Southern Trout CLOSE LOOK: Georgia
Yep, it’s just that easy with Western North Carolina’s premier fly shop and guide service. Kevin Howell and his experienced staff have been fishing the surrounding 500 miles of prime trout waters so long, they know all the fish on first name basis. And they’ll be more than happy to make a few introductions.
PISGAH FOREST, NC
2 l April 2015 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
GUIDE SERVICES | ONLINE & RETAIL STORE | LESSONS
Publisher’s message kayak fishing. No one knows for sure, but my guess is that there are at least 600 people offering guided fly fishing for trout and smallmouth bass in the South, perhaps double that number. If you love to fly fish and can tolerate the schedule, it’s a great gig. Trout fishing in the South also supports scores of fly shops and a growing number of people who turn their rod building and fly-tying skills into income. Restaurants and motels also receive a shot in the arm from the growing impact of the popularity of fly fishing for trout in the region. Without a doubt, trouto-called “green jobs” are being based tourism is a good thing. pushed throughout the South. The boom in kayak fishing in the Green job businesses include South is even more astonishing. While campgrounds, whitewater rafting coastal areas appear to make up over companies and fishing guides (just to name a few) that have ecologically benign half of the participation in kayak fishing, freshwater kayak fishing on the lakes and ways of making money. Government agencies and some private industries push rivers the South is booming. Kayak fishing is growing at a rate of approximately hard for the creation of green jobs. 20 percent a year. For better or worse, In the South, natural attractions competitive bass fishing has found its way like beaches and mountains are tourist into the kayak fishing community. I talked Meccas. Where tourist traffic is high, lots of “mom and pop” businesses such as art to manager of a fast growing kayak bass fishing organization who said that within galleries, souvenir traps, motels, eateries and various roadside menageries pop up. two years that he believes that pay outs might reach the half million dollar mark for Lots of people are employed, and there are no factory smoke stacks belching forth finalists. While I never cared for competitive haze or polluting streams and rivers. In a perfect world it is nirvana, save perhaps for bass fishing, in the old days I covered the inconvenience of the rest of the world the BASS Classics and Redman All American (now the FLW, Fishing League finding about your once secret haunts. Worldwide). The promoters of these While zip lines are the rage in the events fed the members of the press South along with rafters shooting the well and provided them with an open rapids at places like the Ocoee, two bar, which was about all I needed to of the fastest growing green job areas get me to hang out for a week at places revolve around fly fishing for trout and
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Southern Trout Publisher Assoc. Editor Managing Editor Special Projects Dir. Photographer/Writer Editorial Consultant
Don Kirk Regan Whitlock Leah Kirk Adam Patterson Loryn Latham Olive K. Nynne
Contributors Bill Bernhardt Bill Cooper Kevin Howell Harry Murray FIELD STAFF
Bob Borgwat Columnist Ron Gaddy Columnist Craig Haney Columnist Jimmy Jacobs, Georgia Editor Roger Lowe Columnist Bob Mallard Columnist Steve Moore Columnist Tim O’Brien Columnist
Southern Trout is a publication of Southern Unlimited, LLC. Copyright 2016 Southern Unlimited LLC. All rights reserved.
Lake Havasu, Lake Kissimmee or Kentucky Lake. These days, the cost of being a serious competitive bass fisherman requires pretty damned deep pockets. When purses for the winners of big kayak bass fishing events get into the six-digit neighborhood, it’s going to be a game changer in the world of competitive bass fishing, and that will be interesting to observe. Currently, Southern Trout Magazine provides advertising to almost two dozen chambers of commerce and tourism development agencies. They all want to get the word out about the great fly fishing for trout in their areas. Cotter Arkansas is “officially” the world trout fishing capital, while Blue Ridge, Georgia is the trout fishing capital of Georgia. Burkesville Kentucky is that state’s trout capital. It’s become almost impossible to keep up with various trout/fly fishing related festivals and shows in the South. Our guess is that there is no fewer than three dozen of such events planned for 2016. Those of us in the South who have been flicking flies at trout as long as I have, look at it all in utter amazement. It’d be a lie to say those were the “good old days of trout fishing” in the South. Sure, we had the Little “T” and rarely did we see another fisherman, but nothing in the past compares with the incredible tailwater trout fishing found today in most southern states. Delayed Harvest management has turned hundreds of miles of mediocre “put-and-take” streams into robust trophy trout waters. southern national park streams brim with rainbow and brook trout. Trout tourism is a godsend for thousands of southerners who make a living from the popularity of fly fishing. We at Southern Trout Magazine find it all very fascinating.
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Gearhead Stripping Guards
New Fly Guy Forceps for Quick Knots
Black Wing Olive Chronicles 38 I Ain’t No Bear Dog Fish Hunter Adventures in 42 Cuisine Fly Rod Review Shakespeare
Fly of the Month Coffey Stone Fly Numph
Product Review 54 Smith Optics - Chroma POP Situational Fly Fishing in 64 the GSMNP - Reading Water Other Trout 78 Jackson, NH Loose Loops and Wind Knots 90 Can You Have Too Many Fly Rods?
Featured Artist 96 Robert Hines Fly Rod Review Hardy’s Zephrus
Book Review 112 Delayed Harvest Trout Guide
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CLOSE LOOK - Georgia 114 Fishing for the Fairies Upper Taccoa
128 Blue Ridge Ga Top Trout Town 138 Georgia’s Private Waters
Featured Fly Shop Cohutta Fishing Company
148 Featured Resort Smithgall Woods State Park Lodge
164 Featured Fly Tier Chuck Head
Southern Trout History Don Pfitzer
Featured Guide Bob Borgwat
Featured Rod Builder Gary Lacey
FEATURES 198 North Carolina’s Delayed Harvest 208 ** 214
Whit River Fihing Companion Winterizing Fly Tackle How You Can Beat Winter Blues
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The South River Fly Fishing Expo, hosted by Destination Downtown Waynesboro, will be held on the banks of the South River Delayed Harvest Area. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and learn from fly fishing professionals, including our featured presenters, and many local and regional guides and fly fishing retailers. The South River Delayed Harvest area is one of the best fly fishing destinations in Virginia, and great fly fishing for Brown and Rainbow Trout is only steps away from the Expo area.
Parrott Orthodontics Blue Ridge Oral Surgery Village Garden Center
Weekend of April 23rd & 24th 9:00 am - 5:00 pm both days $12.00 admission at the door Under 16 yrs. FREE Pre-order tickets at: www.southriverexpo.org
$10.00 per day or $18.00 for the weekend
Constitution Park, Waynesboro, VA Presenters Stu Apte
IGFA Hall of Famer, fly rod world record holder, and Tycoon Tackle Prostaff. Author of: Stu Apteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fly Fishing in the Florida Keys, OfWind and Tides, and My Life in Fly Fishing.
Tycoon Tackle Pro Staff, well-known Smallmouth guide and fly designer. Chuckâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CK Baitfish, Clawdad, Kreelex, and CK nymphs are well known to anglers and he has guided thousands of anglers on Virginia, Montana, and Chilean waters.
Spends nearly 200 days a year guiding in Colorado. He is Southwest Field Editor of Fly Fisherman Magazine and author of: Colorado Guide Flies, Tying and Fishing Tailwater Flies, Fly Fishing Tailwaters, and A Fly Fishers Guide to the South Platte River.
Owner of Midwest Spey and is a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor. Will has been teaching Single Hand and Spey casting since 1998 and is a Spey Guide for Steelhead Alley Outfitters.
Of Steelhead Alley Outfitters has been fishing and guiding for Great Lakes Steelhead for over 20 years. Greg is an innovative fly designer and the author of Fusion Fly Tying.
Captain Matt Miles owns Matt Miles Fly Fishing. He has been guiding for over 17 years in Virginia and Colorado. Matt is also very active in the Skyline Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
STRIPPING GUARDS Bob Mallard
f you do a lot of streamer fishing, or stillwater fishing with a wet line, you know what so-called “line-burn” and “line-cuts” are. Even you dry-fly purists suffer from these sports injuries from time to time—usually as a result of a being a tad behind the strike and trying to make up for it by speeding up your set, which doesn’t work just as often as it does work.
I do both—streamer fishing and stillwater wet lining--and lots of each. In both cases, I strip line repeatedly across my forefinger for what is often hours at a time— and up to eight hours straight if I can weasel my way into the front of a driftboat on the right river. I stand in a canoe or sit in a float tube for hours inching line across my finger as if I am deliberately and meticulously trying to saw it off. The longer you fly fish, the more evident line injuries become, leaving calluses and odd looking lumps on the top of your forefinger that look like minor deformities. The top of my right forefinger has an odd hump just upstream of my knuckle. It has been there for years and goes up and down as the season progresses and then winds back down again. By mid spring each year, it is usually worn through and bleeding. At some point each season I am forced to don a band-aid to keep from bleeding all over my clothes.
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Buff Pro Series Stripping Guard
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gearhead Sometimes line-burn or line-cuts are the result of simple repetition—others a single overly aggressive strip, set, or stripset. In all cases, the result is the same—skin burnt smooth, or worse, actually cut through. Often line-burnt skin cracks, leaving an open wound. Cracked and cut skin leads to that painful sensation one gets when sensitive skin comes in contact with fly floatant, drying powder, hot coffee, chew spit—or worse; salt, lemon or lime used in the construction of an after fishing cocktail. Then there is the subsequent line stripping that further irritates the now weakened, sensitive, or cut skin. And once it cuts or cracks— the excruciating pain that results when tippet enters an open wound… Stripping guards have become significantly more important with the advent of textured lines—especially those with scales and divots, and to a lesser degree, those with peaks and valleys that run the length of the line. Products like Scientific Anglers’ Sharkskin, Sharkwave, and Textured series— Innovations while wonderfully effective--are especially abrasive, while products such as Airflo’s Ridge lines are also a bit on the rough side.
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gearhead Many of today’s wet lines are also a tad more abrasive than they used to be. This is due to the inclusion of things like tungsten shards in the coating that are used to create variable density in order to make lines sink tip first as opposed to belly first. I knew something had changed about wet lines when my customers, many of who were diehard wet liners, started bringing in rods with guides that had been sawed clean through and others that showed serious wear. Stripping guards come in two primary forms: finger guards and gloves. Most, but not all, of the gloves are of the fingerless variety. However, there are a few out there that are full fingered—some of which have folddown finger tips. Some also clean your line as you strip—some do not. Finger guards come individually or together as a sewn pair. Those that come individually are sold in pairs—and in some cases three per pack. Some are simple single-material sleeves; some have added padding or reinforcement. Some come in multiple sizes—some do not. They are sold by companies such as Buff (www. buffusa.com) and Alpine Innovations (www.alpineproducts.com). They go by names such as Pro Series Stripping Guards and Stripee. They are made of materials such as LYCRA and neoprene—and reinforced with felt or some other material. Most sell for under $10.
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Not all fishing gloves act as stripping guards— many are just that, gloves. Some are designed solely to keep your hands warm. Others are intended to protect your hands from the harmful rays of the sun. This is never a bad idea as skin cancer is deadly and cumulative. But, some gloves blend warmth, UV protection, and stripping guard functionality. Gloves that do act as stripping guard always come in pairs—at least all the products I am aware of. Some snap together for storage—some do not. They come in different sizes. All have some sort of reinforcement where the line makes contact with the glove--aquatic suede, synthetic felt, and waterproof goat leather.
Simms Solarflex Guide Glove Fingerless versions come in full or partial coverage—some having open palms. They are sold by companies such as Buff and Simms (www.simmsfishing. com). They go by names such as Pro Series Angler 2 Gloves, Solarflex Sunglove, and Solarflex Guide Glove. They are usually quick drying, stretchy, and UV blocking. Most sell for under $50—and many for under $30. They are made of nylon, polyurethane, and polyester.
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gearhead Simms makes a full finger glove with builtin stripping guards. It is called the Exstream Flex Glove and sells for $59.95. The thumb, forefinger and greeting finger fold back, and Velcro out of the way, to expose the respective digits. These gloves provide both thermal and wind protection. They are made from Polartec Powershield Pro waterresistant stretch fleece.
Simms Solarflex Sunglove
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Pros: Stripping guards protect your fingers from line-burn and line cuts. Glove style products provide UV protection as wellâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and by default, protection from
biting insects that often hone in on the vein-rich and poorly protected tops of your hands. They help keep your line free of contaminants while removing some of the excess moisture. They can even be used to help straighten your line or leader. They are compact and light, and finger guard style products are quite affordable.
Buff Pro Series Angler 2 Glove
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Cons: Fingerless glove style stripping guards can be a bit expensive at $30
to $50. At $60 dollars, full-finger models are not what you would call “cheap.” Some models can cut off circulation causing numbness. Others can wear out fairly quickly. Some others do not provide enough reinforcement—at least where it needs to be. Specifically, some fall just short of where your line makes contact with your skin—but your finger length certainly plays a role here.
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Stripping Guard Do’s and Don’ts •Always try on stripping guards before you buy them. Make sure they are easy to get on and off. Open and close your hand to make sure that they allow for a full range of movement—and don’t pinch your skin or cut off your circulation. Make a tight fist around something that resembles a rod grip to make sure there is no material bunching that could cause discomfort. Strip something across them where you would normally strip your line and make sure you are making contact with whatever padding or reinforcement is provided. •Always try to remove stripping guards the same way that went on, only backed off instead of put on. Do not roll them off so that they end up inside out—this can cause seam stress. Conclusion: Anyone who strips streamers or rips wet lines should have some sort of stripping guard. I keep one in every vest, chestpack, and gear bag I own. In fact, I rarely fish without one, and the few times I do, I regret it.
BOB MALLARD has fly fished for over 35 years. He is a blogger, writer and author; and has owned and operated Kennebec River Outfitters in Madison, Maine since 2001. His writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines at the local, regional and national levels. He has appeared on radio and television. Look for his books from Stonefly Press, 50 Best Places Fly Fishing the Northeast (Now Available), 25 Best Towns Fly Fishing for Trout (Spring 2015) and 50 Best Places Fly Fishing for Brook Trout (2016). Bob is also a fly designer for Catch Fly Fishing as well as the northeast sales rep for both Stonefly Press and Catch Fly Fishing. Bob can be reached at www.kennebecriveroutfitters.com, www.bobmallard.com, info@ bobmallard.com or 207-474-2500.
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Features twenty-five of the best towns in America to fly fish for trout. From historic Rangeley, Maine to modern Bend, Oregon. From quaint Grayling,Amadou Michigan(Courtesy to bustling Park City, Utah. Includes Asheville, North Carolina and Cotter, Arkansas. of Kenneth Nelson, Signed first-edition copies are available from www.bobmallard.com Nelson Amadou) www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 19
Is Swain County NC a Fisherman’s Parad Hundreds of miles of native mountain trout streams flow
through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park above Bryson City and Cherokee — freestone creeks with native rainbow, brook and brown trout. Most streams offer all three species.
Trout are also common in our four rivers – the Oconaluftee,
Great Smok Nation
Little Tennessee, the Eagle Chambers N Twentymile Hazel Creek Forney Creek Creek Creek Tuckasegee and the Creek Fontana Dam Fontana Nantahala, one of Fontana Cheoah Lake Lake Lake Lewellyn Trout Unlimited’s top Fontan Branch Fontana 129 Lake Boat Village A 100 rivers. And now, a 2.2 Cable Ramp Marina Boa Cove 28N Boat mile section of the Tuck Ramp Al Lemmons Boa Branch through Bryson City has Boat Ramp Stecoah 143 been designated delayed 19 Wesser 74 Needm harvest waters, and Road For more information, Nantahala River promises to have one of contact the Bryson City / the highest trout counts Swain County Chamber of Wayah Road (NC 1310) of any stream in the Commerce 800-867-9246. Upper Nantahala southeast. River Public Access
rn on at Weste g in o g is g “Three ay “Somethin Lake that m rivers j a n ta n o F ’s ust ou na li ro a C p h o rt o tside A p N uth ular na o S e th in merica g in t h i s o fi t n u al park ’s most t r o to u a just send tro e t, suite are tee d id o o g a e b d t ming w for bot t migh angler ith h wad into orbit ...I n o s ry s B , in i a ng and y nd sur ta s to e c la p r floatin ounde best sc book you a g d by so ep in enery le s to e v a h m i ’t n n o e S d u o o f the uthern City so yo ber.” Appala If you h m e v o N in chia. ere aven’t fished your truck th produ t he qua ctive r int and ivers o Carolin f W e stern N a, you orth don’t k missin now w g.” hat yo u’re
Upper Raven Fork
ky Mountains nal Park
Raven Fork Trophy Section
Old 288 na Boat Ramp e Public Access Alarka at Dock Alarka Creek lmond at Park Alarka Road
28S Little Tennessee River
Whittier Whittier Boat Ramp
EBCI Hatchery Big Cove Road
441 Tuckasegee River
Heintooga Ridge Road
Blue Ridge Parkway Cherokee Indian Cherokee Reservation
441 Clingmans Dome
You be the Judge.
Straight Fork Road
Bradley Chasteen Kephart Fork Creek Prong
74 Conleys Creek Road
Visit GreatSmokiesFishing.com for profiles of all 26 Swain County fishing locations on this map. All are just minutes from Bryson City, NC.
Two mountain lakes The 30 miles of trout offer trout fishing streams on the The 29-mile long, Cherokee Indian 11,700 acre Fontana Reservation are the Lake and its smaller downstream neighbor Cheoah Lake both have strong populations of trout, particularly near the mouths of streams flowing out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cheoah is regularly stocked by the State of North Carolina.
longest privately-owned and stocked fishing waters east of the Mississippi. The 2.2mile Raven Fork Trophy section is home to the biggest trout in the Smokies. This specially regulated section is fly fishing only and catch and release.
new fly guy
Forceps for Quick Knots
efore becoming a fly angler, spin fishers only needed to know how to tie a Palomar knot. It worked great whether tying on a hook, swivel or crankbait. Fly fishing … a different story. Just looking beyond the end of the fly line, the fly angler has to figure out how to attach leader to the fly line, add tippet to leader and finally tie on a fly sporting a hook eye far too small for the comfortably familiar Palomar knot – all complicated by stubby fingers and aging eyes. Don’t panic! Forceps provide the needed edge for speed! Every fly change subtracts from the length of the leader, quickly turning a nine-foot leader into a stiff stub. To extend its life, splice on tippet to replace the length used up over multiple fly changes. The best and easiest knot to use is the Surgeons Knot. Using fingers, this can be awkwardly time-consuming. Grab forceps and create the connection in a few seconds!
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new fly guy
Surgeons Knot Steps:
Form a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Uâ&#x20AC;? with the leader and new tippet. Insert forceps. In this case, the existing leader is yellow and the new tippet is orange.
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new fly guy
the forceps three times while holding the top of the “U.”
Grab the short end of the existing leader and the new tippet. 26 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
new fly guy
Pull through the loop.
Push the forceps into the loop created by the tippet and pull to the right using the forceps to finish threading the tippet through the loop. . www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 27
new fly guy
Once the spliced tippet is clear of the knot, wet it, grab all four ends At the business end, it’s time to tie on a fly; forcing a choice from an almost infinite number of line to hook knot options. Want to start an argument? Ask experienced anglers which knot they prefer! In the end, as Phil Monahan wrote on Orvis.com, correctly tying the knot you learn is more important than the knot you select. Consistency matters! Tying a decent knot perfectly every time is better than tying the “best” knot poorly. As a new fly angler, ignore the complexities and follow Phil’s recommendation to use the tried and true clinch knot since it is fast and easy to tie using forceps and typically delivers a decent percent of line strength before breaking. Ok… just to make the point on breaking strength, I saw test results for a 6X tippet with a nominal strength of 3.5 pounds. The highly regarded Palomar knot broke at 2.85 pounds and the clinch separated at 2.4 pounds: 81% and 69% respectively. The improved clinch knot bumps the breaking point up to 2.5 pounds/71% and the best knot tested, the Trilene knot, broke at 2.86 pounds/82%. Conclusions? First, even a casual search finds multiple claims the Palomar breaks at 95%; demonstrating all tests are situational and depend on how they were conducted. Second, tests are done in a sterile, controlled, dryland situation, not on a stream where current, abrasion and random, desperate tugs come into play. Finally, who cares if the 6X breaks at 2.85 versus 2.4 pounds… it is insignificant in practice where jerks and pulls probably exceed the difference. If concerned, bump up to 5X (rated at 4.5 pounds) since Orvis confirms 5X performs well for smaller flies down to size 18 and, using the same percentage (69%), the 5X clinch knot breaks at 3.3 pounds. 28 l February December2016 2015l lSouthern SouthernTrout Troutl lwww.SouthernTrout.com www.SouthernTrout.com
Clinch Knot Steps:
new fly guy
Thread the tippet through the eye of the hook and form a “U.” Insert the forceps into the “U.”
