Southern Trout Magazine Issue 25

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Southern Trout

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.


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Publisher’s message

Everyone Lowered the Boom


t’s not common knowledge, but as a small business startup, Southern Trout Magazine has received it share of negative interest from federal regulators and ne’er-do-wells. It’s difficult for me not to believe we have received “special treatment” from Washington. The first time Southern Trout Magazine stumped a toe, was our ill-fated announcement that we had received an official okay from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to rename the smallmouth bass the bronzeback trout. We were shocked at how quickly the usually slow moving feds called us on the carpet for that somewhat exaggerated statement. Of course as is our custom, we responded with the time honored thumb-on-the-nose gesture.

The next thing under the security of the federal wolverines was Southern Trout Magazine’s catch phrase, “All trout, all South, all of the time.” With few exceptions we have been true to this motto. Apparently our lack of knowledge regarding federal discrimination laws had consequences. You see, all of STM’s content and writers are southerners. While this seems absolutely normal to me for a magazine named Southern Trout, to at least a couple of federal busy bodies, it was totally unacceptable. We were told to employ greater diversity or else. We weren’t sure what “or else” actually meant, but we knew we were under the gun by an administration in Washington that while seemingly heedless of the economy or world events, took our alleged oversight quite seriously. In a nutshell we were told that we must also integrate occasional nonsouthern trout fishing articles into Southern Trout, but worse still, bring on at least one writer of Yankee blood. In no mood to fight the inexhaustible resources of the federal government, we sat about the task of complying with what we thought were pretty bizarre demands. Running occasional articles in Southern Trout about fishing outside of Dixie was palatable enough. Finding a palatable writer from Yankeeland, well that is a horse of a different color. Such individuals are few and far between. Finding our token Yankee (a fellow with l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 3

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.

Publisher’s message


southern values and who understood our unique culture and heritage) certainly was no small task. Southern Trout’s search eventually took us to a place on the map known as Kennebec, Maine, a community on the very edge of the civilized world. In Kennebec was a fellow found known as Bob Mallard. Despite the fact he talks as oddly as the other residents of that country, Mallard not only understands southern values, he thinks southern and if he never opened his mouth, one might think he was southern. He was the solution for our “diversity problem” with the feds. Since bringing on Mallard and beginning his column, “Other Trout,” I have been bombarded with emails asking what happened to “All trout, all south, all of the time.” I hope this answers these collectively expressed concerns, and enough of the damned emails about it, okay. Oh yeah, by damned, it’s a bronzeback trout.

ON THE COVER: Dean McCrillis is a painter living and working in Portland, Maine. His work is often rooted between what he sees and his particular memory of a subject His art and profile can be found on his website at

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THIS ISSUE From the Editor


New Fly Guy 10 One Leader, One Season Rod Review Douglas Outdoors’ SKY


Southern Trout History Mark Cathey: Iconic Smokies Angler


Georgia’s Southernmost Trout Stream


Fishhunter Adventures in Cuisine - Shore Lunch





Black Wing Olive Chronicles 52


What Do You Smell

Product Review 56 Patagonia - Chest Waders Fly of the Month 62 Yellow Parachute Adams Situational Fly Fishing in 66 the GSMNP Glitter Bmbs

Other Trout 76 South Branch Raritan River


CLOSE LOOK North Carolina

Bryson City NCs Top Trout Town Solving the Catch and Release Paradox Sunburst Trout

88 102

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88 162

Book Review NC’s Trout Fishing


Featured Fly Shop 122 Davidson River Outfitters Close Look Fly Tyer It’s a Family Tradition


Historic Tapoco Lodge Robinsonville, NC


Wilson Creek Jackson County


Jackson County Trout Capitol of NC


Featured Fly Tyer Brian Hopson


Greenbrier: The Smoky’s 178 Peaceful Secret


A Mile Long, Man-Made 188 Trout Stream

Too Thin to Plow and Too Thick to Drink

Featured Fly $od Fenwick

194 202

NC Fly Fishing Museum 208


The Wonderful Mr. Rapidan


Gearhead 220 ExOfficio AirStrip Shirt l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 7



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new fly guy

One Leader,

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new fly guy

One Season Steve Moore l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 11

new fly guy

After breathing a sigh of relief celebrating success in hiding the small fortune spent getting outfitted for fly fishing from your spouse, you put the gear to good use on a pristine trout stream. A few fly changes into your day, you realize the tip of your leader is starting to become stubby and must be replaced to maintain the taper from thick leader to skinny tippet. Congratulations! You just discovered the highest hidden cost of fly fishing – leaders! The purpose of the leader is to “turn over the fly� and bring it in for a smooth, gentle landing on the surface of the water. A good leader must have enough initial heft to transition the energy from the fly line while gradually decreasing in thickness down to the advertised terminal width (4X, 5X, etc.). At around four dollars a pop, continually replacing leaders is expensive! One way to cut costs is to only use monofilament leaders. As a new fly angler, it is better to focus on improving casting skills to present the fly with a soft landing than worry about the slight variances in density and visibility between mono and fluorocarbon. Those truly obsessed with fly fishing avoid most of the cost by building their own tapered leaders. Requiring plenty of work with knots, they use various thicknesses of line typically blended at 60% butt, 20% midsection and 20% terminal to create a personalized taper. For the rest of us, this is too much work when knowing a simple trick can make a leader last an entire season.

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new fly guy l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 13

new fly guy

As with most things in fly fishing, it all starts with a knot and this knot can save another buck in the process. Since most fly line comes with a loop at the end (either built-in or added), we attach the leader to the line using a loop to loop connection. Knowing this, many anglers automatically purchase a leader with the loop already tied at the thick end. However, leaders without the pretied loop cost less and you can tie your own loop in less than 15 seconds by learning how to tie a “Surgeon’s Loop.” Create this simple knot by tying two overhand knots. Check out animatedknots. com for easy, visual instructions.

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new fly guy Here’s the single season trick. Never cut the leader to add tippet. As soon as you install a fresh leader, tie a surgeon’s loop at the terminal end and use the loop as the attachment point for tippet. Either make a positive connection tying the tippet directly to the loop using a clinch knot or tie a surgeon’s loop on the tippet and attach it to the leader using a loop to loop connection. The advantage of using the surgeon’s knot is it is simple and can be tied quickly before cutting the tippet from the spool; allowing you to measure the exact length needed after tying the knot. Purists will argue for the clinch knot since it is tighter than the slightly looser loop connection and loses none of the casting energy; an insignificant difference given the problems most of us have with casting. When a few fly changes consume the tippet, clip it off near the loop (or “unloop” it) and attach a new length. This protects the manufactured taper of the leader all the way to the end since you never cut it. Using this approach and ignoring abrasion, a single leader could last the entire season (but do not ignore abrasion; check the leader often). l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 15

new fly guy Want a leader to last multiple seasons? Get a furled leader. Manufacturers create them by weaving thin diameter mono, fluorocarbon or thread material together to produce something that looks like a long, skinny ponytail with a loop connection at both ends. Do not confuse a “furled” with a “braided” leader. The weave on a braided leader creates a hollow core that holds water; creating more splash upon landing. Furled leaders have a solid center. Advocates of furled leaders argue the woven pattern makes them more efficient in transferring energy from the fly line. In addition, furled leaders have no memory, will not kink and never require stretching to straighten. One disadvantage is they are more likely to sink as silt settles into the weave. When this occurs, wipe it down and apply paste floatant. Another option to maintain buoyancy is to attach a small indicator, maintaining distance from the fly, at the end of the leader– something that is a good idea anyway if you have a hard time seeing the fly. Unfortunately, most stores do not stock furled leaders and you have to purchase them online. I use furled leaders from Blue Sky (blueskyfly. com) and Quigley (twistedleaders. com). With care (wash using mild soap every once in a while), a furled leader will last many seasons. 16 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l

new fly guy Two final points on leaders. First, one size does not fit all and you should change leaders to match conditions. Choose a longer leader/tippet combination for spooky fish. Second, match the terminal tippet to the size of the fly. Orvis recommends 6X tippet for flies ranging from size 16 to 22, 5X for sizes 14 through 18 and 4X for sizes 12 to 16. The ultimate key to one leader, one season? The surgeon’s loop knot! l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 17


A Fresh Lega 20 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l

utdoors’ SKY



his year we at Southern Trout Magazine have had a lot of fun test driving some truly remarkable new fly rods. While there certainly has not been a lemon among the fly rods we have had the pleasure to cast, none of them impressed us more than the new Douglas Outdoor SKY series fly rods. The rod we tested made even we mediocre casters look like the Pros From Dover. If you are looking for the best in where tomorrow’s premium grade fly rods will be, you can have it now with the Douglas Outdoor SKY. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 21

Unlike a dozen or so makers of high grade fly rods that have been around a long time and whose names are well known, Douglas Outdoors is just barely two years old. A cadre of the country’s most innovative fly rod designers teamed up with Barclay family, owners of the Douglaston Salmon Run (DSR) on New York's Salmon River, to bring a new brand fishing. DSR’s privately-held 2.5 mile stretch on the lower reaches of the Salmon River, managed primarily as a catch and release fishery with a daily rod fee granted to anglers lucky enough to get a shot at it. The conservation minded DSR teamed up with a bevy of long time fly fishing industry gurus to for a company dubbed Douglas Outdoors which debuted a lineup of new fly rods and reels at the 2014 IFTD/ ICAST show in Orlando, Florida. Out of the gate, in 2014 Douglas Outdoors offered two fly rod series, a spin rod series and two fly reel models that were mid-priced range (fly rods prices from $175 to $359; and reels from $250 to $450). The SKY Colorway blue is new range of versatile four piece fresh and saltwater rods is constructed with the next generation of nano carbon matrix materials. SKY represents ground breaking high performance with rods that possess unique weight-­to­-strength actions as needed for each rod, capable of producing distance and seemingly unlimited power for fly casters of every skill level. This new range of versatile four piece fresh and saltwater rods is constructed with the next generation of nano carbon matrix materials. SKY represents ground breaking high performance with rods that possess unique weight-­to­-strength actions as needed for each rod, capable of producing distance and seemingly unlimited power for fly casters of every skill level.

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The SKY is the brainchild of Douglas Outdoors rod designer Fred Contaoi, whose vast range of experience including having fished over 50 countries along with over 20 years of tournament competition. Contaoi developed the Douglas Outdoors SKY rod series from the ground up integrating features never before used in major market fly rods. Using the exclusive and proprietary next generation nano carbon matrix materials Contaoi created the eye opening strength to weight ratio throughout SKY rod series. Contaoi said, “The SKY rods are clearly light in the hand which is a great advantage on the water but just being light in itself is not enough. The entire SKY series of rods were specifically designed with different actions for usage and weights by individual rod blank. Broad labels of ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ of a rod series are common and generally accurate in the industry but the SKY rod series breaks from such labeling. Each rod blank has different actions due to usage and line weights, all tuned to the highest performance for that usage.” Regarding the integration of never before used components by a major market fly rod series, such as the first ever use of the most advanced Fuji Torzite stripping guides, Contaoi notes, “We set our sights to develop the highest performing and most versatile rod series in the market. We knew we would need to break some new ground to achieve this. The Fuji Torzite guides are lighter, stronger, slicker and are made with the thinnest ceramic insert producing a larger inside diameter for improved line flow. The stripping guide is supported by the angled Torzite titanium frame, never before seen in any major market fly rod creating the maximum tangle free properties and improved shooting power.” l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 25

Other features you’ll spot the first time you pick up a SKY start with its elegant matte platinum rod blank color (lovely) whose heart is proprietary XMatrix nano Technology. Easily spotted alignment dots are neat, and grips; Reverse Western grip on 2-6wt models and Full Wells grips on all 7-12wt models are what you expect to find on a premium fly rods. Dual uplocking rings with nylon inserts secure hold on your reel. The SKY comes in a powder coated, lightweight aluminum rod tube and a plush, moisture wicking reel sock for ultimate protection. In terms of performance, we can only wonder how this rod casts when in the hands of a consummate fly caster. We’re average at best, which has certain advantages when explaining our results to you. We tests the SKY 4904, 9-foot, four piece fly rod. It was beyond flawless. If there is a way to describe it effortless, pinpoint accurate casting as being as simple as “point and click,” for the moment it escapes us. We hesitate to call casting the SKY as magical or miraculous, but we’re not altogether uncomfortable with such an application of these terms. Suffice to say if you get an opportunity to cast one of the Douglas Outdoor SKY series fly rods, don’t just take our words for it, cast it and see for yourself.

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John Boyle, Vice President of Sales, notes, “We sought independent input throughout the years of design and testing of the SKY rods so it is appropriate that we launch by also providing reviews of the SKY rods from across the fly fishing industry with established and trusted voices. Fred Contaoi is the best in the industry at incorporating feedback into his designs so when it comes to the ultimate opinions that matter, those that are on the water with the SKY rods, we made sure we did everything in our power to supersede their expectations.� Douglas Outdoors SKY series fly rods are available in thirteen modes ranging in 9-foot models (3 to 12 weigh); three 10-foot modes (2 to 4 weight) and two 11-foot models (3 and 4 weight) with a suggested retail price of $695.00. For more info visit l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 27

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.

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Guides for first-time to experienced anglers and everyone in between.

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southern trout history


and while Cathey certainly never shared from arduous undertakings, there can be no denying the central role of sport in his life or that he lived 70-plus years doing pretty much what he wanted. He never married, never held a steady job over an extended period of time, and never shed his deeply ingrained sense of independence. At one point fairly late in life, after he had done considerable travel and worked for short stints in Washington state and Louisiana, an agent for famed Hollywood cowboy Tim McCoy, approached Uncle Mark. He had by Dr. Jim Casada heard numerous tales of his Cathey’s humor and illiam Marcus “Uncle Mark” Cathey was born in found his quaint accent 1871 on Conleys Creek near the crossroads village enchanting. He thought of Whittier in Swain County, N. C., but most of his Cathey would be just the life was spent on Indian Creek, a principal feeder of Deep man for a particular role in Creek. The latter two streams and their watersheds formed an upcoming McCoy movie. the setting for many of his legendary feats as a sportsman. After pondering the matter In his case, the often overused word legendary is richly Uncle Mark politely declined deserved. He was acknowledged by contemporaries as the offer. “I’m getting on being in a class my himself as a fly fisherman, personally in years,” he quipped, killed 57 bears and was part of the party that accounted for “and I ain’t lost anything in hundreds more bruins, and was masterful when it came Hollywood. Besides this to the calling skills and woodsmanship needed to deal is the best country I’ve with wild turkeys. It is unlikely that the Smokies have ever found after traveling a lot. produced a finer all-around sportsman, and I hope it is with You don’t find people like pardonable pride I reveal the fact that he is a distant cousin. mountain folks anywhere While mountain folks are undoubtedly a hard-working lot, else.”



