwaters, which is built around the premise that TU has something to offer any and all young people. The goal of staff is to raise $40K annually and close the gap after exhausting other fundraising options such as private gifts, grants, and corporate donations. To give to the GRTU Tomorrow Fund, visit www.tu.org/tomorrowfund or email me ftate@tu.org

This April (13, 14) the Pisgah chapter will once again provide volunteers to help with this program and learn more from TU staff about the parts and pieces involved in overall program management. Eventually, me to Camp Wabak we may manage this program at the underserved, rural “council level”, but help is both needed we hope to continue and appreciated at this year’s event to be held at Camp Wabak, just across the ovel Girl Scouts border in South Carolina.

ocation. Thanks to nteer support this and we hope, with d upon the strong been established outs Mountains to ny years to come.”

Granke, ers Youth Coordinator

Last year’s TU workday was cold and rainy, so we stayed inside and tied flies together. The girls caught on fast and offered up some — well, we’ll call them unusual — combinations of colors and materials (pink and purple seemed to be the runaway favorites). The young ladies were engaged and polite throughout, parents were present at all times to provide supervision and it was a very pleasant and rewarding experience for the volunteers and participants alike. We know it’s short notice, but we hope you’ll consider joining the

Pisgah chapter in support of the STREAM Girls program by teaching some basic stream science, encouraging the girls in their art and outdoor activities, teaching the basics of casting, fishing and tying and a range of other related things. Camp Wabak is a short drive from Hendersonville and Brevard and most of the activities last for just a few hours, so it is not an overwhelming commitment of time. Please contact Tara Granke (TU) or Sara Jerome (Pisgah TU) if you’d like to help out. You’ll be really glad you did! Franklin Tate is Director of Trout Unlimited’s Headwaters Youth Program. He is based out of Asheville, North Carolina.

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TUYOUTH Other Youth Outreach Opportunities It doesn’t have to be an “official” TU program to be effective and valuable in engaging and serving young people in your community. We ran across a couple of great examples of this in the Hickory TU newsletter, where the chapter is finding meaningful ways to connect with kids and community through service, mentoring, support and education. Well done, Hickory TU! And if your chapter has an innovative way to bring your conservation and angling message to young people in your community, we’d love to hear about it!

Kids’ Fishing Day at Wilson Creek Chick Woodward


ur first annual Kids’ Fly Fishing Day at Wilson Creek turned out to be a great success and a wonderful event. The weather cooperated at its best with sunshine and blue skies. Many kids came out with their parents to learn about fly fishing and our team of volunteers didn’t disappoint them. We had people tying bugs and people catching and showing bugs. Others were teaching the kids to tie the bugs on the line and cast them to the trout. Our cooking crew made sure no one went hungry. Clyde Campbell Elementary won the trophy for the most kids attending.


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Fly Fishing Merit Badge Chick Woodward


aturday March 9 dawned foggy with a threat of rain by mid-day, but in spite of that Troop 275 from Bethlehem, NC showed up at Wilson Creek with 10 scouts and several adult leaders to complete the final piece of their Fly Fishing Merit Badge. Bruce Gray at Betsy’s Ole Country Store had loaned us his pond for the boys to catch, clean, and eat a fish. The day actually began at day break with a Hickory TU chapter biggest fish contest, the winner receiving a free dinner at the March meeting. Holden Johnson killed it with a 23-½” rainbow out of Wilson Creek. Holden is a recent teen member of our chapter. Our work with the boys started back in October and November when we met at the troop meeting with an introduction to fly fishing and a knot tying event. From there we made arrangements for the troop to travel to Asheville to the Fly Fishing Expo in Asheville where they had a lesson in fly tying from Hill Top Fly Tyers and then pond casting with the TU Youth and a roll casting lesson with Mac Brown. While there, wildlife officers from the NCWRC also gave them a presentation on the rules and regulations of trout fishing in North Carolina. The trip to Wilson Creek and the pond at Betsy’s Old Country Store was the finale of the final items needed to complete their Fly Fishing Merit Badge. When the boys arrived, they were handed the rod and reel and asked to string them and tie on a fly. With only a brief coaching, the boys remembered their clinch knot even though it had four months since they were taught. Then we all headed down to the pond where Wes Starnes gave them a refresher course in

roll casting and the boys took their turns casting for the trout. We had high hopes that with a stocked pond everyone would quickly get their fish and then move on to the cleaning station, but it was not to be. Fortunately the forecast rain never arrived because we spent almost three hours casting for the fish. After each boy caught his fish he took it to the cleaning station to prep it for cooking. Most had never cleaned a fish so it turned out to be quite an experience for them. Some found it a bit repulsive just to hold a slimy and slippery trout, let alone reach into the cavity and pull out all the interior parts. Somewhere along the way the tradition of cooking trout with the heads on has disappeared, so Chick Woodward restored the tradition and had them leave them on, except for a few that were too big for the pan.

Once the fish was plated they headed to the sides bar. Jackie Greene arranged for some potato salad and cole slaw to balance out the meal and some cupcakes smothered in frosting for dessert. At the table it was time for Chick to show the boys why trout should be cooked with their heads on. Behind the gill plate is a delicacy called cheek meat. It’s a piece of meat about the size of a small pea, but worth all the effort as it is the tastiest piece of meat in the whole fish. The forecast had been threatening, but the rain stayed away and it turned into a great day for everyone with the boys completing the remaining items on their fly fishing merit badge list.

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who pitched in and helped make this a terrific event including the parents from Troop 275 who arranged to get After cleaning, the best part began. the boys there and assisted us with some Cathy Starnes had a couple propane of the activities. And special thanks to burners rigged up and had the oil sizzling Bruce Gray for providing us with the fish when the boys arrived with their fish. She in his pond and a place to host the event. showed them how to coat them in corn Be sure to stop in at Betsy’s the next time meal flour and slide them into the pan. you’re at Wilson Creek and say thank you After browning the first side the boys had Bruce for all he does. to learn to turn them over on the other side without them falling apart and when If your chapter wants to present a fly fishing merit badge program, you will done slide it out of the pan and onto a find all of the necessary information and plate. This wasn’t all that easy with the videos at http://www.hkynctu.org/helpfullarge trout the boys were catching, most links/fly-fishing-merit-badge/. over 12” and one was a whopping 16”. Spring 2019



Spring 2019


SUMMERTIME FISHING Kevin Howell, Guide and Owner, Davidson River Outfitters


rom the Cherokee who lived and prospered in the mountains for centuries, to the modern angler that flies into Asheville in his jet from Miami for a weekend in the mountains, the Blue Ridge has always offered great fishing for trout. For years the trout fishing in the Blue Ridge Mountains was a closely guarded secret, not just by anglers, but the rough and rugged terrain of the region helped protect the fisheries as well. It was not until after World War II and the improvement of roads and infrastructure that the region began to grow in popularity. Today the Southeast is the fast growing region for fly fishing in the United States. The Blue Ridge Mountains offer thousands of miles of trout streams. It is hard to even list the top streams of the Blue Ridge in one article because even the top 25 is book worthy. This article will focus on four of the more consistent streams in the Blue Ridge within a short drive of Brevard. As with any fishing trips to the Blue Ridge region, anglers are at the mercy of Mother Nature, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Duke Energy. So always check local weather forecast and release schedules before heading to the stream. Anglers should also always be mindful of stream levels, especially in the Balsam Range. Sometimes, a heavy summer thunderstorm may cause a stream to flash flood and unsuspecting anglers can be met by a wall of high water coming down the river. Keep in mind that the areas surrounding the streams in this article offer other great fishing opportunities. For example, anglers flock to the Davidson River, yet they could fish the South Mills River almost any day of the year and only encounter 2-3 other anglers at most. So take along some extra gear and spend some time exploring the other streams in these areas. You may find a new favorite stream that is secluded, with little pressure, and maybe the greatest fish story ever told!

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Davidson River

Cataloochee Creek

Pisgah Forest, North Carolina

Cataloochee Valley, North Carolina

The Davidson River has long been the flagship of freestone fisheries in the southeast. Over the years I have seen dozens of native brown trout greater than 28 inches (eight pounds) caught from the river. The Davidson was the first stream in the southeastern United States to be designated as catch and release fly fishing only. It has produced the North Carolina State Record Brown Trout three times.

Surrounded by the 6000 foot tall towering peaks of the Balsam Range, Cataloochee Valley is one of the most remote and beautiful areas in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. Due to its remoteness and the protection offered by the GSMNP, the river shed did not suffer the deforestation and heavy logging that was so rampant in the Southern Appalachians in the early 20th century. To this day the extreme remoteness of the valley and creeks still helps protect it from major crowds of people. Anglers should be prepared to spend a minimum of 45 minutes to travel the 12 miles from Interstate 40 to the valley floor.

Part of the reason for the Davidson‘s success is its insect population. The insect life in the Davidson has remained strong, with the exception of the Green Drake. The green drake population was one casualty from the 1995 flood that swept away the bridge at the Fish Hatchery and destroyed parts of Forest Service Road 475. The Drakes were just beginning to show back up when our friends Hurricane Francis and Ivan came rolling through and flushed all of the Drakes away again. Today the Green Drake population is slowly starting to rebuild. Even with the absence of the Drakes the Caddisflies, Stoneflies and other Mayflies like Quill Gordons, Hendrickson’s and Cahill are doing well and offer consistently reliable hatches. The Davidson receives a lot of angling pressure, especially from May through early October. In the late summer months of July and August anglers will also encounter a large “bikini hatch” (tubers for those of you unfamiliar with this local river resident!), especially on the lower sections of the river near the Davidson River Campground. While the Davidson offers good fishing year-round the best fishing will be from late February though late June and again in the fall from mid-September through late December. For those that prefer some solitude then the cooler shoulder months of March and November offer some of the best fishing of the year and a lot fewer people. Anglers fishing the Davidson want to come prepared with a good five weight fly rod with a matching floating fly line. Most fishermen prefer leaders from nine to twelve feet in length and that taper to a 5x tippet for the majority of the year and 6x for the summer months. Spring fishermen will want to have a good selection of nymphs along with some dry flies. During the summer months the river is a great terrestrial fishery with beetles being the fly of choice. During the fall a bright colored dry with a bead head dropper will usually find some good fish. Streamers will work especially well during times of high water or off colored water. During the winter months midges and small heavily weighted streamers will produce a lot of fish.


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Cataloochee Creek runs for 7 miles from the confluence of Palmer and Caldwell forks to its confluence with the Pigeon River in Waterville Lake. The majority of the river has very limited access. Anglers will be able to access the river where NC 284 crosses the river. From the 284 bridge downstream to Waterville Lake is accessible only on foot and there are no known trails for the majority of the distance. From the 284 bridge upstream to the group camp area offers nearly 2 miles of stream, again with no trails. It is possible to fish this section in a day if anglers are diligent and manage their time wisely. From the group camp area upstream to the confluence of Palmer and Caldwell Creek the river is followed by Cataloochee Valley Road. In addition to Cataloochee Creek anglers should also spend some time fishing Rough Fork, Caldwell, Palmer and Little Cataloochee Creeks, all offer excellent dry- dropper opportunities. Again most of the sections of these creeks will require some bushwhacking and walking back downstream to get to the access points. For the main river, anglers will want an eight to nine foot fly rod preferably in a 4-5 weight. Long leaders and an accurate cast will be needed also, not due to pressure but because of the crystal clear water and all of the time the fish have to inspect your fly. Cataloochee Creek will offer anglers opportunities to catch Brown, Rainbow, and Brook Trout. For those that venture below the 284 bridge, they will also encounter small mouth bass some of which will reach 3 pounds or better. Anglers targeting the smaller streams will want a six to eight foot rod probably in a three weight. The Brook and Rainbow trout in the smaller streams will take almost any well presented dry on 5x tippet. While Cataloochee seems to be the place an angler would want to be in the summer time, low clear water in the months of June, July and August can make for some very difficult fishing. The best months for anglers to venture into the valley are March-May and September- November. Anglers visiting in the fall need to be mindful of the Valley’s ever growing Elk herd. While no one has ever been harmed by an elk in the valley, they will sure startle an unsuspecting angler.