Twist the forceps 5 or 6 times to wind the tag end around the running end.
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new fly guy
Grab the tag end with the forceps and pull through the hook eye loop.
Wet the knot and tighten.
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new fly guy
Grab the tag end with the forceps and pull through the hook eye loop.
Kreh Loop Steps:
Make an overhand knot and thread.
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new fly guy
Run the tag end back through the overhand knot.
Insert the forceps into the overhand knot. 32 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
new fly guy
Twist the forceps four or five times to wrap the tag end around the running line.
This looks like a mess, but it will work. Grab the tag end with forceps and pull back through. Massage the knot down while pulling.
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new fly guy
Pull gently on both ends to close the overhand knot. Wet and cinch down. You can adjust the size of the loop with a little practice. Forceps eliminate the poking, prodding, squinting and foul language usually involved in tying invisible tippet to a microscopic fly. After practicing a few times, adding tippet or swapping flies takes seconds instead of minutes. Given the obvious truth that to catch fish, the fly has to be on the water instead of in your hand, quicker knots equals streamside happiness. The Kayak Hacks and CatchGuide Fishing Books YouTube channel (tinyurl.com/ catchguide) has videos aligned with the New Fly Guy articles for each issue of the magazine. To see video demonstrations on how to tie these as well as a few other basic knots, visit the channel. Look for the playlist tagged to this issue.
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new fly guy
Two more points on stream stealth. First, a brightly colored, shiny rod may attract attention flashing in the sun. If you have a choice, choose a dull brown or green to mimic a tree branch blowing in the breeze. Second, all the effort at camouflage is for naught if you cannot approach the pool quietly. A pair of kneepads shields knees from jagged rocks and make it much easier to stay low. Dressing for fishing success is all about blending in. While, as Whitefish Eddie discovered, it may not be important on a large river where the angler generally fishes upstream, it is absolutely critical when stalking cautious brookies on small water.
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Troutprostore.com The most realistic flies Perfect Fly brand fly rods Fly fishing DVD's Fly fishing accessories Hatch charts Trout fishing destinations Online trout fishing “classes” Blogs Facebook, Twitter, Youtube Troutprostore.com offers you everything you need to fish smarter! “The stone flies you sent me are the best imitation I have ever bought anywhere... I'll be back." (D.W., speaking of our Perfect Fly Giant Black Stonefly Nymphs)
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black wing olive chronicles
I Ain’t No Be
ecently while accompanying Daddyboy to the likker store, we ran into one of his old cronies. The well-weathered chap was surprisingly cordial, at least until he asked Daddyboy if he still hunted bears. The Old Fart said, “No,” adding, “Ah jest ain’t mad at em anymore.” You’d think that would be the sort of response that would detour the conversation to a subject that still is of interest to Daddyboy, such as politics or religion, both which no one in the right mind agrees with him about. Noppers. Although, that was not enough for his crusty old pal who quipped, “Didn’t much think so, cause that dog of yours looks like it ain’t smart enough to figure out which end of a bear bites.” My nose became branding iron hot as I eyed that son of a barber (or butcher or whatever cut of bipod—you all look the same to me). First, I have never aspired to be a bird dog, much less a bear or a bar dog. I prefer Frisbees and tennis balls to fetching freshly shot webbed feet. Therefore, I care much less about running over hill or dale to “mix it up” with what one can only expect to be an agitated bear. Much to my discomfort, over the years I have seen Mommygirl endure Daddyboy tell about his hunting exploits when his life goal was to kill 100 bears. His only explanation for this half-witted life goal was so Mommygirl could have engraved on his headstone, “He killed 100 bears.” Everyone was glad when he abandoned his bruin crusade after killed 23 of these animals. Over the years of hearing the same stories over and over, I did learn the difference in a bear dog and bar dog. Bear dogs are breed and fed so they can go on suicide missions against bears. Bar dogs are hounds obtained under the pretense that they will be employed to hunt at night for coons and possums. The real motive on the part of the bipod taking ownership of a bar dog is--you’re not going to believe this--to allow the owner to tell his trusting spouse he going out at night to hunt when in reality the dog accompanies him to some shady dive. While the owner of the bar dog is inside doing many things that are likely to result in his divorce, the hapless bar dog is tied up outside of the honky-tonk. What a way to live, eh? Of course while a bar dog’s life expectancy is relatively short, they stand a better chance of making it to say ten years old than does a bear dog.
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black wing olive chronicles
Olive K. Nynne
It’s not by accident that owners of Plotts and Walkers who hunt bear carry needles and thread to sew up their wounded canine companions. Although Daddyboy never actually owned a bear dog, as one might imagine, he is fascinated by these “live fast, die young” four-legged warriors. I’m probably going to regret sharing with you a couple of his bear dog stories, which at best are mildly disturbing. One story he delights in telling is a trip where he hooked boys of the Crazy Gap Hunting Club in east Tennessee’s Cocke County. The loosely organized horde of about 50 hillbillies was hunting on the Tennessee side of Max Patch. While walking beside the dozens of pickup truck lining a gravel mountain road, he came upon a brace of Plott hounds chained in the back of a truck. The hounds were raising hell to be released to join the strike dogs. One veteran Plott sported inchwide wood slats that were screwed to the top and bottom of his muzzle on both side of its head. It appeared these pieces of wood had been a part of the dog for a long time. The owner approached the howling hounds and told them to “Shut up!” They ignored him. He then walked to the ditch where he snapped off a willowy raspberry shoot. He proceeded to smack the shoot on the top of the truck. Immediately the hounds cowered away from their master. Always nosy, Daddyboy asked the man about wooden splints on the mouth of one of the hounds. The man responded, “Aw last year that dumb pot licker let a corned bear chomp down on his snout.” It tickled Daddyboy that a hound that would go headlong into a enraged bruin and then cower when its master welded only a switch. There are more stories like this one that are equally disturbing, but from which I will spare you, at least for now. Noppers, I ain’t no damned bear or bar dog, and never wanted to be either. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 39
fishhunter adventures in cuisine
CAMP COFFEE BEEF STEW
When the “usual suspects” head to the mountains for a cabin-fever winter fishing trip, I’m generally the designated cook. On a recent trip, JW said he had a special recipe he wanted to fix for supper that he thought we would enjoy. So JW was put in charge of our Saturday night meal. The recipe had been passed down to him by an “old timer” at his hunting camp who usually served it with sourdough bisquits. JW said the “old-timer” didn’t like to waste anything and he saved the coffee from breakfast for his stew recipe. JW served Sister Shubert’s® Dinner Rolls with the stew. Serves 4
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fishhunter adventures in cuisine
INGREDIENTS 2-3 lb. beef roast cut into bite-size pieces. Venison or elk is tasty also. 4 carrots cut into pieces 3 medium russet potatoes cut into bite-size pieces. 1 onion diced 1 tbs. garlic powder 1 Â˝ cups black coffee 1 Â˝ cups red wine 2 bay leaves Salt and pepper to taste Pinch of red pepper flakes INSTRUCTIONS Place the beef along with the other ingredients in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours.
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fly rod review
etting started at fly fishing for trout in the south does not require a $500 fly rod and $200 fly reel. Those are pretty steep costs for those entering the sport, or for someone wanting to get a son, daughter or grandchild into fly fishing. If you are faced with this challenge, investigate the affordable, high quality Shakespeare Wild Series Fly Combo. At a MSR price of $69.99, the new ShakespeareÂŽ Wild Series is an exciting all new premium line that is available in two different weights that are tailored for fly fishing. One of the oldest names in American-made fly fishing tackle, the Shakespeare Company, was founded in the 1890s by William Henry Shakespeare, Jr. Born in 1869 in Kalamazoo Michigan, he was the son of William H. Shakespeare, Michigan's youngest soldier to fight in the Civil War. Few of modern era fly fishermen are aware that the Shakespeare Company name and trademark were at one time associated with products of the finest obtainable quality. The Shakespeare Company has always produced tackle with Everyman in mind, the company has also produced the highest quality tackle available at the time. Their line was broad including everything from jeweled casting reels and the beautiful "Miller Autocrat" big game salt-water reel, to wide range of split cane bamboo fly rods.
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fly rod review
e’s Wild Series Combo
—Just Add Water www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 47
fly rod review During World War I, The Shakespeare Company factory was converted to manufacture mortar fuses and automobile carburetors. During World War II the company had contracts to build controls for aircraft, tanks, and jeeps. Just prior to that in 1939, William Shakespeare Jr. invented the "Backlash" Brake and made it available in his new Wondereel, one of the most popular reels to ever hit the fishing tackle market. Bamboo fly rod making at Shakespeare began in 1920. Mr. Shakespeare bought three bamboo flyrods which were the finest available American rods of the times and sought to combine the best features of each of these rods into a composite fly rod. His bamboo fly rods were of 3-piece design that had serrated and blued nickel-silver ferrules, an agate stripping guide, and a polished aluminum and walnut reel seat. It had a swell of the bamboo above the grip, and delicate gold silk windings. Back in the 1980s when I chased after antique fishing tackle, I acquired a number of old Shakespeare cane fly rods as well as those made by South Bend, Heddon and Granger. Shakespeare’s 9-ft Double Built Superba Fly Rods (1936) and 6 ½-ft B Diana Fly Rods (1931) are two of my personal favorite estate sale finds. Although heavy by modern standards, these old cane rods cast gracefully and are very forgiving.
In the 1950s when Tonkin bamboo could not be imported from China, Shakespeare’s Wonderod "Tubular Glass" Fly Rods lead the way. Many fly rods still have and fish with these slow casting work horses. Modern day Shakespeare is based out of Columbia, South Carolina, and is part of the mega-tackle company Pure Fishing. It departed from Kalamazoo in the late 1940s when the Steelworkers’ Union declared a strike against the Shakespeare Company which didn't recognize the Union. Subsequently, all employees were invited back to work. Four weeks later picketers clashed with "scab" employees on October 11th at the entrance gate. Then later, a mob of 300 attacked the factory and wrecked it.
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fly rod review
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fly rod review Shakespeareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Wild 5 Weight rod is great for southern mountain trout. Their Wild 8 Weight rod is perfect for bigger waters. While incredibly priced, it is better than 90 percent of the fly rods made in the late 1980s and 1990s that carried price tags in the $150 to $300 range. The first time we cast this rod, we were very impressed with its speed and accuracy. The Wild series uses a sensitive IM6 graphite rod that is durable for all different types of fishing scenarios you will encounter while out on the water. IM6 graphic began the modern fly rod revolution, and while there are now IM7, IM8, IM6 is still regarded as the best and most versatile of them all. Graphite in fly rods is rated by "Modulus of Elasticity," referring to the relationship between stress and strain. It usually defines the stiffness to weight ratio of the fibers used to construct the rod blank. Generally speaking, the higher the modulus of the fiber used to make the blank, the lighter the resulting blank can be for any given stiffness. A graphite fiber called IM6 pretty much revolutionized the industry. With IM6, there was a high modulus, high strain rate graphite that made it possible to produce a lighter, more sensitive rod.
The modulus of graphite used in rods keeps getting higher and higher, making for more sensitive, lighter and more efficient rods. With that comes a tradeoff. There is no doubt that the higher the modulus rod, the easier it is to break and the less abuse that it can take. Graphite in of itself is very strong and the increasingly high modulus of top end graphite enables rod blanks to become lighter and more sensitive due to the ability to make blanks with thinner walls. Of course, the downside to this is they are much more susceptible to angler abuse. The thin walls just cannot stand up to rough handling and being banged around. The type of fishing that you do and the way that you treat your equipment should determine your rod choice, not hype or status. Durability is one of the key advantages we found with the Shakespeare Wild fly rods.
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fly rod review The Shakespeare Wild fly rods combo come with a pre-lined, Wild Series single action fly reel that has convertible left/right retrieve; on/off clicking drag system; rim control spool; and a smooth drag system. The Wild Series combos deliver exceptional quality giving you every chance to land trout on tailwater and mountain waters. All you have to do is add water.
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fly of the month
Coffey Stone Fly Numph
offeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Stonefly Nymph is a Tar Heel State Carolina original that is an tried-andtrue trout taker in late winter and early spring. It was developed by the legendary late Frank Coffey of Haywood County, North Carolina. The material Coffey used for the body of his flies came from the Dayco plant in Waynesville that began operation in 1941. The factory made synthetic rubber products. The Dayco rubber plant shut down in the mid-1990s, laying off more than 1,000 workers. In 2008 the plant was bulldozed to make way for the Super Walmart shopping complex. Coffey was the first to see the value of the syndetic rubber for tying flies. The material he used came in a sleeve about 3-inches wide that was cut into thin strips. It came in two colors, one was a dark color, kind of a purple/black type color, and the other was a medium tan color. The locals who knew the fly pattern well and really relied on it, always called the pattern stone creepers. Frank was one of several great tiers from Haywood Co. People like him and Bennie Craig, Ralph Mills, Verlin Evens, and Charlie Messer have a lot to do with my knowledge of some of the old time Smoky Mountain fly patterns. If you ever get an opportunity to obtain some of the original tan material from the Dayco plant, by all means jump on it.
Hook: 3399A Mustad Thread: Black Body: Brown Latex Front & Rear Feelers: Natural gray goose biots 52 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
Roger Lowe's Fly Pattern Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains (8.5x11 inches, 40 pages, soft cover/full color is a perfect companion to Lowe's other book "Smoky Mountain Fly Patterns". If you are wanting to have color pictures and recipes for traditional Smoky Mountain fly patterns this book is a must have. It contains photos and recipes for 101 flies. Included are such flies as the Yellow Hammer (Yellarhammer), Thunderhead, Teillico Nymph, Tennessee Wulff and many others. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 53
new product review
Best Damn Sung
f you opened the bottom drawer on my desk, you’d see well in excess of three dozen pairs of sunglasses. No, I am not a sunglasses collector, or even a sunglasses hoarder. I do regard myself as a connoisseur tinted eyewear. Over the last four decades I have owned and lost enough sunglasses to put shades on the entire Swedish army. Some of these sunglasses were cheap and cheesy—capable of literally sucking your eyes out of your head at the end of a day of fishing. Other sunglasses melted onto your face so perfectly that you never wanted to take them off. To use a Clint Eastwood term, I had “the good, bad and the ugly.”
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new product review
glasses - Ever!! www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 55
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situational fly fishing
Reading Wa Ron Gaddy
eading water to a fly fisher simply means trying to determine where trout are holding or feeding by studying the water depth, water flow, water level, obstructions in the water, water temperature and water color. This aspect of fly fishing is not a perfect science due to all the variables, but if you have good idea of where the fish are, you can certainly increase your productivity. You can waste a lot of time fishing un-productive water. 64 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
in the great smoky mountain national park
ater Rex Wilson
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situational fly fishing
Long sections of shallow, flat and very slow moving water is very difficult to fish. Flats do not hold fish very well since the current is not fast enough to suspend any food items. When trout do move into a flat itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s normally to take advantage of a good hatch, feed on bait fish, or to catch some sun in the winter. If there are trout in the flats they can see you a mile away. I normally walk past the flats but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m always looking for a feeding trout. Sight fishing, pulling streamers, or fishing on top might be your best bet for the flats. 66 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
in the great smoky mountain national park Rising Fish
If you find trout rising to a good hatch then you won’t have to worry much about reading water, the trout will show you where they are feeding. On larger rivers and tail waters trout seem to pod up when they are feeding on top. In this situation all you have to do then is match the hatch and you are in business. On smaller streams the options are scarce, so drifting your fly through every inch of water deep enough to hold a fish may be the best option. If you are in the nymphing business then trying to understand what’s going on under the water can be quite challenging.
I always look at the water flow before I even rig up my fly rod. The water levels always dictate what my rig will look like. I normally use the high sticking method with two heavy nymphs unless the water is low and clear. Higher faster water means you can get closer to the fish without spooking as many as opposed to fishing low and clear water. For the low and clear water I would fish a couple of dry flies, or a dry dropper. If you are spooking fish up while wading then putting some distance in your cast will increase your production. You can get away with making a lot of mistakes while fly fishing and still catch fish, but once a wild trout sees you, its game over.
There is terminology to identify different flows of water as a form of communication between fly fishers. Smoky Mountain streams are very dynamic and most of the time it’s hard to put a name of what kind of flow it is, or it could be a combination of water types. Also the terminology may differ from one fly fisher to another. What you call it is not as important as knowing where the fish are. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 67
situational fly fishing Water Color
Stained water that runs through farmland and urban areas can be very forgiving as trout can only see a short distance in the water. In stained water you will spook less fish and the low water visibility gives a trout less time to inspect your fly. Very clear water might be a good time to pull out your dry fly box. When fishing clear water you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to cover the water as much as stained water. A fly drifted through a clear run a couple of times will be enough for every trout in the run to have a look. When fishing stained or dingy water caused from a little rain you may need to drift your fly every one to two feet for every trout to have a look. Water color is also an important consideration in determining your fly fishing technique
Targeting seams can be very effective. Trout will avoid fighting the faster current but since the faster water will suspend more food, they will hunker down in the slower water to conserve energy near the faster current. As their prospective food source drifts by they are able to swing out to the faster water
You will find plunge pools on smaller streams with steeper grades where the water seems to drop from one hole or pool to another. Plunge pools can be very productive, but hard to fish. The water drops in fast and then slows down fast when 68 l February December2016 2015l lSouthern SouthernTrout Troutl lwww.SouthernTrout.com www.SouthernTrout.com
in the great smoky mountain national park
it hits the hole. Trout will be waiting right outside the fast water waiting for food. Since the water slows down fast as it enters the hole, trout have time to inspect your fly. When you feel the bump in a plunge pool that normally means your nymph has already been expelled. Normally Dry flies or dry droppers are the way to go in plunge pools. www.SouthernTrout.com www.SouthernTrout.coml Southern l Southern Trout Troutl January l March 2016 l 69
situational fly fishing
Trout are drawn to obstructions in the stream for safe haven. Jetting rocks, logs, or cut banks provide good hiding places for trout, especially brown trout. Eagles, hawks, osprey, herons, are always hunting fish from above and otters from inside the water column. Trout will venture out into the feeding lanes when they get hungry, but they had much rather lay under a log and feed if possible. Keep in mind the bigger fish get first dibs on the hiding places, so donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t over look these obstructions when stalking trout. 70 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
in the great smoky mountain national park Pocket Water
Sections of streams considered to be pocket water can produce a lot of good fish. You may be able to cast to four or five good trout holding pockets without even having to move. Normally the fish are not as big as fishing a deep run or hole, but pocket water is some good trout holding water.
Factoring the water temperature into your water reading is a must. Trout will migrate to different areas of the river or stream depending on the water temperature. When the water is warm and less oxygenated trout will move into faster water that is more oxygenated. When the water is cold during the winter and there is less food, the trout metabolism will slow down to a survival mode and they tend to move into the slower water to conserve energy. Trout will also migrate to areas in the stream that will get more sun. This happens because there is more insect activity in the sun and a place where they can catch a break from the cold water. Normally in the winter months I will skip the shade and fish the slower water in the sun. When fishing in the warmer months look for smaller confluences such as branches and springs that brings a nice shot of cold water to the stream or river. Trout will pod up at these confluences and can result in some phenomenal fishing in the warmer months. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 71
situational fly fishing Holes
The very deep and wide slow moving water is what fly fishers call pools, or as we hillbillies prefer to call them, holes. The head of the hole is where the fast moving water meets slower moving deep water making for the perfect feeding station for big trout. Faster water brings food items into the hole and trout will lay right where the water slows down enough to drop the food items right in front of them. This is the most productive part of any stream any time of the year. The lower end of the hole where water flows out is called the tail out. A good tail out is where the water channels out through a narrow section and bringing all the trout food along with it. Big brown trout love these tail outs as a feeding station. Other sections of a hole would be the belly of the hole, that is the mid section, and the sides of the hole could include an eddy or two which is just a slow area behind a rock or obstruction.
Riffle water is less dynamic, faster water, ankle to shin deep flowing through a steeper grade in the stream bed. There will be smaller fish in the riffle water behind rocks and obstructions, but I normally walk past the riffle water, since I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t care to catch smaller trout. 72 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
in the great smoky mountain national park
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situational fly fishing
Medium velocity deep runs are very productive most any time of the year. Runs are like holes but with a little faster current. You should fish through the entire run. During the summer you will most likely be more productive fishing the head of the run, or the faster 74 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
in the great smoky mountain national park
section of the run and in colder months the slower water. Deep runs and the head of the holes may hold more and bigger fish than any other part of the stream. Fish Responsibly!!