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Today Cathey is primarily thought of as the dean of mountain fly fishermen, and there’s no question he stands in a class by himself as a pioneer in use of the dry fly in the high country as well as for his well-known technique—he called it “the dance of the dry fly.” In that sense he was highly innovative, employing a technique which decades later members of the Eastern angling establishment would claim to have originated as “fishing the dry fly as a living insect.” Relying on a long rod and relatively little line and allowing nothing but the fly to touch the water, Cathey constantly shook the hand holding the rod to impart motion to his offering. He would make the fly jump and skip just like an insect trying to escape the surface film, sometimes doing this for a minute or more. His favorite fly, although he used others on occasion, was a Grey Hackle Yellow. Mark, as he was known from boyhood onward, although “Uncle Mark” came into increasing use as an honorific in his later years, was both a gifted storyteller and an individual whose days and ways leant themselves

to enduring tales. Droll, dry, and quick witted, Cathey was the living embodiment of mountain sayings. He was also ever alert for a prank and, as a noted trickster, also became the butt of more than a fair share of jokes or innocent mischief. Legions of stories are linked to his life, and there’s arguably no fine way to appreciate the world in which

he lived than through a sampling of those episodes. As humble as he was honest, Cathey was nonetheless aware he possessed exceptional prowess when it came to catching trout. When asked about his abilities, he replied: “I’ve been accused of being the best fisherman in these mountains, and I ain’t denying it.” l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 31

southern trout history Many surviving Cathey tales revolve around his quick, penetrating wit. Once he met a local fisherman who had spent several hours astream and only had a couple of small trout to show for his efforts. The two began chatting and, as is the wont of anglers everywhere, the man asked Mark: “How many have you caught?” “My creel is empty,” Cathey promptly replied. The frustrated angler sagely nodded his head in understanding and reckoned that the lack of success didn’t surprise him. Mark just grinned, knowing his fellow fisherman had taken his verbal fly, then added, “But the only reason it is empty is that I ain’t commenced to fishing yet.” The best known of all Cathey stories involved a wealthy Yankee sport who hired Mark to guide him for a day of fishing on Deep Creek. The fellow showed up looking like a cover model for a sporting goods catalog. He had on chest waders, never mind that it was a warm summer’s day, a fancy shirt in a bright color, a hat with its band adorned with flies of every color in the rainbow, an expensive bamboo rod, the best reel available, and a silk line with gut leader attached. Most striking of all his paraphernalia, however, was a massive Bowie knife in a sheath hanging from his wader belt. To be charitable, the client was a study in ineptitude. He couldn’t cast, kept Cathey busy retrieving his fly from trees, and all the while complained constantly about the dearth of trout. Finally, after whining “there are no fish here” and I’ve come a thousand miles for no reason, Cathey said: “Let me hold that fancy rod and I’ll show you.” In the next quarter hour Uncle Mark caught one fine trout after another, a fact which proved there were plenty of fish present but did nothing to improve guide-client relations. Indeed, matters deteriorated as the day progressed, and by mid-afternoon Cathey’s ample quotient of patience was exhausted. It was at about that point that the visiting angler, in one of those moments of sheer happenstance that occasionally occur in the outdoors, hooked a small trout that obviously needed to be removed from the gene pool. In great excitement he reeled it in—all the way to the tip of his nine-foot rod. Still highly agitated as he watched the minnow-sized rainbow flop at distance beyond his reach, he turned to mark and asked: “What do I do now?” In his inimitable fashion, clearly vexed beyond recall, Uncle Mark replied: “Well, I reckon you better pull out that big Bowie knife, climb your fancy pole, and stab him to death.” Mark inherited the old family place on Indian Creek, and he no doubt hoped would be home for the rest of his years. That vision was to go unrealized. Using eminent domain, officials of the National Park Service seized the old family home and its accompanying 76.22 acres. For that piece of Indian Creek paradise, embracing some fine farming ground and the lovely pool known as the Cathey Hole, he received the pitifully small sum of $1,800. 32 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l

As a result, the final decade of Mark’s life was one which found him somewhat rootless. His health was also in decline, with those arduous years afield and astream having taken a toll. His death came on a late autumn afternoon while in the squirrel woods, and no sportsman could wish for a more fitting demise. His sister had told him she was baking sweet potatoes for supper, and

Mark told her he believed he’d go get a mess of squirrels to accompany them. When he failed to show up at dusk, a search party was hastily organized. Several hours later they found Cathey, his faithful dog curled up beside him with his head across his master’s lap, at the foot of a gnarled old hickory tree. Cathey was buried in the Bryson City Cemetery atop School House Hill in a grave site that fittingly looks

out over the Deep Creek and Indian Creek drainage he knew so well and fished so often. Hundreds of fellow sportsmen and friends turned out on a brilliant Indian Summer day to bid him a fond farewell. Rev. W. Herbert Brown, a local Baptist minister who had converted Uncle Mark only a few weeks before, provided as powerful and poignant an epitaph as you’ll likely ever encounter: l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 33

southern trout history MARK CATHEY 1871-1944 Beloved Hunter and Fisherman, Was himself caught by the Gospel hook just before the Season closed for good. Every lover of Smokies’ streams should make a pilgrimage to the grave, and as one glances up after reading those words, it is to look northward toward the Deep Creek and Indian Creek drainage, with stair-stepping ridges mounting in the distance toward the misty blue majesty of Clingmans Dome. This rugged country was the place Cathey knew and loved best, and as one reflects on his world realization dawns it that here was a man who walked paths of wonder. ******************************************************************************** Jim Casada grew up in Bryson City and cut his fly-fishing teeth in Mark Cathey’s home waters. He is the author of Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: An Insider’s Guide to a Pursuit of Passion, and this book along with many others he has written is available through his website, www. He also offers a free monthly e-newsletter through the site. Casada currently is completing the first volume, “Profiles in Mountain Character,” in a projected trilogy with the general title of “Portals of Paradise.” One of the book’s chapters will be a much fuller profile of Mark Cathey.

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Get your own signed, inscribed copy of Jim Casada’s Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: An Insider’s Guide to a Pursuit of Passion. Books are available for just $24.95 for paperback, $37.50 for hardback, plus $5 postage. Visit Also, be sure to sign up for Jim’s FREE monthly enewsletter, full of great stories, recipes, and more! _______________ Jim Casada is a son of the Smokies. He grew up in Bryson City, N.C. and cut his sporting teeth hunting and fishing in and around this small mountain town. He says that “a corner of my heart” still belongs to the high country. Casada has authored more than 3,500 magazine and newspaper articles and columns on hunting, fishing, firearms, conservation and other outdoorrelated topics. Casada has also scribed dozens of books and, as editor, compiled numerous collections from the likes of Jack O’Connor, Archibald Rutledge, Robert Ruark and others. Casada has perhaps one of the largest sporting libraries in the South, and sells a large variety of new and hard-to-find titles on his website. Jim Casada 1250 Yorkdale Dr., Rock Hill, SC 29730-7638 803-329-4354



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Georgia’s Southernmost Wild Trout Stream Jimmy Jacobs


eorgia is blessed with around 4,200 miles of trout water in the northern third of the state. That makes it second only to North Carolina among the southern states for the amount of cold-water resources available to anglers. These waters range for small lakes to large tailwater rivers, from stocked seasonal streams to tiny, clear mountain rivulets. Together they offer a wide variety of angling opportunities for both wild and stocked rainbow, brook and brown trout.

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In fact, roughly 1,500 miles of streams and rivers are rated as wild water. These creeks support naturally reproducing populations of fish that require no stocking. These mountain jewels are the fisheries issue a siren call to many anglers. For the most part the wild waters are located in the extreme northern rim of the state, high in the Blue Ridge and Cohutta mountains. Most also require some walking to reach. But, once located they usually provide solitude, partially because many anglers simply won’t walk more than a hundred yards off a road to do their fishing. 40 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l

Georgia, obviously, holds the most southerly trout waters in the southeast, but exactly how far south do wild trout exist in the state? Undoubtedly, that claim goes to the brown trout that now spawn in the tailwaters below Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River just north of Atlanta. But for a natural small stream environment the title of farthest south probably goes to Wildcat Creek on the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area in Dawson County. This Wildcat Creek is situated just northwest of the town of Dawsonville, 50 miles north of Atlanta’s I-285 Perimeter Highway and not to be confused with popular stream of the same name that feeds into northeast Georgia’s Lake Burton. This stream is tributary of Amicalola Creek. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 41

close look - north carolina

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The stream runs through a 4,500acre, non-contiguous section of the Dawson Forest WMA that is called the Wildcat Creek Tract. The area is wild and rugged. It’s noted for having populations of black bears, whitetail deer and ruffed grouse. While tract has been under public ownership since the 1990s, access to the creek was very difficult before 2005. In that year the Mountain Stewards organization began constructing and maintaining a system of trails on the tract. Today a primitive campground is on Amicalola Creek near the junction with Wildcat. The campground is at the end of Wildcat Creek Campground Road to the west of Steve Tate Highway. The Wildcat Creek Trail runs upstream from the camping area to cross a foot bridge over Amicalola and then parallel Wildcat Creek upstream for 1.4 miles. The trail is mostly along flat terrain at streamside, offering easy hiking. Wildcat rates as a small to medium-sized flow by North Georgia standards, but is open enough to allow even fly casting. When I first bushwhacked into the creek soon after it was open to public fishing, that first trip yielded an astounding pair of 14inch rainbows and a number of smaller ones. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 43

close look - north carolina Not long after that, however, some landscaping on private land near the headwaters silted the creek badly and virtually ruined the fishery. Fortunately, the ensuing decade has cleared up that problem. The fish may not be as big, but they again have populated the creek. Wildcat Creek is presently managed as a seasonal stream, open from the last Saturday of March through the end of October. General trout regulations apply, with no special gear, bait or creel limits applying. For a map of the Wildcat Creek Tract, go to Then follow the links through Wildlife Management Areas, and WMA Maps. From the list that appears click on Wildcat Creek Tract.

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Personally tailored trips on trophy waters.

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fishunter adventures in cuisine



large cast iron skillet filled with fish fillets sizzling over fingers of red and yellow flames of an open fire is a mental picture permanently on deposit in my memory bank. It has been there a long time. It was placed on deposit in my early teen years and is a vivid image still today. Reading the “big 3” outdoor magazines during my formative years, you would always find an article or two with a picture of a shore lunch. Sometimes it was on the shoreline of a lake or stream in Wisconsin or Canada. The guide would have a large cast iron skillet of fish frying over the fire and beside it, another cast iron skillet sizzling with potatoes and onions. Often in the background, there would be a beached boat. Sometimes, it was an aluminum semi-v boat with its’ rich patina glowing in the sunlight. Other times, it was a red or green canvas canoe evoking the spirit of the day’s fishing. The tradition of shore lunches seems to be fading somewhat, at least among fishing buddies or father and son fishing along a favorite stream. For me, it is a shame. A quick break for a lunch of granola bars, jerky or a Snickers candy bar with not much mess to clean up has become the norm. While a quick lunch fills my belly, it does little for my soul. On a recent fishing trip in the Southern Appalachians, my buddy JW and I decided to save a couple of trout for lunch back at streamside camp. Sure, we lost some fishing time but we added to the fun factor of our day afield. It wasn’t just about the number of fish we caught or their size but fellowship shared on a beautiful stream with a friend. A couple of trout sizzling in bacon grease over an open fire feeds my soul at least as much as it does my stomach. The potatoes and onions frying in a nearby skillet add to the aroma of lunch. That day a-stream will be remembered as much for a hot shore lunch on a cool spring day as it will be for the number of brightly colored trout caught . 48 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l


Place the bacon Fried Trout in a cold cast iron 4 slices bacon skillet. Cook over 2 whole trout pan-sized medium heat until trout the bacon is crisp. Salt and pepper Drain the bacon on paper towels. Leave 1 lemon cut into quarters the bacon grease in Serves 2 the skillet. It will take the Hashbrowns hash browns longer 2-3 medium baking to cook than the potatoes, diced trout, so start them 1 medium onion, diced cooking before the Salt and pepper trout. In another Cooking oil cast iron skillet, Serves 2 cover the bottom with cooking oil. Put the diced potatoes and onions in the skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally to keep the potatoes from sticking. Shortly before the potatoes are done, salt and pepper the trout and put into the cast iron skillet with hot bacon grease. When the potatoes and onions are done, salt and pepper to taste. Put them on paper towels to drain. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle over the hash browns. Cook the trout over medium heat 4-7 minutes per side depending on the size of the trout. When done, remove the trout with tongs or a spatula and put on paper towels to drain. Serve the trout with the bacon-topped hash browns with lemon slices on the side.