Toccoa River

Chattooga River

Blue Ridge, Georgia

Walhalla, South Carolina

The Toccoa is so popular that is referred to as the Trout Capital of Georgia. The cool water from the Blue Ridge dam provides a year round fishery in a state that has very few year round cold water fisheries. The Toccoa flows for 15 miles through north Georgia before crossing into Tennessee and forming the Ocoee River, for trout anglers there is no need to venture Horseshoe Bend Park as the water below this point becomes warm and depredated and cannot support a cold water fishery.

The Chattooga River begins just south of Cashiers, NC and flows south. Ellicott Rock located in the Chattooga River, forms the border between North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. From Ellicott Rock south, the river is the dividing point between Georgia and South Carolina. The river was one of the first to receive a wild and scenic designation, which has protected the river from a lot of commercial development.

For the wade anglers the only access points on the Lower Toccoa are Horseshoe Bend, Tammen Park, Curtis Switch and Power House River Access. Due to the limited wading access, these four accesses can be rather crowded on nice weekends during the peak season. Anglers that want to float the river will find access a lot easier and will find it considerably easier to escape the crowd.

With all of section 0 lying in Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area this section is accessible only to those brave souls that are willing to make the long hike into and then out of the wilderness area. Section 1 offers some remote stretches on the upper reaches, but Reed Creek downstream to the Highway 28 Bridge the river is one of South Carolina’s top delayed harvest streams.

Summertime will offer great terrestrial fishing and some sporadic hatches of caddis. During spring the river will come to life with hatches of Mayflies and caddis flies. Anytime that the TVA is generating water out of Blue Ridge Dam or in times of higher water streamers will produce some larger fish. Streamers will also work well in the fall when the trout are feeding up for the winter.

The river will fish well all year but the Delayed Harvest section is best from late fall through late spring. The river offers decent mayfly hatches in the spring especially Hendrickson’s and Yellow Drakes in the month of May. The best fishing this time of year often occurs from 4pm until it is so dark you can’t see. The Delayed Harvest section can get busy on the nice weekends due to the rivers proximity to Greenville SC and Atlanta GA.

The river is open and offers easy casting; anglers will want to bring a nine foot 4-6 weight rod. The fish on the Toccoa are not really leader shy and 9-12 foot leaders tapered to 5 or 6x tippet will work fine. A well-presented soft hackle pheasant tail in size 16 will almost always produce some fish on the Toccoa.

Anglers will want a nine foot , 4-6 weight rod for the majority of the fishing on the Chattooga. Leaders tapered to 5-6x tippet and 9 feet in length will be more than sufficient. For those anglers fishing the Delayed Harvest Section your regular flies will work fine; for those brave souls that want venture upstream into the wilderness area, be sure to carry along several heavily weighted nymphs like a Kevin’s Stonefly or a Sheepfly so that you can reach the bottom of the larger pools. As the fishing in the region has become more popular it is more important than ever that we as anglers protect the resource. When the water gets too warm to trout fish then explore some of the great smallmouth bass fishing in the Blue Ridge. Whether you are fishing the Davidson in the winter or floating the Toccoa in July, enjoy your time out on the water.

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Spring 2019

N.C. WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION’S TROUT PAGE By Jacob Rash, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Jacob Rash is Coldwater Research Coordinator for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), where he assists with the coordination of applied research and management of the State’s trout resources. He received his B.S. in Zoology from NC State University (2000) and M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Virginia Tech (2003). After graduate school, he worked with freshwater mussels as a Research Specialist at Virginia Tech until he joined the NCWRC. He became an American Fisheries Society Certified Fisheries Professional in 2008. Although he spends his days at work thinking about fish, he enjoys spending his free time trying to find them with monofilament and fly lines.


pring is here, and without a doubt, it is time to go fishing. However, I would guess that if you talk to any angler about their fishing activity they would tell you that they have not been, or will not get to go, enough. That is certainly the case with me, but at least with my job (Coldwater Research Coordinator with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission) I get to think about fish the majority of my day, which helps ease the frustration of not getting to cast a line as much as I would like. Knowing how important those moments on the water are (no matter how frequently they occur), the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission developed a web page to assist trout anglers in finding the information they need. Commonly called the Trout Page, ncwildlife.org/trout is intended to be a source of all things relative to N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission trout management and a tool for anglers. There are several features on the Trout Page, but I wanted to highlight a few of them that may help with your next trip. Spring 2019


Trout Fishing Map The first thing you will notice on the Trout Page is an interactive map that allows you to explore waters within the Public Mountain Trout Waters program (link). Once inside the map you will notice three tabs on the left-hand side (Filter, Zoom to Location, and Legend). These tabs can serve as a great resource for anglers as they plan their next trip. For example, within the Zoom to Location tab you can go directly to a county or location of interest to see waters within the vicinity, or if you visit the Legend tab you can display waters based on their classification (something of use if you have a favorite classification). In addition, there are two other unique features within the map to help anglers as they are exploring: a button to get driving directions and the ability to left-click on a waterbody to see its name, designated reach, and a link to the current North Carolina Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest.

Public Mountain Trout Waters Search The North Carolina Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest contains all of the rules and regulations that govern trout fishing. The Public Mountain Trout Waters search tool allows anglers to search these regulations easily (even by county or classification type; link). Plus, you can open a map and zoom to the selected water once you have made a list of locations or save your list as a PDF document.

Trout Stockings Everything regarding trout stockings can be found on the Trout Page. This includes stocking schedules, stockings by county, and updates following stocking events. Although all efforts are made to adhere to listed schedules, unforeseen events can arise and alter schedules suddenly, so any major modifications to stocking schedules will be posted on the Trout Page.


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Additional Tools Aquatic nuisance species (ANS; link) can alter aquatic resources significantly, visit the Trout Page to learn more about ANS and what you can do to address them. Also, it is important to know what water conditions are prior to arriving at your destination whether you are planning a float or just wading. The N.C. Stream Conditions section on the Trout Page contains websites that provide information on current stream flow conditions and projected release schedules from hydro power stations (link). Finally, have you ever wanted to “match the hatch,” but been uncertain of where to start or how to fine-tune your efforts? Thanks to a collaboration with N.C. Council of Trout Unlimited, there is a new hatch chart to help anglers match their flies to aquatic insect hatches in western North Carolina (link). Again, those are just a few of the features of the Trout Page, so I would encourage you to explore this resource to learn more about what is available. Remember the adage “Know Before You Go,” and truthfully, there is no substitute for this no matter how many times you are able to get out on the water. Being familiar with the North Carolina Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest (link) is essential, but hopefully, the resources on the Trout Page can be of additional assistance as you are planning your next fishing trip. The Trout Page (www.ncwildlife.org/trout) was made for you, so please keep that in mind as you use it. Feel free to send me feedback on the page (i.e., what is working, what could be added, etc.); we want this resource to be as useful as possible.

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Some Days Are Better Than O Sam Cathey


o you get to go fishing. Now what fly or flies should you use? Depends on where you are going and the water level, of course. But sometimes, you know, we get caught up in a particular fly choice that is hard to break even though we have perfectly vetted flies right there in the box. We’ll simply pass them over. As an example, I had pretty much passed over the prince for a number of years. Then I went to Montana and that’s all they wanted. Ever heard of the mega-prince? Needless to say, it’s a mouthful. I came home and guess what? The prince works here just as well. But I digress. This isn’t about the prince. Instead it’s an essay on the virtues of the Black Wooly Bugger. You know what I’m talking about. It’s been around ever since there were fish. We’ve seen it; we’ve used it in all its various forms. We’ve tried to make it better. I’ve tied a scudbacked version with rubber legs and a bioted tail that looks damn good. Es asi asi. And then there’s the “realistic” version with the biot legs that won’t retain their shape. And, it also takes 2 hours, 13 minutes, 42 seconds to tie one. Es no Bueno. I tied a golden stone version that looks so good I have it hanging on the wall above my bench. I look at it and wonder why it won’t catch crap. The best bugger version is the marabou tail, chenille body, palmered hackle, rubber leg, gold wire and a black or gold bead head. And if you really want to make a tantalizing taste treat irresistible tie it on a jig hook. So what? So, it catches fish. Big fish. Big rainbow trout. Big


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yeller and brown, red spotted, mean eyed br meet. Browns seem to really enjoy munchin bugger on 4x above some kind of nymph on day with nothing on the bugger. But I won’t say? I say because some days are just better t

I was floating a secret unnamed section of w no one else knows about (French Broad Riv was using my standard rig. In current I like tight line it and jig some on the swing. Well out of hole number one came a 16” rainbow,



rown trout. All the friends you want to ng on it. My standard wet fly rig is a black n 5x. You know, sometimes I’ve fished it all t remove it from the line. Why, you than others.

water which ver). I to

bypassing the nymph and going straight for the bugger. Nice, I thought, day is made, I can relax. Fished on down, nada piscado for a while. I’m jigging on the swing when the line stops. Damn it, hung on the bottom. But noooo! The line starts heading in the opposite direction at light speed. I figured it was a small submarine. I carefully got that submarine turned, for 4x just wasn’t what you wanted at the moment. I messed around there for a while with whatever was on the line and finally got it to the boat. Wouldn’t fit in the net! I’m not lying! (most over used words in the fishing community) 23.8” brown, 4lbs 19 ounces if it weighed an ounce. I’m not lying! (there they are again) And he had a mouth full of bugger. Now let me explain the fish on this secret river. Some are stocked stockers; some are wild stockers; some are wild fish. This was a wild stocker. I could tell by the attitude he exhibited when trying to whup my tail. A wild fish that ginormous would have scattered my rig from Lyons to Whitmire! So when you’re going through your fly box next time, try not to overlook that black wooly bugger. Some days are just better than others. Of course, I kept fishing after that — and there were two more, larger than this one. But that’s another story.