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Jackson, New Hampshire Bob Mallard Photos by Diana Mallard
I think it’s quite appropriate that the first destination covered in my new Other Trout column in Southern Trout shares its name with one of the south’s favorite sons—General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson.
ackson, New Hampshire is located in Carroll County in the north central part of the state. It has a year-round population of less than 1,000—which bumps up in the summer and winter when people flock to the area for recreation and relaxation. The town covers an area of approximately 70 square miles. Its highest point, Wildcat Ridge on the north end of town, is 3870 feet above sea level. This tiny hamlet located in the heart of the White Mountains in New Hampshire is surrounded by, and in parts within, the White Mountain National Forest. It boasts a couple of classic New England Inns, several quaint Bed & Breakfasts, a couple of golf courses, several restaurants, an alpine ski area, a Nordic ski area, and a few small specialty retail stores. It is less than a half an hour away from bustling North Conway, a town unmatched in the region for its services and recreation infrastructure. 78 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
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other trout Once known as Madbury, Jackson was originally created from several large land grants. A new road through once impassible rugged Pinkham Notch allowed the area to be settled in the late 1770’s. In 1800, it was renamed Adams, in honor of then President John Adams. In 1829, it was renamed again—this time for new president Andrew Jackson. Starting in the mid 1800’s, artists from the White Mountain School came to Jackson to paint the scenic beauty. In 1858 the Jackson Falls House was built. The railroad made it as far as Bartlett just down the road by the early 1870s. Several hotels followed. Next was a casino and small hydroelectric plant. Jackson’s most recognizable landmark, Honeymoon Bridge, was built in 1876. This historic covered bridge has attracted tourists for generations. The towns most famous natural feature is Jackson Falls.
The area in and around Jackson is drained by two rivers--the Ellis and Wildcat. Each of these is home to trout. The former is a very well-known river, and home to just one of twelve fly fishing only sections in the state. The latter is lesser-known, but equally notable due it robust wild native brook trout fishery. The Ellis is a classic New England freestone river. It begins at approximately 4,600 feet above sea level near Tuckerman and Huntington ravines on Mount Washington—the highest point in New England. It runs roughly 17 miles, descending over 4,000 feet before its termination at the Saco River—another trout fishery of note. Its primary tributaries are the Cutler, New, and Wildcat rivers. In its upper reaches it cascades over sixty foot Glen Ellis Falls. The Ellis River is home to wild brook trout in its upper reaches; stocked brook trout and rainbow trout in its mid and lower sections, and the occasional brown trout
Set atop five acres at the confluence of the Ellis and Wildcat Rivers, RiverWood Inn is Jackson’s newest old Bed and Breakfast. When you finally tear yourself away from these rivers our Fly Barn is available for gear storage. We offer a variety of fly fishing packages. Visit RiverWood Inn and experience a luxury fly fishing getaway.
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near its confluence with the Saco River. Fish average 4-6” inches in the upper river, 8-10” in the middle river, and close to a foot in the lower river. Rainbows in the 16” range are always possible, and fish up to 20” are occasional caught. The Ellis River is open to fishing from January 1st through October 15th. However, the river is often unfishable until sometime in May due to ice and runoff. There is a fly fishing only section that begins at Honeymoon Bridge and ends at the train trestle just downstream of Route 302 in Glen. As a result of the many small mountain tributaries, the Ellis--especially the upper river—remains cold enough for trout throughout the summer. Fall fishing can be productive as well—and is the most beautiful time of year to be on the water. Trout can be caught on the Ellis using nymphs, dries, buggers, and streamers. Mayfly hatches occur sporadically, mostly
other trout early or late in the day. Caddis and stonefly hatches can be quite good and more consistent than mayflies. The one exception being the fall blue-winged olive hatch which can provide solid late season dry fly action. The Ellis is not an easy river to wade and felt or studded soles are a must. A wading staff is not a bad idea either. Standard trout tackle works on the middle and lower river. However, you may want a short light-line rod for the upper river. The Wildcat River is a diamond in the rough, and one of the highest potential wild brook trout streams in the region. While called a river, it is more like a stream— rarely getting beyond 20’ wide. In 1988 it received Wild & Scenic designation from the federal government. The Wildcat begins in Carter Notch and ends at the Ellis River as its largest tributary. Its primary tributaries are Wildcat Brook, Bog Brook, and Great Brook.
Float and Wade Trips For Beginners, Intermediates, and Experts We are full service and provide waders, rods, and reels upon request. firstname.lastname@example.org www.whitemountainflyfishing.com Phone: 603-835-3358
Within the Wildcat watershed there are nearly 14 miles of stream designated as Scenic under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This includes roughly 9 miles of the mainstem, 3 miles of Wildcat Brook, 1.5 miles of Bog Brook, and 1 mile of Great Brook. Another area, roughly a mile in and around Jackson Falls, was designated Recreational. The Wildcat River is also being looked at for Wild Trout management by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Recent surveys have confirmed what those of us who fish the river already knewâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;that it has a robust wild trout fishery in spite of being stocked and virtually unregulated. The current challenge is whether the powers that be will take the next step and stop stocking, while providing the necessary protection to ensure that the wild fish population is not exploited. The Wildcat is home to a mix of wild and stocked brook trout. The further upstream you go, the fewer stocked fish you will encounter. The occasional rainbow is caught near its confluence with the Ellis
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other trout River. Fish average 4-6” inches in the middle and upper river, and a bit larger between Jackson Falls and the Ellis. Regardless of origin—wild or stocked—a 10” fish is large, and a 12” a trophy. Like the Ellis, the Wildcat is open to fishing from January 1st through October 15th. Also like the Ellis, it is usually unfishable until sometime in May. As a result of its high-elevation origin, canopy, and small cold tributaries, the Wildcat remains cold enough for trout throughout the season. In the fall, the colorful streamside and canopy foliage make it a beautiful place to fish. And the brilliant spawning colors of the wild brook trout even more so. Trout can be caught on the Wildcat using nymphs, dries; and small buggers, and streamers. Hatches are stronger and more diverse that they are on the Ellis. Mayflies, caddis, stoneflies and midges are all present. Summer brings terrestrials due to the closeness of the woods, occasional meadows, and overhanging trees. Most of the river can be easily www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 85
waded in all but high-water periods. But the lower river can be a bit slippery and even pushy. The Wildcat is best fished with a short light-line rod due to its small size and the size of the fish. Jackson is the quintessential rural New England town. Complete with mountains, freestone streams, a waterfall, classic country inns, and a covered bridge; Jackson is what you expect to see when you think of interior northern New England towns. That it boasts two quality trout fisheries seals the deal. I think the good general would have enjoyed itâ&#x20AC;Ś 86 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
For additional information contact Nate Hill at Hill Country Guides: 508-498-1304, www.whitemountainflyfishing.com, or email@example.com www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 87
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loose loops and wind knots
Can You Many F
thought the day was starting out well, even though the thermometer said 20 degrees when I crawled from under the covers. I was excited about spending some time tying flies with the thought of warmer weather and dumb, hungry fish filling my head. After all, I was going to fish more this year. Always an optimist, every winter I am convinced I will fish more in the coming year. Every year, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. Still, I need to tie flies for the coming year. You have to be ready.
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loose loops and wind knots
Have Too Fly Rods? Craig Haney
Things were going well. I had finished tying a dozen size 16 Yellow Palmer’s and was going to start on some Elk Hair Caddis when my wife walked into the “Men’s Room.” No, not that room, but the one where I tie flies, read or watch fishing videos or football games. Twenty odd years ago, that is what I named “my” room. I had never heard the name “man cave” at the time and would not have called it that anyway.. I was half way through tying the caddis flies I needed when my wife came in the room to see what I was doing. Though she had never tied a fly, I’m sure she thought she could help me do it better with her advice. She is the helpful sort, it’s her nature. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 91
loose loops and wind knots Looking around the room, she noticed a small number of fly rod tubes standing in a corner. Also, there were a few in the closet, some by my tying desk and a couple on the small sofa. Evidently, she thought there were a lot of them because she said “Are all those tubes fly rods?” “Yes, they are,” I replied wishing they were all in their usual storage (hiding) places. “That seems like a lot of fly rods. Do you have too many of them?” my bride asked.
room. Before I could change the subject, she said “You’re an addict, you’re addicted to fly rods and fishing!” “No I’m not, I don’t go to meetings on Tuesday night and say my name is Craig and I’ve got too many fly rods,” I declared. “You don’t have to go to meetings and say you’re addicted to fly fishing to be addicted,” she said with a firm tone and a stern look. She had a point, I guess.
Thinking quickly and desperately, I said “it’s just a hobby. It is better than a “Of course not,” I replied, trying not to sound defensive. lot of hobbies I could have taken up.” “And what would “Fly fishing is a lot like golf, those be, Mr. Hobbyist,” she you need a lot of fly rods for said without a smile. “I could different situations like you take up playing cards,” I need a lot of golf clubs in offered. “A couple of decks of order to play the game. “Do you carry them in one of those cards and a bunch of poker chips is all I would need fancy bags like Mike carries for equipment. Then, there his golf clubs,” she asked. would not be all these fly rod “No” I replied, “I usually take tubes cluttering up the room. one or two when I fish locally I could have the guys over and more when I travel to a couple nights a month to fish.” She looked thoughtful, then said “it still seems like too play poker and you could fix supper for us. You’ve always many to me.” liked Greg, Bill, Steve and Clearly, this conversation was Wayne. It would be a lot of fun.” The look I got from Miss not going well. I needed her Lynn would peel paint off a cell phone to ring, a knock barn. on the door or the washing machine alarm to go off Like a drowning man trying because the load was out of to stay afloat, I quickly balance; anything to get her grasped for a life preserver. mind off the many rods in the
“OK sweetie, what if I took up being a sports fanatic? With so many sports bars around, I could meet the guys a couple of nights a week and watch football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf curling and rodeo,” trying to make the idea sound plausible. “Also, I would be very responsible about it. If I thought I had too much to drink, I could call you and you could come pick me up. We could get up early the next morning and get my car, go home, clean up and go to work.” There was definitely a lack of understanding or sympathy on my wife’s face. Without a word, she spun around, left the room and headed upstairs. I couldn’t have too many rods because if I did, then I would have too many fly reels. And too many fly lines, fly boxes, sling packs, lumbar packs chest packs and vests. All my gear filled a need so it must be a necessity. Surely, it was. The whole episode with my wife upset me so much I thought I’d leave and check out things at the fly shop to relax. They might have the new 8 ½ foot 6 weight fiberglass fly rod in stock, and I do have a twenty per-cent discount coupon from Orvis that is about to expire.
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loose loops and wind knots
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Eastern Fly Outfitters LLC is East Tennesseeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one stop
fly shop, outfitter and learning center for all things fly fishing.
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ouâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve probably admired the work of artist Robert Hines many times and not known who he was, or that he lived in Virginia. Known to his friends as Bob, had a long career with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. While he did a considerable number of works on fish, Hines was best known for this bird and waterfowl works, including the creation of the first Federal Waterfowl Hunting Stamp in 1946
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featured artist Born in Columbus, Ohio in 1912, Hines had no formal training in art nor in wildlife science. Hines began drawing around four years of age. After he graduated from high school at sixteen years of age, he taught himself taxidermy, which reinforced his knowledge of animal anatomy and movement. Despite a lack of training as an artist, in 1939 at the age of twentyseven Hines artist talent landed him the position of staff artist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Hines turned to his former high school art teacher for guidance, where in just four days, he learned enough about oil painting to serve him the remainder of his career. One of Hines’ first assignments was to compose “Under Ohio Skies,” a weekly feature that appeared in some 300 Ohio newspapers. He also illustrated and occasionally wrote an article for the Ohio Conservation bulletin, which in the 1940s had some 50,000 subscribers. A chance meeting with Frank Dufresne, who a short time later became the chief of information for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, lead to Hines’ debut as an illustrator of books with Dufresne’s “Alaska’s Animals and Fishes.” At about the same time, Hines submitted a drawing of redhead ducks which became the design for the 1946 Federal Duck Stamp. According to Hines, in the 1930s and ‘40s there were no great rewards for designing the Federal Duck Stamp — no big publicity and certainly no huge financial rewards. It was just the honor of doing it. He had to pay a dollar to purchase one of the Duck Stamps bearing his design for himself. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 99
featured artist Shortly thereafter Dufresne encouraged Hines to leave Ohio, move to the Washington, D.C. area, and join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). He illustrated many works for the USFWS, including Ducks at a Distance, Migration of Birds, Fifty Birds of Town and City, Wildlife Portrait Series (including Song Birds and Alaska). His illustrations were also used in such works as Wildlife in America by Peter Matthiessen, Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America (both the Bellrose edition and the new 2014 edition by Guy Baldassarre) and in Rachel Carson's Under the Sea Wind. Hines became involved with selection process of the annual Duck Stamp design. He was appalled at the casual, subjective nature of the process. Hines suggested a more formal contest with impartial judging. He went on to coordinate the annual competition for more than 30 years, earning him the title â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mr. Duck Stamp Contest.â&#x20AC;? 100 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
featured artist In the mid-1950s, Hines facilitated and then designed the first four U.S. postage stamps featuring American wildlife. A British philatelic poll named his 1957 tricolored whooping crane stamp one of the 10 best stamps in the world for that year. The press run of 500 million stamps in the series introduced the term “conservation” a decade before it entered the national lexicon. To celebrate the centennial of U.S. fisheries conservation in 1971, the Service released “Sport Fishing USA.” Hines’s 22 color plates portray the habits as well as the habitats of their respective fish species. He along with Pete Anastasi wrote and illustrated “Fifty Birds of Town and City,” a 1975 release. Hines’s fish and bird images gained wider circulation as collector’s prints. His color illustrations enliven a 1979.
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featured artist Before retiring in 1981, Hines attained the title of â&#x20AC;&#x153;National Wildlife Artist,â&#x20AC;? the only person to hold that distinction. Throughout his career, Hines illustrated more than fifty books. Upon his retirement, Hines was free to enter the Federal Duck Stamp contest as a private citizen. Hines submitted several entries, hoping to design a second stamp, but he never placed. His traditional style along with a faltering dexterity conspired against him. Hines died in 1994 at 82.
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fly rod review
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fly rod review
phrus Fly Rod F
ield testing Hardyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Zephrus fly rod proved to be a delicious undertaking. Afterwards we all agreed that were we limited to a single fly rod for mountain stream fishing and tailwater river fishing, this little magic wand would be a great choice. It really shines in the accuracy department. The Zephrus is fantastic at 40-feet to 60feet casts. It has a bit soft tip that lends the Zenith unmatched accuracy at 25foot distances. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s difficult to describe it other than the Zenith feels so natural and easy to hit targets.
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fly rod review
Among the best known English fly rod makers, Hardy dates back almost 150 years. During the summer of 2013 Hardy was acquired by Pure Fishing of Columbia, South Carolina. The first year after the transfer, not a lot was heard about that was new from Hardy. Then, at the last ICAST Show, the Zephrus was unveiled. It was there that we had an opportunity to become acquainted with this little sweetie at the casting pool. We’ll stop short of describing the experience as “love at first sight,” but we will confess to immediately wanting to spend time with a Zephrus at some undisclosed, remote trout stream in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Of course, our intentions were quite honorable. Late last summer we test drove a 9-foot 5weight Zephrus on Little River. We fished with this model because it’s the most popular size of trout rods used on these waters. You can buy both the 9’ and 8’6” versions of the Hardy Zephrus. The Zephrus is quite reminiscent of Hardy’s Zenith line of fly rods which have been taken out of production. There are two minor changes on the new rod from a cosmetic perspective – the label now is “skeletonized”
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fly rod review
and has a clear coat so you can see the rod’s internal construction. This is pretty dang cool. Hardy also changed the rod tube and basically made it look a little nicer. Inch for inch it is as light as a turkey feather, coming it weighs in at just a hair under 3 ounces. It has nice light feel in your hand. The Zephrus proved to be a fast rod with a faster recovery. The soft tip design helps load the Zephrus faster and delivers excellent accuracy. The mid- and buttsections which are surprisingly fast, allows you to load it and toss a lot of line. We began field testing the rod casting dry flies, but shortly thereafter we discovered that the Zephrus is a top shelf nymphing rod that allows you to open up your loop and toss a lot of weight with ease. The secrets to the casting magic of the Zephrus is in the guts of the blank. The rod came about via the development of SINTRIX® technology. All carbon rods utilize carbon fibers that are bonded together by an adhesive resin. The resin material used in SINTRIX® is produced by 3M®, it is a unique and patented material incorporating silica nano spheres which provides two distinct benefits.