A FADING TRADITION l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 49

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50 l April 2016 l Southern Trout l l Southern Trout l January 2016 l 51

black wing olive chronicles


umans recognize the obvious differences in their own species, and those of us that they lump together as canines. Personally, I like the notion of observing a well-defined line of demarcation between the species. Few things are more disturbing to me than bipods who dress up their canines to look like an organ grinder’s pet monkey or even worst, to look like a child they never invested the effort to actually birth. Oddly, a bit of confusion surrounds the proverbial subject that is best described as, “what do you smell?” When bacon is sizzling in a frying pan, your species is john-on-the-spot to key in on it. Of course, for we canines, bacon is a maddening aroma, which while momentarily dominant in our snouts, it is but one odor that a canine is simultaneously processing in our little brains. While bipods are mesmerized by the bacon aroma waffling through the air, we canines not only smell that but a variety of other odors such as those emulating from your shoes, the contents of the garbage can in the kitchen, and the exhaust

What Do You S

omitted by the next door neighbor’s weed whacker. To say it is a difficult for humans to understand our incredible feat of multi-tasking would be a gross understatement. You bipods may have slight advantages over we canines in the realm of longevity, vision and stature, but as a species you really trail canines when it comes to the ability to discern odors, hearing, and of course good looks. Not meaning to brag, but I have the ability to smell a hamburger cooking on a grill from a mile away which is unparalleled among bipods. Depending on which human’s estimates you would like to cite, we canines can smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than the average human. To put this in prospective, you humans are able to detect a teaspoon of sugar in your morning coffee, while a canine is able to detect that same teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water. Of course, the secret to our seemingly superhero ability to sniff out trouble or anything else that registers in the human brain is the olfactory receptors crowded together in our generally elongated snouts, plus how our itsy bitsy little brains process messages sent to it by the nose. Frankly the whole process is far too complicated for anyone reading a publication such as Southern Trout to ever have any hope of ever grasping. Suffice to say, you’ll just have to trust me on this subject. 52 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l

black wing olive chronicles If you are still reading, it’s a fair question to pose, “what has any of this got to do with fly fishing for trout?” As is so often the case in this column, it leads back to Daddyboy and his reckless disregard for the concept of ‘odor management.’ I’m not saying that Daddyboy has questionable hygiene, but I will confide to you that his respect of a bar of soap is not so different to his aversion to spiders, rattlesnakes and discussing politics with those of the liberal persuasion. Here at the compound there is a strongly adhered to rule that when doing laundry, under no circumstances are items belonging to Daddyboy to be put into the washing machine with laundry belonging to anyone else. For a while Mommygirl actually sent his clothes out to be laundered, but all of the services with a thirty miles of here now refuse to do necessary cleaning to his personal affects. Hard as it is to believe, and perish the thought of the EPA ever getting wind of it, there is a hole located at the back side of the compound is where Mommygirl interns all of Daddyboy’s is discarded (or as she classifies it, “disappeared”) fishing apparel. Oddly, over the years I have become accustomed to the old stinker and his disregard for odor management. Having said this though, image if you can, a person entering the room where you are napping, and be jolted into consciousness by a mixture of smells that include cigar smoky, whiskey, peanut butter, cheap after shave lotion, horseradish, and foot odor just name a few. Canine’s don’t just whiff one or two, but are snout slammed all at once by them all. With Daddyboy it’s a barrage style assault on the senses that never ends. You can racket up the assault by a factor of ten if you encounter anything he has worn while on a fly fishing trip. Despite the magnitude of the problem, sweet smelling Mommygirl does a remarkable job of taking it all in stride. She even defends the ole fart when the kids complain to her about the “rotten” odors that seem to shadow Daddyboy like a bad reputation. Of course, he is oblivious to the never ending complaints just as he is to virtually everything else occurring the real world. What you bipods smell, and what we canines smell is so different that there is no way your so-called superior craniums can comprehend. When it comes to members of your species such as Daddyboy, you bipods don’t know jack.


Olive K. Nynne l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 53

product review

Rio Gallegos Chest Waders

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product review

atagonia’s Rio Gallegos chest waders are the best, most functional chest waders ever created for fly fishing. That’s a pretty damned bold statement, so I better be able to back it up, eh? If you have been fly fishing for many years, you have seen chest waders evolve greatly. Prior to the early 70s the choice was simple vulcanized rubber, boot foot waders that were heavy, fit poorly, were not breathable, and had rubber-soles that were downright dangers to walk on. Then came the paper thin, stocking foot chest waders that should have said “disposable” on the package. Next came along neoprene waders. The first generation of neoprene had no lining fabric on the inside, so you had to turn the waders inside out and literally roll them on. It was like putting on and taking off panty hose. Neoprene was a carryover wet suit/diving industry material which meant the designers assumed waders should have a tight fit, which worked well for skinny people, but not so much for those of us that enjoy eating. Latter neoprene waders came lined and with more generous cuts, but not before most fly fishermen said “to hell with neoprene and the horse it rode in on.” Your other wader choice in the 80s was lightweight, stocking foot waders. They were more user friendly than neoprene but breathable they were not. They kept stream water out, and trapped body moisture in. On a hot day a stream they were useless. On cold days in a river you garbed in long johns or you were sentenced to shiver like a murderer about to be hanged. They were compact, but rarely durable if you swatted often or trekked through brush and briars. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 57

product review

In the early 90s the first Gore-Tex waders. Gore-Tex membrane was the first generation of highly breathable, waterproof material. Such early waders were certainly breathable, but you did not care much about that feature once they when they started leaking, as it did not take long for the seams to separate. As a graduate of the GoreTex School (class of ’94), it was not

surprising to me that the folks at their research center in Maryland figured out how to solve the leaky seal seams. Last and foremost in the evolution of chest waders is Patagonia’s Rio Gallegos wader is currently the best wader on the market, and it is not a Gore-Tex wader. These waders have a number of innovative design features, but reason they are expensive (and

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worth it) is a materials/ technology dubbed H2No® Performance Standard. Patagonia’s fabric lab team embarked on create a fabric’s waterproofness in three ways. They simulated light rain, prolonged rain, and finally forced

water through the face of a fabric. They tested breathability by measuring a fabric’s Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR). Lastly, they tested durability by subjecting fabrics to a “Killer Wash.” Killer Wash is Patagonia’s wet flex and abrasion test that simulates years of use in drenching conditions. If a fabric passes these rigorous tests, it achieves H2No® Performance Standard status. H2No® Performance Standard is Patagonia’s benchmark for waterproofness, breathability and durability. Backed by Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee, H2No® Performance Standard ensures the highest level of long-term waterproof performance. These products undergo the most rigorous testing in the industry. The H2No Performance Standard for waterproof shell garments is 20,000 MM before, and 10,000 MM after their Killer Wash test.

product review

2-layer H2No® Performance Standard shell fabrics are completely waterproof, windproof and breathable. 2.5-layer H2No® Performance Standard shell fabrics are waterproof, windproof, breathable and highly packable. They combine a water-repellent shell fabric with a waterproof/ breathable membrane and protective top coat barrier designed to allow the garment to be constructed without the need for an internal lining fabric. 3-layer H2No® Performance Standard fabrics are waterproof, windproof and breathable by virtue of an advanced combination of elements: a water-repellent shell fabric, a waterproof/ breathable membrane, and an ultralight knit backer. The entire fabric package is highly packable, comfortable next-to-skin, and built to withstand long term exposure in extreme environments. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 59

product review Rio Gallegos Waders are built from Patagonia’s testedand-proven 4-layer H2No® Performance Standard fabric package using Single Seam Construction to route critical seams away from areas of high wear. These waders are streamlined the entire feature set for a new level of comfort, performance and durability. Patagonia removed two inches of fabric from the hip, waist and chest for an improved fit that still easily accepts layers for long, cold sessions. They re-patterned the crotch so it’s no problem to swing a leg over gunwales, and they designed in a more articulation to the leg for moments when fishing brings you to your knees—like keeping a fish wet during the photograph and release. If you fish in and out of boats, you’ll appreciate the new flat-panel gravel guards: They drain water more quickly than before, in addition to better resisting abrasion and wear while hiking or wading. Patagonia has improved booties have a more anatomical, sock-like fit and are made from a denser 4mm neoprene that resists compaction better over the long haul; with a poly-grid lining for added comfort. Their innovative internal suspension system allows

easy conversion to waist height and quick relief without having to remove your jacket. Outside, there’s a reach-through hand warmer pocket and large chest pocket with waterresistant horizontal zip for easy access to tippet spools, nippers and floatant. Interior gear storage

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product review

includes a waterproof, flip-out welded TPU pocket, two new drop-in stretch pockets and two internal daisy chains for tools. Other fishing-friendly features: center-back hanger loop for easy drying; stretch wading belt with low-profile buckle; removable knee pads; and a field repair kit included.

Look, we could go on. But I believe the point is made. Patagonia’s Rio Gallegos chest waders are the best, most functional chest waders ever created for fly fishing. Check them out at www. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 61

fly of the month Roger Lowe

Yellow Parachute Adams One of the most versatile and popular flies with the fly fishermen where I live I the Yellow Parachute Adams. The secret to the effectiveness of the pattern this time of year is that is resembles so many yellow hatches on these streams during the summer. Highly versatile, the Yellow Parachute Adams produces well in all of the southern streams which I fish, and it is effective in a wide range of sizes. Once you’ve invested a few hours in casting a Yellow Parachute Adams, it is quite likely to become one of your favorite “go to” fly patterns for these waters and elsewhere.


94840 Mustad (sizes 10 to 18)


Light yellow

Wing Post: White calf tail Tail: Grizzly and brown hackle fiber, mixed Body:

pale yellow dubbing


Grizzly and brown, mixed and tied parachute style

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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. l Southern Trout l May 2016 l 63

RIVER NORTH 1850 Hardman Rd. Clarkesville, GA 404-403-2808

Experience BIG rainbow, brown and brook trout in a pristine mountain setting.

Fly Fishing

situational fly fishing

Glitter Bombs!

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in the great smoky mountain national park

The New Trend in Streamer Fishing l Southern Trout l May 2016 l 67

situational fishing situational fly fly fishing


treamer fishing never been of my things. In the past I never treamer fishing has has never been oneone of my things. In the past I never carried a wooly bugger in my fly box. After trying traditional eveneven carried a wooly bugger in my fly box. After trying all all thethe traditional streamer wooly bugger patterns without much I had come to the streamer and and wooly bugger patterns without much luckluck I had come to the conclusion worth space in my fly box. I would them conclusion that that theythey werewere not not worth the the space in my fly box. I would try try them to time a few minutes stick them in my back burner fromfrom timetime to time for afor few minutes andand thenthen justjust stick them in my back burner fly box. figured I didn’t have patience to fish them. Then morning fly box. JustJust figured I didn’t have the the patience to fish them. Then oneone morning having a pre-fishing breakfast, fishing buddy handed a Kreelex whilewhile having a pre-fishing dayday breakfast, my my fishing buddy handed meme a Kreelex streamer pattern this”. I offered upthanks, a thanks, I thought streamer pattern and and saidsaid “try “try this”. As IAs offered up a I thought he he giving a Christmas ornament. I stuck it somewhere thinking was was giving me ame Christmas treetree ornament. I stuck it somewhere thinking thatthat it may never get wet unless fell of in,course of course that’s a fairly common it may never get wet unless I fellI in, for for me,me, that’s a fairly common occurrence. occurrence. I fished my normal nymphs Worms while David ThatThat day day I fished my normal nymphs andand SanSan RonRon Worms while David slinging his kreelex pattern a man a mission. was clear and was was slinging his kreelex pattern like like a man on aonmission. TheThe dayday was clear and the water about an hour I was thinking it was going to be the water was was low low and and afterafter about an hour I was thinking it was going to be a a David finally broke a nice brown from under slowslow day. day. ThenThen David finally broke the the ice ice as aasnice brown flewflew outout from under a rock a bullet choked on kreelex his kreelex pattern. Since I had even a rock like alike bullet and and choked on his pattern. Since I had notnot hadhad even a good strike at this point, glitter bomb thing started wheels turning, a good strike at this point, this this glitter bomb thing hadhad started mymy wheels turning, accompanied a little ringing noise, turning. accompanied withwith a little ringing noise, but but stillstill turning. A minutes few minutes we decided to move updifferent to different stretch of river that A few laterlater we decided to move up to stretch of river that would a little dynamic. As we pulled to take a look at the river would be abe little moremore dynamic. As we pulled overover to take a look at the river discussing options we noticed there a beast a brown trout and and whilewhile discussing our our options we noticed there waswas a beast of aofbrown trout theinch 25 inch range meandering about shallow a hole in thein 25 range meandering about nearnear the the shallow sideside of aofhole thatthat youyou a school in. more No more discussion needed. looked at each couldcould hidehide a school bus bus in. No discussion needed. WeWe looked at each raised eyebrows started gearing started at the lower end otherother with with raised eyebrows andand started gearing up.up. WeWe started at the lower end of school the school worked David went slinging of the bus bus holehole andand worked our our wayway up, up, David went firstfirst slinging thethe kreelex likewas he was caught in hornet’s fishing normal nymphs, kreelex like he caught in hornet’s nestnest andand meme fishing mymy normal nymphs, although interested in what going on with glitter bomb although moremore interested in what waswas going on with thisthis newnew glitter bomb pattern. About through David made a long cast upstream pattern. About half half wayway through the the holehole David made a long cast upstream in in the deep run and stripping down fairly a rate brought the deep darkdark run and waswas stripping down fairly fastfast at aatrate thatthat brought thethe kreelex pattern almost to the of the water. At that instant a brown trout came kreelex pattern almost to the top top of the water. At that instant a brown trout came the kreelex mouth open enough could insert a baseball afterafter the kreelex withwith mouth open big big enough thatthat youyou could insert a baseball to spare. At this moment in time I was convinced glitter bomb with with roomroom to spare. At this moment in time I was convinced thisthis glitter bomb for real. thingthing was was for real. While David continued to strip through school hole, I decided While David continued to strip through the the school busbus hole, I decided to to in front a while to see if my normal to stuff” would bring a few go ingo front and and fish fish a while to see if my normal “go“go to stuff” would bring up up a few I fished productive water for the hour without putting a single trout.trout. I fished goodgood productive water for the nextnext hour without putting a single

68 l 52 June 20162016 l Southern Trout l l April l Southern Trout l

thegreat greatsmoky smokymountain mountain national national park ininthe

Click here to see it on YouTube. trout in the net. Then after going from a vertical position to face down in the river in about one half of a microsecond and breaking my fly rod, I decided my time would be better spent taking a nice nap in the back of the truck. I made my way back the truck, un-geared, dried andindone a trouttointhe themain net. road Thenand afterdown goingtofrom a vertical position to faceoff, down the river quick evaluation onofthe rod damage.and Afterbreaking having amy few words with my in about one half a microsecond fly choice rod, I decided my time alter-ego, bestspent not be written down, in the Beat would bethat better taking a nice napitinwas the time backtoofthrow the truck. I made way upback and to broken hearted I slid into the back of the truck pulled my hat over my the main road and down to the truck, un-geared, dried off, and done a face and started nice Still in the having back ofamy I was in awith deep quick evaluationa on thelong rodnap. damage. After fewmind choice words my study about this new glitter bomb pattern. alter-ego, that best not be written down, it was time to throw in the towel. Beat l lSouthern Southern Trout Trout ll July May 2016 2016 ll 69 53

situational fly fishing

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in the great smoky mountain national park A couple of hours later as I was awakened by some nearby banging noise I raised up to see David getting un-geared and grinning like as opossum eating a persimmon. I didn’t have to ask, but I did anyway, “how did it go?” He modestly replied, “13 in the 14 to 16 inch range. As he asked me the same question I replied, “well, it was going pretty bad until I fell and broke my fly rod and then, well never mind.” About a week later I had some volunteer work planned and decided to throw my fly fishing gear in the back of my jeep just in case. The chance of rain was high all day and I was expecting a wash out. As I finished up my volunteer work I still had a few hours left before dark and the rain was just a light drizzle. I dropped a friend off not far from the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River so I decided to drive up and see what the water looked like. When I arrived at one of my favorite spots, there was a good drizzle coming down, but the water was still clear. I geared up at warp speed and tied on the one kreelex pattern that David had given me. It was time for me to make a run with the glitter bomb. The first couple of hours or so I netted 2 or 3 brown in the 12 to 14 inch range. Just a short time later as I started into some good dynamic water the rain picked up to a nice hard shower to the point I thought I may have to leave the river. The water came up 4 or 5 inches but stayed somewhat clear as I made my way up to a slow run that is normally too shallow to hold fish. I made my first cast up and across and the glitter bomb made it about 2 feet before a 14 inch brown came straight up and crushed it. At that point I knew it was fixing to get real up in here. Over the next 30 minutes during the hard shower I caught or missed brown trout on almost every cast, the biggest being in the 18 inch range. After the rain had stopped, I caught only 3 more fish and the kreelex glitter bomb was totally mutilated. The next time it rains, you may very well see me in the river slinging a glitter bomb. Fish Responsibly. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 71

39 South Public Square Cartersville, GA 30120 770.606.1100 2441 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 (865) 868-1000

Guided Fishing Trips | Fly Fishing Schools | Destination Fly Fishing Travel

other trout

South Branch Raritan River by Bob Mallard


ust over an hour, and roughly 55 miles, west of bustling New York City lies the South Branch Raritan River. The South Branch as it is referred to locally, offers quality fly fishing for trout within striking distance of the “Big City.” Whether you are there for business, school, theatre, arts, or sports-Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Rangers or Islanders; a side trip to the South Branch is well worth the effort. The South Branch Raritan was once a working river. Evidence of old mills is scattered throughout the area and includes active and inactive sluiceways, remnants of old dams, and other related structures. The area was also home to a railroad depot. There are roughly 170 structures registered with the National Register of Historic Places. The area around the South Branch was known to TV audiences starting in the late 1970’s when talk show host Merv Griffin maintained a home in nearby Lebanon Township. Thirty years later, James Gandolfini, better known as “Tony Soprano” on the HBO TV series The Sopranos, bought a home in Tewksbury Township. Prior to this Gandolfini had a home in Chester. All three are within striking distance of the town of Califon, New Jersey—ground zero for fishing the South Branch Raritan.