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Diversity, Inclusion and Balance Jessica Whitmire, NCTU Diversity Coordinator


hen asked to step into the role of Diversity Coordinator for NC Council of Trout Unlimited, I started listening to podcasts and reading articles about what diversity within an organization entails. And while I still have a lot to learn and discover, a few things really stood out to me. To understand diversity, you must first have a passion for inclusion. When we look at statistics of membership, volunteers, and participants of Trout Unlimited we see gaps in areas of gender, ethnicity and age. Trout Unlimited has recognized this and taken action to try to become a more diverse organization. So how can North Carolina TU and its chapters support and encourage this growth? Let’s go back to inclusion for a moment. By definition, inclusion is “the action or state of including or being included within a group or structure.” We can include people and we can be included. Different, yet the same. Many of us have experienced the uncomfortable feeling of being picked last for a school sports team – dodgeball, kickball, softball and other playground sports could be brutal that way. No one wants special treatment just because someone else feels we need it or should or worse, must, be included; and here is where things can get out of balance. In order for a chapter to become more diverse, it must first understand


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and appreciate the balance of inclusion. Consider the “Women in Fly Fishing” movement. From most angles it’s a great thing. Seeing more women on the water, as guides in the industry, and companies at long last making gear that fits and works for women are all big steps. But there must be a balance to these things other than as a marketing tactic. If TU as an organization and individual chapters can understand and recognize this balance, we can do great things together. Because beneath all of the attention that women are getting in fly fishing today, we discover the individuals who have always been there — women who have been involved in and part of the fly fishing community for a long time. Talented, very skilled anglers who have paved the way for other females in this industry; individuals who were at some point probably picked last for the team but in end became the MVP. So, with all the current hype around women in fly fishing today, women want to remind everyone that we have always been here, and simply wanted to be included — not special treatment or attention, but to be recognized as a part of the larger group without excuses and limits. And as women in fly fishing and female TU members, we must also do our part to promote and encourage healthy inclusion and balance of all during this

crucial time. We must recognize and appreciate our foundation, while keeping our message clear and strong during this time of influx of female anglers. What is our message? I can’t speak for all female anglers, and it’s something we may explore together a little farther down the road, but if I had to sum it up today I’d say our message is simple, and is this. We love to be on the water. We love to catch fish. We want to protect our natural resources. We want the same as any other TU member: to be part of the organization that can make tomorrows better, rivers healthier, and our native and wild fisheries stronger — nothing more, and nothing less. Now is an important time and the right time for TU Chapters to see the energy

in the women’s movement and create an environment of full inclusion. Welcome and treat women as valuable members of your team, every one with potential to become your MVP. Seek and find the point between outreach and acceptance, that place where everyone fits in. That is what I mean when I say we need to find the balance. Recognize new and potential members and understand their uniqueness — while at the same time providing the environment of inclusion they need to belong and to thrive. Each chapter is going to have to recognize what that entails. Begin with a look at your community. Dig deep, go beyond what you see on the surface. Seek out those individuals who have been there — and they are still there — but either haven‘t

been included or chosen not to include themselves in TU and then figure out why. You might just begin by asking. After those steps you‘ll be better equipped to provide a more welcoming environment for all the new people finding fly fishing today. Whether it is a gender gap in your community, an ethnicity gap or an age gap, you will have a better understanding of where the disconnect is occurring. Give every potential person a pathway into your chapter by including them, while also empowering and motivating them to include themselves. That is the balance.

Council Meeting “Seconds”


he state council met twice since our last edition of “The Drift” — once in Morganton NC just before a January ice storm, and via web conference in March. Once approved, complete copies of the meeting minutes are available to any TU member on request; the approved minutes and the draft copies of the most recent minutes have been distributed to all chapter officers and board members for their information and approval. We won’t go into all of the fine details here but would like to give a summary of the things we voted on and some other things we accomplished. (All votes were unanimous.)

January Meeting 1) Elected John Miko as interim council treasurer 2) W  elcomed Jeff Wright as TU’s SE Region Volunteer Coordinator 3) Heard about the “reboot” of the High Country Chapter 4) H  eard a presentation about Eagle Rock Camp for Veterans and Families 5) Approved minutes and treasurer‘s reports 6) A  uthorized a matching donation of $1,500 to the current AOP project 7) A  pproved operating the “short” fiscal year without a budget 8) Authorized and approved committees and chair appointments

March Meeting 1) Approved January minutes and current treasurer’s reports 2) Confirmed John Miko as full-term treasurer, removing “interim” designation 3) Approved FY2020 budget as presented and thanked committee for its work 4) Heard reports from committee chairs in attendance 5) Approved endorsement of Nolichucky Wild & Scenic Rivers designation 6) Discussed council opposition to changes in the Clean Water Act The budget for FY2020 is balanced, and provided income is maintained and expenses stay on track, should have no effect on operating reserves. While the council isn’t able to fund as many things as we’d like and at the levels we’d always like, we believe it addresses the funding needs and reflects the priorities of our members and chapters. The complete budget and all financial reports are available for all members to review. Please contact any chapter or officer board member to receive a copy. If they are unable to help you, please send an email to council treasurer John Miko. For security reasons, these documents are not available online, and may be requested by current TU members only. Spring 2019




Chapter Rebates

hen a new member signs up at https://tu.org/intro, three great things happen: we get to welcome a new member into the TU family, the member gets a great deal on a full TU membership at $17.50, and your chapter gets up to $15.00 back from TU. Recently, qualifying chapters received membership rebate checks from last fiscal year. We thought you might like to see where your own chapter stacks up, and encourage you to tell all of your friends, family and fishing buddies about this important first step in becoming a member of TU and our coldwater conservation efforts across the state.

CHAPTER NAME Blue Ridge Cataloochee Dogwood Anglers Hickory High Country Land O‘ Sky Nat Greene Fly Fishers Pisgah Rocky River Stone Mountain Table Rock Triangle Fly Fishers Tuckaseigee Unaka

REBATE $140.00 $0.00 $0.00 $35.00 $0.00 $300.00 $15.00 $135.00 $215.00 $45.00 $15.00 $165.00 $45.00 $0.00

Volunteer Hours


n important part of every chapter’s responsibility to TU and to its membership is accurately tracking and reporting volunteer hours. The data collected is used for a number of purposes — grant applications, federal funding, and program evaluation and many others — and is reported each year as part of the chapter’s annual financial report (AFR) required by Trout Unlimited. Last year, TU volunteers reported 28,395 hours given in volunteer time to Trout Unlimited chapter operations and programs across North Carolina. Using the accepted value of an hour of volunteer time ($24.69), that comes out to an amazing $701,072.55 given in service to TU in North Carolina! Thank You for making a difference! If you’re a volunteer for TU, whether you’re working on a newsletter in the evenings, stocking fish, picking up trash or driving fence posts, make sure you log and report your time to your chapter


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president or other officer charged with collecting this information. We are working on tools at the council level to help power this data collection, and hope to roll them out in our fall edition of “The Drift.” CHAPTER Blue Ridge Cataloochee Dogwood Anglers Hickory High Country Land O' Sky Nat Greene Fly Fishers Pisgah Rocky River Stone Mountain Table Rock Triangle Fly Fishers Tuckaseigee Unaka Total Volunteer Hours Reported

VOLUNTEER HOURS 9,296 874 0 420 0 1,903 590 4,500 7,055 463 50 2,117 752 375 28,395

Council Officers & Active Committee Chairs OFFICE Council Chair Council Vice Chair Council Secretary Council Treasurer Past Council Chair Rivercourse Administrative Director NLC Representative Legislative Advocacy Chair TIC Director Diversity Coordinator Communications Chair

NAME Mike Mihalas Tim Schubmehl Charles Crolley John Miko John Kies Reba Brinkman Rusty Berrier John Rich Joyce Shepherd Jessica Whitmire Charles Crolley

EMAIL mike@mihalas.com schub444@gmail.com charles@coldriverstudio.org unreelflyfishing@gmail.com johnkies@bellsouth.net rrbrinkman@gmail.com rustyberrier@outlook.com troutstalker01@gmail.com jjshepspie@yahoo.com jessica@headwatersoutfitters.com charles@coldriverstudio.org

CHAPTER Pisgah Pisgah Land O' Sky Land O' Sky Pisgah Land O' Sky Blue Ridge Pisgah Rocky River Pisgah Land O' Sky

Chapter Presidents & Membership Contacts CHAPTER Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Cataloochee Cataloochee Dogwood Anglers Hickory Hickory High Country Land O' Sky Land O' Sky Nat Greene Fly Fishers Pisgah Rocky River Stone Mountain Table Rock Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Tuckaseigee Tuckaseigee Unaka

NAME Jimm Barbery Matt O'Bryant Tommy Thomas James Larkin Bob Tolle Jackie Greene Chick Woodward Jeff Wright Cliff Albertson Roger Parkin Ben Keller Sara Jerome Brian Esque Colby Jones Jeff Konst Terry Hackett Dale Maldren Dale Collins Roland Biesecker Jeff Sabatula

OFFICE Chapter President Membership Chair Chapter President Membership Chair Chapter President Chapter President Membership Chair Temporary Administrator Chapter President Membership Chair Chapter President Chapter President Chapter President Chapter President Chapter President Chapter President Membership Chair Chapter President Membership Chair Chapter President

EMAIL jbarbery@outlook.com matt@ceprint.com tommy_thomas2@hotmail.com jameslarkin980@aol.com bstolle@bellsouth.net Jackiefishes@gmail.com chickwoodward@gmail.com jeff.wright@tu.org clifford.albertson@verizon.net rdplimey@gmail.com benkeller3@gmail.com jeromesa67@gmail.com bcesque@gmail.com Jonesc422@gmail.com jeffkonst@gmail.com flyfishing-hackett@msn.com dalemadren@gmail.com tuckriverclub@gmail.com rmb6er@gmail.com jeffsabatula@yahoo.com

Transfers In MEMBER NAME Peter Melnyk Thomas Riegelman Jim Norton John Newkirk Ruth Mulvany Roderick Jensen Walter Osman Elena Gallenberger Ed Fitzgerald James Andrews Mike Mikulicz Christine Conway Richard Raup Andres Morantes-Villalobos Clyde Holt Daniel Konyak

CITY Shelby Arden Biltmore Lake Greer, SC Hendersonville Brevard Brevard Hendersonville Brevard Charlotte Mooresville Morganton Wake Forest Sanford Edenton Murphy

CHAPTER Hickory Land O' Sky Land O' Sky Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Rocky River Rocky River Table Rock Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Unaka

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Welcome New Members! MEMBER NAME Harrison Dean Alan Kennt Sara kathryn Mayson Adam McDuffie William Poole Mark Robertson Mark Welch Kim Williams Luke McHenry Luke Laxton Susan Anderson Perry Austin Mitchell Chapman william evans Eric Hart Edwin Lewis Dennis Martin Isaac Moore James Austin Catherine Beck Daniel Beck Kevin Beck Gary Burke JD Dooley Evenlight Eagles Ed Greene Harold Hill Shannon Maness Taylor Murphy John Welsh Andy Woodlief Michael Ahern Jack Barker Irby Brinson Luke Childs Nick George Natha Hake Bruce Hammond Samuel Jarrett Colin Larsen Joseph Ruppe Jack West Patrick Wood Robert Brinson Wesley Huffman Arthur Kirby James Weston Alex Wise Jami Gilmore Larry Greene Edward Hagerott Cheryl Harrington Deborah Harville Terry Hines Eric Larson

CITY Winston Salem Winston Salem Winston Salem Winston Salem Advance Mocksville High Point Mocksville Waynesville Salisbury Hickory Taylorsville Bessemer City Hickory Hickory Hickory Hickory Hickory Banner Elk Deep Gap Deep Gap Boone Boone Banner Elk Blowing Rock Deep Gap Banner Elk Banner Elk West Jefferson Valle Crucis Youngsville Asheville Arden Arden Asheville Arden Weaverville Black Mountain Arden Flat Rock Fletcher Asheville Arden High Point Greensboro Jamestown Burlington Eden Brevard Rutherfordton Hendersonville Pisgah Forest Brevard Forest City Hendersonville