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fly rod review
First, the microscopic silica spheres are able to evenly surround every individual carbon fiber filament providing a matrix of strength throughout the rod. Secondly, being spherical, the silica particles are able to resist pressure and compression from any angle. This is particularly important because it is under compression forces, on the underside of a bent rod, rather than tension forces, on the outside of the curve, that carbon fiber is most likely to weaken and potentially break. So by resisting compression better, SINTRIX® rods are stronger. Engineers and rod designers spent over two years experimenting with different types, and mixes, of carbon fibers combined with varying levels of 3M® nano silica resin. They also discovered that the normal manufacturing processes associated with carbon fiber rods had to be significantly changed in order to get the best from the new 3M® resin material. The final
results were astonishing with up to 60% increases in strength and up to 30% savings in weight. Since the breakthrough in 2009 Hardy has not stopped refining and developing SINTRIX® technology. Today we offer three distinct levels of performance each with their own unique benefits incorporated into Hardy’s exciting 2016 product line. The Hardy Zephrus is a great fly rod. We are pleased organizational changes that have occurred over the last several years, Hardy is now a Southern company. It retails for $699. For more info visit http:// www.hardyfishing.com/
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fly rod review
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eorgia Delayed Harvest Trout Guide by Steve Hudson is a complete guide to fishing for trout in all five of Georgia's great Delayed Harvest trout streams. In this 84 pages is everything you need to know to enjoy great Delayed Harvest trout fishing in Georgia. Featuring detailed profiles of each of Georgia's five "DH" streams (portions of Amicalola Creek, the Chattahoochee River, the Chattooga River, the Toccoa River, and Smith Creek), this one-of-a-kind guide gives you the inside story on how and where to enjoy Delayed Harvest fishing in the Peach State. Key information that you'll find in Hudson’s Georgia Delayed Harvest Trout Guide includes detailed profiles of each of Georgia's Delayed Harvest waters. We at Southern Trout really liked Hudson’s shared insights on understanding the impact of water releases on the Chattahoochee DH. Equally impressive are the great maps showing the streams as well as key access points. Hudson’s book also offers suggestions on selecting fly as well as spinning tackle that include detailed fly charts plus suggestions on proven spinning lures. Hudson also does a good job of providing tips on planning a safe and successful Delayed Harvest trip. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned DH veteran, and whether you are a fly fisher or a spin fisher, you'll find this comprehensive guide to be an invaluable companion on your trips to Georgia's great Delayed Harvest streams. 112 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
like fishing in a mountain streamâ&#x20AC;Ś
close look - georgia
Fish for the Fairies on th
Tackle browns, rainbows – and broo freestone riverway
weathered, water-worn and pocked face on a once-colorful yard gnome – I named him “Barney” – stared coldly upward from the log jam under Van Zandt Bridge. Barney even looked fearful. Downright scared! Damn right. He should have, in deep contrast to the usual happy-golucky – albeit lifeless, too – child-like grins cracked around the bright character colors applied to him and his shiny pixey brothers. For years, that troop of yard treasures watched over my float-fishing trips from their riverside garden village, guarding the fishing fortunes of the upper Toccoa River. Unless their homeowner lives and breathes fairytales, those distinctive dwarves sang their last “Hi ho” to me when I floated the river in late fall. On Dec. 23, 2015, the Toccoa River gauge at Dial, Georgia, measured a river in fury … 10,575 cfs. Over my course of 20 years of living on and fishing the upper Toccoa River, no such event had ever taken place. At best – and it was bad enough – the river pulsed just twice during those two decades at a rate of more than 6,000 cubic feet per second. This time, the dreaded “100-year flood” rushed down the riverway from its headwaters (Mauldin and Canada creeks) in southwest Union County and through its length across southern Fannin County. No telling how many more flower-bed munchkins were carried away as water crept up to, under and around riverside homes and picnic pavilions. Some structures were breached. 114 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
he Upper Toccoa River
okies! – on Fannin County’s only Bob Borgwat
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close look - georgia
Not long after I tripped into the guided-fishing business, I first float-fished the upper Toccoa in 2003, passing the riverside brownie hamlet with easy strokes on the oars. In contrast to its floods, the river was peaceful, as it should be on a riverway where a rapid is not much more than a riffle. Fishing was slow. And those 14-inch fairies agreed. They had been watching anglers like me for years. Trout
fishing on the upper Toccoa historically is slow, except near stocking sites and only shortly after the fish were dumped off the roadside at places so easy to reach, it often seemed the fishing was over before it got started. Trout stocking sites are like that sometimes. You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t miss the stocking truck on the highway, and it is always going to the same places â&#x20AC;&#x201C; roadside pullouts, bridge crossings and stocking tubes, places where you see evidence
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due with the Fannin County road department. With or without the log jam, trout fishing on the upper Toccoa in the place where my float trips begin still is typically slow. And it doesn’t bother me a bit. That’s the nature of a trout fishery that struggles with floods, annually faces high water temperatures, and carries relatively low natural forms of trout foods. The upper Toccoa is all of that. Matter of fact, many of the trout streams in Fannin and Union counties challenge the upper Toccoa’s high ranking for slow fishing, yet all of them fascinate me. Marginal water breeds challenges. Mixed up with stocked and wild rainbows and browns, (brookies, too, when the hatchery farming is successful), the river’s riffles, runs, pools and ledges shine with character, test an angler’s skillset, and the occasional smallmouth gives the river merit of a different that red wigglers held in picnic tables, whiskey barrels, kind. small paper buckets eat from busted foil balloons, kick balls, Drift boats – from small cans of Green Giant kayaks, canoes, tarps, flower personal inflatables to 16Niblets corn. pots. It was a shit pile, indeed, foot Clackacrafts – are the most capable way to fish the ` Barney was none too and from my viewing perch happy to be strewn with upper Toccoa where I do. at the bridge railing above it, the trash on a 20-foot high Shoving off at a pull-out on I suddenly realized that dung pile of trees and root-balls, heap was preventing my next Dial Road and taking out just decks, barbecue grills, trash float trip on the upper Toccoa. upstream from Shallowford cans, Adirondack chairs, A call (begging will work) was Bridge, my float covers about www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 117
close look - georgia 6 miles. The last mile of that float includes the seasonally abundant stocked fishery at Sandy Bottoms, where “delayed harvest” fishing regulations (catch-and-release, single-hook lures/flies) annually are enforced from Nov. 1 to May 15. When water levels allow, wading anglers use Old Dial Road and Shallowford Bridge Road to work the length of the DH section. But spring rains often run the river’s flow to more than 600 cfs. I consider it a treacherous wade at 300 cfs. And even at low flows, the slick granite slides on the river bottom can easily swamp wading anglers unaware. Beyond the Dial Road pushin – upstream for about 15 miles – you won’t find a reasonable stretch of water to float with anything larger than a canoe. Walk-on fishing is restricted, too. A remote stretch of river, adjacent to a site known as “the Swinging Bridge,” is reached from the end of Forest Service Road 814 off Highway 60 and FSR 333 on the river’s south side. Otherwise, your fishing patience will be challenged at the few bridge crossings, Deep Hole National Recreation Area (a nice canoe put-in site), and scattered roadside pull-offs on Georgia Highway 60 and Dial Road. These suffer beyond-reasonable fishing pressure during much of the year, even at times when the hatchery truck hasn’t arrived for months and the water temperature is well into the 70s. Go figure. 118 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
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close look - georgia
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Foot access also is restricted by private property that flanks much of the river along its length. In fact, on-the-water access is restricted without landowner permission where the river flows through private property. Where the bank is “posted” and where private property is located on both sides of the river, the property line is the centerline of the river. Property owners have the last word on what you can and cannot do while passing through their property. It’s their yard and no different than the one inside your fence. It doesn’t matter if the river is “navigable.” It doesn’t matter if you stay on the water. Fact is, you’re passing through private property. You can argue, but law enforcement will side with the rightful property owner because sheriff deputies and game wardens protect the rights of property owners. My season on the upper Toccoa runs from November through May. Water temperature in summer and early fall is just too high, oftentimes reaching into the high 70s. I once saw it at 84 degrees. Dead trout everywhere. But while water temps range from the low 40s to the mid-60s during “my season,” I keep an eye on the river gauge at Dial (go to: www.tva.com and locate the “Valley Stream Flows” chart). It takes about 400 cfs or more to float my Clack to the roadside take-out below Sandy Bottoms. It’s better yet, when the gauge reads 600-800 cfs. And I do it on a weekday when I can. At these levels, the river is a mix of riffles large and small, small rapids, distinctive feeding lanes, long glides, ledges, chutes, drains and emerald pools. I like to say, “It’s got great bones.” The surrounding countryside includes cow fields, piney woods, hardwood bottoms and attractive homes. Wild turkeys, bald eagles, whitetails and otters share the riverside. Minks dip in and out of shoreline rock piles. I’ve seen a couple of black bears. That’s a good thing, because scenery is what you catch most early in the float. Fishing starts slow. I told you that. Stocking takes place near the put-in along Dial Road, and wild trout share those riffles that catch your eye along the first half-mile of the float to Van Zandt Bridge. But fishing pressure defeats the localized fishery. The next stocking site is at Big Creek, a tributary 2½ miles farther downstream that flows under nearby Aska Road where, from March through June, the federal hatchery on Rock Creek stocks rainbows twice a month at the bridge crossing. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 121
close look - georgia
From VZ Bridge to Big Creek, fishing remains slow. Plan for it. I told you that. Trout habitat ranges from riffles to gravel bars and frog water – those deep and green stretches marked by sandy mid-reaches and woody cover on the banks. But keep the lures flinging and the flies swinging. Hit it all. Throw big streamers and small crankbaits and spoons at the tangles of logs and branches. Don’t miss the gravel bar where Noontootla Creek meets the Toccoa.
Fish nymphs, dry flies and spinners in the riffles and lanes. Time to time, you’ll be rewarded with a fat rainbow or a buttery brown trout, some that reach trophy sizes. “Riffle, run, pool.” That’s music to a trout fisherman’s ears, and the Toccoa plays it well on the 1½-mile approach beyond Big Creek to the DH water at Sandy Bottoms. Natural steps and ancient Cherokee Indian fish traps create strong riffles about every quarter-mile. Fish numbers
increase with every riffle you pass. Work the riffles with streamers, spoons, spinners, small crankbaits and small jigs. Fish nymphs deep along the seams and below the steps. Target the tail-out of the lanes, especially where two or more current lines join. And when weather and bug hatches dictate, float dry flies over all of it, especially along the bubble lines. Once you slip into the DH water below the Sandy Bottoms canoe site, you’ll quickly discover why float-
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fishing is the way to fish the upper Toccoa River. In a typical drift boat, you’ll need 400 cfs on the Dial gauge to even consider your float trip. Water flows higher than 300 cfs here make wading dangerous. No waders. Trees, rhododendrons, mountain laurel and alders limit fishing from the shoreline. No bank-bound anglers. The water is yours! Flog it! Flog it well! From Sandy Bottoms to the take-out (a loose term, indeed, for the site where
a few crossties stabilize the bank well enough to back a boat trailer to water’s edge), the trout are abundant in springtime. Rainbows dominate. The river receives about 1,200 rainbows through six monthly stockings, November through April. The flood in December certainly displaced those fish stocked early in the DH season, but subsequent stockings and the meanderings of wild trout will keep the localized catch-and-release action
strong through May. The typical rainbow runs 9 to 14 inches long. Larger trout – true trophies of 20 inches and longer – usually are wild or holdover trout. Look for wintertime trophy browns and springtime trophy rainbows, albeit limited and unpredictable in numbers as some of these fish seasonally make their way out of Lake Blue Ridge to spawn in the upper Toccoa. At mid-section, the DH stretch features a couple hundred yards of riffle water.
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close look - georgia If anyone is wading, this is where they’ll be when you float through. Step after step along this relatively shallow area known as “the powerline” provides edges, drops, chutes and pockets. Try dry flies, dry-dropper combinations, unweighted nymphs and small spinners. Above the powerline, flyfishermen do well with many presentations. Dark streamers, large nymphs, bright egg patterns and the venerable San Juan Worm take fish from deep runs and breaks in the granite bottom. Work dry flies – March Browns, Blue-Winged Olives, Sulphurs, PMDs, Adams, black and tan Caddisflies – along the seams. You’ll often see rising fish where gravel gives way to channels. Lure fishermen can’t miss with small spoons and plastic jigs. Downstream from the powerline a series of large, deep breaks are joined to the deepest water of the float trip. While fly-fishing can take fish here with deep-reaching streamers and nymphs (I use a 6-foot section of sink tip ahead of a 9- to 12-foot leader), small plastic jigs and small sinking crankbaits find trout here. Hey, I’m no purist. I use the best method for the best presentation to keep the action coming!
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Next time I float the upper Toccoa, I’ll miss the colorful, stonecold-but-cheery Barney and his miniature band of misfits. But with their signature song still in my head, I’ll tip my fisherman’s hat when I pass their hallowed ground and shout out loud and clear, “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to fishing I go!” About the Author: Bob Borgwat is a freelance senior editor and writer of fly-fishing “where-to” and “how-to” stories for destinations across the US. He lives on the upper Toccoa River. In 2003, Bob began guiding anglers to trout fishing in the southern Appalachian Mountains. For more information, visit Reel Angling Adventures online at www.ReelAnglingAdventures.com or give Bob a call at 706-838-5250 www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 125
close look - georgia
Georgia’s Top Trout Town S
erious trout fishing for serious fly fishermen is what you find in Blue Ridge Georgia. Proclaimed to be the Fly Fishing the Trout Capital of Georgia, this once backwater oasis in the Southern Appalachians has bolted to the forefront. Blue Ridge, Ga. is located on the North Carolina – Tennessee line, only 1½ hours north of Atlanta via I-575GA Hwy 515 It is within easy reach of the best fly fishing for trout that the mountains of Georgia, western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee have to offer.
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close look - georgia The centerpiece for Blue Ridge is the Toccoa River that is chocked full of big trout. Once this river leaves Lake Blue Ridge the river begins its journey down the wide valley known as the McCaysville Basin. Trout fishermen frequent this area of the river, as settlers and Native Americans did before them. Then, as the Toccoa leaves McCaysville, its name changes to the Ocoee. World-class whitewater and the Ocoee Whitewater Center are just a few miles ahead. A hop and a skip to the west of Blue Ridge is the Cohutta Wilderness Area. As the largest wilderness east of the Mississippi, this 40,000 acres tract in Georgia and Tennessee (where it is known as Big Frog Wilderness Area) is part of the oldest known mountains in the world. They run from Fannin County northeast to the Tennessee-North Carolina border, and they once bordered a prehistoric ocean. As settlers moved west, they avoided these mountains because of difficult access and scant level ground for farming. The Conasauga and Jacks rivers flow through the Cohuttas. Each is a top rated trout stream. Many people make the journey to Blue Ridge, McCaysville and Fannin County just for natural attractions and quaintness of the area. Unlike Gatlinburg and a few other tourist traps that seem to want to draw the Las Vegas crowd, Blue Ridge is a family friendly place of less than 2,000 souls. Years ago I fell in love with the authentic mountain towns of Blue Ridge and McCaysville. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway begins its journey at the historic Blue Ridge Depot and winds its way along the Toccoa River to McCaysville, twin city to Copperhill, Tennessee. If you trek there, don’t miss Mercier Orchards, largest apple orchard in the southeast and home of the best fried apple pie anywhere. Blue Ridge’s Swan Drive-In is one of three remaining drive-in theaters In Georgia. There’s plenty to do there without breaking the bank, and thank God no casinos, miniature race tracks or time-share peddlers button holing you on the street. If you are a serious trout fisherman in Fannin County’s deck of cards is more than just the mighty the Toccoa. There’s Rock Creek, Cooper Creek and Noontootla Creek. Here’s a thumbnail guide to some of the great fly fishing waters found in and around Blue Ridge
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close look - georgia TOCCOA RIVER/(State Hwys. 2, 5 and 60E) The
Toccoa is stocked above Blue Ridge Dam about every other week during trout season. Most of it is on private land, but much of the section along Rt. 60, near the town of Margaret, flows through National Forest. The river below the dam is very broad in most areas, making it a good choice for fly fishermen. Trout are also stocked regularly in this section. A popular way to fish this area is to float-fish from the dam downstream approximately 15 miles to McCaysville. Use caution. Water levels can rise suddenly. Check dates and times for water releases from Blue Ridge dam at 800-238-2264
SHALLOWFORD BRIDGE/Above the Dam -
Aska Road, Blue Ridge Old steel one-lane bridge over the Toccoa River. Fish under the bridge or along the dirt road to the right following the river on the Benton MacKaye Trail. This is a Delayed Harvest Area, stocked in early November for catch and release only through mid-May.
TAMMEN PARK/Below the Dam, Appalachian
Highway - Blue Ridge A very popular place to fly fish for trout in the tailwaters of the Toccoa River below the Lake Blue Ridge Dam. Call in advance for water-release information 1-800-238-2264. This park also has ball fields, playground equipment and picnic areas.
HORSESHOE BEND PARK/Below the Dam -
River Road off of Highway 60, McCaysville. Beautiful park with good trout fishing on the Toccoa River. From Blue Ridge take Highway 5 into McCaysville. Turn right onto Highway 60 then drive a short distance and turn right on River Road. The park has a playground, picnic pavilions and restrooms.
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close look - the ozarks ROCK CREEK: Forest Service Rd. 69 off State Rte. 60, Between Morganton and
Dahlonega. The Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery is located on Rock Creek. This creek and other nearby streams are stocked with trout from the federal hatchery, which is open year round. Rock Creek also supports good populations of wild trout, including native brook trout in some of the high elevation tributaries. This area is highly used.
COOPERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CREEK: Hwy. 60 South between Morganton and Dahlonega. This
area offers camping, hiking and trout fishing. Fishing in Cooper Creek and Mulky Creek for stocked and wild trout is popular. From Blue Ridge, take Highway 76 east to Morganton; turn right on Hwy. 60 south toward Dahlonega for 16 miles. Turn left on Forest Service Road 4 for 6 miles.
NOONTOOTLA CREEK: Forest Service Rd. 58, southeast of Blue Ridge in the
Blue Ridge Wildlife Mgmt. Area. The creek and its tributaries are managed to imitate a natural stream with an unharvested trout population, to provide a unique experience that emphasizes catching wild trout for fun, rather than harvest. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re lucky and catch a very rare trophy trout that is 16 inches or longer, you may keep it. All smaller trout must be released immediately.
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Float Wade Trek
Experience Exposure Executon Engagement Georgia-North Carolina-Tennessee Guided fly-fishing and conventional fishing for bass, trout, stripers, panfish and more across the waters of the southern Appalachian Mountains
www.ReelAnglingAdventures.com Toll Free: 866-899-5259 www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 135
IT COSTS NO MORE T O G O F I R S T C L A S S ... America’s #1 Trout Fishing Resort is Gaston’s. Our White River float trips for lunker trout are legendary from coast to coast. We do the work. All you do is fish – in style and comfort. Then there are the extras that make “resort” our last name. First-class lodging. One of the South’s finest restaurants, featuring a spectacular view. A private club. Tennis and a pool. A nature trail. A conference lodge for your group meetings or parties. Even a private landing strip for fly-in guests.
1777 River Road • Lakeview, Arkansas 72642 (870) 431-5202 • E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org Lat 36 20' 55" N Long 92 33' 25" W
Guided Fly Fishing in North Carolina at its finest! Hookers Fly Shop and Guide Service located at 546 W. Main St. in Sylva, North Carolina offers first rate guided fly fishing trips on the Tuckasegee River including the Tuckasegee Delayed Harvest Section. We also offer guided fly fishing trips on the Oconaluftee Rive, Ravenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fork Trophy Water, guided fly fishing trips on the upper and lower sections of the Nantahala River, Great Smoky Mountains National Park streams, overnight camping and fly fishing trips. For more information, go to
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n recent decades one of the most interesting changes in fly fishing for trout in the Southern Highlands has been the explosion in the number of private trout stream fishing opportunities for those seeking to catch really big trout and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mind paying for the privilege. To one degree or another it is occurring in all of the southern trout states, but nowhere has it become more popular than in the mountains of northern Georgia. Managed on strict catchand-release bases, a handful of rivulets that course through the Peach Stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Blue Ridge Mountains valleys harbor thousands of bit rainbow and brown trout that easily exceed 20-inches, and often half again longer than this. Costs vary from a simple rod fee of $100 to $300 a day (or half day), and first timers to these waters usually want a guide, which at least doubles the cost. If it sounds like a lot of money to fish, and it is, consider this. In a single day on most of these streams you will catch 20-40 fish in the 18-to-26 inch range.
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iaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ate Waters
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Blackhawk Fly Fishing
Blackhawk Fly Fishing Andy Brackett - photographer
Blackhawk Flyfishing is located on the famous Soque River with two miles of private water. The fly fishing for big trout is truly what we are known for and this year we celebrate our 20th anniversary and we were named on the Georgia bucket list of things to do in Georgia. If tangling with trout in the 3 lb. to 15lb. class appeals to you you’ll love the action at Blackhawk. Many regard Blackhawk Flyfishing on the Soque as the best waters in the eastern U.S. If you would like to learn how to catch one of these monsters we have fly fishing schools for youngsters and adultsAmong our repeat customers are TU groups, Corporate Outings, Couples, Familes, or just come on your own. Guided and unguided trips are available with a fully stocked fly shop with your every need on site. We are 90 miles North of the Atlanta Airport 10 miles North of Clarkesville, Georgia on Hwy 197. Blackhawk not only prides itself in flyfishing but there’s something to be said for the gourmet lunch that is prepared by Owner and Chef Abby J! She has very own gourmet line of award winning salsas, hot sauce and her “NEW” Field to Fork Pickles in major grocery and retail stores though out the Southeast! As she would say “One Bite and you’re HOOKED” FOR MORE INFORMATION: (706) 947-3474 www.blackhawkflyfishing.com www.abbyjsgourmet.com, southernfarmandgarden.com
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Unicoi Outfitters Trout Fishing
Unicoi Outfitters in Helen, Georgia offers trophy trout fishing on several private waters where you have the opportunity to fish for rainbow and brown trout that are measured in pounds rather than inches. Unicoi Outfitters is the only Orvis Endorsed Outfitter in north Georgia. Their management plan, developed with years of experience, provides fly fishing for record-sized fish. While many successful days on the water result from trips with Unicoi Outfitters, the trout in their streams are certainly not pushovers. Also, Unicoi is one of only 8 Trout Unlimited Gold Level Business Members in the entire country. All private trophy streams (with the exception of Nacoochee Bend) require a booking with an experienced Unicoi Outfitters guide. Unicoi Outfitters are currently fishing the following streams: Nacoochee Bend - Our flagship trophy section of the upper Chattahoochee River near Helen, Riverside on the Soque - trophy rainbow trout on the Soque near Clarkesville - home of the Georgia state record rainbow trout. They also guide on Dukes Creek trophy section which Jimmy Harris reguards as perhaps the finest in Georgia. For more info visit www.unicoioutfitters.com or call 706-878-3083. Riverside Trophy Trout Noontoola Creek Farms www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 141
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Riverside Trophy Fly Fishing
Located in Batesville, Georgia, Riverside Trout Fishing is a private stretch of the Soque River where the average trout caught are between 4 and 12 pounds Georgia’s current state record rainbow was caught. Water temperatures on the upper Soque are ideal to support trout. Temperatures are cool enough to avoid dieoffs in the summer, but not so cold that fish don’t keep growing in the winter. It is the ideal formula for producing really big trout. You can fly fish the Soque on your own, or hire a guide to show you where the big fish lay. Their fishing hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 except for when temperatures are really hot, when that happens the start time is usually 1-2 hours earlier to avoid the heat. For more info visit www.riversidetroutfishing.net, or call 706-9473364.
Noontootla Creek Farm
Noontootla Creek Farms is a small stream fly fishing experience that is unique to the North Georgia Mountains. Noontootla normally runs gin clear and is alive with trophy, streambred browns and rainbows. Its headwaters tumble out of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Downstream from the national-forest, it flattens where it flows through Noontootla Creek Farm. The property has two miles of wade-able water consisting of four separate beats that are about a half mile each. The upper section is a little “tighter” and requires precision casting. The middle two and lowest sections are more open from a casting perspective. At its upstream reaches the measure of success is a 16-inch trout. At the 1,500 acres Noontootla Creek Farm, the mark goes up stretch 28 inches and more. Fly fishing time slots 8AM until noon and 1PM until 5PM. For more info visit www.ncfga. net or call 706-781-4019 142 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
Tooni Cove Farm
Exclusively booked by Reel Angling Adventures, Tooni Cove Farm is a 42-acre tract located 19 miles east of Blue Ridge. It features more than half a mile of private access to the Toccoa River, one of North Georgia’s longest rivers. The trout of Tooni Cove Farm are well-managed, moderately pressured and carefully handled. The fishery staff -- from the trio of landowners to the guide team of Reel Angling Adventures -- is in its seventh year of operating the venue, having learned the management techniques important to both the fish and the water -taking care to maintain a natural environment in which the trout do not become the “pets” some anglers associate with a private fishery. Beginners enjoy the straits associated with deep pools and sweeping curves. Experienced flyfishermen tangle with the technical environments of swift shoals, pocket water and low canopies. Renowned for 30-plus-inch stream bred trout. For info visit www.reelanglingadventures.com or call 866-899-5259.