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other trout

Bob Mallard l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 77

other trout

Califon is located halfway between the beautiful Ken Lockwood Gorge Management Area, known regionally for its trout fishing, and a 1-mile stretch of private water located at the Raritan Inn. It is the home to Shannon’s Fly & Tackle, a classic Catskill’s style fly shop founded in 1973. That the shop has been in business for over forty years is a testimony to the river and its fishery. Shannon’s was named the nation’s first Gold Endorsed Business by Trout Unlimited. The area also has an active Trout Unlimited chapter—Ken Lockwood Trout Unlimited. An interesting side-story is that the town was originally supposed to be called California, until two inebriated painters shortened it to “Califon” to fit it onto a sign—that’s what happens when inexperienced Yanks get into southern ‘shine. The South Branch Raritan starts at the outlet of Budd Lake just northeast of Hackettstown, and roughly ten miles north of Califon. It runs approximately 50 miles before merging with the North Branch Raritan in the appropriately named town of Branchburg. The area was known by the Lenape Indians as Tucca-Ramma-Hacking, meaning “the flowing together of water.” European settlers called it Two Bridges for a pair of bridges built in the 1730’s that crossed the lower North Branch. The South Branch is a small stream in its headwaters. Here it is home to small native brook trout. As it moves downstream it collects numerous tributaries and springs, increasing in size until it becomes a small river near Califon, and a medium size river at Ken Lockwood Gorge. It is rarely wider than fifty feet and flows average in 65 to 200 cfs range. Most of the river is wadable, but for the most part it is too small to float.

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other trout l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 79

other trout

Rich limestone deposits found along the length of the South Branch help maintain a PH level that is ideal for trout and their forage—minnows and insects. The ever-present canopy helps keep the water cool. Mayflies, caddis, stoneflies and midges are all present. Hendrickson and sulphurs hatch in the spring, caddis are present throughout the season, and slate drakes and BWO’s appear in the fall. Ants and beetles are available in the summer as well. The South Branch Raritan is stocked with close to 45,000 trout a year by New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Several private fishing clubs stock it as well--as does Shannon’s Fly & Tackle. The river is home to two Trout Conservation Areas where tackle and harvest are restricted to protect the fishery. It is also host to several fishing derbies. When folks talk about fishing the South Branch Raritan, they are usually talking about Ken Lockwood Gorge. This beautiful 2.5 mile long section of river looks like it could be in the Adirondacks or New England. The river is flanked by 260 acres of public land—mostly steep wooded hills. The stream is classic rugged freestone, with rock gardens, riffles and runs. The water is clear and cold. The area is rich in flora and fauna—including deer and bear. Ken Lockwood Gorge is managed by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. It is designated as a Trout Conservation Area. It is open to fishing year-round. Tackle is restricted to artificial lures and flies only, and all fish must be released immediately. Public access is very good with ample parking and a trail that parallels the river for most of its length. This section of river is offers ideal conditions for nymphing—both indicator and Euro style. Dry/dropper combos can be quite effective as well. The slower pools are very conducive to dry fly fishing and can be quite technical due to the water clarity, smooth surface, micro currents, and heavy fishing pressure.

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other trout l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 81

other trout There are both stocked and wild fish in the gorge-with more of the former than the latter. Rainbows, brown and brook trout are all present—with rainbows outnumbering both browns and brookies. There are some wild brook trout and brown trout, but few if any wild rainbows. Trout average a foot in length, with fish over twenty inches always possible. Ken Lockwood Gorge is a very popular fishery. It is heavily fished right through the season—including the winter. Weekends and holidays can be especially busy, and you should try to fish during the week if your schedule allows you to do so. If you can’t, you must be willing to move around a bit in order to find a place to fish. And like many heavily pressured waters--getting there never hurts. Another section of public water of interest to the fly fisher is the Claremont Trout Conservation Area. This 1.2 mile section of river is located on the upper river near Long Valley. It is managed as a wild fishery—there is no stocking. There are brook trout and brown trout— the former are native to the river. Tackle is restricted to artificial lures and flies only. There is a 1-fish limit and the minimum length limit on trout is fifteen inches. There is a productive section of private water that runs behind the historic Raritan Inn. This 1-mile section of river is open to guests of the inn, anglers guided by Shannon’s Fly & Tackle, and members of a local fly fishing club—Shannon’s Private Waters. It is divided into eleven beats to help spread out traffic. New Jersey Trout Unlimited, Shannon’s and The Raritan Inn sponsor an annual One-Fly Competition here. The Shannon’s Private Waters are the polar opposite of Ken Lockwood Gorge. Unlike the highgradient rugged freestone stream and steep forested banks found in the gorge, the private waters are a meandering low-gradient stream running through a low lying river valley.

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other trout Like the public water, the private water is open to year-round fishing. Tackle is restricted to fly fishing only with barbless hooks, and all fish must be released. Unlike the public water, this is the policy of the club not a state law. Access to the private water is through Shannon’s fly shop. Customers must be guided and are required to pay a modest rod fee. The private water has similar hatches to those found in the gorge. However, there are fewer stoneflies due to the lack of freestone habitat, and more midges due to increased silt and sand. Minnows are present as well. It can be nymphed with or without an indicator. Dry/dropper combos can be quite effective as well. Classic dry fly fishing is better than that found in the gorge due to a higher abundance of runs and pools. The private water sees far less pressure than the public water. While not pushovers, the fish tend to be a bit less picky and not as easily spooked as they are in the oft crowded public water. This can be a great alternative to the gorge on weekends and holidays when traffic on the latter is at its highest. The private water is heavily stocked by the club. There are also some resident wild fish. Stocked fish move into the area from above and below. Rainbow, brown and brook trout are all present. While most of the rainbows are stocked, many of the browns and brook trout are wild. Stocked fish average between 14 and 16 inches, and wild fish between 6 and 12 inches. Fish over twenty inches are fairly common, and fish up to and over twenty-four inches are possible. For more information on the South Branch Raritan River contact Shannon’s Fly & Tackle at 74B Main Street in Califon. They can be reached at 908-8325736,,, or BOB MALLARD has fly fished for over 35 years. He owned and operated Kennebec River Outfitters in Madison, Maine from 2001 to 2015. Bob is a blogger, writer and author. His writing has been featured in blogs, newspapers, ezines and magazines at the local, state, regional and national levels. He has appeared on radio and television. Look for his books 50 Best Places Fly Fishing the Northeast and 25 Best Towns Fly Fishing for Trout (Stonefly Press). Bob is also a fly designer for Catch Fly Fishing out of Billings, Montana; as well as the northeast sales rep for both Stonefly Press and Catch. In addition he is on the R. L. Winston Rod Co. Pro Staff. Bob can be reached at www.,, or 207-4742500.

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The Home of Fly Fishing in Boone and Blowing Rock

135 Southwood Trail Boone, NC 28607 Office Phone: (828) 355-9109 Cell: (910) 639-7173

Asheville, NC Guided Fly Fishing & Instruction Contact Us Online, or call us Toll Free at (877) 298-2568.

828-743-3768 Lodging | Fly Fishing Guide Trips Angling Equipment

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Your Western NC Fly Shop and Outfitter

828-631-4453 Sylva, NC

Tri-State Angler Guide The Home of Fly Service Fishing in Boone and Blowing Rock

Float Trips for Smallmouth Bass on the New River in NC and VA.

Asheville, NC 828-779-9008 135 Southwood Trail Boone, NC 28607 Office Phone: (828) 355-9109 Cell: (910) 639-7173 336-902-0044

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North Carolina’s To

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ong a sleepy mountain hamlet, today Bryson City is ground zero of the fly fishing for trout earthquake today that is ripping through the western region of the Tar Heel State. While one might work hard to avoid the hillbilly Las Vegasette fake glitter of Gatlinburg when visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National, Bryson City is everything one wished Gatlinburg could have been. Perusing Bryson City your odds of being button-holed by a salesman hawking timeshares or production line ‘moonshine’ are higher than say, being struck by lighten. Everything is real, “what you see is what you get” in Bryson City, the government seat of Swain County.

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close look - north carolina At the top of the list of list that make a “top trout town� is a character, a gentle flow and city fathers and business who genuinely welcome trout fishermen. Bryson City has lots of quaint motels, rental cabins/ cottages as well as a number of country inns, lodges, and bed and breakfasts rentals. The local diner offers sure-enough mountain style breakfasts, which of course means mouth-watering gravy and biscuits and blueberry pancakes delicious enough for you to howl for. Bryson City today is pretty much the same Bryson City I explored as a youth several decades ago. ` Bryson City is located just west of the confluence of the Tuckasegee River, which flows westward from its source in the mountains to the east, and Deep Creek, which flows south from its source near Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains. After passing through Bryson City and flowing around the Bryson City Island Park, the Tuckasegee flows southwestward for another 12 miles before emptying into the Little Tennessee River. Fontana Lake, an impoundment of the Little Tennessee River.

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Byrson City is surrounded on all sides by mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains rise to the north, the Cowee Mountains rise to the south, and the Plott Balsams rise to the east. The boundary of the Nantahala National Forest passes just south of the city, and the boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park passes just to the north. The Qualla Boundary, which comprises the bulk of the reservation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, dominates the area to the east. The heart of the town is centered around the junction of Everett Street and Main Street. Main Street is part of U.S. Route 19, which connects Bryson City to Cherokee to the northeast and Murphy to the southwest. Bryson City is home to just over 1,400 residents, where ironically the population was over 1,800 in 1930. Swain County was formed from parts of Jackson County and Macon County in 1871. Then known as Charleston, in 1889, it became "Bryson City." The Western North Carolina Railroad laid tracks through Bryson City in 1884, greatly easing transportation to the previously-remote area. Southern Railway (who had replaced the Western North Carolina Railroad) dropped passenger service in 1948. After Norfolk Southern ended freight traffic on the railroad in 1985, the state of North Carolina purchased the tracks. In 1988, a scenic line known as the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad was established with its depot and departure point in Bryson City. The completion of Fontana Dam in 1944 inundated the only highway connecting Bryson City with the remote area of the Smokies known as the North Shore. The feds began its construction 1948 on what is known as Lakeview Drive. Work was slow and delayed by intention as the feds never really wanted to honor its pledge to complete the route. By 1972, only 7 miles had been completed. The ill-fated project became known to locals as "The Road to Nowhere". In 2007, the National Park Service deemed the road's construction to be in violation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's general management plan, and began working with Swain County to find an alternative. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 93

close look - north carolina Billed as “The Trout Fishing Capital of the South,” Swain County’s four rivers — the Nantahala, Oconaluftee, Tuckasegee and Little Tennessee are all great producers of rainbow, brook and brown trout. Two of those, the Tuck and the Little T, offer much more, including bass, crappie, walleye and the fierce muskie. That’s barely the tip of the iceberg. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala National Forest offer hundreds of miles of spectacularly clear streams. Just a few minutes from Bryson City, with the crown jewels being the sparkling waters of Deep Creek. Other nearby national park waters include Hazel Creek, Noland Creek, Raven Fork, Oconulaftee River, Forney Creek, Eagle Creek and Twentymile Creek. In the national forest there is the Alarka and Connelly creek watersheds. If this is not enough, great trout fishing is available at Calderwood, Cheoah, and Fontana reservoirs.