CHAPTER Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Blue Ridge Cataloochee Dogwood Anglers Hickory Hickory Hickory Hickory Hickory Hickory Hickory Hickory High Country High Country High Country High Country High Country High Country High Country High Country High Country High Country High Country High Country High Country Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Land O‘ Sky Nat Greene Fly Fishers Nat Greene Fly Fishers Nat Greene Fly Fishers Nat Greene Fly Fishers Nat Greene Fly Fishers Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah

MEMBER NAME Rick Lawrence Danielle Mathews Hannah Myers J.R. Nealy Aaron Owensby Billy Parrish Dee Dee Perkins Lindsay Rutland Bryon Shaw Zach Tullock Jessica Whitmire John Wooten James Ball Ashley Birmingham Alexander Briante Jack Briley David Dameorn-6078 Brian Desloge Craig Dunn Susan Echterling Peter Eisenbrandt John Fletcher Michael Franklin David Gabler Angelia Hall Jason Hall Cliff Hebard David Hefferly Phil Husted Scott Jenkins Barclay Kelly Paul Mescall Stephen Moyer Jim Nemanich Timothy Piekarski Wes Priddy Brian Richards Goetz Rokahr Matt Ruiz Brett Seward Josh Shriver William Toole Daniel Worley Gray Burchette Duane Dickens BLAKE MITCHELL Neil Townsend Alan Clark Josh Craven Lyndsay Edwards Jim Jones Steve Keller Ed Phillips Joe Soots Richard Williams

CITY Hendersonville Brevard Brevard Horse Shoe Flat Rock Brevard Brevard Brevard Asheville Hendersonville Lake Toxaway Penrose Mooresville Albemarle Matthews Pinehurst Davidson Charlotte Davidson Mooresville Charlotte Charlotte Richfield Cornelius Mooresville Mooresville Charlotte Charlotte Pinehurst Mooresville Midland Huntersville Mooresville Monroe Charlotte Cornelius Charlotte Charlotte Charlotte Charlotte Rock Hill Charlotte Monroe Elkin Traphill ELKIN Elkin Morganton Lenoir Spruce Pine Morganton Valdese Morganton Lenoir Lenoir

CHAPTER Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Pisgah Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Rocky River Stone Mountain Stone Mountain Stone Mountain Stone Mountain Table Rock Table Rock Table Rock Table Rock Table Rock Table Rock Table Rock Table Rock

MEMBER NAME Justin Adams Edward Barnes Roy Barrington Todd Bates Jacqueline Beaver Derek Beckman Ricky Boyce Candace Boyette James Carson Roger Castle Thomas Croall William Danuck Stewart Downey Francis Fawcett Stan Fioroni Bradley Fisher David Frederick Joe Gailey Robert Gass William Hayes Evan Howard Amber Johnson Gerald Kaputa Michael King William Lambeth Edward Maness Landon McCaleb Hannah McFadden Sophie Mercer Kirk Morris Michael Nicholson Timothy OConnell G Pleasant Mari Rickard Gary Ross Thomas Schmidt Brooks Schomp John Schweitzer Tim Simmons Carl Smith William Smith Charles Toney Andy Turner Michael Williams Zack Wilson Ken Ball John Hodges Donald Mondul John Ritz Patricia Shumway

CITY Fayetteville Chapel Hill Wake Forest Raleigh Bahama Morehead City Raleigh Raleigh New Bern Raleigh Pittsboro Apex New Bern Durham Richlands Fremont Cary Garner Raeford Wake Forest Raleigh Selma Kill Devil Hl Burgaw Raleigh Robbins Wake Forest Durham Raleigh Wake Forest Kill Devil Hills Raleigh Fayetteville Apex Raleigh Hubert Wilmington Clayton Riegelwood Fayetteville Raleigh Louisburg Fair Bluff Williamston Plymouth Highlands Cashiers Sylva Murphy Marble

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CHAPTER Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Triangle Fly Fishers Tuckaseigee Tuckaseigee Tuckaseigee Unaka Unaka




Nolichucky Wild & Scenic River Designation Editor’s note: the state council voted to join with several regional organizations in recommending the Nolichucky for special protections afforded by The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Our recommendation was needed to ensure subsequent endorsement by the national organization of Trout Unlimited, which has since been obtained. An introduction to the act and some basic questions and answers about the basic effects on “the Noli” are outlined in this article.


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he National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The Act is notable for safeguarding the special character of these rivers, while also recognizing the potential for their appropriate use and development. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and

promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection.

Who will manage the Noli once it is designated?

values of the Noli are wonderful regardless of the railroad.

What portion of the Noli is being proposed for designation?

The United States Forest Service will continue to manage the river corridor, as they have for many years.

Hasn’t designation been tried in the past?

Only the Nolichucky Gorge as it flows through public lands between Poplar, NC and Erwin, TN is being proposed for Wild and Scenic designation. The designated corridor would average onequarter mile on either bank.

Does the railroad make the Noli ineligible for designation? No. Plenty of designated Wild and Scenic rivers have railroads and even highways along them. The designation-worthy scenic, recreational, and geological

While the Forest Service proposed the Noli for designation in the mid-nineties, the political stars did not align for designation. Regardless, the Noli is more valuable and appreciated now than ever, and now is a great time for designation.

How would designation affect private property near the Noli? Designation would have no effect on private property. The designation would cover only federal lands and creates no new federal authorities on private lands.

How would designation change recreational management? Designation leads to a Forest Service river management plan which guarantees the agency will protect the special values of the river — including recreation. Part of that plan will be a visitor capacity analysis. In most cases rivers are found to be well under capacity, and management continues as it has in the past. This certainly appears to be the case on the Nolichucky, where solitude abounds. Limits on use are extremely rare and could occur with or without designation.

Is the Nolichucky already protected? Yes and No. The Nolichucky Gorge is on Forest Service land, which does come with some good management requirements. Still, the designation would protect the river from being dammed and diverted, and from government actions that would harm the values that the public cares most about. Visit https://www.noliwildandscenic.org/ for more details. Spring 2019


TUNEWS Citizen Science Program Back Online By Andy Brown, TU Stream Restoration Manager — Southern Appalachian Region


ello, friends and members of Trout Unlimited and our Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests!

We are finally getting back at it — the citizen science sedimentation survey work that so many of you have indicated interest in. After some difficult weather, a federal government shut-down, some technological glitches and a workload that had me underwater for a while we are pleased to offer the following sedimentation survey training dates. These are all day training events, starting at 9 a.m. and ending around 3 p.m. You will need to bring water and lunch but I will provide snacks and refreshments for before and after. • Friday, April 26 (Wilson Creek — meeting at the Wilson Creek Visitors Center) • Thursday, May 2 (Sky Island — meeting at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education) • Thursday, May 16 (Wilson Creek — meeting at the Old House Gap parking area where FS Road 192 intersects the Mountains to Sea Trail). Note — you will get here by coming DOWN from Grandfather Mtn/US Highway 221) • Thursday, June 20 (Sky Island — meeting at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education) Prior to the trainings, you will want to acquire Survey123 on your mobile device, and then upload the electronic survey form. It is a good idea to download that document to your device for reference while in the field. Also — it is a good idea to review the schematics of road/trail drainage features likely to be encountered when surveying and a hard copy of the survey form. We’ve attached copies of each plus instructions on downloading and using the mobile survey app to this article. Registration is required so I can plan accordingly. To register, or for more information contact at abrown@tu.org or 828-676-11047. Thank you and I look forward to working with all of you.


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Join Us for The Southeast Regional Rendezvous May 3-5 • Dillard, Georgia


ay 3-5, the Southeast Regional Meeting of Trout Unlimited will be held in Dillard, GA, just across the state line and less than two hours from Asheville. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn a lot more about what’s going on with TU in our state, throughout the southeast and across the country in a variety of breakout and social sessions tailored to get volunteer leaders off to a fast start by sharing ideas, asking questions and making peer connections.

The total cost is $130 and includes: • Friday hosted fishing day (Additional $20 for box lunch) • Friday night pig picking, bonfire and SweetWater Brewery Launch Party • Participation in all seminars and workshops on Saturday and Sunday

provides a perfect mix of scenery, great fishing, opportunities to engage in handson trainings and more! Saturday, we have a packed agenda featuring guests from our grassroots leaders, partners and agencies, Trout Unlimited national staff, and more! DON’T MISS THE SATURDAY MORNING SESSION, when we’ll hear from Chris Wood, CEO of Trout Unlimited. Then Sunday we’ll wrap up the in-class sessions and head to the stream for an optional, hands-on training on some of TU‘s latest tools and technologies for assessing stream health and identifying conservation opportunities!

Schedule • Friday May 3 — Full day hosted Fishing

• Breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday

• Friday Night — Pig picking, bonfire and SweetWater Brewery Launch Party

• A dinner fundraiser for the Georgia and South Carolina Councils on Saturday night

• Saturday May 4 — All day seminars at The Dillard House (see the agenda)

Other ticket options are available, including single days. Check the website for details. The event will be held at The Dillard House, and reservations for lodging can be made by calling (706) 746-5348. Located near the banks of the beautiful Chattooga River, and nestled in the raw lands of the Nantahala National Forest, this location

• Saturday Night — Fundraising Diner for the GA and SC Councils • Sunday May 5 — Morning workshops and afternoon conservation training in the field To register, visit: https://www.tu.org/southeast-regional

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2019 Backcountry Blitz at Wilson Creek


rab your calendar and circle Father’s Day weekend, June 14-16 because TU is hosting a “Backcountry Blitz” at Wilson Creek Wild & Scenic Watershed. The Blitz will give participants a chance to catch fish, document areas in the watershed where trout are living and identify natural features that may block trout movement in a stream. The ability of a trout to move from place to place within a river is critical to its survival — enabling it to eat (actual food and your well-presented flies), seek thermal refuge (find cold water) and spawn (make little trout). Knowing where natural barriers are will help resource managers prioritize future replacement of man-made barriers in the watershed.


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If you’ve never seen the watershed, check out this amazing video footage. Details will be forthcoming in the May edition of our council newsletter, “The Mend”, but be sure to save those dates and maybe celebrate a weekend by camping, fishing, making new friends and doing something really great for our beautiful and native brook trout. Spots are limited. Keep an eye out for “The Mend” coming in May (first weekend in May) or contact Jeff Wright (jeff.wright@tu.org), TU’s Southeast Volunteer Coordinator, for more information.

Welcome Jeff Wright, TU’s Southeast Volunteer Coordinator


coordinator, brings a deep background in chapter administration and general nonprofit management and will be a vital piece of the TU picture as we continue to grow our existing chapters, add new ones and identify, train and recruit new ranks of volunteer leaders.

rout Unlimited continues to invest in the southeast region of the United States, which includes North Carolina. Many of you know about the Asheville office, which serves as home to Franklin Tate (Director of Youth Education Programs), Tara Granke (Headwaters Youth Program Coordinator) and Andy Brown (Southern Appalachian Stream Restoration Manager). We’re pleased to tell you that TU has added another staff member to support volunteer efforts across our region. Jeff Wright, the new southeast volunteer

And we’re grateful to TU for yet another vote of confidence in our area councils, chapters, volunteer leaders and members. It’s clear they see the ability and potential here, and we look forward to working with Jeff and the other dedicated staff at TU to fulfill and advance our shared mission.