Frog Hollow Fly Fishing
Frog Hollow Fly Fishing is located an hour north of Atlanta, just outside Dahlonega. It is called a small “Peace” of Heaven, and is the home of “The Goodwill Guides” who do many charity related events here. Kenny Simmons manages the section of the Chestatee River that courses through his family farm. As world travel fishing guide, he says that Frog Hollow has one of the most challenging trophy trout managed streams in the world. “Our private river section has a reputation well known for holding some real Big Pigs that would give any seasoned pro a challenge,” says Simmons. “Our water is a healing place, far from any public roads and high traffic. Our www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 143
close look - georgia family farm is a secluded “peace” of heaven with breathtaking scenery along the scenic Chestatee, named by the Native Americans which means “River Of Light.” Our private section of the river is natural spring fed water with a spectacular waterfall hole, numerous deep pools and long runs, loaded with rich natural food that produces a variety of colorful trout. The goal is to maintain the highest quality trout fishing possible. I’m so proud to have a large number old and fat hogs in the 30 plus range that call Frog Hollow home.” For more info visit www.froghollowflyfishing.
Fern Valley on the Soque
Fern Valley on the Sogue is located near Clarksville, 80 minutes from downtown Atlanta. Operated by Marty Simmons, this impressive portion of the Soque is a delightful mix of deep pools, undercut and shady banks, runs and riffles. Here big fish rise for dries in January, while some of the exciting results come from fishing big sculpin patterns. The number of anglers per day is limited, and the rates are perhaps the most affordable of all of the private waters of the Soque; full day $165.00 per angler, and half day $100.00 per angler. For more info visit www.fernvalleytrout.com or call 770597-4219.
Brigadoon Lodge encompasses an enormous bend in the Soque River and is completely surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest. The 144 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
lodge is perched right on the bend in the river and faces the breathtaking sheer rock cliffs and caves with itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beautiful waterfall and springs. This is of the few tract of land not sold to the U.S. Forest Service when the Chattahoochee National Forest was created. The property includes both sides of the river and is designated non navigable there is no public access allowed. Brigadoon has over a mile of private river front with 1.5 miles of abutting fishable public water to the north. The trophy sections are divided into 12 beats. Seven springs and creeks feed the Brigadoon section of the river. The lodge accommodate up to 12 guests with separate bedrooms. For more info visit www.brigadoonlodge.com
The Valley at Suches
The Valley at Suches is a highly acclaimed private trout fly fishing venue located in the Toccoa River Valley in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. It is owned and operated by noted fly fishing expert, Bob Still. Located at the headwaters of the Toccoa River in the north Georgia mountains, The Valley at Suches enjoys over 2000 feet of river frontage, plus as a fly fishing casting pond, and a small holding pond for brood fish. Still and his guides have professionally managed and enhanced the habitat on this stretch of river for and optimal fly fishing experience. Big trout are everywhere. Another nicety is that over hanging limbs have been trimmed or removed to make casting much easier from longer distances to reduce spooking. The Valley at Suches has made this stretch as beginner fly fishing friendly as possible without hurting the ecology of the stream. They provide all of the fly fishing equipment and casting instruction is free for you to insure a great trip. For more info visit www.gatrophytrout.com www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 145
Deep South Fly Anglers
Located just outside of Ellijay, 1.5hrs from Atlanta, Georgia Deep South Fly Anglers has over 5 miles of beautiful, trophy managed Tickanetley Creek. The ‘Tick’ as most call it, is a mountain gem of a stream. It holds wild rainbow and brown trout as well as some stocked rainbows that range in size from 6” to over 25”, with the average trout fish in the 18”-20” range. Here the ‘Tick’ flows through a combination of dense low hanging mountain laurel and tighter casting scenarios indicative of classic Appalachian style fly fishing. Anglers can encounter some great dry fly fishing here as well as there is great bio mass in the stream. A day of fishing the Tick will most likely involve a combination of nymph, dries, and streamer fishing depending on conditions and the time of year. The Tick is a great place to test or improve your skills of catching large fish and making good presentations in smaller stream environment. For more info visit www.deepsouthflyanglers.com or call 678-986-9240.
Cohutta Fishing Co
The Cohutta Fishing Company offers great trophy fishing just outside of Ellijay at its exclusive private Cohutta Fishing Club on Tickanetley Creek. Members are already filled for 2016. However, you can book a guide trip with Cohutta Fishing Company Tickanetley Creek. They have a super neat, twomile stretch of this stream that reminds you of being in a wilderness area. The upper reaches of their water is fairly high gradient, tight fishing that has lots of dashing runs and plunge pools. The lower end of Tickanetley Creek courses through a pasture and has less fast water. Big trout inhabit these waters; mostly rainbows. Average size is 14 to 22 inches (and bigger). These are about the most stunningly beautiful big bows in the Peach State. They also offer lodging in their Stream House for the anglers that would like to come up early and kick back and relax before or after fishing this unbelievable fishery. More info visit www. cohuttafishingco.com
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39 South Public Square Cartersville, GA 30120 www.cohuttafishingco.com 770.606.1100
Guided Fishing Trips | Fly Fishing Schools | Destination Fly Fishing Travel
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Volume 1 . 2016
For Subscriptions: southernfarmandgarden.com For Branding Contact Abby Jackson @ (706) 947-3474
Georgia Trophy Fly Fishing At It's Best
P.O. Box 2555
Clarkesville, GA 30523
For Availability and Reservations Call: 706-947-FISH (3474)
close look - georgia
Cartersville, Georgia “Cohutta” is a Cherokee Indian name that translates into "Mountains that Hold the Sky." If you are a fly fisherman who frequents the mountain trout streams of North Georgia, “Cohutta” is code for a must-stop fly shop in Cartersville. Cohutta Fishing Company, as it is officially known, is not only located in northwest Georgia in the middle of great fly fishing for brook, brown, and rainbows trout, but it is also excellent angling for a number of species of bass including striped bass, white bass, hybrid bass, spotted bass, and largemouth bass. 150 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
“Six years ago in we started out in a much smaller storefront back,” says Andy Bowen, the owner of Cohutta Fishing Company. “I’ve been an avid fisherman since childhood and over the years worked in a different industry. In 2009 I had the opportunity to start Cohutta Fishing Company. Today we are located in the historic downtown district in Cartersville where we now have a 2500 sq. foot showroom with additional space in the back for our offices and stockroom.” Being a full service shop can be challenging, but the Cohutta Fishing Company more than makes the grade. The attractively laid out shop holds a wide range of both conventional and fly fishing products and product lines associated with outdoors’ adventures. From a fly fishing point of view, Cohutta Fishing Company carries a wide variety of flies, leaders, and tippet as well rods and reels, plus fly tying supplies. Just a few of the well-known fly fishing brands they are dealers for include Thomas and Thomas Rods, Sage Rods, Walters Fly Rods (local company in Kennesaw, GA), Scott Fly Rods, Orvis rods, Echo rods, and St. Croix. Their reel lines include Hatch, Tibor, Abel, Waterworks Lamson,
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Ross, and Orvis. Clothing lines include Simms, Patagonia, Filson, Mountain Khakis, Howler Brothers, and they also carry footwear lines that include Russell Moccasins, Dubary Boots, and Pendleton. “We cover it all from focusing on our region as well as both domestic and international travel,” says Bowen. “We do fish a lot of different places on the globe, so again we have to maintain diversification in our stock to meet the needs of world traveling fly fishermen. Destination travel is
“We cover it all from focusing on our region as well as both domestic and international travel,”...
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close look - georgia becoming a bigger part of our business, so it’s easier to recommend supplies for a specific destination when you have personally been there. The staff at Cohutta Fishing Company is well traveled and will continue to be.” Bowen rates the success of the shop on customer service, a knowledgeable staff, being very diverse in the products offered, and focusing on the shopping experience of the customer. Here, superior customer service is mandatory, not an option. Being diverse for the Cohutta Fishing Company means they offer a wide variety of tackle, flies, and supplies that a customer going to the mountains for brookies or to Cuba for Tarpon can find here. The shop has clothing lines to meet the needs of the top lifestyles as well as more technical clothing for everyday wear or travel. “Fly fishing is definitely on the rise,” noted Bowen. “We talk with a lot of people just wanting to get into the sport of fly fishing,” notes
“Fly tying is huge for us and we have made a commitment to fly tying. We’ve created the mentality of, ‘go to Cohutta, they probably have it’ with our customers.” Bowen. “We offer practical ways to get started and educate them as to the journey they’ve begun. We also explain how fun and exciting it is not to just catch fish on the fly, but how much you can learn over the years. Cohutta Fishing Company offers monthly classes for both Fly Fishing Introduction classes. The shop also as in house guides, (our Head Guide is Garner Reid), and also we recommend guides that we personally know and who’ve we fished with. We offer guided trips year round for trout and bass.” Cohutta Fishing Company
also offers a Fly Tying class for $ 50.00. The shop also offer Advanced Fly Tying classes as well. Their full day “On the Water” class is $ 350.00. You can sign up for any of the above classes offered by simply calling the shop. “One of the biggest things that separates our shop from many other great shops is our fly tying department and its huge assortment of fly tying materials,” says Bowen. “Fly tying is huge for us and we have made a commitment to fly tying. We’ve created the mentality of, ‘go to Cohutta
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featured fly shop they probably have it’ with our customers. My entire staff are fisherman, fly fisherman, and fly tiers, it is also mandatory to work here. If you don’t live it every day you can’t be the best at it.” “We have a table in the store that makes for a great gathering spot, it also serves as our fly tying table where we teach or just tie with customers on slower days. I guess the good and bad is we are six years in and finding time to tie a fly during a typical has just about become non-existent. Of course we are victims of our success. We work hard to attract customers by advertising, exhibiting at fly fishing shows, and are always looking for better ways to get in front of people and share with them what we do.” “As far as keeping customers, it’s pretty easy,” continues Bowen. “Rule one is that we do what we say we are going to do. Rule two is that we sincerely appreciate the business from our customers, and let them know. Rule three is we provide the highest level of knowledge and professionalism possible on a consistent basis. We recognize that our customers could go elsewhere and shop, so we just try to give the best experience possible and an experience that I don’t believe they will get anywhere else. I would like to extend an invitation to anyone that reads this article to make time to come see us and experience our shop, meet our friendly staff, and hopefully have time to fish with us locally or go on one of our hosted trips. We look forward to meeting and serving you.”
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Trout only live in beautiful places.
Fly Fish the Trout Capitol of Georgia. With over 550 miles of beautiful rivers and trout streams, Blue Ridge and Fannin County have the richest, most diverse all-season fishery in the state.
For a free Visitorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide, call 800-899-mtns
“PERHAPS THE BEST TROUT FISHING IN THE EAST...” — Lefty Kreh
All-inclusive Flyfishing packages 5,000-6,000 trout per mile Wild brown & rainbow trout Year round fishing Luxury riverside accommodations Outstanding local cuisine World class guides 1509 Bullock Hollow Rd. Bristol, TN 37620
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Smithgall Woods State Park Lodge mithgall Woods State Park is publically owned, with a tantalizing aroma of old fashion bourgeois living at its most decadent. Located in White County, Georgia, the narrow road leading into the park gives few hints of what you will find at the end of the road.
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featured resort There’s a sign that reads “Smithgall Cottage” with an arrow pointing toward the larger structure. Did I say cottage? When you enter this “cottage” you will in awe at the multi-level log staircase in the foyer and even more impressed with the structure’s great room. You will stare in disbelief at the craftsmanship of the walls, stairs and railings; all of which were constructed from logs and timber and illuminated by large iron light fixtures. The vaulted two-story ceiling and floor-to-ceiling rock fireplace that has a recessed large arrowhead-shaped piece of granite that is Smithgall included to pay homage to Cherokee who originally owned the property. It’s as classy as one will ever see anywhere. This is hardily what one expects to find in a state park. Smithgall Woods was acquired by the state Georgia in 1994 as a gift-purchase from Charles A. Smithgall Jr. A noted conservationist and newspaper publisher, what is now park’s main lodge was his private mountain home that was built in 1991. The massive pine logs used to construct the home were shipped from Montana. Smithgall built the rustic palace because his wife was unhappy with the first cottage he built on the property. After visiting the first cottage one time, she told Smithgall that she would like something larger. Smithgall appears to have adhered to the old saying, “happy wife; happy life.” The lodge’s great room features a sitting area and a large dining table which will seat a minimum of eight. There are also data port connections, two gaming tables and an entertainment center featuring DVD/CD/VCR players, stereo and radio with surround sound, and a flat-screen television with satellite. The gourmet kitchen is equipped to host large groups with every imaginable amenity including a large assortment of crystal stemware and gold trimmed plates, cups, saucers and serving pieces. Appliances included are microwave, stove, built-in oven, dishwasher, coffee maker and refrigerator. The cottage also features a laundry area with washer and dryer. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 159
close look - georgia A covered timber-framed porch circles the interior living space and offers direct access from the master bedroom, great room and foyer. The back porch overlooks Duke’s Creek, one of Georgia’s premier trout streams, and connects to a large semi-circular deck that sits between two waterways and overlooks cascading rapids. There is also a gas grill on the porch in addition to a stationary charcoal grill on the banks of the creek. Private, covered parking is accessed by a lighted, timber-framed breezeway that extends over the river and connects to the cottage porch. There are four bedrooms, two of which feature king beds; there is also one queen suite and one suite with double beds. Each bedroom has a separate sitting or study area, television, closet and private bathroom with Jacuzzi tubs and/ or showers. There is even an exercise room. Published maximum capacity of the lodge is 10, which allows guests plenty of privacy. Smithgall Woods Cottage is the perfect place for a gathering of family and/or friends and certainly more than what most would expect from a state park. Rates start at $415 per night. I now believe that Grandpa Dudley was as not altogether correct when he said socialism would not work, but then he did not really care for fly fishing or government taxed whiskey. Smithgall Woods is also an elegant mountain retreat. It has six beautifully decorated cottages -- Creekside Cottage, Smithgall Cottage, Dover Cottage, Parkside Cottage, Garden Cottage and Laurel Cottage that provide 17 bedrooms. Some cottages have porches along the stream, while others have private hot tubs. Smithgall Woods is an angler’s paradise. One of north Georgia’s premier trout streams, Dukes Creek, runs through this spectacular mountain property and is a favorite for catchand-release fishing. To ensure a quality 160 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
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experience, the number of anglers is limited and fishing is offered only on certain days. As a result, anglers should call ahead for reservations. Dukes Creek has been rated as one of the top 100 trophy trout streams in the country. Anglers must use artificial lures with barbless hooks. Anglers may not have any barbed hooks or non-artificial bait in their possession while on the stream. Possession of these items will result in a hefty fine. Dukes Creek is open for fishing on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Fishing days in March through September are Morning [7:30 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1:30 pm] and evening [1:30-6:30 pm] sessions with 15 anglers per session. October through February fishing days have a single [7:30-4:30 pm] session with 15 anglers per day. Due to the limited number of anglers allowed on Dukes Creek, it is best to make a reservation in advance. Fishing licenses, Georgia State Park Passes, and artificial fishing lures can be purchased at the Visitor Center upon arrival at Smithgall Woods. Anglers must confirm reservations at the Center upon arrival and obtain a free fishing permit with written guidelines and instructions for each day. Anglers must check in at the Center within the first half-hour of the fishing session. If an angler will be arriving after 8:00 am, he/she must notify the Visitor Center between 7:30 am â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 8:00 am. If the Center is not notified by this time, the reserved space may be given to another fisherman. Anyone hoping to fish that has not made a reservation may stop by the Visitor Center to check for openings or no-show slots. These slots will be given away on a first-come first-serve basis each day. Also, anglers are asked to contact the Visitor Center if they are unable to attend for any reason to cancel their reservation so that their spaces may be given to another fisherman. Upon stopping to fish. Angler are asked to fill out a fishing survey that allows those who fish to aid in the scientific study of the stream.
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orth Georgia is becoming quite famous for its legion of accomplished fly tiers. Among the Peach Stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s star spangled array of master fly tiers is Chuck Head, a member of the team at Unicoi Outfitters in Helen. Unicoi Outfitters is the only Orvis Endorsed Outfitter in north Georgia. They are also one of only 8 Trout Unlimited Gold Level Business Members in the entire country. Head grew up in Dahlonega. These days he lives there from November until mid May. Otherwise,
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he resides in Gunnison, Colorado from the second half of May until the snow starts falling hard, usually late October. “I think I caught my first trout from a stream when I was around eight years old,” says Head. “Before that, I mostly fished Lake Lanier for anything that would bite. My dad was my biggest fishing mentor growing up. When we started trout fishing, we started with the local waters of Nimbewill Creek, Dicks Creek, Tallulah River, and Conasauga River.” Head was introduced to fly fishing at ate twelve when he was standing on Quarter Circle Bridge on the South Fork of the Flathead River in Montana. He could see trout in the gin clear water, and he saw an angler catching one after another on a fly. Head calls that the first day of the rest of his life. “My fly-tying interest developed right along with my fly-fishing interest,” says Head. “I’m a self taught tier who started young. I received my first fly-tying kit as a Christmas present when I was twelve. A basic fly tying book came with the kit. Later, I acquired Randall Kaufmann’s books Tying Dry Flies and Tying Nymphs. Those were the first good fly-tying books I bought, and I still regard them as good books.” “I started out with the basic patterns, pretty much the ones found in the book that came with my tying kit: Wooly Bugger, Black Ghost, Hares Ear, Prince, Pheasant Tail, Elk Hair Caddis. They all looked terrible, but I thought they were pretty great at the time. It’s important to know how to tie the classics, though. Most ‘new’ patterns today are just offshoots of the classics.” “The Sheepfly always holds a place in my box,” shares Head. “I started tying it at a young age and caught lots of trout on it. It works great out on the Gunnison in Colorado as a grey drake emerger, I’ve found. Talk about having an advantage as a guide…NOBODY else is throwing that out there. Yallarhammers,
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Thunderheads, Bills Provider, Horsehair Nymph, Tellico’s, Coffey’s Stone. I’ve always loved Southern patterns.” Head notes that there are five “must have” flies for North Georgia trout: Missing Link Caddis (yellow #14), Parachute Adams (#12-20), Pats Rubberlegs (dk. olive/brown #6-12), Peach Egg (#10), and Pheasant Tail Nymph (#10-22). Others to have on these waters include the Rainbow Warriors that catch trout all over the world, and Squirmies that are deadly on freshly stocked trout. Split case nymphs, drymerger patterns, tungsten tube midges, and Craven’s mole are fairly new patterns Head like. He says that he has been tying lots with jig hooks for the past few years. 166 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
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Along with being a consummate fly tier, Head is also a fly fishing guide for Unicoi Outfitters. He believe that being a creative fly tier is one of the greatest weapons a guide can have. Sometimes just having something the fish aren’t seeing regularly is all takes to have a great day. Sometimes a standard pattern in a different color or size, or both, can make all the difference. Heads notes that he can’t imagine guiding without having boxes of my own ties on me. Head teaches others how to tie. When not guiding, he’s often tying in Unicoi’s shop where he probably does more teaching anywhere else. Another guide and fly tier named Jake Darling and Head have won a competition called “Tie One On Tie-Athalon” a couple of times. It focuses on how many you could tie of a few different standard patterns in a certain amount of time, like elk hair caddis, wooly bugger, pheasant tails, ect. “Learn how to tie the right way from the beginning, learn from someone who knows,” advices Head. “Then, tie every day. Master the techniques you need to tie the classics. Always be thinking of ways to make patterns more effective. And always tie the highest quality fly possible-- make them last.” Like all experienced fly tiers, Head is selective in choosing fly construction materials. He says that good dry fly hackle at a reasonable price is always a challenge. Small diameter thread can be hard to track down, too. He really likes Darlon for tying emergers, fluoro-fibre is good stuff, super hair, clear cure goo, and UV dubbing of all types. Head speaks to groups on a fairly regular basis, about fly tying, different aspects of fishing, and destination fishing trips. Check out Head’s Instagram to see some new patterns:. Follow him at https://www.instagram.com/asthesamcrowties/
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Fly Fishing the Smokies Guided Fly Fishing in the Tennessee and North Carolina Smoky Mountains (828)-488-7665 or flyfishingthesmokies.net Wade Trips, Float Trips, Hazel Creek Camping, Beginner Lessons, and Fly Fishing for Kids. Est. in 1999, one of the oldest and most experienced Guide Services and Outfitters in the Smokies. Wade or Float for Trout and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Muskie, and Carp. We offer guided fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the WNC Fly Fishing Trail, Tuckasegee River, Little Tennessee River, Ravens Fork, Pigeon River, and Fontana Lake
For reservations call (828)-488-7665 or book your trip on the web at; flyfishingthesmokies.net
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southern trout history
Don Pfitzer 1923-2015
Back on Thanksgiving Day morning Don Pfitzer slipped away from us. Appropriately, he was seated on the shores of a trout stream in North Carolina, so his last sight was the sparkling waters leaping over rocks. It is hard to imagine a more fitting departure for a man so connected to the cold water fisheries of our Southern Appalachian Mountains. Professionally, Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expertise spanned several categories. He was a trained fisheries biologist, noted entomologist, knowledgeable botanist, a writer, photographer and public relations expert. Don Pfitzer was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1923. During World War II he served the nation as a pilot/instructor on B-17 bombers. Returning from military service he landed a job as a ranger naturalist with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From there he moved to the Tennessee Game and Fish
Commission where he held positions as a senior fisheries biologist and chief of Information and Education. As a part of that agency in 1955, Don authored Investigations of Waters Below Large Storage Reservoirs in Tennessee. That 230-pages of research formed the basis for all studies of tailwater trout fisheries in the South for the next half century. It also established Don as the preeminent authority on tailwater trout and their habitat. The next step was to take a job as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Atlanta. He eventually became the Assistant Regional Director for Public Affairs for the Southeast, a position he held until retiring in 1988. Never one to sit still for long, in retirement Don Pfitzer wrote freelance magazine articles, presented photography and naturalist programs to groups and clubs, and authored a pair of guidebooks. He penned Scenic
Don taking a break on a hiking trail in 2012. Photo by Polly Dean. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 173
close look - georgia Drives of Georgia in conjunction with fellow outdoorsman LeRoy Powell. Don’s Hiking Georgia, published in 1993, became a best seller and reference of choice for trekkers in the Peach State. When the owner of River Through Atlanta Guide Service Chris Scalley founded the Chattahoochee River Coldwater Fishery Foundation in 1998, Don was one of the first volunteers. He offered his extensive entomological expertise to help with the first in-depth study of the trout habitat of Georgia’s premier waterway. Don was a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, from which he received the prestigious Jade of Chiefs Award. He also served on the Board of Directors and as president of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association and was a past president of the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association. In 2008 Don Pfitzer was inducted into the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association Hunting and Fishing Hall of Fame. This detailing of the statistics and history of Don Pfitzer, however, only explain his professional side. For those who had the opportunity to share trout waters, hiking trails, or streams to paddle, there was much more to the man. He truly enjoyed life and a good laugh at what it presented. My initial encounter with Don on the water took place back in 1994 near the town of Dillard, Georgia. We were at an outdoor writers’ conference and one day was reserved for the scribes to fish Betty Creek that ran through the grounds of the Rabun Gap Nacoochee School. Don Pfitzer sharing a laugh with fellow outdoor legend Charlie Elliott in Dillard, Georgia in 1983. Photo courtesy of the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association. 174 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
southern trout history
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southern trout history
Don on the water in 1994. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.