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close look - north carolina Perhaps the sweetest thing that makes Bryson City North Carolina’s “Top Trout Town,” is the overall support of the community to trout fishing and the enthusiasm of it by the town’s leadership and business community. Here’s a same: Karen Wilmot, Executive Director of the Bryson City NC / Swain County Chamber of Commerce says, “We see trout fishing in Swain County has a true diamond in the rough we are eager to make known with open arms to the rest of the world.” Ben King, owner of Bryson City Outdoors says, “We more than welcome trout fishermen to come and sample the great angling found around Bryson City.” Kevin Beauchesne, owner of Hidden Creek Cabin Rentals / Smoky Mountain Cabin Builders / Bryson City Cabin Rentals / Bryson City Realty Group says, “Trout fishing is a resource that can be turned into jobs for this community. Trout fishermen are certainly the most desirable segment of our visitors to Swain County.” Monica Brown, owner of the historic Fryemont Inn says “The trout fishing community is our favorite clientele, and we do our best to make them feel at home and direct them to the best fishing in Swain County.” 96 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 97

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Gianna Carson, owner of La Dolce Vita Bakery and who is also president of the Downtown Merchants Association says “Visiting trout fishermen frequent La Dolce Vita Bakery and we are pleased that they not only give the fishing here rave reviews, but are quite pleased to discover a bakery of this caliber in this sort of setting.” Ron Larocque, owner of the Everett Hotel and Cork & Bean Bistro says, “Trout fisherman coming to Bryson City are more than welcomed to come sample the great fishing and quality of life of this friendly community.” Barry Tetrault, owner of The Filling Station Deli & Sub Shop says “It is fortunate that we can welcome trout fishermen to a genuine western North Carolina small town where the fishing is great and the atmosphere is second to none.” In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the Smithsonian named Bryson City one of the "20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2016." The top picks are towns of less than 20,000 population. "It is always gratifying when a prestigious publication like the Smithsonian confirms what we have known all along — that Bryson City is the quintessential small town vacation destination," said Karen Wilmot. "Our strong relationship with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is mutually beneficial. Together we deliver the complete vacation experience with the combination of natural beauty and small town hospitality." Bryson City truly is North Carolina’s top trout town, and the best reason yet that we can recommend if you have had a gut load of tourist traps like Gatlinburg. If you want a sure enough, Southern Appalachian “howdy and welcome,” trout fishermen can do no better than Bryson City. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 99

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Cashiers, NC

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Solving the Catch and Release Paradox -The Sunburst So


oday’s fly fishermen are largely committed to a catch-and-release philosophy. If they savor the flesh of their cold water quarries, they are faced with a difficult to solve paradox. Captain

D’s is just not a viable substitute for iron skillet fried trout. The last big trout I released, I was tempted to take a bite of its tail to help me preserve the memory. Troubling too is when you return home from

a fabulously productive float on the White River landing big brown trout, and upon your return home where you relay the magnificence of your trip to your brother-in-law, his only response is, “So when is the fish fry?”

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olution Frozen stiff, commercially raised trout have been available in grocery stores for decades. These are the mealy, white fleshed fish identical to those stocked by states that are caught and cooked almost as soon as they are tossed in a stream. Decent

enough eat; but a mere shadow of a wild trout caught from the waters it has lived its entire life. Fortunately there is a solution, but not one that is sitting on the tip of your nose. Early efforts to rear trout in hatcheries and at trout farms focused largely on maximizing production and growth rates. The trout you could

rear to catchable size the more trout you could stock or sell. Anglers and consumers got the trout they desired. It was a system that worked, and in many cases worked almost too well. Just as the proverbial story about building a better mouse trap, a few of the more progressive trout farmers sought to improve their product. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 103

close look - north carolina The best example of this is Sunburst Trout Farms of Waynesville, North Carolina. Founded in the 1940s by Dick Jennings, it was the first commercial trout farm in the South. A Yale undergraduate, he established the farm in Cashiers and the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains before later moving to its present location in Canton, NC, in 1963. At 90, you can still find him at Sunburst checking on the books and machinery, and his family, the third generation of Easons who are now responsible for carrying his vision forward. Raising trout is not especially difficult. Raising trout with a table value that rivals, and in ways are superior to wild trout, well, that’s another matter. The quality of the trout from Sunburst has revolutionized the trout rearing business. Their nationally famous pink flesh, fresh trout filets have been featured in Bon Appetit, Forbes, Southern Living, USA Today and on the Food Network as well as being a Best Choice from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. The pink flesh is the normal color of most trout. Pink flesh reflect the diet of a trout. Unlike many trout farms and state hatcheries. At Sunburst trout receive nothing in the way of animal by-products, antibiotics and growth hormones. Of further importance, at Sunburst they net the live trout, bleed them, filet them, and pack them at 36 degrees, all within one hour. The gloss on Sunburst filets is loaded with natural antibodies to protect them from external infection. And, there’s more to it than this.

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Sunburst’s water source is the pristine, Shining Rock Wilderness Area in the Pisgah National Forest. Sunburst has a water flow of 6,000 gallons per minute that enable them to maintain up to 20 feet per minute across all ponds and raceways. This is double the water volume and flow velocity that is the norm at other trout farms. Another standard practice difference at Sunburst is cultivating fewer fish per cycle. This continuous, vital stream of oxygen enables Sunburst trout to maintain healthy metabolic activity while also providing exercise swimming against the current (like in the wild) that enhances natural development and growth. “The freshness and quality of our products will be similar to what one would catch out of the river as our fillets are shipped/sold day of harvest,” explains Wes Eason, who at 38 is part of the 3rd Generation at Sunburst. He has worked his way through every part of the farm since 2001. In 2011 he assumed responsibly as Sales Manager and is now the Director of Sales/ COO. “To me, Sunburst trout have a stronger more robust flavor than wild trout. Our trout are raised under the same watershed that harbors native trout in the Pisgah National Forest. The flavor of our trout is unlike any other trout on the market and the freshness can only be beat if you catch it yourself. The omega 3 fat content of our trout is higher than wild caught due to the higher fat diet which helps contribute to the more robust flavor. The adage “you are what you eat” applies to trout also. Sunburst uses no animal products or by-products in trout feed manufactured for them. Their trout are grown in a controlled environment. The pink color of these beauties comes from astaxanthin, a caretonoid which can be synthetic or naturally occurring in nature. Our special diet uses only natural astaxanthin which comes from Phaffia yeast and microalgae, both are strong antioxidants. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 107

close look - north carolina Trout are much more than a source of protein. With the interest in the relationship between fish consumption and health, questions arise frequently as to the nutrient composition of trout. Dr. Joyce A. Nettleton, author of Seafood Nutrition, has done extensive research on this subject, and has demonstrated the very high content of Omega-3 fatty acid in the Farm raised rainbow trout versus wild trout. Sunburst is not just a wholesale operation where sales are limited to stores and restaurants. The farm has a retail outlet in Waynesville, and has been the online sales business for many years. Fresh trout filets are only the tip of the iceberg here. Available too is delicious trout caviar (three types) and trout jerky. If smoked trout is your thing, then you’ll want to try Sunburst array of these items that includes Smoked Trout Dip, Hickory Smoked Trout Fillet and Cold Smoked Rainbow Trout. With a little planning, Southerners can make a fly fishing trip to your favorite catch-and-release trophy trout waters, then return home to fry delicious trout filets the day they return home. For us, that seems to be the perfect solution to the catchand-release paradox. For more info, contact Sunburst Trout Farms (314 Industrial Park Drive; Waynesville, NC 28786 (828)-648-3010 or 800673-3051) or visit www.sunbursttrout. com

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Don’t go home empty handed!

Sunburst Trout Farms Is located below the Shining Rock National Wilderness in the Pisgah National Forest. Since 1948 they have been growing rainbow trout, and the farm is now run by third generation brothers Wes and Ben Eason.

Sunburst has a long standing commitment to quality. Their fish are hormone and antibiotic free, and the feed is made especially for them containing no mammalian by-products. All trout are cut to order in small bathces, mostly by hand, thus ensuring all products are of the highest standard. In addition to Sunburst’s flagship fillets you can also find their award winning caviar, as well as trout jerky, hickory smoked trout, cold smoked trout, smoked trout dip, trout sausage, and even some non trout products, pimento goat cheese and smoked tomato jam. Be sure to stock up on their Original Jennings Jerky! It’s shelf stable and perfect for those long days fly fishing. To order go online to

314 Industrial Park Drive Waynesville, NC 28786 828-648-3010 • 800-673-3051 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 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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uests breathe easier here, and it isn’t just the mountain air. It’s the entire Eseeola experience: award-winning cuisine, exceptional service, and of course, first-rate fly fishing on the Linville River. Call Today for Reservations

175 Linville Avenue Linville, NC 28646 (800)742-6717

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Carolina Pride: Trout

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Dancer Fly Rods “I

was given an old bamboo fly rod that I fished, but as luck would have it, I broke it,” says John “Jesse” Connor, owner of Trout Dancer Fly Rod. “While trying to get it repaired, I was eventually introduced to Monty Kirby of the Hazel Creek Rod Company. Monty said that he made rods, but he didn’t have much experience in repairing them. We repaired that rod and developed a friendship. He convinced me that I could make a rod of my own. He said that he would guide me through it, and I could use his shop. Monty is patient, professional, funny, intelligent, meticulous, and gloriously goofy. I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. This led me to be more interested in bamboo fly rods and how they worked. I soon set about the task of making a rod that possessed the attributes that I wanted.” The fly rod made by this Tar Heel State craftsman are from Tonkin cane. Connor agrees with writer John Gierach who said that if you build a rod on someone else’s blank, you are a builder. If you make the blank you are a rod maker. Connor is a rod maker. He splits each bamboo culm by hand, and then the strips are beveled and tapered with block planes that are older than he is. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 115

“I have a “Garrison” style binder to bind the glues strips together,” notes Connor. He adds that it requires takes about three hands to work it. “I have some a few tools that I use for some of the steps, but the majority of the work to create a bamboo fly rod is done using hand tools. The tradition is part of it, but it’s also a ‘kick’ to work at tolerances of 0.002 inches with grass and hand tools.” Most people like Connors work with bamboo rods make their own blanks. There are some makers that will sell blanks to individuals to build the rod, however at this stage in the rod building process (when bamboo culm is made into a blank) it is difficult to discern the quality of the cane. Ideally, the power fibers should be dense. These fibers run the length of the culm and can be seen at the end of each rod section blank. There shouldn’t be any worm holes, or grower’s marks on the cane. It should be straight and free of twist.

“Additionally, there should be a discernable node stagger to the blank/ rod,” says Connor. “If the maker uses a Garrison stagger, this will be more difficult. One thing to look for is, are the nodes side by side on adjoining flats? The nodes are the rings on the bamboo culm, and they are a weak point. When I lay out a rod, I don’t have nodes within two inches of each other, and none within five inches of the end of the rod section.” “If the rod has two tips, the tips should be “butterflied.” If there is a node on one tip, there should be one in the same place on the other tip. The guides and wraps should match. This probably doesn’t make a difference in the way the rod casts, but it shows that the maker was paying attention. There shouldn’t be any glue lines between the strips. Likewise, there shouldn’t be any dust or drips in the varnish finish. The thread wraps should be wound tightly together, and if a color preserver is used, there should be no varnish bleed-through.”

Since bamboo fly rods tend to be shorter than their graphite or boron counterparts, Connor usually employs tip top guides with large loop holes. It is his thought that the shorter rod will have the loop to loop connection of the fly line and leader

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inside of the tip top more often than on a longer rod. This usually occurs when a fish is being landed. For craftsman like Connors, one of the biggest challenges finding high quality, 12-feet long (2-3 inches diameter) bamboo culms. There

are about 1200 species of bamboo, but only one is really suitable for fly rods. This species only grows well in one river valley in China. There are only a few importers of Tonkin cane in the U.S. Shipping bamboo culms is inherently expensive.

Where Connor lives in Western North Carolina, he spends the warmer months fishing small streams where casting conditions are often tight and casts are short. He recommends a rod one is able to cast with very little line out of the tip top guide. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 117

On small southern streams many situations, a roll cast is called for, and many times, delicate presentations are necessary. Connor explained in all of these instances, a slower action rod is a good choice. “When I’m fishing a tailwater or other large river the conditions are different,” says Connor. “Whether you’re casting from a boat or wading, one has more open casting conditions, although the wind can be a major factor. The fish are, generally, much larger. I recommend rods capable to make longer cast as well as able to handle heavy streamers or nymph rigs. Such longer rods that are designed to cast heavier lines are the ticket. My ‘go-to’ rod is a seven-foot, nine-inch, five weight bamboo that I normally fish with a six weight line. If I’m in the Smokies or a tailwater river, this rod does what I ask it to do.” Connor confides that the most common taper requested by his customers is one that he developed based on a taper designed by Wayne Cattanach for a six-and-a-half foot rod for a four-weight line. For this fly rod, Connor added a foot and a half to its length and bumped it up one line weight to make, as he describes, a mediumfast action and was designed 118 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l

for fishing North Carolina’s Davidson River. “Here in North Carolina, I wanted a rod that I could use for tiny dries or heavy nymphs as the conditions change. I’ve tested this eight foot, five weight all over the southeast, and in four of the Rocky Mountain States, and have no complaints.” “It’s kind of funny, most people that I talk to want a rod that compares to their latest and greatest graphite rod,” explains Connors. They complain that bamboo is too heavy, and too slow. When they actually cast a bamboo rod, you can almost see their minds change. They really feel the rod load. Their casting stroke becomes more relaxed.” “The differences in fly line weights and tapers are really noticeable on bamboo rods. I tell my customers that even though their rod was designed for a specific line weight, they should try different weights and tapers. There will be one that really suits their casting stroke.” Connors invites STM readers to contact him 828-6746844 or trout.dancer@, and visit www. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 119

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North Carolina Trout Fishing

North Carolina Trout Fishing by Steve Maslar is a highly recommended read for travelers visiting the Tar Heel as well as its longtime residents. Part of’s CyberGuide Series, alike, North Carolina Trout Fishing provide great detail and information on North Carolina’s many trout fishing hotspots. In the book Maslar does great job in providing detailed ccess information to scores of the state’s top trout fishing waters. He also does an exceptionally good job discussing tackle and techniques, and unravels the somewhat complicated trout fishing regulations of trout fishing in the Old North State. Available only in Kindle version, North Carolina Trout Fishing is a true insider’s guide to trout fishing in the North Carolina high country. The book is based on Maslar’s years of research

and hands-on practical experience, and covers over 75 of the Tar Heel State’s finest rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes. Included in the book are the numerous fishing opportunities, including those in three state parks, a state forest, one national park, the Cherokee Indian Reservation, and the Blue Ridge Parkway waters, along with fly fishing, North Carolina Trout Fishing

also covers lure fishing. What we at Southern Trout Magazine liked best about this book is that it points you to where the best trout fishing in North Carolina is, and helps you select the best fishing experience for your particular fishing preferences. Maslas’s other books in the CyberGuide Series include Nymphing For Trout: Catch More Trout By Fishing Where They Eat (Aug 21, 2012); Getting Started Fly Fishing For Trout (Feb 19, 2013) and Small Stream Trout Fishing (Apr 14, 2009) that are also kindle books that can be auto-delivered wirelessly to your computer or smart phone. For more, visit

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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 Visitor’s Guide, call 800-899-mtns

Georgia Trophy Fly Fishing At It's Best

P.O. Box 2555

Clarkesville, GA 30523

For Availability and Reservations Call: 706-947-FISH (3474)

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e have a true passion for fishing and for helping individuals learn and enjoy the sport.” So says Kevin Howell, one of the most dedicated fly fishermen one could ever meet. Hailing from the trout fishing wonderland that is Western North Carolina, he manages and owns the Davidson River Outfitters fly shop and guide service in Pisgah National Forest. While being a manager and owner of a thriving fly shop he also sometimes serves as a guide. According to Kevin, what makes his part of North Carolina a special destination for fly fishermen is that Western North Carolina is home to the best freestone trout waters in the Southeast. “Very few places in the country have such a high concentration of trout water in such a small geographic area. In addition to the great trout fishing there are tons of opportunities for small and largemouth Bass as well as most other warm water species.”