Jeff Wright Southeast Volunteer Coordinator for Trout Unlimited Jeff works with TU Volunteer Operations staff and regional conservation staff to engage, inform and empower TU’s volunteers in advancing coldwater conservation efforts in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Most recently, he has served as the president of the Overmountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Tennessee, assisting the board of directors in re-energizing the membership and building community connections to help carry out the TU mission locally.

Northwest three years ago. TU has been able to hire these regional volunteer coordinators thanks to the support of two foundations, individual donors, and the generosity of TU members, chapters and councils in the respective regions.

Jeff’s passion for conservation and the outdoors stems from a childhood hunting, fishing, and generally running around exploring wild places. This upbringing led him to pursue a masters degree in biology, after which he spent the a decade working and volunteering in education, leadership development, and nonprofit management.

When asked what excites him about his new role he said, “Being able to help chapters and councils in the Southeast increase capacity to benefit local, on-theground conservation is really a dream opportunity for me.”

TU’s stated goals for these positions are to improve coordination between chapters, councils and staff to better strategically align our work; provide relevant conservation, citizen science, advocacy or community engagement programs for chapter leaders to adopt; and help chapters and councils strengthen their organizational capacity and ability to do more local work.

The Southeast volunteer coordinator position is modeled after a similar pilot launched in the Pacific

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R egi na

G o l d k u h l ,

Regina Goldkuhl



Qu a lity

Adm inistrat or,

M ount ai nTr ue


have a confession: I have never fly-fished. In fact, when I was younger, my definition of “fishing” was using a discarded, tangled up line from a tree branch at a local Missouri pond and tying it to a stick. I opened a can of sweet corn and tossed the entire contents into the water as bait and, if I was lucky, brought up a couple of dinky bluegill. More often than not I’d go home empty handed with nothing more than that distinct contentedness I found only when spending an entire day outside. Spring 2019


My Huck Finn-inspired methods did, however, reveal a gaping ignorance of aquatic ecosystems and food webs. It may sound silly but it never really occurred to me back then that anything besides fish, tadpoles and the occasional snapping turtle could live in the water. I suppose I just assumed that all fish survive solely on worms — specifically the ones labeled “live bait” bought at a convenient store. My obliviousness to the basics of biology, however, didn’t keep me out of the water.

these stories to volunteers and citizen scientists for MountainTrue’s water quality monitoring programs.

In college I was involved in an aquatic insect lab processing samples from a prairie stream. My microscope revealed midges, scuds, and flatworms I’d never seen before, and I was delighted by these small discoveries. I was basically a master naturalist at that point…or so I thought. While I believed this experience thoroughly prepared me for what I would need to know to coordinate a stream monitoring program here in Western NC, I was sorely mistaken.

Aquatic insects are fantastic indicators of water quality and reveal secrets of their habitat that otherwise easily go unnoticed. This is why they’re used in stream monitoring programs all over the nation, including MountainTrue’s Stream Monitoring Information Exchange, or SMIE. Every spring and fall, teams of volunteers head out to 23 different rivers and streams in Henderson and Polk Counties to collect and identify these insects, also known as macroinvertebrates, in a process called biomonitoring. The volunteercollected data is combined with that of other WNC counties in an annual report released by the Environmental Quality Institute. This report is made available to policymakers, stakeholders, and anyone else with a vested interest in the quality of their local streams.

To say the biodiversity of the southeast is mind-blowing is an understatement. When I first arrived in the area, I simply could not believe there were streams that teemed with so much life! Each new bug I learned about played a character role for the particular ecosystem it lived in, and I was enamored with the story it told. Fortunately for me, I’m able to relay

Gray Jernigan, MountainTrue’s Southern Regional Director and Green Riverkeeper, is the main steward responsible for protecting clean water in the Green River basin. His extensive experience in environmental law, policy and advocacy enable him to utilize volunteer-collected data to better watch over Henderson and Polk counties’


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water. Regarding the SMIE program, he notes “It’s great for looking at long term trends, where we see certain species being impacted. All of those species are calculated according to a pollution tolerance, so we can see that if a particular species is not doing well, there may be a problem upstream. That can guide our source tracking work to stop those sources of pollution.” Collecting insects will tell you a lot about the biological components of a stream, but what about the chemical makeup of the water? Just because it appears clear does not mean it’s clean! In addition to the SMIE biomonitoring program, MountainTrue hosts the Volunteer Water Information Network, or VWIN, that analyzes chemical parameters of water quality. This seemingly less charismatic

process of sampling is just as important as collecting insects. Beginning in 1990, it continues to give us real-time data that helps us spot violations and hold offenders accountable. The fact that volunteers have been collecting data for nearly 30 years should stand testament to its utility. Jernigan speaks to the importance of this program. “We’re able to see both long-term trends and short-term spikes in pollutant levels that indicate problems,” he says, “That really guides a lot of our advocacy; we’ll go out and find the problem areas, and track pollution sources using that data in order to implement a strategy to stop them. That’s a very valuable asset to our work.” VWIN volunteers head out to their sites once a month to fill bottles of water that will be taken to a lab in

Black Mountain, a small town just west of Asheville. The protocol is very easy to learn and quick to complete, which makes adopting this program perfect for citizen scientists who want to track their local waterways for chemical pollutants. When folks ask us what the number one pollutant of water quality is in North Carolina, they typically expect some toxic chemical that’s hard to pronounce. They’re surprised to find out that the answer is right below their feet. Sediment, mainly from erosion and poorly executed development projects, not only snuffs out aquatic life but also carries other contaminants such as heavy metals and fecal coliform that is bound to soil particles. Changes in the stream’s pH can unbind these pollutants, allowing them to freely enter the ecosystem and harm both humans and aquatic organisms. Sediment is considered a chemical parameter and is measured in VWIN data as “total suspended solids” as well as turbidity. There are 6 additional chemical parameters of water quality that VWIN monitors: temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, ammonia, nitrate, phosphate, and total phosphorus are all on the list. Thanks to our volunteers, there are approximately 160 stream and lake samples taken monthly for VWIN in

the French Broad, Broad, Watauga, and Catawba River Basins. “I can’t speak highly enough of our volunteer force,” says Jernigan. “They’re highly invested, and every day we’re recruiting all kinds of new people to expand those programs and give us a better picture of the health of our waterways. We’ve got young folks in college, right out of college, high school students, retirees — people from all walks of life in all different areas. The thing that binds them together is that they love our waterways and want to see them thrive.” Between both SMIE and VWIN monitoring programs, more than 70 citizen scientists help collect data from 62 sites in Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties alone. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other volunteers contribute in surrounding areas. Unsurprisingly, many of MountainTrue’s long-term volunteers involved in these programs are anglers. The obvious overlap between entomology, water quality and fly-fishing is undeniable. Perhaps these folks understand the importance of collecting water quality data from an altruistic perspective – or maybe they’re just scouting their next honey hole. Most likely it’s some combination of the two, but either way we’re happy to have them out with us.

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’m a third generation fly fi Pennsylvania, a stone’s th Spruce Creek and Penn’s Cr the best limestone streams in my trout beginnings, it was i into my own as a fly fisher. M Texas when I was a young lad

Growing up in Texas meant In college, I found out that fl “bream” was a real hoot, esp for them in “tanks.” For tho with Texas vernacular, bream the Lepomis genus that inclu shell cracker and other sunfi the Texas ranch version of fa

After college, I found out th redfish on shallow grass flats hoot…well, ok a lot more th still remember the first tailin stalked and caught on a fly… changing experience.

Perhaps this three-sided flyfi — coldwater, warmwater, salt why I love our TU chapter, a Triangle Fly Fishers. I’ve bee of this chapter since 1997 wh from Texas to North Carolin as conservation chair, newsle president, and I am currentl stint as president.

Like me, the chapter has stru fishing identity. Some memb fishermen. Others are strictl of our members prefer the T and warmwater rivers that pr endless supply of bass and br

Not only has the chapter stru our chapter officers sometim How do we support coldwate from the mountains? How d 46

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fisher, born in central hrow from Spring Creek, reek — arguably some of n the country. Despite in Texas where I came My family moved to d.

warmwater fly fishing. fly fishing for bass and pecially fishing ose unfamiliar m are fish in ude bluegill, fish. Tanks are arm ponds.

The Three Sides of Triangle Fly Fishers

by Terry Hackett, President — Triangle Fly Fishers

management of marine fisheries so far from the coast? Eventually the chapter simply embraced our unique geographical position in the state. Our programs cover the gamut, literally from the mountains to the sea and everything in between. It is difficult to get our members to drive long distances to participate in conservation projects. So instead we focus our “hands-on” conservation efforts in our own backyard by participating in litter clean-ups, being stewards of a local stormwater

uggled with its fly bers are avid trout fly ly “salt rodders.” Many Triangle’s local ponds rovide a seemingly ream.

uggled with its identity, mes struggled with it. er fisheries being so far do we support proper

For trout, we typically have one or two members active with NCTU, we sponsor one or two youth annually to attend NCTU’s Rivercourse and we sponsor a Trout in the Classroom program at a local Triangle area school. Our chapter also earmarks funds for conservation projects each year, including those benefitting trout waters. Interestingly, it is this split personality of fly fishers that prompted us to develop a new mission statement: Triangle Fly Fishers exists to provide likeminded fly fisherfolks a place to gather, share, and pursue our core objectives of conservation, camaraderie, and cultivation.

hat stalking s was also a han a hoot. I ng redfish I …it was a life

fishing lineage twater — is aptly named en a member hen I moved na. I’ve served etter editor, vicely serving my second

hosting a screening of the International Fly Fishing Film Festival.

• Conservation — TFF actively participates and raises funds for environmental reclamation, enhancements, and conservation of both cold and warm water fisheries. • Camaraderie — TFF provides opportunities for fellow fly fisherfolks to gather, build new friendships and rekindle old. wetland, and we help manage vegetation around a pond where we meet at Durham County Wildlife Club. Triangle Fly Fishers is also active as a voice for fishery conservation. Frequently members speak at public meetings, including those with the NC Wildlife Resource Commission and Division of Marine Fisheries. We visit with elected officials and provide comment on development proposals that may adversely impact fishery resources. We also participate in outreach activities, like NCWRC’s National Hunting and Fishing Day, as well as holding our own such outreach events, most recently

• Cultivation — TFF helps cultivate the sport of fly fishing by providing its members opportunities to learn about new places, new techniques and new skills. For me, trout fishing is still close to my heart, but like many of my fellow TFF members being able to fly fish for those warmwater species right in our backyard is a riot. If you’d like to learn more about warmwater fly fishing in the Triangle, let me know. Better yet, if you are traveling through the area give me a shout and we’ll go chase some of those bass and bream.

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ack in 1978, Pisgah TU member Wally Lockwood somehow came up with the crazy idea that the chapter should try its hand at hosting a fly fishing school to get more folks involved in the sport of fly fishing and in Trout Unlimited, and maybe accidentally raise a buck or two to keep the chapter afloat. It worked back then and it’s been working ever since. The most recent incarnation of the school happened Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Harmon Field in Tryon, NC and it’s scheduled to happen again May 11, 2019 at the same place. Over its many seasons, the school has earned a reputation as an excellent way to learn more about all of the essential aspects of our sport. Along the way, the content has


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evolved and adapted to meet the changing ne covering everything from an overview of gear and line systems, and even a session of fly tyi

Following a brief introduction and welcome, presentation on “Gear: The Essential Stuff a needed for a day on the water and some thing fly shop with a wad of cash in hand. For seaso overwhelming it is to wonder what the heck a really need it. So we wind up buying a little o

After the gear presentation, the school break

eeds and expectations of its students — r to casting, etymology, stream tactics, knots ing basics thrown into the mix.