To accommodate the angling, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources had done a special stocking of the creek with rainbow trout that week. Unfortunately, after the release of fish, a deluge of rain followed, raising the stream level and turning the water a murky gray. For most of us, the angling proved a bust. Drifting nymphs or stripping Wooly Buggers were the tactics being used to no avail. Then, as I walked along the stream I encountered Don. After complaining of the conditions, I asked how he was doing. He replied he’d only caught half a dozen trout. Upon asking how he was fishing, he said it would be easier to show me than explain. Don cast a dry fly out on the stained water, let it drift downstream until the line tightened and the fly sat on the surface forming a “V” wake. After several seconds of coursing back and forth across the current, a 10-inch, stocker rainbow inhaled the offering. The exhibition left me guessing as to how an angler so well-versed in trout behavior had discovered that the fish in Betty Creek were defying all logic to hit dry flies dragging on the surface. Don never explained, leaving me to conclude that his long association with the fish had imparted to him the ability to think like one, even when they were acting illogically! A couple of years later, Don, his regular fishing buddy LeRoy Powell and I hiked into the Conasauga River in northwest Georgia’s Cohutta Wilderness Area for a weekend of fly casting. During the first evening’s campfire talk, the
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close look - georgia subject turned to native brook trout. Don was an early proponent of the idea that the Southern Appalachian brookies were a separate sub-species from the northern brook trout. LeRoy was ever the connoisseur and wonder aloud if the native fish tasted any different from their stocked northern cousins. Don admitted he could not answer that, since he had never eaten one of the native brookies. Just months prior to this trip, I had quizzed the Georgia DNR biologists about rumors that wild brook
trout existed in the Cohutta Wilderness. It turned out that they had only anecdotal evidence from anglers with second-hand information on where such fish might be found in the watershed of the Conasauga and its sister stream the Jacks River. As a result I had ventured into the Cohutta region a couple times in search of the fish and had found a thriving population is a very small tributary of the Conasauga that was near our campsite. I offered to show my campmates the stream the next day.
As we fished that tiny rivulet, I broke one of my personal taboos and creeled a pair of the 7-inch natives, then surprised Don and LeRoy by frying each of them a fish for dinner appetizers. Looking back, I now realize that watching Don sample the brook trout, I was viewing interaction between two of the crown jewels of Southern trout fishing. The angling community of the South lost one of those treasures with the passing of Don Pfitzer, an outstanding man and gentle spirit that touched everyone with whom he came in contact.
608 Emmett Rd. Bristol, Tennessee 37620
www.southholstonriverflyshop.com 178 l December 2015 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
5 States 38 River Systems $21.95
9 States 46 Tailwaters $19.95
Trout Fishing Guidebooks For The South By Jimmy Jacobs
80 Watersheds On Public Land $15.95
Autographed copies available. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l January 2016 l 179
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Bob Borgwat Please describe the mission statement of your guide service?
Reel Angling Adventures offers more guided fishing destinations than any other outfitter in the southern reach of the Appalachian Mountains. Our service area ranges across the tri-state area of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
What waters do you offer trips on?
Because we fish public and private waters and carry special-use permits for three national forests – Cherokee, Nantahala and Chattahoochee – our guides fish waters as diverse as tailwaters to “blue line” creeks to reservoirs to trophy-trout waters on private properties. We offer both fly-fishing and spin-tackle fishing options. Our primary trout waters include those most requested by our clients – the Hiwassee River tailwater at Reliance, TN; the Toccoa River tailwater and upper river at Blue Ridge, GA; the Nantahala River “delayed harvest” water. But our permits also provide us with guiding access to Santeetlah, Snowbird and Slickrock creeks near Robbinsville, GA; the upper Nanatahala River watershed, west of Franklin, NC; the upper Toccoa River watershed near Suches, GA; and the Tellico River watershed above Tellico Plains, TN. We also have a reach onto the South Holston and Watauga rivers, using the services of our guide, Jeff Sharpe, out of Knoxville. And our bass/panfish trips extend to Lake Blue Ridge at Blue Ridge, GA; Lake Chatuge at Hiwassee, GA; and Lake Nantahala near Andrews, NC.
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Do you offer instruction to your clients?
Instruction is always offered by our guide team, no matter the skillset of the client. We don’t w the personalities of our anglers. But we’re always watching the mechanics of the cast, placem of the fly line on the water. But instruction also means providing our anglers with insights to th helping them understand how to work a fly or lure so it best imitates the prey/food as it becom
Do you supply flies and/or other tackle and waders?
Our trips are “turnkey” … everything is provided for the type of trip. No nickel-and-diming our will not use natural or processed baits because of the likeliness that a fish that eats a “soft” b
How did you get started guiding?
I’m a lifelong angler. Mom showed my two brothers and me how to fish with cane poles when bluegill. From there, all three of us progressed at different speeds and fishing in both salt- and to 30 years old that we began to even out our skills in fishing. Because I lived in East Texas fo Publications, which publishes magazines on hunting and fishing, brought me to Atlanta in 199 my first day on the Nantahala River in spring 1991. I shared the water that day with Jimmy Ja photo shoot, but the fishing was so good with dry flies, I’m sure we spent a lot more time fishi satisfaction in a day with the fly rod in my hand than chunking crankbaits or dragging plastic w 182 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
want to get in anyone’s face, so to speak, so we temper our approach to instruction with ment of the flies/lures, the retrieve or drift, and in the case of fly-fishing, the maintenance he science of fishing, from fish habits – how they feed, where they live, why they strike – to mes vulnerable to a feeding fish.
clients. All our fishing is done with flies and lures of the best quality and best selection. We bait is going to swallow that bait, leaving in question their safe release to swim another day.
n we were youngsters. I think I was about 6 years old when she helped me catch my first d freshwater. We’re each about five years apart in age, so it wasn’t until we were 20 or almost 20 years, I focused on bass fishing. My job as senior editor for Game & Fish 90. I still had bass on my mind, but I quickly found my passion in fly-fishing for trout after acobs (former editor for Georgia Sportsman magazine) and the staff photographer. It was a ing than taking pictures. But that was the turning point. I still bass fish, but there’s a lot more worms.
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close look - georgia I left the publishing job in 1997 for an opportunity to live and work in South Africa for a global company in the IT industry. While I pursued writing about fishing and hunting as a freelance contributor to magazines across the country, I moved through the IT company as a technical writer, a marketing publications editor and a public-relations manager. But that all came crashing down, with the bursting of the high-tech bubble in IT in 2001, when the company laid off 95 percent of its marketing staff. I scrambled around for a year, found my way back into the same company a year later working all three of my previous roles with one hat on, but I was laid off again in summer 2003. That’s when my wife suggested I put my fishing skills to work in ways other than writing about fishing. She didn’t have to tell me twice. I built a business plan and registered Reel Angling Adventures as a “DBA” under my communications company, Toccoa Bend Images LLC. I soon purchased a drift boat, upgraded my fishing tackle, and started guiding in spring 2004. A year later, I was working about 160 guide trips a year and have now moved into my 13th year. I not only guide. I also work as an outfitter, with four more fishing guides on the water, while still writing (for Southern Trout Magazine among others) and overseeing the operations of Straight Edge Tattoo in Woodstock, GA, as the shop owner. My son, Nic, is the lead artist among a crew of four artists.
What are the expectations of most of your clients?
That’s simple, in this order: They want to catch fish. They want to have a good time. They want to learn about fishing. We give it all to them using experience, exposure, execution and engagement.
Do you supply transportation and food/drinks?
We’ll set up transportation needs as strategically as possible. That could mean picking them up at home or at a cabin or hotel, at a local fishing shop or meeting them at riverside or the lake landing. Bottled water is always provided, and deli-styled lunches are provided on all full-day trips.
What are your most popular repeat trips?
Tailwater trout fishing ranks No. 1 among our repeat trips. Those are often the most productive trips, and anglers in our reach of the mountains request those trips more than any other offering. But among our returning clients, there are several who also want to get out of the mainstream over and over again to chase the wild trout of the small headwater streams. Those are the trips I like to repeat over and over again, too.
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close look - georgia What would you like for potential customers to know about guided trips before they book with you? Get ready for fun! Whether you’re in one of our drift boats, bass boats or wading alongside our guides in a trout stream, you’re out for fun, so expect it and prepare for it. Bring along your fishing license and whatever makes you comfortable on the water. We’ll have a short checklist of items you may want to carry along, too.
Why do you feel that guided fishing trips have become so popular in recent years?
Guided fishing is about “value.” Personal time is largely narrowed these days by the responsibilities of family and work. You want to get the most out of every minute you spend away from those responsibilities and you want to get what you pay for. Good fishermen seek knowledge to improve their game. Good fishermen seek more time to fish. When you share your fishing time with a fishing guide, you gain his/her experience and insight into a fishery, while leveling your learning curve in the least amount of time. You’re not always going to catch a lot of fish, but you should come away from the trip as a better angler, a more strategic angler, a more logical angler, a more experienced angler than you were before you joined your fishing guide on the water. For all those reasons, I buy fishing guides, too, whenever I’m on new water and I want to reduce the time in my learning curve. 186 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
featured guide What would you like to add or comment on?
Success at fishing is a matter of understanding the life and habits of your target fish and the foods they eat, and understanding the environment in which they live. It’s not “chunk and retrieve.” It’s not “cast and wait ‘em out.” It takes time to learn where fish live in any river, stream or lake. It takes time to learn how and why fish feed the way they do. And it takes time to put all that information to work for a successful day of fishing. A fishing guide takes all that time and compresses it into an 8-hour day on the water with experience, exposure, execution and engagement.
What would you like to say about the experience anglers can expect when going on a trip with you?
Our guide team carries a lot of fishing experience. No one on the team is less than 40 years old. I carry the least amount of local fishing experience, but that’s 25 years worth! The others are born and raised in the southern Appalachian Mountains and have been fishing these waters far longer than me. We’re going to fish our clients when and where fishing is good, but we’re also going to give our clients the option to postpone their trip when we believe conditions are “going south.” We’re honest about where the fishing is going and what we expect from our waters on any particular day. We’re going to share that information with our clients, so that the trip they choose to make with us meets their expectations. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 187
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he first thing the staff at Southern Trout learned with this particular feature, is the difference between a bamboo rod builder and a bamboo rod maker. Until being brought up to speed on the difference by Gary Lacey, we used the terms interchangeably like one’s “kids” and “children.” Rod builders are fellows who may or may not build their own bamboo blanks from scratch, but assemble the finish product without-sourced guides, ferrules and reel seats. Builders compose about 90 percent of those that offer custom bamboo fly rods.
Those very few
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featured rod builder
Gary Lacey Atlanta, GA www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 191
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featured rod builder
actual bamboo fly rod makers virtually do it. They split and plane their Tonkin cane, make their guides, and machine their own reel seats and hardware from bar stock. Lacy is a bamboo rod maker. No he does not grow his own Tonkin cane, or raise caterpillars to enable him to make his own silk thread, but short of that, if you get one of his bamboo fly rods, you get a piece of fishing art that is his sole creation. “I was born in Kaufman, Texas, a small town south of Dallas,” says Lacey. “I lived in the Dallas area until 1966 when my dad and mom decided to move the family from the city to the country. We moved to Huntington Texas. Huntington had a population of 1009. We had more cows than people. One of my class mates told me last year the town was now up to 1013 residents.” “I have had a gun and fishing pole in my hands since I can remember,” Lacey, a rod makers many believe is the best in Dixie. “Most of the time I had one in my left and the other in my right. To say we had a critter problem in south east Texas would be an understatement. My two weapons of choice were a Benjamin model 317 pump pellet rifle and a Zebco 202 on whatever rod I could find. The Zebco 202 was the only reel that fit my budget. I have had many of them. If you caught a large mouth over 1 1/2 lbs you would strip out ever gear in it. Hey for $1.98 what could you expect?” Lacey first contact with fly fishing was in outdoor magazine's my mom gave me subscriptions to. At his first exposure to fly fishing in that magazine, he knew it really different and that it was something he was going to learn to do. His mother noticed how much interest I was showing in fly fishing. This was back in the days of S&H Green Stamps. More valuable than money, she got S&H Green Stamps from where she shopped. On Christmas day Lacey received a brand new 9-foot Roddey fly rod. With his version of the coveted “Red Ryder,” the youngster thought he was in heaven. All the animals around the house suffered the loss of feathers and hair in order to support his fly tying efforts.
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‘Much later in life I owned a business that was doing well,” says Lacey. “I wanted to get back into fly fishing and explore the rivers and streams of Virginia where I was living at the time. To me it made since to go see the legendary Harry Murry in Edenburg, Virginia about a new fly rod. I asked
him what the finest fly rod was and he said bamboo. I want one I said.” “Murray told me to allow him to call a friend of his named Walt Carpenter,” says Lacey. “When I got my new Carpenter fly rod, I was absolutely fascinated with it. I started buying old cane fly rods and taking them apart. I sought out and read every book I could find on bamboo fly rods. I remained in close contact with Carpenter, who was very kind to me and taught me a lot. Others who helped me were Darrell Whitehead and Glen Bracket. Bracket is a true gentleman and was the foremost influence in my rod making. He and I still stay in contact.” “Since launching into the craft of bamboo fly rod making, I have built rods from 5-feet to 9 ½ feet long,” says Lacey. “The most popular rods I build are an 8-feet, 3-piece 5wt and a 7-feett 3piece 4wt. When I made bamboo fly rods for LL Bean, the 8-feet, 3piece 5wt sold 2 to 1 better than anything else that they offered.” Lacey says that he personally like his 7-feet bamboo fly rod when fishing small streams. He prefers an 8-feet rod when fishing larger water. For western fly fishing, he prefers an 8 ½ feet, 3piece 5wt. fly rod, which he describes as a “real honey also.” When you order a Lacey rod you will notice they have a different look to them. The reason being is Lacey makes everything on his bamboo fly rods. “I buy raw bar stock and make all the reel seat hardware, stripper guides, snake guides, tip tops and ferrules,” he explains. “Nothing on my rods is purchased ready-made that does slow me down if components I have ordered are delayed. Each of my bamboo fly is truly a one of kind creation. l am what is called a rod maker. Most others are rod builders. They may or may not build the blank but everything else they purchase and then they assembly the rod from other peoples’ stuff. Anyone can do that. Being a true maker allows me to better teach you all the ins and outs of rod making when you take a class. My classes cost $1250.00. When you leave you will have a 7-foot, 2-piece 4wt bamboo fly rod that casts great, plus you will see how all the components on rods are made. 194 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
featured rod builder
Emmy Award Winning Rod Maker
Turner Broadcasting producer in Atlanta contacted me to see if he could do a mini documentary on me and building rods,” says Lacey. “My response was ‘What is a mini documentary?’ I leaned that the Turner Movie channel uses them between movies instead of commercials between movies. They wanted to promote local artists. I agreed and made an appointment for them to come out.” “They arrived with a sound, light and camera men, plus the director. They filmed for two days for a 5 minute video. It aired ten times but I couldn't find it. It was frustrating when friends called to tell that they saw me on TV, while I hadn’t seen it yet.” “The producer sent me a copy,” says Lacey. “A couple of months later he called to say Turner Broadcasting had submitted the video for an Emmy. I could not believe you could get an Emmy for that. He don’t get your hopes up. The academy had not nominated it yet. We can't get excited until the nominate it.” A short time later Lacey received call from the producer. Lacey learned the video had been nominated and he was going Emmy Awards. Lacey says that he I could not believe it. Later at the Emmy's when it came time, the announced “The Artist by Nature category is director Brian Marrow of Turner Broadcasting.” “Brian want up to receive the Emmy,” says Lacey. “I about wet my pants. Brian received the original and the academy was gracious enough to send me a duplicate. What a night. I suspect I am the only bamboo rod maker in the world with an Emmy.” www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 195
Just a 3-hour drive from Atlanta! Destinations
include high elevation mountain streams, scenic tailwaters, and intense summer-time smallmouth bass trips. We take several backcountry trips a year to the remote and scenic Hazel Creek in GSMNP, which is an experience every Southern fly fisher should try at least once. Brookings’ also hosts some incredible destination trips to places like Argentina’s Patagonia, Belize and Montana. We are simply eaten up with fishing and will go anywhere to find the best for our clients.
Brooking’s is licensed to guide in Nantahala and Pigsah National Forests, Panthertown Valley, as well as Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
We carry brands such as Orvis, Simms, Scott, Sage, Columbia, Smith Optical, Hardy, True Flies and many more!
Guides for first-time to experienced anglers and everyone in between.
Lodging | Fly Fishing Guide Trips |Angling Equipment Fly Tying Supplies and Lessons |Cigars | Apparel | Books | DVDs
828-743-3768 | email@example.com BrookingsOnline.com
Friendliest fly shop in Cotter!