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Davidson River Outfitters guide Landon Lipke fishing on the Davidson River. Photo Coutosey of Davidson River Outfitters Trout fishing interest and business has grown in North Carolina over the last two decades. The NC Wildlife Commission suggests that trout fishing alone was a 190 million dollar a year business in the 23 counties of Western North Carolina back in 2006. A new study

suggests a high amount of that is solely focused on trout. The close proximity to the multiple cities with large populations has also added to North Carolina’s growing fisheries. Kevin gives a solid 9 out of 10 rating of overall interest in fly fishing in the North Carolina. “People still love

the romance and beauty of the West, but North Carolina is a very viable and popular option and we are seeing people from all over the world coming here to fish.” Davidson River Outfitters has been in business since it was started back in 1993

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experience the trip multiple times. Our largest and most popular destination is Argentina, and we have been traveling there since 2000. We have made the trip in every season and every condition possible so that when we send a customer to Argentina, we are 100% confident in what we sent them with and where we sent them to.� Novice fly fishermen also have a place at Davidson River Outfitters. Hundreds of novice anglers come into their shop every month; some have never even held a fly rod while others have only fished once or twice. Kevin says that everyone at Davidson River Outfitters pride themselves on their fly fishing schools and on gaining new anglers into the sport. Davidson River Outfitters also by Mike Johnson, Mike trip is fun and successful. offers everything in terms Bradley and Larry Hall. “For our destination trips, of advice, support and Kevin Howell took over we travel and fish the instruction from basic as manager in 1996 and destinations thoroughly casting to knot tying then purchased the shop before recommending them classes to mini classes in 1998 where he became to clients. We want to see that are technique specific the driving force behind the fishery at its best and like nymphing 101 or it with the help of Walker at its worst. The only way dry fly fishing. All of the Parrot. Today, the shop to know what someone guides take a day in the supplies all a person needs is going to need for a trip shop. This assures that to make sure a destination is if you go in person and the information they give l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 127

close look - north carolina customers is up-to-the-minute because they were on the water as guides the day before. They can also show you how to rig a new fly or advise you on which fly rod is better for a specific application. “We have fourteen in-house guides that work solely for Davidson River Outfitters. We currently guide, all of WNC including the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and Nantahala. We also guide in East Tennessee and Upstate South Carolina.” Fly tying is a very important aspect of their retail operation. Owner, Kevin Howell, was a commercial fly tier before working at Davidson River Outfitters, so they take a lot of pride in their fly tying selection. Kevin says, “If we don’t have what you need for tying he will make an effort to get it. So we think the fly tying aspect of the business is very important.” For those who want to become fly tiers, Davidson River offers dozens of fly tying classes annually from beginning classes to advanced classes that focus on spinning deer hair. They also offer instructional/ introduction tying time at Catawba Brewing in Asheville during the winter months, and they will be expanding those offerings into the new Ecusta Brewing in Pisgah Forest this winter as well. Plans are to offer fly tying classes year around.

Davidson River Outfitters Guide Kelly Bandlow moves in to net a fish for Vanessa Rollins on the Davidson River. Photo courtosey of Davidson River Outfitters

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close look - north carolina The dedicated anglers at Davidson River Outfitters carry many different product lines that make their shop very unique for having a very large selection. While carrying a lot of the same product lines as other shops, what sets them apart is the fact that so many of their staff hold ambassador or advisor positions with most of the major manufacturers in the industry. Currently, Davidson River Outfitters have staff members on ambassador programs with Sage, Redington, Rio, Scott, Scientific Anglers, Fish Pond, Hodgeman, and other manufacturers. The ambassadors help field-test and give feedback on new products months or years before they hit the market. This gives their staff a very intimate knowledge of the products they sell and the benefits or faults of nearly every product on the market. Kevin Howell is a signature fly designer for Umpqua and Walker Parrot is a Signature fly designer for Montana Fly Company. This gives them insight in the new flies and which new tying materials are working well. The other thing that sets them apart is that they are one of very few stores to have two custom rod builders on staff, fourteen custom fly tiers, four authors, one National Fly Fishing Champion and two regional fly fishing champions, so when you call or come in with a question, you can rest assured you are talking with someone who can correctly advise you on any aspect of the sport.

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“Our mission is to be the most reputable shop on the East Coast, we want to be the one you call for the best advice, the best customer service and the products that you need when you need it. We also like to be honest and straight forward with clients. We like for them to know if we recommend it, it’s because we have used it and believe in it, not because we got a good price on it from the manufacturer. While we run active campaigns aimed at new customers, our best advertising is the word of mouth and reputation we receive from our wonderful existing customers.” Davidson River Outfitters is also a great place for information on fly-fishing trends in the area. “The biggest trend we see in the fly fishing at the moment is the Tenkara trend, and it is as popular here in NC as anywhere in the country.” “We are truly here to help you. Everyone employee at Davidson River Outfitters is here because we have a true passion for fishing and for helping individuals learn and enjoy the sport.” Davidson River Outfitters 49 Pisgah Hwy #6, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768 (828) 877-4181 l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 131


Caldwell County Sculpted by Nature. Crafted by Man.

sculpture exhibits live music live theatre festivals car shows natural wonders Caldwell Chamber of Commerce Lenoir, North Carolina

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It’s A Family

t’s A Family Tradition “Shannon is the latest in a long line of Messers who help craft the Tar Heel Trout Tradition” Today’s fly fishermen are quietly coming to terms with Southern Appalachia’s rich angling heritage. Fly fishing did not just hatch stream side one day in 1960. Noppers, it roots easily go back a hundred years or more. Interest in traditional Southern Appalachian fly pattern is keen among the current generation of tiers. This is where Shannon Messer’s story enters the annals of our great southern tradition. “One of the first memories I have of fishing is in a trout pond with a cane pole," says Messer, a sixth or seventh generation Carolina mountain trout angler. “I also remember fishing out in the small creek behind the house using a rod and dough ball or a worm found under a rock for bait. It was fun just walking up and down the

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stream fishing for trout. I remember one summer my papaw making me work for a fiberglass EagleClaw rod, that I still have hanging above my home fly tying desk today.” Now, 46 years old, Messer first started fly fishing in the Cataloochee Valley, Jonathan Creek, and the Pacolet River. As a teenager he would often go to Cataloochee Valley to camp all weekend and fly fish the then largely unknown valley. While the Messer’s have some of the deepest roots in Carolina mountain trout fishing, he did not grow up in a “Presbyterian” fly fishingonly culture. “My dad and my Papaw fished for lots of different species of fish, including crappie, bluegill, catfish, and lots of other fish. We all fished from a boat on the lake, and from the river banks. I remember setting trotlines when I was young and going back to check them. I grew up fishing lots of rivers and lakes in Georgia, the Missouri River, and the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, and John Redmond Reservoir and Melvern Lake in Kansas.” l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 135

close look - north carolina As a young man Messer caught the tying "bug" by spending time tying flies with Charlie Bear Messer, the originator of such influential fly patterns as the Charlie Whopper and the Nantahala Special. According to Messer, Charlie Bear was his oldest son's great, great uncle. An icon in southern fly fishing, Charlie Bear was passionate about tying flies, and sharing the old patterns of Appalachia. “We would sit in his basement tying flies, with him teaching me all the ways of tying, and the specific yarn colors that were used in the old patterns,” says Messer. “At the time, I never would have considered fly fishing and tying a career. If you had told me 10 years ago I would make a living with tying flies and fly fishing I would have laughed. It's quite astounding that I can do what I love and earn a living doing so."

“Charlie Bear taught me a lot about fly tying and the old Appalachian fly patterns,” noted Messer. “He was very adamant in teaching me all about the yarn colors and the ways the old fly patterns were tied. The old Appalachian patterns he taught me included the Charlie Whopper, Nantahala Special, the Orange Forked Tail, Grey Hackle, and the Grey Peacock.” Messer says that he, "believes the most significant older patterns are the Charlie Whopper, designed by Charlie Bear Messer, the Adam Variant, the Yellow Palmer, the Coffee Stone Nymph, and the Secret Weapon Nymph, as one can take any of these dry flies or nymphs out at any time of the year and catch any species of trout." To this, he adds, "using terrestrial patterns such as the Jack Cabe Hopper, ants, and beetles are significant for summertime trout fishing." As for the newer patterns to emerge, Messer notes the Squirmy Wormies, Mop Flies, and the European and Czech's patterns of flies have the most significance. 136 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 137

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Asked if he was surprised how much interest there is today in Messer family fishing and fly tying, and Messer responded, “No, not really. I feel that families can be known for their skill sets, and it just happens to be the Messer family is known for fly tying and fishing. I feel motivated to keeping not only the southern heritage, but the old Appalachian fly patterns alive as well. “Charlie Bear would be ecstatic, and overwhelmed at the current high interest in fly fishing in his backyard,” says Messer. “He had a passion for keeping the southern heritage alive in the fly fishing traditions. He made shadow boxes out of reclaimed wood from old cabins to showcase the old trout patterns. I had the honor of helping him tie those, and learning the ropes, so to speak. We actually entered one of the boxes into the Haywood County Fair many years ago, and we did receive 3rd place ribbons for that. He made 500 shadow boxes, gave some away, but most were sold to individuals who were interested, even at that time, in the old fly patterns.” “As a fly tier I prefer to keep the traditions of Appalachia alive with the old fly patterns taught to me by Charlie Bear Messer,” says Messer. “I feel it is my duty to share my knowledge and the heritage of fly fishing to keep those traditions alive. I feel as though the torch was passed to me, and it is my obligation to share this knowledge with future generations to keep the Southern Fly Tying and fishing heritage alive and well." During the summer Messer leads a fly tying club for teens at Blackrock Outdoors in Sylva, North Carolina. He believes that being a fly tier is continuing to tie the old patterns, teaching others how to tie those patterns, and how to fish using those flies. Last summer he was the featured fly tier on “Anglers and Appetites” where he demonstrated tying an Adam Variant. When not tying or minding the shop, Messer is a fly fishing guide who takes anglers to the smaller creeks and rivers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to catch some of the native rainbows, browns, and brook trout. “We are very fortunate where we live to have the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail right here in our back yard,” says Messer. “Blackrock Outdoors is a fly shop that you can literally walk from to great trout fishing. Blackrock Outdoors is committed to southern trout fishing and keeping alive the traditions of southern fly fishing's heritage. The goal and purpose of putting the fly shop in Blackrock Outdoors was to be able to provide a first class fly shop and guide service, for not only the people of Jackson County, but also for the people who visit Jackson County to fish.” l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 139

close look - north carolina Blackrock Outdoors not only carries the Orvis brand, but they also feature locally tied flies as well as handmade bamboo, graphite, and fiberglass fly rods made by Jim Mills' Ravens Fork Fly Rods. The goal is for Blackrock Outdoors fly shop to be a place where fishermen come and hang out, drink a cup of coffee, share stories, and tie flies. During the summer months, as mentioned previously, they offer a free fly tying club for youth who want to learn to tie their own flies to pass along the traditions and heritage of our ancestors. This includes traditional fly patterns such as those created by long gone tiers such as Fred Hall, Frank Coffey and Charlie Bear Messer.

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Nantahala River Lodge, a unique riverfront, pet friendly cabin near Bryson City.

World Class trout fishing just a few steps from your front door! Contact: Annette@ 912-596-4360 Mickey@ 800-470-4718 or 912-596-5259

The Valley at Suches in North Georgia

Trophy Trout Fly Fishing The Valley at Suches is a highly For more information, go to acclaimed private trout fly fishing venue located in the Toccoa River Valley in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

Is Swain County NC a Fisherman’s Paradis 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 Smoky Mo National Pa

Little Tennessee, the Eagle Chambers Nolan Twentymile Hazel Creek Forney Creek Creek Creek Creek Tuckasegee and the Creek Fontana Dam Fontana Nantahala, one of Fontana Cheoah Lake Lake Lake Lewellyn Trout Unlimited’s top Fontana B Branch Fontana 129 Lake Boat Village Alarka 100 rivers. And now, a 2.2 Cable Ramp Marina Boat Dock Cove 28N Boat mile section of the Tuck Ramp Almond Lemmons Boat Park Branch through Bryson City has Boat Ramp Stecoah 143 been designated delayed 19 Wesser 74 Needmore 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

Public Access

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Public Access


Upper Raven Fork

ountains ark

Deep Creek

Indian Creek

Raven Fork Trophy Section

Lakeview Drive

Old 288 Boat Ramp

Tuckasegee River

k Alarka Creek Alarka Road

28S Little Tennessee River

Bryson City

Whittier Whittier Boat Ramp

EBCI Hatchery Big Cove Road


441 Tuckasegee River

Public Access

Conleys Creek

Heintooga Ridge Road

Blue Ridge Parkway Cherokee Indian Cherokee Reservation


Public Access

Raven Fork

Oconaluftee River

nd k


Straight Fork


Clingmans Dome

You be the Judge.

Straight Fork Road

Bradley Chasteen Kephart Fork Creek Prong

74 Conleys Creek Road



Visit 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.

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North Carolina T

he Western North Carolina highland holds more than a few secrets, but none that is better or less touted than Historic Tapoco Lodge in Robbinsville. It’s a five-star getaway surrounded by equally impressive trout fishing. Your chances of running across this little throw-back-in-time are about as good as winning at lotto. You have to know about it to find it, which is what we did last fall, much to our pleasure. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 145

close look - north carolina Tapoco Lodge was built in 1930 by the Aluminum Company of America as part of hydroelectric efforts in Graham and Swain counties. While it sounds a little Cherokee, the name Tapoco comes from the first two letters of the Tallassee Power Company which began construction of the Cheoah Dam in 1916. Early on the lodge was used primarily for company functions. In 1995 it re-opened, then 2010 the property changed hands again. The new owners made significant upgrades while maintaining the historical integrity of the lodge, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2014 a group of investors led by Robin Turner from Gatlinburg and Adrian Bailey from Knoxville acquired the property. The Lodge continues to undergo restoration and modernization, while it and its extensive grounds are open to the public to explore and enjoy.