, the learning kicks off with a general session and Fun Stuff” discussing the essentials gs to consider before heading into a oned anglers, sometimes we forget how all this stuff is, what it’s used for and if we of this and that and hope for the best.

ks into three tracks of about 10 students for

sessions covering the fundamentals of Casting, Stream Strategy and Tactics, Knots and Line Systems, and Fly Tying. Breaking the group into the tracks makes it possible for the instructors and helpers to spend more time with each student, answering questions and helping with some of the physical aspects of each topic. 

The breakout sessions run about an hour and a half. With the exception of Stream Strategy and Tactics, this gives ample time for hands-on and personal, one-on-one instruction. In the Casting session, the presenter demonstrates and discusses the components of the overhand, roll and loop casts while explaining why proficiency in each type is important when it comes to addressing specific fishing conditions. After that, each student is paired with an individual instructor whose job ranges from fine-tuning a more Spring 2019


experienced student’s stroke to helping absolute beginners sling a fly for the very first time.

 Since the course is held along the banks of the Pacolet River, each student gets to wet their lines for some real-life practice. We’re happy to report that so far, no one has caught a tree-trout, sweeper-salmon or bush-bass. But there could be a state record growing out there somewhere just waiting for the right angler and the right moment. In the Line Systems and Knot class the improved clinch, perfection loop and surgeon’s knot are demonstrated and taught. In last year’s class there was some debate among the instructors regarding the actual value of the improved clinch vs. the clinch, but the instructor (our friend Dave Bender) managed to quell the uprising and deliver the goods. 50

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Students get familiar with the knots by tying them first with small pieces of rope, then graduate to actual leader and tippet with instructors lending a hand and some advice as needed. After the initial learning curve, students come to enjoy the knot tying session and practice the knots until most can tie them without referring to their notes. Because of the logistics involved, the Stream Strategies and Tactics class is the only session that does not involve actual hands-on time for the students. The session starts with a look at basic types of flies and how they’re used based on what trout eat at different times of year. That’s followed by line setup (indicator, dry/ dropper, and other presentation methods) and then a demonstration of the different presentations using the Pacolet river as a teaching tool.

During the demonstration, students learn more about how to “read the water” and plan an approach strategy, then how to present the fly to the fish in different flow situations. A bad drift and a good drift are demonstrated and discussed, as are the mends used to correct drag and account for current seams and other conditions. In the Fly Tying session, which is always surprisingly popular among the students, most sit down at a tying vise for the very first time to tie up their own versions of a San Juan worm, “frog turd” and wooly bugger. The students learn everything from starting the tying thread on the hook to securing materials and finishing the fly.

 After the class, all participants receive a link to download a digital copy of the Pisgah TU Fly Fishing School Manual. The manual contains lots of terrific information and is the product of many

years and many members sharing their love and knowledge of the sport. Over that time, some sections had become redundant and dated so in 2018 volunteers Robin Hoofnagle and Kevin Henebry took on the enormous challenge of editing and revising the content while doing their best to preserve the unique voices of the original contributors.

casting and knots session and give them that missing hands-on time with stream strategies and tactics. This half-day of mentored fishing is an important piece of the overall learning experience, putting all of those jumbled pieces from an intense day’s instruction into place with practical, real-life, one-on-one guidance and experience.

Throughout the teaching sessions, students and old hands alike are reminded that there’s always something in their fly fishing game to learn, improve or change — and that practice might not always make perfect, but it sure makes a day on the water a lot more enjoyable.

The school is presented completely by volunteers from Pisgah TU, and the money students invest in the school stays right here in western North Carolina to support conservation and education projects.

Speaking of which, rounding out the school experience for the students is a half-day on the water with a personal mentor who can work with them to reinforce the things they learned in the

Last year’s version drew 35 students and 32 volunteers, more than ever. All walked away satisfied, with evaluation comments like “gives you a great feel for the artistry that it takes to make a good fly”, “way to advance a real beginner”, “basic but really effective”, “answered a lot of questions

about equipment”, “knowledgeable instructors, amazing information, great instruction”, “everyone seemed to enjoy”, and “so much information it was like drinking from a firehose.” This year’s school will be held May 11, 2019 at Harmon Field in Tryon, NC. Enrollment is open now. The class makes a great gift idea for Mother’s and Father’s Days, for graduations and birthdays and other occasions, and delivers a comprehensive introduction to and the beginnings of love for fly fishing, the sport for a lifetime. Check https://pisgahTU.org for a registration form, tuition costs and more details. Forty-some years down the road now, we think old Wally Lockwood would be amazed by just how far this crazy idea of his has gone. Spring 2019




Spring 2019


By Chris Franzen, Guide • Headwaters Outfitters


rout mecca. Where does your mind take you when you think of this? Montana, Alaska, Colorado, New Zealand? For me it’s Patagonia, Chile. During the Winter months as my season with Headwaters Outfitters in Rosman, NC slows down; I head south to Patagonia armed with a six and eight weight rod and boxes full of streamers, girdle bugs, and large terrestrial patterns. My season at Martin Pescador Lodge in Chile begins at the start of the year and ends at the start of April. Every season when my plane touches down at the Santa Barbara Airport just outside the town of Chaitén my breath is taken away. Mountains, glaciers, rainforest, rivers, and lakes are everywhere you look. It’s a sensory overload for anyone who enjoys being in the outdoors. Every year after collecting my luggage I am met by the friendly face of one of my co-workers, Patricio. After catching up with one another as best as we can with my broken Spanish we load up in the truck and take a short 45 minute drive up the Rio Yelcho valley to the village of Puerto Cárdenas and the location of one of our lodges. Here the lodge sits on the banks of the Rio Yelcho roughly 3 miles downstream of the outlet of Lago Yelcho. The water is glacier blue and the river is deep, fast, and 70 to 100 yards wide. At first glance it can be a bit intimidating to an angler, however the river yields many trout and they love eating large dry flies. The large amounts of stoneflies, caddis, dragonflies, and cantaria beetles keep the

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river fish all over the region looking up even when in deep heavy current. A dry dropper on a fast action six weight is the go-to river rig. Running either a large Chubby Chernobyl or a large Fat Albert with a Girdle bug or Pat’s Rubberleg trailing behind about three feet. These fish are not heavily pressured and they are not shy which allows you to fish heavier tippet. For this style of fishing I run a 6 foot 12 pound leader and attach the dry fly to the end. To rig the dropper I tie a three foot section of ten pound fluorocarbon around the bend of the hook and attach my dropper using a perfection loop. The perfection loop allows my dropper to move more freely and in turn produce more strikes. Streamer fishing can also be very productive in the rivers in Patagonia. Many of the river banks are lined with dead fall providing ideal ambush opportunities for trophy brown trout. The main forage fish are salmon smolt so be sure to have plenty of baitfish 54

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imitations in the 3-5 inch range. My go to rig is a sparkle minnow in copper or white attached with a perfection loop to a 3 foot fifteen pound fluorocarbon leader. An eight weight rod lined with a 250-300 grain sinking line is the tool for the job. Enough of the rivers, let’s get on to the lakes. To a fly angler the thought of fishing trout in still water can be a bit dull, but in Patagonia I think they are some of the coolest fisheries and offer some very exciting angling opportunities. All of the lakes we fish are natural and are all fed by at least one large river and many other smaller streams. Fishing around the creek and river mouths you can have phenomenal shots at sight casting large fish cruising the surface and eating dries. The debris coming out of these tributaries produce large mats of scum on the water that are chock full of insects and the fish cruise through them inches under the surface. The other features we fish on the lakes are mud

flats, reed lines, and weed beds. They too can offer great sight casting but only when the lakes are glassy and there is no chop. However one thing that occurs around these features all season long are dragonfly hatches. There are days when you can watch brown and rainbow trout between 20-26 inches leap three feet in the air eating the adult flies for as far as you can see. The best way to fish these areas are with the same dry dropper set up we use on the rivers. You can also do quite well stripping copper and olive woolly buggers on a floating line with 9 foot ten pound leader. Patagonia is an amazing place. The scenery is beautiful, the culture is amazing, and the trout fishing is near impossible to beat. If you’re looking for a destination trout trip check into Patagonia, Chile. Martin Pescador Lodge is five star from the food, lodging, fishing, and staff. Maybe I’ll bump into you down there in the years to come.

HERE YOU ARE FAMILY. Since 1992, Headwaters has been a family owned and operated outfitter in Western NC. We are committed to sharing our passions with you, while protecting the natural resources we love.



FLY By Dave Bender


s I sit here tying this fly it sure doesn‘t feel like summer is just around the corner. I love fishing TERRESTRIALS (land insects) in late spring and through the summer months and these are two of my “go-to” patterns when the temps heat up in late spring and summer. The first “go-to” fly is the “simple foam beetle” followed closely by the “green weenie” or inchworm. They both work very well throughout the warmer months and are very simple flies to tie. In addition to hook and thread, the foam beetle is made up of foam, rubber legs and peacock herl, and some sort of sighter indicator — here I’m using “Gulff” Colored UV Resin. The “green weenie” consists of only one material in addition to hook and thread. That material is green micro chenille in a bright green color. How simple can it get? I obviously fish the beetle in the surface film but inchworms are not good swimmers and sink rather quickly once they hit the water, so I fish those sub-surface. It’s been my experience that beetles appear a little ahead of inchworms as the warm weather approaches, so I’m fishing the beetle a little earlier in the summer. 56

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Simple Foam Beetle


Size 16 to 12 2xl dry fly (here I’m using a size 14)




Strung Peacock Herl (4 to 6 strands)


Black 2mm foam


Here I’m using “Gulff” Colored UV Resin

1. Start by pinching down the barb if not using a barbless hook. Place the hook in the vise and lay down a base of thread stopping at the rear just before the bend.

2. C ut a ¼ inch strip of 2mm black foam and shape on end to a point. You will be tying the foam in by this point. So by shaping the tie-in end to a point reduces bulk at the tie-in point.

3. Secure the foam by the point or maybe slightly down the be

5. Twist your thread and peacock clockwise forming a rope of peacock herl and thread. This twisting action strengthens the peacock. Anyone who has tied with peacock knows how delicate it can be.

6. N ow spiral wrap the rope forward forming the body (underbody) stopping 3 or 4 hook eye length from the eye. Secure the peacock at this point and clip the butt ends.

7. Now pull the foam forward ov secure at the same point as t

9. Bring you thread forward under the forward extending foam and secure behind the hook eye.

10. W  hip finish, clip your thread, clip any excess foam and add a drop of head cement.

11. Clip you legs to length and that’s almost it.


Green Weenie


Wet fly hook of you choice 2x or 3x long


Fluorescent green or something close the the chenille being used. Sometimes I will use red or black thread to form a red or black contrasting head.

Body and tail:

Bright green ultra chenille

just before the bend end.