Natural State Fly Shop is located within walking distance of the fabled White River, just up the road from the Cotter boat launch and public access. A full-service retailer and outfitter, Natural State Fly Shop offer flies, tackle, rental driftboats, shuttles, guided float trips on the White and Norfork Rivers, and guided wade trips on Dry Run Creek. Featuring products by Winston, Ross, Galvan, TroutHunter, Catch Fly Fishing, and many more; Natural State Fly Shop offers everything that the visiting fly fisherman needs. Natural State Fly Shop Shop: 870-471-9111
3392 Cotter Road Mobile: 870-706-0820
North Carolina's Delayed Harvest Program: The Best of Both Worlds
ow do you satisfy the catch and release sport fisherman and the fish for food angler? Enter North Carolina's Delayed Harvest program. The dozens of DH destinations provide anglers with copious amounts of easily accessible trout throughout most of the year. Then, when the streams' rising temperatures stress the trout during the summer months, fishermen are allowed to keep their catch. North Carolina regulates Delayed Harvest designated trout streams as catch and release, single hook artificial lures only from October 1st until the first Saturday in June. From the first Saturday in June ntil the end of September, Hatchery Supported regulations apply. Hatchery Supported regulations mean that there is no minimum size or bait restrictions, and that anglers can keep 7 trout per day. Note that the streams are only open to youths during the morning of the first Saturday in June, opening to all anglers at noon. Anglers can spot a Delayed Harvest stream by the black and white diamondshaped signs that mark them
Based on my observation, the NC Delayed Harvest program has been quite a hit with fishermen. For example, when I started fishing in South Mountains State Park many years ago, even finding the park was difficult, and driving to it was cumbersome on the gravel roads. Now, the road through the park is paved, straightened, and the entire park including the Delayed Harvest portion of the stream are ypically crowded. DH streams usually receive healthy stockings of trout on a frequent basis. Consequently, during the delayed harvest period, anglers should have plenty of trout to pursue. However, once the delayed 198 l February 2016 2015 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
Another advantage of DH streams is their accessibility. Since the trout are usually transported by trucks from the hatchery to the stream, DH streams tend to be located y observation, theroads NC Delayed Harvest program has been quiteatathe hit cost withoffishermen. along main or in parks. Accessibility, however, comes privacy. For hen I started South Mountains many years ago, finding the park You willfishing usuallyin have company while State fishingPark DH waters, but do not even let that deter you, t, and because driving to was cumbersome on the gravel Now, the road through theitfishing can be excellent. Along withroads. their accessibility, often times the the park DH is ghtened, and the park including the Delayed portion of the streammaking are streams areentire located in the lower elevations and Harvest tend to have milder gradients, owded.them easier to navigate for a day of fishing. In addition, many DH streams have handicap accessible areas.
usually receive healthy stockings of trout on a frequent basis. Consequently, during the Here anglers are some tips forplenty fishing Delayed Harvest waters. vest period, should have of trout to pursue. However, once the delayed od ends, quickly on some streams. remember visiting Stone 1. Ifthe youtrout are acan luredisappear fisherman, your lures will often comeIwith treble hooks and/or tate Park twice withinhooks. a couple of weeks; visit and one visit after anglers include multiple Be sure to cut one off two of before, the treble hooks, and remove, or were keep the fish. Ithe encountered troutasinneeded. most pools on the first visit, but lures literally only replace multiple hooks You must ensure that your have onlysaw onetwo ut in the entire stream during visit. Larger streams, hook when fishing duringthe thesecond Delayed Harvest portion of thehowever, season. will retain some of onger, and some of the cooler streams will even support a healthy population of holdovers.
2. Often, DH trout have been duly educated, having seen many hooks, flies, and lures their short time the stream. These trout are not fooledthan easily use find the most at the during state stocks in the DHinwaters are often larger, on average, yousowill in the imitative flies available, such as Perfect Fly brand flies, available at troutprostore.com. upported or Wild streams. Bigger is better! 3. Start early or stay late. Beating or outlasting the crowds means you can have the best spots on the stream all to yourself. I would prefer starting early, as the trout have had a break from fishermen during the overnight hours. Staying late may offer a better opportunity to catch a hatch or spinner fall, however. This presents an excellent opportunity to match the hatch with a good fly.
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4. Fish during mid-week, colder months, or nasty weather will help you beat the crowds to the best and easily accessible pools. 5. The biggest pools that provide convenient stocking locations typically hold the most trout. However, out of the way portions of creek can also contain fish that others pass by, so seek out these areas when possible. 6. Pay attention to the stocking schedule. Trout recently stocked are often hungry and less gullible,since they have been pampered in the hatchery eating trout kibbles provided by rangers. The longer the fish are in the creek, the more they will become like native-bread fish by eating the food that is available in that stream. Also, recently stocked trout have not had the opportunity to learn from the many hooks thrown at them. Tailor your schedule and your location to the level of challenge you desire. 7. During periods of increased fishing pressure, fish with different flies, lures, and techniques than the other anglers. This will give you a chance to catch trout that have already seen the usual variety of temptations and have already passed up what the majority of fishermen were using. 8. During the DH season, when you are practicing catch and release, be sure not to play the fish to exhaustion, especially during warmer weather. Also, be careful to handle the fish gently, leaving it in the water as much as possible, and reviving it fully before releasing. 9. If you want to keep some trout for the table, fish the stream as soon as you can after the Delayed Harvest period ends or after subsequent stockings. 200 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
Here are several specific DH waters to consider. 1. The Tuckasegee River is large trout water by North Carolina standards. This well stocked tailrace is also home to some large holdover trout, making it popular with Tarheel trout anglers. The primary DH portion runs from the NC 107 bridge downstream to just above the US23/US441 Bridge in Dillsboro. Great access is provided by the River Road that follows the north bank. The river is usually wadeable (but beware of diverse depths across the streambed), unless water is being released from either of the two dams that affect the flow. Check the water levels and release chedules before your trip. It is possible to float the river when sufficient water is being released by the dams upstream. Good bets for the Tuck include streamer and hellgrammite patterns and large lures, such as Rapalas.Keep in mind that smallmouth bass also call this river home and these feisty fish also provide plenty of excitement. The scenery on the Tuckasegee isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quite as good as some of the other streams, but the fishing action more than makes up for it. While youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in the area, take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which follows alongside the Tuckaseegee River between Dillsboro and downstream Bryson City (other routes are also available.)
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2. The Upper Watauga River, though less famous than the tailrace portion in Tennessee, offers Delayed Harvest trout fishing in scenic Valle Crucis, NC a few miles off NC 105. The DH portion extends from the bridge at NC 194 near upstream about a mile. The Valle Crucis park provides great access to a short length of the river. The riverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s character reflects that of the idyllic valley through which it flows, nonchalantly meandering along its course. This is a good place to test your luck fly fishing the modest gradient runs and riffles. Note that I noticed a sign warning of whirling disease on a recent visit to the Valle Crucis park, so be sure to take adequate precautions with your gear to prevent its spread. As an aside, you may want to visit the Mast General Store or satisfy your sweet tooth at the candy store while you are in Valle Crucis.
3. Wilson Creek's portion of Delayed Harvest water also provides some great action. The mild gradient DH section is nestled between the rugged Hatchery Supported lower stretch of creek in the gorge and the remote Catch and Release upper portion of the stream. The DH section is accessible from gravel Brown Mountain Beach Road and NC 90 near Mortimer, NC. The Wilson Creek area is known for some impressive flooding after heavy rains, so keep this in mind before heading to the creek.
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Portions of smaller Stone Mountain Creek and the medium-sized East Prong Roaring River, both which follow the main road through the park are designated as Delayed Harvest. There are several miles of DH fishing in the park. The road provides great access, with numerous pull-offs. The streams are of moderate gradient for the most part, with a few small waterfalls interspersed. The park also features a commodious campground, as well as backcountry camping, great hiking, and remote Wild streams, for those wanting to add to their adventure.
4. Stone Mountain State Park offers some great Delayed Harvest trout fishing. Along with South Mountains State Park, Stone Mountain also happens to be one of the closest destinations to Charlotte. This proximity to one of the largest urban areas in the state draws large numbers of outdoor enthusiasts, including fishermen, campers, hikers, and even rock climbers eager to climb the eponymous granite rock for which the park is named.
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5. The Delayed Harvest section of theArarat River flows through Mt. Airy, just a few blocks from the Mayberrythemed downtown. This river is among the lowest elevation, easternmost trout streams in the state, flowing around 1100 feet above sea level. The river in this area, which has a very modest gradient, flows alongside a fantastic greenway. The greenway provides anglers (and hikers, joggers, and roller bladers) great access to the river. You may want to fish during the colder months and early in the morning to avoid the crowds of swimmers and tubers. This is a destination that the entire family can enjoy, including the trout fishing, greenway, Community Park, andAndy Griffith show-based attractions. 6. South Mountains State Park has become a very popular destination with recreation-seekers and weekend warriors. This popular park includes Delayed Harvest fishing in Jacob’s Fork along the park’s main road and a short distance upstream from the large parking lot. Once again, come early or during the off season or bad weather to get a good parking spot and a chance at solitude. Fish the out of the way or overlooked spots. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, hike further up Jacob’s Fork to the impressive waterfall. Finally, other great Delayed Harvest destinations include the Little River at Dupont State Forest, the East Fork of the French Broad River, and a portion of the Nantahala River near the power plant, though there are many other possibilities. Time to grab your gear and head out to a North Carolina delayed harvest stream near you for some great fishing opportunities! For more information about Delayed Harvest trout fishing in North Carolina, visit North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission’s website.
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DENVER, CO JANUARY 8, 9 & 10 MARLBOROUGH, MA JANUARY 22, 23 & 24 SOMERSET, NJ JANUARY 29, 30 & 31 WINSTON-SALEM, NC FEBRUARY 5 & 6 LYNNWOOD, WA FEBRUARY 13 & 14 PLEASANTON, CA FEBRUARY 26, 27 & 28
PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY AND CATHY BECK.
LANCASTER, PA MARCH 5 & 6
Fly Fishing is NOT part of the show IT IS THE
White River Fish Trent Fleming
adly, Taneycomo is not an Indian word with a deep, spiritual or historical meaning. It is merely an amalgam of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Taney County Missouriâ&#x20AC;? and is used to describe the delightful river/lake section of the White River that flows from Table Rock Dam through southern Missouri to eventually pool again and form Bull Shoals Lake in northern Arkansas. Like the other dams on the White River, Table Rock is designed to provide hydro-electric power to the region. Beginning in the 1920s, and ending with the completion of Greers Ferry Dam in the early 1960s, these impoundments on the White River system were undertaken with the intent of providing a stable source of clean power, and ample recreation opportunities throughout the region. 208 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
Those who would ply these waters are, at best, an afterthought to the efforts of the Southwest Power Administration, (or in the case of Table Rock, Empire Electric,) to meet the electric demand of businesses and consumers The US Army Corps of Engineers has a mission as well, to manage the lake levels to balance the interests of homeowners, pleasure boaters, fishermen, and concessionaires along the shores of the deep, clear lakes, and the rivers that flow out of them. As dam completion finished, and generation patterns developed, regular stocking of trout led to significant breeding populations of fish. While stocking continues, it is the wild trout that many seek for a challenge. World record Browns have been caught, and many large www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 209
rainbows as well. Bonus fish included Cutthroat and the hybrid â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cut-bow.â&#x20AC;? Smallmouth were displaced from the White by the colder water, but have found homes in several tributaries, including Crooked Creek, and are often sought after by bronze-back aficionados. I am a regulator visitor to these waters. Travel that takes me near one of the White River dams will include careful attention to packing my fly fishing tools. Siri is well acquainted with the dam generation schedule number on my iPhone. An early morning or late afternoon fishing opportunity is more welcome in my world than any golf outing or Five Star restaurant. Fishing on the White River is a year round event, though most of us avoid wading during the spawn . . . so as to avoid disturbing those fish who, thankfully, have begun to breed in the wild. Winter often offers more predictable flows, fewer fishermen, and a chance at the larger fish. While this region enjoys four seasons, extended periods of harsh weather are rare, and January and February will have some bright days in the 50s and 60s that offer pleasant fishing. 210 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
through the deeper flowing water. I started, as I often do, with a #12 olive drab wooly bugger, with a little flash in it. Cast across, mend the belly, and wait for the drift to stretch out. I often get a strike as the fly reaches the end of the line downstream, and begins to rise just a bit. If not, I begin a deliberate stripping of the woolly bugger back toward me, upstream. Rinse, lather, and repeat. On the third cast, a small rainbow favored me with a strike, and was soon brought to net for a quick look, and a release. As I straightened from releasing the fish, water dripping from the knees of my waders, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. A Great Blue Heron stood 20 feet way, on the same gravel bar, but instead of the water, he was now watching me.
I am more often near Taneycomo than the other tail waters. On a recent trip I enjoyed quiet water, with little or no generation, and few other fishermen on the river. Early one morning, while the fog still lay on the river, I waded carefully (Missouri has outlawed my beloved felt, so I’m still getting used to a rubberized cleated sole) across the shallow flats of the river to the opposite bank where I knew a deeper channel remained, just past the point of a gravel bar. From my post near the tip of the bar, I could either drift a bead head sowbug through the faster water, or cast and strip back an olive wooly bugger
Contrary to the patient explanation by a “duck boat” driver in Plymouth Harbor several years ago, the Great Blue Heron is not in danger of extinction. Not even close. Anyone who spends any time near the great rivers in the south will see plenty of these marvelous predators, standing patiently like a derrick in the shallows, waiting and watching for its next meal. Urban sprawl has impacted the bird’s territory in some areas, so that it is not unusual to see Heron in neighborhood ponds in large cities. After a moment or so, Mr. Heron went back to watching the water, and I to casting. Another few casts, and another tight line . . . this one at the end of the drift, before I had begun to strip back. More line out meant a bit longer fight, and the ‘bow honored me with a beautiful leap. As I brought the fish to net, I cast at glance at the Heron. He was now about two steps closer, and again watching me, not the water. After releasing my third fish, this one a medium sized brown, beautifully colored, I decided to rest the
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water and let Mr. Heron have a chance. Having again moved closer to me, he returned his gaze to the water, and while I watched, rod in hand, his large beak probed quickly in the riffle and returned with a small fish which he promptly adjusted and began swallowing head first. Chuckling, I quietly began the trek back across the river, my mind now turning to the business of the day. And to think I had planned to fish alone this morning . .
If You Go
While Branson offers good access to Table Rock Lake and Taneycomo, Mountain Home, Arkansas is a great central point to sample White River fishing, including Bull Shoals and Norfork tailwaters. A third possibility is Eureka Springs, Arkansas, located between Mountain Home and Fayetteville, offering access to Beaver Lake and its excellent, though small, tailwater. In any case, you will enjoy the scenery, culture, and of course, fishing opportunities, of the region.
The Watauga River: Dixieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Best Kept Secret
Emerging Sulphur Nymph
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Winterizing Fly Tackle Harry Murray
his is a good time of the year to go through your tackle and clean it up and make repairs you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; have time to make during the busy fishing season. Here are some basic steps you can use which will prolong the life of your tackle and improve its performance. *Rods- Scrub the cork grip, reel seat and whole rod with an old tooth brush with dish detergent. Rinse it very good with water and dry it with a towel. Set it aside to thoroughly dry for several days before putting it in the cloth sac and back in the rod tube. If your rod has a cloth sac wash it in the washing machine and dry it in a hot dryer to kill any mildew that grew during the summer.
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*Reels- Strip the line and backing off the reel. Remove the spool from the reel. Use a Q-tip dipped in a cleaning fluid to remove the grit, dirt and old oil from the inside of the reel and the back of the spool. Wipe all of it down thoroughly with a towel. Wipe the spool firmly with a towel where the backing and line were. Apply a light coat of oil to the inside of the reel and the back of the spool unless the reel manufactureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s instructions specify not to. Do not allow any oil to get inside the spool where the line and backing go. Replace the new backing and use an Albright Knot to attach the line to the backing. *Fly Line- Wash the whole line with Ivory cake soap and a paper towel. Rinse the line thoroughly with a wet paper towel. Dry the line thoroughly with a dry paper towel. Place 6 drops of SA Line Dressing on a dry, clean paper towel and dress the line. With another paper towel rub the whole line down. The small amount of dressing that gets into the microscopic pores of the line does what you want. Excessive dressing left on the line will collect dirt and defeat you.
Streaming a Fly: Dry flies that become matted and the hackle are out of shape can be revived nicely by steaming them over hot steam from a teakettle while holding them with long hemostats. Be very careful because you can get a bad burn from hot steam.
Clean a fly rod: In order to keep your fly rod looking good and to help it shoot the fly line well, scrub the cork grip and the whole rod, especially around the guides, with an old toothbrush using dish detergent. Rinse it thoroughly with water and dry it with a towel. Let it sit in a corner for a week to dry completely before putting it back in the rod care.
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*Vest- Wash your vest with Ivory powder or Revivex Wash in your washing machine on the gentle cycle. Run it through an extra rinse cycle to remove all soap. Line dry it. * Raincoat- Follow the manufactures directions. I wash mine in cold water with Revivex Wash on the gentle cycle in the washing machine and run it through an extra rinse cycle. I spray the wet raincoat with Revivex Spray Water Repellent finish and dry it for one hour in my clothes dryer on a medium heat setting. *Cap and Hat- If you want to treat your cap to get it to help repel the rain, wash it with a wet cloth soaked in a solution of Ivory powder. Rinse it with water. After it drys spray it with Tectron DWR. Let it dry for 24 hours. *Chest/Hip Pack- Follow the manufactures directions. I wash mine in the washing machine on the gentle cycle in cold water with Ivory powder and line dry it. It comes out as good as new. Be sure to empty all of the pockets and take all of the gadgets off the front before washing your pack. *Waders- Follow manufactures directions. I wash my Gore-Tex waders in the tub using cold water with Ivory powder or Revivex Wash and line dry them. Rubber hip boots require no special care except washing the dirt off with water. Be sure all of your waders, hippers and shoes are completely dry both inside and outside before putting them away for the winter. Hang them in a cool dry location so air can flow around
them. Do not hang them in the sun: I once did this with a pair of rubber waders and by spring the sun caused cracks all over them. *Landing Nets- Wash the sac and the frame good with dish detergent. Rinse with water. Hang it to dry completely. *Gadgets- While you have all of the gadgets and angling tools off your vest, check to see if they need attention. Cord retractors often need to be shortened and re-knotted before the cord breaks. Pliers, clamps and hemostats may need a drop of oil. Thermometers should be calibrated by setting it in a glass of ice water to see if you get 32 degrees. Floatant may need to be refilled or replaced. *Wading Staff- Coat the joints good with paraffin so they do not jam. *Fly boxes- Go through your fly boxes and grade your flies: A- those okay as they are, B- those over the hill and need to be trashed and C- those that are useable but need help which is covered in the next step. *Flies- Remove any tippet material from eyes. If the heads are coming loose you can apply a whip finish with your fly tying bobbin and coat with head cement. Dry flies which have matted hackle can be saved by steaming them over a teakettle using a strainer or long hemostats, but be very careful because you can get a bad burn from the steam. When you store flies away for long times consider putting mothballs in them, however, be careful because this may soften some boxes.
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*Fly Tying MaterialsDispose of trash. Separate out materials you seldom use. Organize frequently used materials so you can easily find them. Place mothballs in materials, being careful to see that they will not soften boxes and bags. *Maps, Books and NotesWhile the past season is fresh in your mind, make notes on when, where and with what you found good fishing. For 30 years I have done this. It is helpful and very interesting to look back through the years and see the spots where I have had the best, worse, and fair fishing.
Clean a reel: Use a Q-tip dipped in a cleaning fluid to remove the dirt and old oil that collects on the inside of the reel unless the manufacturerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s instructions specify not to.
Now that you have everything ready for the next season you have no excuse that will keep you from fishing more and catching more fish.
Spray a cap: In order to help my caps turn rainwater I wash them with Ivory power solution and rinse them good. When they are dry I spray them with Techtron or Scotch Guard water proofing sprays. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 217
The Mountain King by Tycoon Tackle The Mountain King by Tycoon Tackle was Specifically designed for use on mountain streams in the Appalachian Mountains where tight quarters, a stealthy Approach, and the need for laser like accuracy are the norm. This mountain trout rod will deliver superb performance anywhere, Especially mountain streams and technical spring creeks.
For more information visit:
NEW FROM JIMMY JACOBS From
YOU KNOW HIM AS THE AUTHOR OF GUIDEBOOKS TO TROUT FISHING IN THE SOUTHEAST. NOW EXPERIENCE THE OTHER SIDE OF JIMMY JACOBSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; WRITING. THE CERDO GRANDE CONSPIRACY IS A NOVEL THAT TAKES YOU ON A WILD RIDE FROM ATLANTA TO KEY WEST, FLORIDA. The Cerdo Grande Conspiracy was born in a tale related to me by a reserve officer with the Monroe County Police Department that serves the Florida Keys. It revolved around an escaped pig on Stock Island that becomes amorous with a motorcycle in a convenience store parking lot. The owner of the bike and the pig's owner ended up in a fight as the biker attacked the pig. While it sounds surreal, locals have good reason to call the city at the south end of U.S. Highway 1 "Key Weird." Anything is plausible in this slice of paradise. And if it hasn't already happened, it likely will. Admittedly, some liberties have been taken with the original tale, but that's what fiction is all about. From that incident the story of the conspiracy to save the porker took root. Hopefully, you'll find that it grew into an entertaining romp along the southeast coast down to the American tropics. And, should you ever visit there, you just might recognize some of the locales in the tale. Jimmy Jacobs Kindle Edition $4.99 Paperback $9.99 AVAILABLE AT WWW.AMAZON.COM/AUTHOR/JIMMYJACOBS
16th A n n u A l
• Located at • Admission • Extensive c • Boy Scouts • New “kaya
Lefty Kreh • George Daniel • Bob Clouser • Beau Bea Ed Jaworowski • Dusty Wissmath • Steve Vorkapich • Co Walt Cary • Capt Gary Dubiel • Cory Routh • Jon
Daily Admission $20 • 9am - 5p
April 9-10, 2016 Doswell, Virginia
t Exit 98 off Interstate 95, near Richmond, Virginia includes wine tastings from Virginia’s best vintners children’s program with free instruction s can earn their Fly Fishing Merit badges ak testing pond.” Try before you buy!
asley • Wanda Taylor • Blane Chocklett olby Trow • Harold Harsh • Patrick Fulkrod n Bowden • Mike Smith • Kiki Galvin
pm • www.vaflyfishingfestival.org
How You Can Beat the Winter Blues Beau Beasley
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ere in Northern Virginia, less than an hour’s drive from the nation’s capital, our fly fishing options are quite limited come January. Unless I head north to Pennsylvania to chase steelhead or south to the Carolinas or Georgia, I’m stuck waiting for warmer weather. Yes, I can fish for Virginia musky in the winter, but I like to be able to feel my extremities while I fish. So how does the winter bound fly angler get his or her midwinter fix? How do we make it to spring without going all JackNicholson-in-The-Shining? Simple: Take in a fly fishing show to ward off your wintertime psychosis. Chuck Furimsky and his son Ben manage some of the most successful fly fishing shows in the country. Their flagship event in Somerset, New Jersey, in late January is hands-down the largest fly fishing event in the country. Attendees arrive by the thousands each year to enjoy an eclectic range of speakers— though Somerset’s proximity to New York City certainly helps to draw crowds. Both Furimskys are avid fly anglers as well as fly tyers, and their shows are exclusively dedicated to fly fishing. According to Ben Furimsky, they put each show together with fly anglers in mind: “Attending one of our Fly Fishing Shows is a great way to overcome those winter doldrums. There’s simply nowhere else in the world where you can shop for as much equipment—not to mention flies, books, DVDs, and fly tying materials—to prepare for the next season.” Fly Fishing shows abound in the winter; all provide attendees the opportunity to meet the luminaries of the sport, talk to local guides, shake hands with a favorite author, and check out regional and international fishing-friendly destinations. Now, not all fishing shows are the same; to avoid disappointment, fly anglers looking for a show with a strong fly fishing presence will need to do their due diligence before driving a great distance and parting with an entrance fee. Sometimes, though, even a few fly fishing booths and some friendly fellow fly addicts can be enough to get you through the long winter season.