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The Historic Tapoco Lodge has an incredible storied past both for getaway values and its location in the heart of Carolina trout country. Much of structures and tradition at Tapoco has been maintained through its recent renovations. The property was home to the town of Tapoco, founded in 1913, to provide housing for the hundreds of workers constructing the hydroelectric dams. The Tapoco Tin Movie House has been restored to its glory days when it was also used as a community center, dance hall, and for going away parties for the many local soldiers during World War II. Nestled in the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Nantahala National Forest, the Historic Tapoco Lodge encompasses 120 acres running along the Cheoah River. It is a tributary of the Little Tennessee River which is impounded at their confluence to form one of the Finger Lakes; Cheoah. Located in Graham County, it is 20 miles in length. It is impounded to create Lake Santeetlah and flows towards the Tennessee border with a terminus at the Little Tennessee between the Cheoah Dam and Lake Calderwood. Located near the remote western edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best, and most accessible nearby fly fishing for trout is Snowbird Creek. A local favorite, its basin is the nearby Snowbird and Unicoi mountain ranges. For centuries the area was hunted by the Cherokee, and due to its steep and rugged terrain, it was one of the last areas in Western North Carolina to be settled by European pioneers. Snowbird Creek offers excellent fishing opportunities for brook, rainbow and brown trout. Prime runs at Snowbird Creek are accessible only by hiking along Big Snowbird Trail or wading upstream. Big Snowbird Trail crosses the stream numerous times without the aid of bridges or foot logs. Time restrictions meant we only had time for an afternoon on the lower reaches of Snowbird Creek. The water was a little high, but we still caught several brightly colored rainbow trout. We will be back‌ l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 149

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Historic Tapoco Lodge is minutes from The Tail of the Dragon, an 11mile mountain road famous for its staggering 318 curves. In old days it was just a dog leg road, but has so been remained since its discovery by Mr. Harley Davison. The lodge has nine elegantly furnished rooms/suites in the main lodge and 37 cabin rooms, the Historic Tapoco Lodge features two onsite restaurants. We opted for a cabin, which was very tastefully furnished, and immaculate. On site is the SlickRock Riverside Grille is the perfect place to gather a group of friends for game day parties or even a more formal reception. The Grill includes a bar and wood stone fired pizza oven. For a romantic, fivecourse dinner, Jasper’s Restaurant is the place sure to please even the most discriminating diner. During our visit we dined a couple of time and found the food to be very, very good. SlickRock Riverside Grille has locally brewed beer you can enjoy while sitting and overlooking the Cheoah River. The Historic Tapoco Lodge is truly a piece of history amidst some of the best fly fishing for trout in the eastern U.S. For more info contact The Historic Tapoco Lodge; 14981 Tapoco Road, Robbinsville, North Carolina 28771; email; phone 828.498.2800, web site www. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 151

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Wilson Creek

-on the Fly Steve Maslar

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rom the heavily trafficked gorge, to the central Delayed Harvest section, to the pristine and remote headwaters, North Carolina's Wilson Creek provides anglers with three distinct looks at trout fishing. Throw in beautiful scenery, clear water, and the opportunity for a large trout, and what more could you want? Wilson Creek, designated a Wild and Scenic River, is also known for its prolific flooding. This is probably one of the reasons that serious settlement never occurred here. Concrete remnants of old structures remain as reminders of what may have been; folding lawn chairs suspended high in tree branches stand out as reminders of what may be. Always be aware of recent and impending storms and water levels before your trip the Wilson Creek area. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 155

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Visitors to the area have three main directions of access. From the lower end, anglers can approach from the west through the Morganton area or from the east through the Lenoir area. Alternatively, fishermen can come from the north to access the area from a small road off the Blue Ridge Parkway. However, Wilson Creek, merely a trickle where it actually crosses the Parkway, is not fish-able until further downstream.

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Brown Mountain Beach Road provides access to the lower portion of Wilson Creek, which passes through a scenic gorge along the way. The gorge, characterized by fantastic pooling, huge boulders, and a wide streambed, also draws large numbers of sun-bathers, tubers, swimmers, kayakers, etc. during the warmer months. The challenge here, is that the stream flows well below the elevation of the road, meaning you may have to descend a steep bank to access the creek. This rugged section of the creek is Hatchery Supported, as demonstrated by the green and white signs. The Hatchery Supported section flows approximately 6.1 miles from Phillips Branch to Brown Mountain Beach dam. Approximately 2 of those miles are in the gorge. Stop into the visitor center in this area if you want some additional information on the Wilson Creek area. Keep in mind that there are a number of posted sections of stream throughout the lower to middle portions, so be respectful of private property. As you progress upstream of the gorge, the road's elevation matches the stream more closely. The stream in this area offers descent runs and pooling. Delayed Harvest rules, designated by black and white signs, apply from just below Lost Cove Creek downstream approximately 3.3 miles to Phillips Branch. The heavily stocked Delayed Harvest section is probably the most popular section of the creek for fishing, and provides great, but often crowded, fishing during the Delayed Harvest period. The Delayed Harvest portion of Wilson Creek receives over 25,000 trout during this time. The road provides numerous access points and pullovers, without the steep descent to the stream required in the gorge section. Further upstream, the road leaves the creek for the last time, ascending a ridge and eventually reaching the Blue Ridge Parkway. A couple of trails descend to the upper reaches of the creek along the way. Be sure to get a trail map of the Wilson Creek area before heading out on these trails. I learned that myself the hard way, as there are numerous trails that can lead you to nowhere. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 157

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Upper Wilson Creek provides solitude, scenery, and great fishing for wild trout for those willing to make the trek down one of the trails. The trail along the creek is poorly marked in some areas, and barely distinguishable. However, it is not difficult to find your way alongside the creek until you find the trail again. Upper Wilson Creek is designated as Catch and Release/Artificial Lures Only. Primarily inhabited by brown trout, the upper reaches also contain a few rainbow trout. You may even encounter some brook trout in the uppermost reaches. Most of the browns and rainbows run in the 8-10 inch range, but a few large brown trout in the 16-18 inch lurk in these pools. Upper Wilson Creek has a nice mixture of pools and riffles, and offers decent casting room, though the stream is noticeably smaller than the Delayed Harvest section. Though I've never seen one of the industrious rodents on the stream, beavers are very active in the area and often impound large pools with their construction projects. Also, I've even fished the area just after a controlled burn, with some of the logs and stumps still smoldering. The fish didn't seem to mind, though. Notable tributaries accessible from trails in the area or by fishing up the creeks include North and South Harper Creeks (designated Wild) and Lost Cove Creek (designated Catch and Release/Flies Only). Each of these small creeks offer fine small stream fishing in their own right. Brown trout seem to predominate in these streams as well. A 5 weight fly rod with floating line would allow you to fish effectively anywhere on Wilson Creek. However, you may prefer to use a 4 weight rod if you are fishing dry flies on the upper portion, or a 6 weight if you are fishing heavy nymphs or streamers in the many deep pools throughout Wilson Creek. You will want to use a 9 ft 5X or 6X leader for dry fly fishing, a 7-1/2 ft 3X or 4X leader for nymph fishing, or a 7-1/2 ft 1X or 2X leader for streamer fishing Wilson Creek.

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Late winter and early spring fly action starts with blue winged olive duns and nymphs (sizes 16 – 20), blue quill duns and nymphs (size 18) quill gordon duns and nymphs (sizes 12 - 14), and little black caddis adults and pupae (size 18). Mid spring sees hatches of hendrickson duns and nymphs (sizes 12-14), march brown duns (sizes 10 -12), and little yellow stonefly adults and nymphs. In late spring, your fly box should include sulfer duns and nymphs (sizes 1618), golden stonefly adults and nymphs (sizes 10-12), and green drake duns and nymphs. Summer and fall's best patterns are terrestrials, including black ants (size 16), inchworms (sizes 10-14), grasshoppers (sizes 6-10), and beetles. Midges and streamers work well through much of the year. In fact, your best bet at catching one of Wilson Creek's large brown trout may be by taking advantage of their cannibalistic instincts using a streamer that imitates a small brown trout. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 161

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Jackson County, TROUT CAPITAL of North Carolina Jackson County moved one step closer to becoming the N.C. Trout Capital on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 in Raleigh, as members of the state legislature recognized the county as the state’s Premier Trout Fishing Destination.

Alex Bell


n a press release from the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, N.C. Senator Jim Davis and N.C. House Representative Joe Sam Queen both participated and spoke before the legislature in support of bestowing this honor upon Jackson County. Also in attendance in support of the hearing in Raleigh were Julie Spiro, Executive Director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce; Brian McMahan, Chairman of the Jackson County Commissioners; Jackson County fly fishing guide and co-founder of the WNC Fly Fishing Trail Alex Bell; Jackson County fly fishing guide Shannon Messer; and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Assistant Director Kelly Donaldson. The process started about a year ago when Julie Spiro, Executive Director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and Brian McMahan, Chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners started discussing the possibility. The two kept the project close to the vest while collecting data and fleshing out what the Trout Capitol designation would look like. A few of the local guide services were included in the discussions to provide first hand knowledge and thoughts on what the designation would do to draw more fishers to Jackson County.

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Jackson County is no stranger to being proactive when it comes to promoting fishing, and fly fishing specifically to visiting tourists from around the nation. The Western NC Fly Fishing Trail was the first fly fishing trail in the United States. It was developed to help visitors find 15 of the best spots for fly fishing. A website, www., provides more detailed information as well as a photo page and accommodations listings. The map is printed on water resistant paper and to date over 175,000 maps have been given out.

Some of the supporting data and documentation includes over 4,600 miles of waterways within the boarders of Jackson County. The Tuckasegee River flows north over 40 miles from the Southern end of the county to the Northern end. The Tuckasegee is a tailrace river, meaning its flow is dam controlled. Duke Energy generates power from the dams and posts generation schedules regularly. Over the last few years Duke Energy has put in numerous river and lake boat ramps/access areas. Duke representatives now advertise the Tuckasegee River as the most assessable river in the Southeast. Of course, the waterways alone would not qualify as the trout capital. NC Wildlife Commission releases more than 92,000 trout in Jackson County annually. The most trout stocked in any county in North Carolina. In addition, Jackson County is blessed with some every pretty Native Appalachian Brook Trout waters with elevations over 3,000 feet. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 165

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The fact three of the thirteen towns, almost 25%, designated, as Mountain Heritage Trout City’s in the state are located in Jackson County is another heavily weighted factor. The towns in Jackson County are Sylva, Webster, and Dillsboro. Mountain Heritage fishing license are a fantastic way to get people to give fishing a try. The cost for a three day license, in-state or out-of-state is only $5.00. The license has to be purchased on line, www., or by phone, 800.662.7137, and is only good for the specified stretch of water.

The process will continue from here, Jackson County Commission Chair Brian McMahan said, “We are very excited that Jackson County has support among the members of the N.C. General Assembly in proclaiming Jackson County as the Premier Trout Fishing Destination in the state. “We will continue to campaign on behalf of the official Trout Capital designation that may come early in the 2017 long session of the N.C. General Assembly, with the filing of the bill,” McMahan added.

Rep. Joe Sam Queen, who presented the Member Statement on the House floor June 1 said, “It’s part of our heritage and it’s key to our economy. I’m all for supporting it.” The trout Capital designation would not just affect outfitters, guides, and accommodations. Representative Queen added, “There are crafts, there is clothing, hats, creels, the making of the flies, there is a good fly fishing club at WCU, it’s just endless.”

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As it stands now, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners has unanimously voted to ask the NC General Assembly to proclaim Jackson County as the Trout Capital of North Carolina. The state legislature supports Jackson County as the Premier trout fishing county in the state. The final step of the process will be during the long session of the general assembly when the proclamation to make Jackson County the Trout Capital will be introduced and voted on as a bill. The Chamber of Commerce is proceeding with plans and has established a Facebook Page as well as a website: with additional information, including directories for guides, dining, accommodations, etc.… For this designation, an appropriate saying would be, “a rising tide floats all boats.” Without doubt this will increase interest in fly fishing in Jackson County, which will put more heads in beds for our accommodations, more people at the local craft breweries, restaurants, and retail stores. It will extend our traditional tourist season and open new markets. A huge thank you to Ms. Julie Spiro, Executive Director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce for her tireless efforts to communicate to the rest of the world the amazing fly fishery that exists in Jackson County, North Carolina. HBT!

Alex Bell owns AB’s Fly Fishing Guide Service and is co-creator of the Western NC Fly Fishing Trail. 828.226.3833 l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 167

North Carolina’s Newest Fly Shop! Stonefly to to helping others withwith the the sport of flyof fly StoneflyOutfitters Outfittersisiscommitted committed helping others sport fishing. From guidance on on equipment to planned trekstreks to secluded fishing. From guidance equipment to planned to secluded locations, foraaspecial special fishing fishing adventure. locations, we’re were the the place placeyou youcan canturn turntofor adventure.

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Stone Fly Outfitters is a family owned and operated business.

featured fly tyer

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Brian Hopson


here do you live, and where did you grow up? I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina in the small town of Mars Hill. I grew up very close to where I live now in the Township of Green Mountain. Did you grow up fishing for trout? I did grow up fishing for trout. When I was in grade school, a friend Daniel and I would walk to a small stream close to our house and fish it for miles. This was before my fly fishing days and we mostly used spinners back then. If so, who were your

mentors and what are some of the waters where you cut your teeth? My mentors were my dad, my family and my friends. The waters I fished the most back when I was growing up were the Toe River for smallmouth bass and local stocked trout streams. When I first started fly fishing, I fished a small wild trout stream close to my house and it never disappointed. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 171

featured fly tyer

Have you always fly fished? I have not always fly fished. I started fly fishing when I was in high school, so I have been fly fishing for 15 – 20 years. Once I really got started‌.I never looked back. How were you introduced to fly fishing? I was introduced to fly fishing through family and friends. When I first saw them doing it, I thought it was the craziest looking thing and could not figure out for the life of me how a fish could eat something zipping through the air. I learned very swiftly that the fly spent more time in the water than what I had originally thought. After getting out-fished by someone fly fishing and me using conventional gear, I knew I had to start fly fishing as well. When did you first develop an interest in tying flies? I first developed an interest in tying flies as soon as I started fly fishing. I remember before I had a vice and any materials, I would hold a hook in some hemostats and use sewing thread and whatever else to make my fly. I got in trouble several times for pulling stuffing out of the couch cushions to make royal wulff wings with. I do not remember if I actually fished these flies but I am sure they would catch a fish. Once I finally did get my vise, I wanted to tie everything and learn every technique out there. Back then there was no YouTube or any other social media to learn from. I learned how to spin deer hair by watching a VHS take of someone tying a muddler minnow. Deer hair has since became one of my favorite fly tying materials to work with. Are you self-taught or did you have fly tying mentors? I am both self-taught and I had mentors. I had a very close friend that taught me most of the basic techniques and about all the different types of materials. I was fortunate enough in high school to have a friend/mentor Norb McKinney , who was a teacher there, that I could show my work to for tips and improvements. We also started a fly tying club that helped me learn things about tying and about fly anatomy that greatly assisted with my fly tying skills.