4. Now select 4 to 6 strands of peacock herl. Cut away the “very delicate” tips and tie in ahead of the foam.

1. Do I need to say it? Pinch down the barb, secure the hook in you vise and lay down a base of thread stopping approximately one hook eye length behind the eye.

2. Cut a 3 or 4 inch section of chenille and secure behind the hook eye. By wrapping thread back over the chenille lash it to the top of the hook stopping at the hook bend.

ver the peacock and the peacock.

8. Tie in two pairs of rubber legs at this same point, one pair on each side and secure. Legs can he left longer at this point and clipped to length once the fly in completed.

3. If there is anything tricky to this fly it’s making the twisted tail. I simply twist my chenille between my thumb and forefinger and form a twisted tail and secure at the bend. See inset photo.

4. Once the tail is secured spiral wrap your thread back to where you originally tied in the chinelle behind the hook eye.

. It’s very, very difficult to see a small black beetle on the water so I always add a sighter/indicator of some sorts. In this case I’ve added a drop of Gulff Colored UV Resin. For me it’s got to be a bright fluorescent.

5. U sing tight wraps spiral wrap the chinelle forward and secure behind the hook eye allowing enough space to form a head and clip any excess.

6. Whip finish and add a drop of cement.

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ST We all know anglers are an opinionated bunch and the following essay represents one angler‘s opinion on various subjects, ranging from tobacco use to trout management. If NCTU had a lawyer, he would make me say that “the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of NCTU or its members.” It should make you think, and hopefully it will make you talk to your fellow anglers as well, while fishing or while at your local chapter meeting. This is the sort of dialog we need to keep going. — Mike Mihalas



pointed my finger at the water an eyebrow. It was really the only co needed between two friends who ha together for a long time. To yell SE lungs would have been bad form on water (it may be bad form anywhere

We started hiking early this mornin (waders, boots, rod, reel, vest, etc) back. I intended to hike it all in, an my hiking boots, into my fishing ge were far enough in to warrant castin partner opted to hike the trail in hi to wet wade the 42-degree early Ma of carrying the heavy load of gear fiv backcountry. We were both willing t fish this river at this time of year, th chosen route was a bit more hardco

Maybe it was the cold water that mad indicator (bobber) dipped under th swimming upstream, prompting me the eyebrow. It also could have been it because he was looking at me. We conversation that would eventually b and solution to one of the world’s m for the life of me I can’t remember

Seeing my indication that his indica he instinctively set the hook. A shor solid brown trout of about twelve in hand. He refused to take credit for called it a gimme, but I was more th I had decided to take the high road in weather and water that was not co already given in a little and tied on he had me contemplating lowering pragmatic point that I could actuall 58

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fish that swim in it are a solace for him and me. A place to get away from the trivial cares in life and a place to confront the not so trivial flaws in ourselves. I still remember the first time I fished it. I had picked it off a map. It was a blue line with a big drainage, and away from roads and major trails. I made the hike in and rigged up a brand new rod for its maiden trip.

nd raised an ommunication ad been fishing ET at the top of my n this quiet piece of e).

ng. I had all my gear in a pack on my nd change out of ear, when we felt we ng a line. My fishing is wading boots, and arch water, instead ve miles into the to suffer a little to hough I think his ore than my own.

de him sluggish; his he water and began e to point and raise n that he didn’t see e were locked in a bring resolution major problems, but what it was about.

ator was indicating, rt fight later a nches came to the catch and han a little green. and dry fly fish onducive, and I’d a dropper. Now myself to the ly catch a few fish. A

The first cast landed in a tree across the river. In a sudden fit of frustration I yanked the line to break off the tippet instead of just wading over to get it loose (I used to do a lot of that kind of thing back then). The shock from the line snapping somehow propelled the tip section of the four-piece rod away, and it landed in the swift river never to be seen again.

few casts later he hooked another that was a bit bigger, and this time without any signals or indications from me. We’ve been fishing this piece of water together and apart for a long time now. We both knew that the water was too high and cold for a good day of fishing, but we weren’t going to let it stop us from visiting a place we both hold in reverence. He has his own demons, and he doesn’t talk about them, and I don’t ask. He’s a stoic fella with a steely stare, and eyes that are hard to read. He probably doesn’t know it, but I, and other fishing buddies, used to refer to him as the “ice man.” Cold blooded, unemotional, a phlegmatic rock. Though I’ll admit that I’ve noticed a soft spot growing in him in recent years. Progeny will do that to a man, progeny and a good trout stream. This river and the

After the dumbfoundment of what had just happened wore off, the reality that I had to hike out to get another rod set in. I climbed out of the river, found the trail and headed back toward the car (a multiple mile hike). In my frustration and youthful anger I marched down the trail cursing the fishing gods, and the insignificant stresses of life that seemed like such a big deal at the time. When I finished my rant I looked up and realized I had no idea where I was. I had missed a turn somewhere and now had to pull out the map, figure out where I was, and backtrack. A large clap of thunder broke the silence of the forest. I did eventually find my way. Hiking out in a lighting storm, I returned soaked to bone, to a borrowed car (mine was broken down at the time) and with a three piece rod that should have been four. It was a long drive home. Since that day I’ve spent many more good ones on this water, this being one of them. Since that day I’ve hiked into this valley with my wife, in a state of deep mourning over an immeasurable loss, to sit next to the Spring 2019


river and look for some solace in its waters. Since that day I’ve spent nights in this valley swarmed by coffin flies and listening to the gulps of larger trout in the pool next to the tent. Since that day I’ve walked these few miles over and over for a chance at wild fish in a relatively wild place. Once, the rough dirt forest service road that leads in was better than an hour’s drive from my front door. Now it’s three streets down from my own. While I’m mostly a catch and release fisherman, I’ve sampled the flesh of this river over an open fire on many occasions. There is, as I’m sure you can tell by now, something special about this place. Or at least there is something special here for me, and for my stoic friend. The window of activity this day was a short one. We both knew when it was over. The season was still early, and the clocks hadn’t yet leaped forward to give us an extra hour of daylight. We called it early and headed back to where I had dropped my pack so I could swap my fishing gear out for hiking gear, and he (being the hard ass) would just hike the five miles out in wet boots. In my pack I had brought more than just waders and a vest. I figured if I’m carrying a load I might as well throw in some pleasures. We had plenty of daylight left, and neither of us mind hiking in the dark, so I took the time to boil some stream water and brew a cup of coffee. And what good is coffee in the forest without tobacco? So I packed the corn cob pipe I’d brought along with a strong blend meant for wet cool days, lit it with a match, and sipped on my pipe while slurping down thick, rich, black coffee. He found the idea of hiking with a pack, and a pipe, and coffee both absurd and admirable (much the same way I viewed his determination to fish without waders this early in the season) and we joked that I looked like the crusty old scout master we had all been terrified of as young men. The hike out was a hard push, not that it needed to be. It was just that I had been out fished today. I don’t mind being out fished from time to time, but I can’t lose twice in one day. So, since my partner had shown me up with those two fat brown trout, I needed to make sure I reached the truck first, and, if possible, that he would be panting and hurting by that time. I crossed my fingers that my line of work, and his line of work might allow me to be in better physical shape at this our middle age. I knew for a fact that he’s much stronger mentally than I am, and so no matter the pain of those wet shoes and hard hiking, he would more than keep up on anything but the up-hills (I’ve got short legs). Maybe it was the overwrought coffee, maybe it was the hard panting causing me to inadvertently inhale some of the strong tobacco, maybe it was just the dreamy day, but a sense of euphoria, well-being, and rapid and vivid thought washed over me as we made the unnecessary push out of the valley. I began to consider this river and the many others like it, along with the fish that swim in it. Not to be too poetic but I considered the healing nature of wild trout, the benefits to one’s own well-being when immersed in the pursuit, and occasional capture, of a thing wild and other worldly. Naturally this led me to consider the opposite side of the 60

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coin. If wild trout are a thing of mystery and beauty, a thing of almost spiritual proportions, what are stocked trout? I turned to my partner and asked between deep breaths… “You ever fish DH at all?” “Hell No!” That was all the response I was going to get from him on the subject. It summed up his feelings in the thrifty conversation I’ve come to expect from a man whose day job is engineering, and whose former life was that of a military officer. It’s funny what limits we choose for ourselves when it comes to what activities we will allow ourselves to participate in. I’m known as a “purist” amongst angling friends for always having a dry fly tied on when I’m out on the water. The title is, of course, tonguein-cheek as I make my living as a guide, and in that world there is no such thing that would even come close to chaste fishing. A guide as a purist would be like a prostitute who only worked from the missionary position, with the lights off. I’m a fairly open-minded individual. It would be uncouth to bring politics into an article on fishing (though I suspect when it comes to how we regulate our rivers and streams there is a lot more of that unsightly curse than we would like to think) but if you will humor me I will go so far as to say that I am quite conservative in matters of money and wildly liberal in matters of behavior and conduct. This world view hit home as I sped up the next hill, legs and mind churning, pushed on by a small amount of pride and a large amount of legal stimulants. Drugs, Prostitution (fishing guides), Alcohol, Gambling and Stocked Trout. Here was my answer to my previous question: if wild trout be a thing of grace and beauty, full of virtue, a righteous gift from the universe or an all mighty god (whatever your persuasion may be), then what are stocked trout but plain and simple vice? Do not misunderstand me when I label the stocked trout as a vice. I am making no moral judgement, well perhaps I am, but not one that I would be the first to cast a stone about. I myself am a spectacularlyflawed man who wishes only to take a pragmatic view of our current situation, ethos and predicament of angling in Western North Carolina. Vice for me is not a thing to stamp out and destroy, but rather an acceptable and normal part of human behavior, that should be regulated by the state and profited from by the private sector. I’m sure you’re asking yourself now: “Does this fool apply this thinking across the board?” The answer… I’m afraid so. I have just as many drums to beat about ABC stores and state lotteries as I do about state hatcheries, but this is no place for them. I’ll just keep it simple and say that the profit motivation in the industry of vice is the wrong place for an institution charged with the protection and benefit of its people. That institution’s place is in careful and thoughtful regulation, and not in promotion of behavior that in excess becomes a detriment to its citizens. Let’s leave the dirty underbelly to the private sector. Cresting the top of the hill I looked back down over the lip of the trail at the river rushing a few hundred feet below. My right boot was loose Spring 2019


and was starting to rub a hot spot on my heel. I asked my partner if we could stop for a minute while I retied my boots. He agreed, and as we sat for a minute while I readjusted laces, he looked out over the river and took a deep breath. “Not another soul today.” “Nope.” He appreciates solitude. I’m the gregarious type who loves a party and who’s been know to invite way too many people on a fishing trip. Often I’ve gone to the local roadside water, found a fisherman on the bank, made a new friend, and never wet a line. While I enjoy the social aspects of angling as much as, and maybe more so, than catching fish, even I have my limits. There is a reason I head to the river instead of the mall. 62

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Back on the trail and trying to find my pace after the short rest, I let my mind wander again so that I wouldn’t think about how tired my legs were, and the sore spot on my right heel. Nothing slows you down on a hike like thinking about stopping. I also knew that the last and most punishing portion of the hike was still a few miles away, and now was no time to start thinking about taking off my boots and a cold beer. We had hiked straight down into the valley this morning, and we had to hike straight up and out of it this evening. The trail up and out is short but lacking in switchbacks. As I began to think about how we had hiked about five miles in on the trail, and another five out, and hadn’t seen another fisherman I considered what a juxtaposition it was to a day I had spent working on a stocked stream a few days before.