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Come in from the Cold
There are various opportunities to get your fly fishing fix met, but you might have to travel a bit to do it. If you’re in North Carolina, you’re in luck. The Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo provides a great opportunity to get introduced to fly fishing in the Tar Heel State. Located in the western end of North Carolina the WNC Fly Fishing Expo draws attendees from the Tar Heel State as well as Virginia, and Tennessee. The event is the brainchild of avid fly angler, Frank Smith and is generally held the first weekend in December. Smith is a long time fly angler and is the owner of Hunter Banks, a well-known fly shop located in Asheville, North Carolina, and with Smith’s leadership, the show has steadily grown. As mentioned previously The Fly Fishing Show has numerous events though out the country, with three shows occurring in the Mid-Atlantic area. First, in the month of January you can head to Somerset New Jersey and take in the largest fly fishing event in the country. By February if you weren’t able to make it to the Western North Carolina Expo in Asheville, you have a chance to take make up for your losses by attending The Fly Fishing Show in Winston-Salem. Another small but very well attended show is the Rapidan TU Show held in February. According to Chuck Hoysa, a long time TU member and show supporter, the event is a great return on investment for fly anglers looking to kill a cold winter’s day. “We like to bill ourselves as the Best Little Fly Fishing Show in the area” says Hoysa.“We’re big enough to have a good variety of vendors without being overwhelming, and small enough that visitors can get plenty of personalized attention.” Having been to this show many times myself, I can say this is a very accurate description of what fly anglers have in store for them should they choose to attend. Now in its 224 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l www.SouthernTrout.com
28th year, the Rapidan TU Show sports about 35-40 vendors and draws about 400 attendees. The funds they raise at the show go to supporting worthy causes like Trout in the Classroom, and the very popular Trout Unlimited Tri-State Conservation Camp. Not to be outdone by their freshwater breather in Virginia, saltwater anglers from across the state of Maryland and beyond attend Tie Fest each February. This event is put on by the Costal Conservation Association of Maryland (CCA-MD) and acts a major fundraiser for their activities in the state. While CCA-MD is best known for advocating for proper management of species like menhaden, crabs, and stripers the organization has a very strong following in the fly fishing community. Fly tying is king at Tiefest and dozens of well-known tyers from across the MidAtlantic come to share their knowledge in creating and tying saltwater flies. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been to this event multiple times as well, and encourage others to check it out for themselves. By March The Fly Fishing Show heads to the Keystone State where Lancaster, Pennsylvania, becomes ground zero for all things fly fishing. This show not only has a good list of speakers, but they also have a generous supply of fly tyers who are eager to share their knowledge. A great example of this would be spending time with tyers like Martin Bawden and Mike Smith of Flymen Fish Company. Both Bawden and Smith attend multiple shows each season, and readily share not only their latest creations from the vice, but how attendees can tie them as well. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not uncommon for Bawden to be tying up some of his latest creations with his famed Fish Skull Series, but Flymen Fish Company swag is often available for purchase. They even have their own tester on the show room floor, so you can see how your pattern will swim when in the water. www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 225
Fly Lines and Fine Wine
Come spring, your options expand. Prefer a little wine with your fly fishing? Check out the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival (VFFF). Now in its 16th year, the VFFF pioneered the concept of a joint fly fishing/wine tasting festival and draws attendees from as far away as Georgia and New York. This year the festival is moving its operations to the Meadow Event Park located about 15 miles north of Richmond. The festival became so popular that it simply outgrew its previous location in Waynesboro, and will now house all their vendors in a new state of the art facility. The Farm Bureau Building, where vendors will set up for this year’s festival, boasts 33,000 square feet under roof. The building has ceilings which are 25 feet tall and should allow plenty of space for vendors and attendees alike. Best of all, vendors will no longer be subject to the vagaries of springtime weather.
Of the utmost importance to VFFF organizers is drawing novices—and especially women and children—into the quiet sport, and by any measure, the event is successful in doing just that. Rick Pope, owner of Dallas-based Temple Fork Outfitters, has attended the festival for several years: “I attend shows all over the country, but I must admit that the Virginia festival is unique.” The only problem I have with the VFFF is that everyone in the company wants to attend—and somebody has to mind the store in Texas.” Sponsors for the festival include not only TFO, but companies like Orvis, and Harman’s North Fork Cabins, a family owned operation that caters to families that want to enjoy the great outdoors, and perhaps do some fly fishing while staying in West Virginia. New sponsors for the festival include SweetWater Brewery from Atlanta, Green Top Sporting Good
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from Richmond, and the Federation of Fly Fishers who will be offering a variety of specialty classes taught by Certified FFF instructors. Lastly, Wild River Outfitters from Virginia Beach will be on hand with a live demo tank. For the first time in the Mid-Atlantic, those interested in purchasing a kayak can actually try it out before they purchase the item. “We’re thrilled to be a part of this one of a kind festival” says Jon Bowden, sales manager for Wild River Outfitters. “ Fly angler are really getting into kayaking big time so this was an event we really wanted to be a part of as soon as we heard about it.”
Hit the Road
In all nearly 70 vendors are expected at this year’s VFFF, and crowds are projected to top 2,000. With free wine tasting and microbrewery beer classes being offered, as well as a host of things for children and young families to see and do, this event is shaping up to be one of the largest fly fishing events in the entire region.
Yes, a fly fishing show is the perfect tonic to a long, cold winter—and the next best thing to wetting your line. Besides, if you don’t take in that winter show, you might have to do some maintenance work around the house. And what fun is that?
So you live far from any winter events and you don’t see show promotion in your own future. Out of luck? Maybe not. Consider a road trip to an out-of-state outdoor show with your fishing buddies or club members, and split the cost of travel and lodging. I’ve been known to travel all over the place to take in shows, festivals, float trips, and the like, and I’ve never regretted the extra effort it takes to get to far-flung events that are worthwhile. If you’re not partial to ice fishing—and I’m certainly not—then a road trip with friends might be your best bet.
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We’ve heard it before: Children are the future. It’s true, of course—but are children the future of the outdoors? Getting kids outside and on the stream is harder than ever, and their overworked, perennially plugged in parents are no better. How do we shape the next generation of conservationists? This year’s Virginia Fly Fishing Festival will again host its Family Fly Fishing Classes, through which the entire family—Dad, mom, and kids from toddlers to teenagers—can take the same beginning fly fishing class together. The class sponsored by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, through their Take Me Fishing.org campaign will cover the basics of fly casting, safe wading practices, good fish handling practices and angler etiquette. A special fly tying area will also be available where students of all ages can learn how to tie flies with hands on instruction from seasoned fly tyers. All Family Fly Fishing Classes and materials will come free of charge. As an added bonus, the VFFF will host a free, specialized, Boy Scouts of America merit badge class to attending Scouts. Ultimately, nearly every fly angler I know was ushered into the sport by a mentor or a friend. Have you introduced anyone to fly fishing? When you head out to the local river or marine estuary for the day, do you invite a novice to come along? Better yet, do you take your kids with you to the water? Unless someone directs kids’ attention to the water, they’re likely to follow the path of least resistance—the path that leads to the computer or cell phone. But with a little encouragement, today’s outdoor novice could be tomorrow’s avid angler and conservationist.
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January 29-31 The Fly Fishing Show Somerset, NJ www.flyfishingshow.com/ February 5-6 The Fly Fishing Show Winston Salem, NC http://www.flyfishingshow.com/ February 20 Rapidan Chapter Trout Unlimited Show Warrenton, VA http://www.rapidantu.org/2011-rapidan-chapter-annualfishing-show/ February 20 Tie Fest-CCA Maryland Grasonville, MD http://www.ccamd.org/ March 5-6 The Fly Fishing Show Lancaster, PA 5-6 http://flyfishingshow.com/ April 9-10 The 16th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival Doswell, VA www.vaflyfishingfestival.com/ Beau Beasley (www.beaubeasley.com) is an editor at large for Southern Trout and the author of Fly Fishing the MidAtlantic as well as Fly Fishing Virginia. When not fishing or looking for good red wines, he serves as the Director of the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival (www. vaflyfishingfestival.org). www.SouthernTrout.com l Southern Trout l March 2016 l 229
Building a Monument to the Rich Heritage of Fly Fishing in the Southern Appalachians
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our heritage is rich in personalities that fly fish. They tie their own flies, guide others, do the science to manage and improve the fisheries and even form the private clubs that ultimately protect our resources. In the same way we work to preserve our precious cold water resource, the trout and the stream, we must also preserve the stories about those that walked on the stream before us. The stories must be told and passed on.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Alen Baker
For Inquiries or to make a Charitable Donation to the Museum Please Contact:
(828) 788-0034 516 Tsali Blvd, PO Box 1838 Cherokee, NC 28719 firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBU Bob Borgwat, 55, leads the team of Reel Angling Adventures at ReelAnglingAdventures.com as owner, administrator, Webmaster, and guide. His freelance writing, editing, and photography covers fishing across the US, but his daily piscatorial adventures take place with fly-rod in hand just outside his doorstep in the southern reach of the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. He is a former senior editor for Game and Fish Magazines, Primedia and Intermedia Outdoors, and is an active member of the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association.
Ed Mashburn, Editor of Southern Kayak Magazine, lives in Bay Minette, Alabama, and previously lived in the Ozarks of Arkansas and Missouri where he spent much time on the White and Little Red Rivers neglecting school work and home chores in pursuit of rainbows and browns. He has published three books and several hundred magazine articles. When not fishing or writing about fishing, Ed Mashburn builds wooden kayaks
Virginia Editor Beau Beasley is a well-known name among readers of fly angling magazines. His work has appeared in nearly every major fly fishing periodical in the country. He is the author of Fly Fishing Virginia. Recently he won the TalbotDenmade Memorial Award for Best Conservation Article from the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writer’s Association for his investigative piece, “Where Have all the menhaden Gone?” He is also the director of the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival, www.vaflyfishingfestival.org, and lives with his wife and children in Warrenton, VA.
TORS A native of northern VA, Steve Moore grew up fishing in a fishing family. Steve’s father, much to his mother’s chagrin, was fishing in a local bass tournament the morning that Steve was born. Steve has published five books on fishing in VA and Maryland including Maryland Trout Fishing, Wade, and Shoreline Fishing the Potomac River for Smallmouth Bass. Wade Fishing the Rappahannock River and Wade Fishing the Rapidan River. Steve provides frequent updates on fishing these waters and others on his popular blog at www. CatchGuide.com.
Craig Haney has spent a lifetime chasing trout on the streams, headwaters and tailwaters of the southern Appalachians and elsewhere. After graduating from Auburn University with an animal science degree, Craig has spent the majority of his career in the outdoor industry as a manufacturers’ rep for fishing, boating, camping and hunting gear as well as operating partner of Riverwoods Outfitters / HaneyMullins Orvis for eight years. He has taught fly tying and fly casting at his shops and community colleges. Additionally, he has written on fly fishing and other outdoor subjects for a variety on national and regional magazines. Craig and his wife Lynn live on Shades Mountain in Hoover, AL in the southern Appalachian foothills.
Harry Murray was born in Edinburg Virginia in 1939. He did his pre-pharmacy at Virginia Tech and his pharmacy degree at the Medical College of Virginia. He started Murray’s Fly Shop in Edinburg Virginia in 1962 and started conducting fly tying and fly fishing schools and guided trips shortly thereafter. He has written 15 books and produced 2 DVD’s on fly fishing for trout and smallmouth bass. He has developed over 50 flies for both trout and smallmouth bass. Today Harry conducts about 30 schools on fly fishing and fly tying and employs 5 guides for fly fishing trips. Harry lives in Edinburg Virginia where he has his fly shop.
CONTRIBU A Clinch River, fly-fishing fanatic, Shawn Madison is also a passionate entrepreneur and experienced boat builder. Using his vast experience in design, engineering, and manufacturing in the boat building industry, Shawn is currently finalizing the production plan for a Southern Style Drift Boat. An avid photographer, fly-tyer, and inventor, he also maintains The Clinch River, TN Facebook page that promotes one of the East Tennesseeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s greatest resources. His goal is to help promote the sport of fly-fishing, increase conservation, and to help others find the joy of tricking trout. Watch for his current project soon, a book titled Find the Joy of Fly Fishing.
Roger Lowe was born in Waynesville, NC and now lives in the nearby town of Cashiers. He has enjoyed fly-fishing the waters of the Southern Appalachians all his life. He first began tying flies and fishing them at a very early age. Roger has his own fly shop for twelve years and has been guiding full time for twenty-seven years. He can most often be found at Brookings Angler in Cashiers where he guides daily or works in the fly shop where is signature patterns are available. He is also a fly tying instructor. He is the author of Roger Loweâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide to the Great Smoky Mounatins, and he has a fly tying video, Smoky Mountain Fly Patterns, that shows how to tie a lot of the Smoky Mountain Patterns.
Ron Gaddy grew up in Waynesville, North Carolina and started fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains at an early age. He grew up fishing Chattahoochee, East and West Fork of the Pigeon River, Little East Fork of the Pigeon River, Nantahala River, and Jonathan Creek. Ron left North Carolina at age 24 for a career with the Department of Defense at Charleston, SC and Norfolk, VA. After retiring from DOD in 2009 he returned to Waynesville, NC to be close to all the great trout fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains. Since retirement, Ron has consistently fished in the Smoky Mountains for trout. When not fishing, Ron is tying flies for building rods.
TORS Bill Bernhardt, 52, is the owner of and guide, instructor, and custom rod builder for Harper Creek Fly Fishing Company (www.nc-flyfishing.com) located in Lenoir, North Carolina. In addition, Bill is somewhat unusual in that he specializes in small streams, wild trout, and backcountry, remote access, and walk/wade trips into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Consequently, his freelance outdoor articles along with his nature photography focus specifically on the exceptional beautify and excellent trout fishing opportunities available to fly fishermen in western North Carolina.
Kevin Howell fished 38 states before college. In 1997 Kevin took a job as Manager or Davidson River Outfitters. He was also helping his father run Dwight and Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Custom Tackle. After his father passed away in 1998, Kevin took over the operation of Dwight and Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Custom Tackle while remaining the Manager of Davidson River Outfitters and combined the operation of the two businesses. He is also a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor. Kevin is also a nationally known fly-tyer and is currently the fly-tying editor for Fly Fishing the Mid Atlantic States. He has also had several of his original patterns published in various magazines as well as being produced by some of the national tying companies.
Georgia Editor Jimmy Jacobs is with Game & Fish Magazines. He also is the Outdoor Columnist for the Atlanta JournalConstitution newspaper and online Atlanta Outdoor Travel Writer for Examiner.com. Jacobs has authored five guidebooks to fishing in the southeastern US, including Trout Streams of Southern Appalachia: Trout Fishing in Northern Georgia, and Tailwater Trout in the South. His writing and photography have earned Excellence in Craft awards from the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, Georgia Outdoor Writers Association and the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association.
CONTRIBU Jason Sparks is the founder of Southern Appalachian Tenkara Anglers, A growing community of fishermen that embrace the elegant simplicity of the traditional Japanese method of fly fishing.. As an ambassador in promoting Tenkara across the South he often conducts clinics, instructs techniques and speaks to groups on the subject. A Navy Veteran, he has fished the world in waters from the Azores to the Appalachians. Now living near Banner Elk, North Carolina, he is recognized by Tenkara USA as a Certified Tenkara Guide and a leading instructional resource in the Southeast for inquiring anglers and fly-fishing clubs.
George Grant lives in Johnson City with his wife and earnestly wades upstream through his sixth decade. Mountain streams large and small are his first love, but he regards the South Holston and Watauga tail waters to be his mistress. In addition to actually fly fishing, he enjoys the history and the craft of fly tying, especially “resurrecting” patterns that have passed from common use. For many years Grant worked in local fly shops. He also wrote columns about fly-fishing for a local sports magazine and for the Bristol herald Courier.
Living in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks, Bill Cooper has experienced the magic of the long rod from the Allegheny in the East to the Yellowstone in the West, and from the Quetico in Canada to the North to the Yucatan in the South. With an MS in Outdoor Education, his experience as a park superintendent and teacher of outdoor skills at Bass Pro Shop’s Wonders of Wildlife School has served him well ashe serves as a tourism consultant to Campeche State, Mexico and Maya Amazing Outfitters. He is the author of the Outdoor Celebrities Cookbook and his writing experience spans writing for Cabela’s Outfitter Jornal, Bassprolsours.com, Game and Fish, Trophy Whitetail World, Turkey Country and Union Sportsman.
TORS Jim Mauries is the owner/ operator of Fly South, a full-service fly shop in Nashville, Tennessee. Jim was born and raised in Colorado, and it was there his flyfishing addiction took root. Jim started tying flies pro- fessionally during his college years to support his fish- ing habit. That was the steppingstone into working for a fly shop, which in turn led to guiding and instructing fly tiers and fly fishers. Jim has guided and taught fly fishers in Tennessee for more than 20 years. Jim pioneered fly fishing for many different species in the Middle Tennessee area, but trout remain his first love.
Joel DeJong Ernerst Hemingway once wrote â&#x20AC;&#x153;Write what you know.â&#x20AC;? Artist Joel DeJong took that advice to heart when it came to his paintings. When he is not sketching out fly patterns or working on a custom watercolors of trophy fish you can find him fishing remote Carolina streams, fishing hexagenia flies in Michigan, or tracking big brown through Montana. There is no doubt that Joel DeJong knows his subjects and it shows in his artwork and his love for all types of fish.
Bob Mallard has fly fished for over 35 years. He is a blogger, writer and author; and has owned and operated Kennebec River Outfitters in Madison, Maine since 2001. His writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines at the local, regional and national levels. He has appeared on radio and television. Look for his books from Stonefly Press, 50 Best Places Fly Fishing the Northeast (Now Available), 25 Best Towns Fly Fishing for Trout (Spring 2015) and 50 Best Places Fly Fishing for Brook Trout (Fall 2015). Bob is also a staff fly designer for Catch Fly Fishing. He is also the northeast sales rep for both Stonefly Press and Catch Fly Fishing. Bob can be reached at www.kennebecriveroutfitters. com, www.bobmallard.com, email@example.com or 207474-2500.
Highlands 6th Annual
Limited to 50 Teams
Guided & NonGuided Competitions
April 28 - April 30, 2016 for Men & Women of All Skill Levels More than 2,200 Miles of Public Water Available to Fish During the Competition Teams will fish one native, one hatchery supported and one delayed-harvest stream
Just $500 Per 2-Person Team Register by March 15 for Early Bird Fee of $450. This fun weekend for the whole family includes Lunch Both Days, Opening Night Reception, Closing Night Winnersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Dinner With Food, Prizes and a Fishing Goody Bag.
Entry Fees Payable to the Town of Highlands Scholarship Fund are 100% Tax-Deductible For more information, contact Hilary Wilkes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (828) 526-8673. Funding for the Three River Festival is due in part to an Advertising Partnership with the Highlands Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center.