Here on this swath of publ was welcome, where water the river was devoid of all o stocked, road side stream fl property, the river was litte pull-out on the road held every hole up and downstr The stocked stream is one number of fish considerin capacity of a piece of water could easily cast across.

I wondered what it was like along the water, and found tolerate such a scene. I’m n As the late great Woodie G painted, it said private pro side it didn’t say nothing. T you and me.” Hobo anthem

lic land, where everyone flowed and trout swam, other anglers. On the flowing through private ered with anglers. Every several vehicles. Almost ream held several anglers. that receives a fairly large ng the size and carrying r that even a novice angler

e for the folks who live d myself amazed that they no fan of posted signs. Guthrie said “sign was operty. But on the back This land was made for ms and the freedom of

nothing left to lose are romantic ideas for sure, but not one I’m sure I could apply to well-heeled anglers with high end SUVs and pickups, sporting rod vaults mounted on top to contain their thousand-dollar fishing rigs. I imagine waking up on a quiet Sunday spring morning, pouring myself a cup of coffee, walking with it to my front porch to look out over the river flowing in front of my mountain home, and finding there, a lone angler, or maybe a pair, casting a fly in the early morning fog would bring a smile to my face and a sense of contentment. On the opposite side, I could also imagine being woken by the slamming of multiple car doors, an errant horn alarm when someone’s panic button was accidentally triggered somewhere deep inside their waders, the shouting of one angler to

another over the rush of the river, the constant roar of traffic up and down what is normally a quiet country road, the inherent noise of an over caffeinated guide trying to wrangle three or more clients into a hole barely big enough for one, and enthusiastically encouraging them to SET the hook. I can imagine that it wouldn’t take many of those mornings before I started complaining about it to my neighbors, and listening to their complaints as well, before we all decided to paint up some of those signs that say nothing on the backside. Dropping down in elevation we came again next to the river, made a hard right and crossed the swinging bridge that would take us to the other side, and to the final push up the mountain and out of the valley. After crossing the bridge we stopped to readjust our packs, tighten up boots, grab a drink Spring 2019


of water, stretch out tight muscles, and catch our breath before heading up. This was the last half mile of a ten-mile day, not including the mile and a half of hard wading in high water. The last half mile which just happened to be the worst half mile of the trip. “You gonna make it?” “I’ll make it fine, just not fast. You and your short billygoat legs go on.” With that he turned and took off up the trail leaving me to catch up. His legs and stride being long and arduous I quickly caught up and passed on the left. The coffee had worn off long ago, and the only thing pushing me along now was the knowledge that I had to keep up the pace I had previously set, or risk being called out for sand bagging on the final push. I could hear his footsteps behind me. His stride may be more difficult than mine on this steep of grade, but that wasn’t slowing him down. He’d figured out my game and while I was probably going to reach the end of the trail first by


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virtue of shorter legs, and a more active lifestyle, he intended to make me earn every bit of it. No cake walk today. The former logistics Captain was driving me onward on some kind of arbitrary, but very real schedule. I have to get my mind right. Can’t think about how tired I am, or how my legs went numb a long time ago. Can’t think about my legs at all. If I do they’ll quit on me or at least slow me down. Concentrated fish make for concentrated anglers. That’s the issue here. While the idea of delayed harvest seems like a good one in theory, giving the state more return on the fish it stocks, and giving catch and release anglers a chance to enjoy the fish before catch and keep anglers take them home to enjoy them. The secondary effects of crowding, and noise, and litter that comes with it may not have been taken into consideration at the outset. How do we remedy such a thing? In a state with so many varying regulations on trout water, what would be the simplest solution. Our seven different regulations: Wild, Wild Natural Bait, Catch and Release Artificial Lure, Catch

and Release Artificial Fly, Trout, Delayed Harvest, an were all intended more to angling community than th seems kind of a radical and but one only needs to look that receive heavy stockings populations, or consider a Trout Natural Bait.

What difference does it ma how does allowing bait fish not another for wild trout positive or negative way? W a Catch and Release Fly Fis What difference does it ma hooked on a single hook sp fly? This is obviously to sat the angling public, to eithe for a group of anglers, or r water another group of ang

How much simpler for the be, and how much more be

Special Regulation nd Hatchery Supported; address a desire of the he health of stream. That d blanket statement, k at some of the streams s yet support wild a regulation like Wild

ake to the fish, and hing on one stream but impact the fishery in a Why the difference? Why shing Only restriction? ake to the fish if it’s pinner or a single hook tisfy some desire amongst er open a piece of water restrict from a piece of glers.

e angling public would it eneficial for the fishery

itself would it be, if we allowed regulations to be determined by the fisheries biologists instead of the desires and whims of the angling public? Could it be possible to satisfy both? In the past I’ve argued hard for doing away with the stocking of trout in North Carolina. I’ve argued for the Montana model where the streams are allowed to produce their own fish, and we as the public are charged with protecting and restoring the habitat so that the fish can do their thing. A recent conversation with a friend, and fellow angler and guide, was like a slap to the face. He asked why I was arguing for a model of wild trout based on another state and entirely different ecosystem when we already have a model of wild trout here? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was last stocked in the 1970’s. While the efforts in the park have been focused on restoring brook trout, the rainbows and brown of the past still exist in a wild state and have seen no additional help from a hatchery in almost 50 years. The trout there continue to thrive, and anglers still flock to the

waters of the park every year to pursue, on public land, the fish that swim in them. Habitat and healthy watersheds have been the focus, and the satisfaction of the angler’s day on stream has been a secondary concern. While a secondary concern, I’ve yet to meet an angler who has fished the park declare that they were unhappy with the numbers or size, and that they have no intention of returning. Realistically, a good portion of our watersheds are not as pristine or protected as the water found in the park. If only it were so, and what a noble goal, but a pragmatic approach requires that some considerations have to be made. The step ups are just ahead. I can see them as I round the bend. Just past them is the parking area. They are just wooden steps built into the trail to assist the hiker and reduce erosion on the steep grade, but with heavy pack and heavy legs the two-to-three-foot interval steps, the last few hundred feet are a punisher. I’d love to take a break and rest my legs before hitting them but I can hear my partner on my tail. He’s not going to slow down and so neither can I.

Spring 2019


So what regulations would make sense? Maybe if we just make things simple and have two stream regulations. One would be wild trout with no stocking, and the other a hatchery supported. This would ensure a trickle of stocked fish throughout the season on the stocked streams, rather than a sudden crowd attracting truck load, and might engender some goodwill from those who felt slighted when their opening day waters were suddenly moved to June instead of April. While we are at it we could simplify lure restrictions and go single hook artificial across the board, with one minor exception for bait. No more fly only or catch and release water. If a stream doesn’t support enough trout for keeping then close it and fix it, reopen it when it does. Set everything at a four fish limit. Four is a plenty for any one person and enough to share as well. If a fishery produces unusually large fish, and a breeding population needs to be protected, let the biologists make that determination and set a slot limit and no bait on a few “gold medal” waters. On the subject of bait, I have no illusions of hierarchy of angling, and no problems with bait, other than it’s hard to let one go after they’ve swallowed a hook deep. I also realize, and acknowledge, that there is a contingent of bait anglers who are the real deal. That being said, a can of yellow corn or a blue tub of red wigglers is not what I would consider real deal. If a man, or woman, digs their own bait from the bank or the stream, if it’s a tradition or subsistence, and a way that was taught to them by their father or grandfather, or a ne’er-do-well uncle then who am I, or any of us, to outlaw their angling or exclude them from waters, unless it be absolutely necessary for the health of a fishery. Bring on the bait guys and gals, so long as they collected the bait from the bank or river, use a single hook, they hold a resident license, and they not release any fish, and stop at four. I have no issue with casting a fly just up or down stream from a man drifting stick bait or a hellgrammite.


Spring 2019

On our waters that are receiving an assist from the state hatcheries due to their inability to sustain a natural population (as determined by the biologist), let’s make it our focus and determination to restore the stream so that it would eventually no longer need the help. Let’s ween ourselves off the vice of stocked trout, slowly if necessary but with a goal in mind. If the private sector wishes to continue to offer up a day of debauchery for a fee then so be it, and a visit to the house of ill repute be something of an occasional transaction, but not one you would necessarily be in a hurry to post online for the world to see.

On our wild waters, where the biologists have determined that there exist a sustainable breeding population of wild trout, let us treat them with the same due respect and reverence that we give any other wild animal in this state. Let us give them respite from our hooks, lures, and lines and especially when it’s time for them to make more. Every other animal pursued in this state is done so seasonally. Close these waters for the spawn, and if summer temperatures reach beyond a threshold for safe release, place the same keeping restrictions on everyone that apply to the bait angler year-round. You kill it you keep it.

Finally, an angler education program much like hunter education, initially encouraged and eventually required to purchase a trout stamp or maybe a fishing license in general. An angling public, educated in the preservation, conservation, and restoration of our waters, is a responsible and ethical group that will seek not only their own best interest, but the best interest of fellow anglers and the waters we ply as well. At the truck I dropped my pack, panted for breath and sucked down my last bit of water. My partner was less than ten steps behind and arrived with a smile on his face. “You good?” “Yeah, I think I just solved the whole mess of trout fishing and stocking in western North Carolina when we were going through the step ups.” “Well, somebody’s gotta do it. Right?” I could tell he wasn’t impressed or interested in listening to the rant I’d just had with myself on the trail. He’s a purist, a righteous and upright man, happy to let the rest of us sinners wallow in the filth, while he walks the few miles to his own nirvana. “You put those beers on ice this morning?’ “Nope. Been sitting in the hot car all day. I guess I have to drink ‘em when I get home. Got some cold water if you want it.”

Pisgah Outdoors operates in the Pisgah Ranger District in the National Forests of North Carolina under USFS Permit# PIS6842 and is an equal opportunity provider. The focus of Pisgah Outdoors is backcountry and wild trout fishing for experienced anglers, as well as detailed instruction for beginning anglers on less technical waters. Fishing trips are designed to meet an angler at their skill level, and then to provide a challenge and goal to work toward. Pisgah Outdoors offers full and half day wade trips, as well as overnight camping and fly fishing excursions into the Pisgah National Forest. The passion of Pisgah Outdoors is public lands, wild fish, and the restorative and rejuvenating effect they have on people. https://www.pisgahoutdoors.com/book-now

Spring 2019


“The Drift” is the quarterly publication of the North Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited and is edited and managed by council secretary Charles Crolley. The stories and articles remain the property of their individual authors and are used with permission. Where no author name is indicated, the article is generally attributable to the editor. All facets of the magazine, including graphic design, publication hosting, articles and content have been donated to our council membership by members and friends of Trout Unlimited in North Carolina. If you have comments, concerns, questions or suggestions, they are most welcome at news@ northcarolinatu.org. We ask again that you be courteous and bear in mind that the magazine is meant to reflect a variety of opinions and interests — some of which you may not share. (Pro tip: if you object to a column, most of the time the answer will be to consider submitting a column from your point of view.)


Photo courtesy of Heath Cartee

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The Drift - Spring, 2019  

The official quarterly feature publication of the North Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited. Created by members and friends of North Caroli...

The Drift - Spring, 2019  

The official quarterly feature publication of the North Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited. Created by members and friends of North Caroli...