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As a guide. How do you feel that being an experienced, knowledgeable tier gives you an edge with your clients? Personally, I have never did any guiding, however, my knowledge that would help a client have the edge helps give me the edge when I fly fish. Being a tier and having the knowledge behind it, helps keep me equipped with a large arsenal of flies as well as identify what the fish are feeding on. Have you won any fly tying awards or competitions? I have not won any awards or competitions. These could possibly be due to the fact that I have never had the opportunity to participate in any. I would love to be able to enter these sorts of things and just see how well I can do. When you first began tying trout flies, what are some of the patterns you tied most often then, and why did you tie these patterns? When I first began tying trout flies the number one fly that I tied was the elk hair caddis. I absolutely loved tying those things, and still do. I had several reasons for tying them. One reason being that they were really easy to tie and were great practice for the new fly tier. Another reason, and probably the most obvious, they always caught me fish. In fact, the very first trout I ever caught on a fly I tied was on a caddisfly. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 173

featured fly tyer

When it comes to tying materials, do you regard yourself as a self-sufficient tier who gathers many of the materials used in your tying efforts, or do you rely mostly on commercially available materials? When it comes to materials, I am mostly self-sufficient with some materials but do rely on commercially available materials as well. When it comes to hackles and synthetics, it’s almost impossible to self-sufficient and produce decent looking trout flies. So in those areas, I stick to commercially available material. What I am very self-sufficient in is deer hair. I get locally killed deer from area hunters, tan the hides out, bleach them, and then dye them whatever colors I want for spinning up deer hair flies. I do not know anyone else personally that does this so I am very proud to be able to make my flies with self-made materials. I also make a lot of my own natural fur dubbing and dubbing brushes. Do you tie commercially? I currently do not consider myself as a commercial tier. Right now I only tie for the local fly show and anyone that contacts me wanting flies. I would love to spend more time tying and get into the commercial market. I am in the process of starting a web page that will allow people to purchase my flies and hopefully open up a broader audience for me. Do you teach others how to tie flies? I do teach others to tie flies and I love when I have the opportunity to do this. I often get asked to teach already efficient fly tiers how to spin and stack deer hair.

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When fishing the local streams of the western North Carolina what five flies do you consider essential to carry? When fishing the local streams in Western North Carolina I always take several boxes full of flies with me when I really only need a few flies. The five flies that I always end up using on our wild trout streams are a brightly dubbed elk hair caddis, parachute adams, royal wulff, hares ear nymph, and the pheasant tail. I also have one of my own fly patterns that I do really well on. What are some of the older, traditional patterns you like to fish and tie? The older, traditional patterns I like to fish and tie are Adams and Wulffs. What are some examples of newer patterns you have come to rely on a lot in recent years? New patterns I have come to rely on are actually some flies I have created. I have developed a fly very similar to a woolly bugger that is made from squirrel and krystal flash that sinks like a rock. This fly has produced me some of my largest trout and even some really nice bass. What tying materials are the most difficult for you to obtain? The most difficult materials for me to obtain are hooks and hackles. I will only use certain brands of hooks and hackles and sometimes they can be very difficult to acquire. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 175

featured fly tyer

What are some of the newer tying materials that you really like? Some newer materials that I really like tying with are EP Fibers. They make great looking flies. Are you available to teach fly tying classes or speak to groups? I am most certainly available to teach classes and speak to groups. Like being in this magazine, both would be a great honor to me. Are you available as a custom tier? I am available as a custom tier. In fact, almost all the flies I do sale are custom and tied to the customers specifications. I do fresh and saltwater flies in addition to Trout and Bass.

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What advice to you have to would-be fly tiers? Practice, practice, practice. This is one case where practice does make perfect. Another thing would be to watch others. Whether it be in person or on a video, everyone has a different way of doing the same thing and something you are struggling with may be easier for you to do when shown another way. I am always learning new, more efficient, ways to tie.

What would you like to share about your website or books? Right now my website is still in the works. I hope to have it completed soon and have a whole spectrum of flies for the customer to buy. The link to my website is www. . It is not a shop to buy fly tying materials and I never see it being, just a site to buy my flies. I am also available via email at swiftwaterflyshop@ or by calling Stonefly Outfitters in Burnsville, NC. Flies available at Stonefly Outfitters in Burnsville, NC l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 177

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Greenbrier: T

peaceful S

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The Smoky’s



ne of the bigger challenges of fly fishing for trout on the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is, “how the heck to you get to a stream without having your brains beat by the bumper-tobumper traffic in Gatlinburg?” It’s tough to enjoy fishing when you are expiated by vehicle exhaust fumes. The oft times overlooked alternative is the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon, or as the locals refer to it, Greenbrier. Greenbrier is one of the larger streamsheds in the national park, and until relative recent times was pretty much the semi-private haunt of the mono-nymphing locals. Despite publicity telling about its pristine fly fishing for trout, Greenbrier remains a true gem in the rough. It is one of those places where you can catch rainbow trout until you puke, or if you have the stamina, hike to the headwaters where speckle trout are as thick as thieves. It’s pretty remarkable that Greenbrier has not been gated off by the preservation crazy National Park Service. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 181

The Greenbrier Creek watershed is located in the northwest section of the Park upstream from Emert's Cove. Mt. LeConte, one of the highest peaks in the eastern United States, forms the boundary of the watershed to the south, with Mt. Guyot to the east. The primary tributaries are Porters Creek, Ramsey Prong, Buck Fork, Eagle Rock Prong, and Chapman Prong. Prior to becoming part of a national park, Greenbrier Cove was a sparsely populated, primitive area. The terrain displays an ancient face. The National Park Service chose not to develop this area, slowly phasing out camping and auto access. The Greenbrier is a rough-and-tumble cascading creek, rushing over thousands of huge boulders, forming countless trout-holding pools. Getting to these trout requires a bit of work, due to the extreme ruggedness of the terrain. But a day of fishing here is a sure-fire cure for insomnia. 182 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l

Greenbrier Creek sports all three species of trout. Rainbows are the most abundant. Brown trout have established a foothold in the lower reaches. Brook trout flourish in its headwater streams. Greenbrier has a good population of stoneflies, so stonefly imitations (basically nymphs) are always trout-getters. Nice hatches of small gray mayflies take place in the last few weeks of April, making for pretty fair fly-fishing. five feet spill reminiscent of a water park slide ride. We never discussed the incident, other than to note that fishing was pretty uneventful that day. Greenbrier flows under TN 73, 6 miles east of Gatlinburg. Entrance to the Park is possible by turning onto the Greenbrier Road at the concrete bridge. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 183

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Porters Creek

Porters Creek is gentle and easier going than the main stream. It would be difficult to be disappointed by a fishless day on this sparkling rivulet. The streamside flora is most engrossing. Probably the most popular to fly fish of the feeder streams in this watershed, it is not only fairly easy fishing, but getting around on it is not has hazardous as grey back jumping other rivulets here. Porters Creek is primarily a rainbow trout stream, although there are still a few brook trout in the most remote headwater areas. The mouth of the stream is located 3.2 miles upstream from the Park boundary. Porters Creek flows off the steep slopes of Mt. LeConte. Its principal tributaries are False Gap Prong, Long Branch, and Cannon Creek. False Gap Prong provides perhaps the best fishing of the three. The Porters Creek Trail, which starts at the parking area, follows alongside the stream to its headwaters. Fishable tributaries along Porters Creek include Boulevard Creek (1.4 miles), Cannon Creek (1.5 miles), Long Branch (2.4 miles), False Gap Creek (2.75 miles), Kalanu Prong (1.5 miles), Lowes Creek (1.5 miles) and Shultz Prong (1.2 miles)

Ramsey Prong

The headwaters of this little stream begin at an elevation of around 6,200 feet. It is a nice little brook trout stream. The only drawback is the occasionally crowded trail conditions. Fishing above the cascades to the Drinkwater Pool is better now than it was two decades ago, but upstream from rip rap rapids above the pool remains poor and not worth the effort. According to records dating back almost a century now, inherent acrid conditions from leeching iron pyrite have always been a key limiting factor in trout population found in the headwaters. The Ramsey Cascades Trail provides access up to the cascades (2.5 miles). There are no maintained trails upstream from that point. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 185

Buck Fork

Buck Fork is a brook trout stream. Eight of the stream’s prongs begin at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet. Fishing all day up this stream was like spending a day in Maine or along the highlands of the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. Towering fir and spruce shade the sun’s rays, as the crystal-clear creek tumbles over moss-encrusted boulders into foaming pools. The mouth of Buck Fork is located .7 miles from the terminus of the Ramsey Prong Road Trail.

Eagle Rock Creek

Eagle Rock Creek is a good brook trout stream. Nine feeder streams begin at an elevation of more than 4,500 feet. Eagle Rock Creek flows into the main stream from the right 1 mile upstream from the terminus of the Ramsey Road Trail. There are no access trails.

Chapman Prong

The confluence of Chapman Prong and Lost Creek forms the starting point of the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River. Chapman Prong offers fairly good fishing for speckle trout. Streams such as this are at their best on rainy days during the hot summer months. A shower starts trout feeding. Ant patterns are lethal during such times. Chapman Prong is in one of the more remote sections of the Smokies. The stream’s mouth is located 1.6 miles upstream from the terminus of the Ramsey Road Trail.

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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

102 Blvd 3392Harding Cotter Road Mobile: 870.321.2792. 870-706-0820

Cotter, Arkansas

A Mile Long Man-M T

he Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam in south-central Kentucky is already recognized as one of the top 50 tailwaters in the U.S. due to the trophy-sized browns, rainbows and brookies pulled from its waters. But anglers now have the opportunity to double their fun by fishing the new man-made Hatchery Creek. Yes, you read that right. Kentucky has a new creek. How did that happen? Following the repair of the leaking dam that impounds Lake Cumberland, $1.95 million of wetland and stream mitigation money was released to create new wetlands and a western-style trout stream that flows for over a mile before reaching the river below the Wolf Creek Dam National Fish Hatchery. The design and construction of this stream was an unparalleled accomplishment for Kentucky and possibly the U.S. Untold thousands of hours went into planning the new creek, including collaborations between the Corps of Engineers, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, and a nationally recognized stream design firm. Fish biologists, ecologists, and engineers spent over a year refining the details. After a swath of land strewn with scrubby trees, exotic plants, and slabs of limestone was cleared, the man-made creek now flows through woodlands, wetlands, and open areas. In several places it splits into multiple channels with varying depths of one to six feet. Within the stream fish find boulders, logs, root wads, riffles, pools, eddies, shoals, long stretches of river gravel, and shallow pond areas with abundant cover for fish to hide and forage. Lots of tree trunks were intentionally left along the banks for insect habitat, and hundreds of tree saplings have been planted along the stream banks to eventually provide additional shade.

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Made Trout Stream

Tom Schrodt and Valerie Askren l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 191

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The creek receives clean, cold, oxygenated water from the hatchery and a few stocked rainbows that escape from the old put-and-take Hatchery Creek. But the majority of fish in the stream are the big rainbow, brown and brook trout that follow their instinctive urge to come up from the river through a series of more than 20 ladder steps and are looking for a place to spawn over the gravel beds. The creek promises to produce the state's first wild rainbows and browns, and except for the few reproducing brook trout streams in Kentucky's eastern mountains, wild brookies. The stream was opened on April 29 for C&R fishing with artificials only and no closed season. The fishing can only be described as fabulous! Anglers tend to rely on nymphs and wooly buggers, although rises are frequently seen below the steps. Numerous rainbows and browns (some up to 23 inches) and brook trout (up to 16 inches) are being netted. Wading is permitted but with hiking trails along the full length of both sides of the stream and numerous access points, wading only scares off the game. Should the Cumberland tailwater be blown out from power generating water releases, this new creek should provide a fine alternative for a day of fishing. Parking is available near the hatchery visitor center. The Kendall Campground, with full accommodations, is just 1000 feet from the stream. As expected, anglers are required to have a license and trout permit to fish this man-made creek.! Authors of Fly Fishing Kentucky: Your Guide to Tackle, Techniques and the Best Trout Waters in the State l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 193




Some of the best fishing happens at night. And the best fishermen don’t go out without an LED-Lighted POWERCAP from Panther Vision.® POWERCAP offers the “ultimate hands-free flashlight”, with high and low beam directional lights for distance and up-close tasks. Easy on/off switch concealed under the brim and 50+ hours of battery life. Available in a variety of colors, fabrics, and styles. In addition, check out LIGHTSPECS® lighted reading glasses and Itzy Bitzy Wallet Readers - perfect for tying flies or changing lures.


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lluvial is a great word if you farm. It reflects the gift of fertile soil from benevolent, wandering rivers, when they flood or change course. Skim a quart mason jar through such a river, and let it set overnight. What settles out will be around 50/50 water and soil. Growing up in northeast Arkansas, I understood that every river and lake was impacted by soil erosion and carried such soil as an integral part of its flow. In later years, I would read Michener’s description of the Platte River as “too thin to plow and too thick to drink” and completely understand what he meant.

“Too thin to plow and Trent Fleming

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d too thick to drink� l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 197

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I was probably 15 before I realized that you could fish in water that was clear. Actually see fish, the bottom structure, look for fish of a certain size, be discerning. On a short family vacation into the Ozark foothills, I was introduced to the White River and its tributaries, and to trout. At one of the many tourist concessions on the larger portion of the river, I learned how to catch trout. For a few years, throwing corn and worms on a spinner was entertaining enough, and many smaller rainbows were brought to hand, and eaten. I continued to fish in rivers and lakes closer to home, muddy affairs with bass, bream, and catfish widely available. The Mid-South is blessed with many venues for warm water fishing, ranging from deep holes in rivers where catfish are taken on “stink bait” to lakes that hold gamefish that respond to artificial lures. In shallow lakes like Wappanocca, a Federal wildlife refuge, I learned that a fly rod could be a powerful tool for catching bream and crappie at certain times of the year. My late grandfather’s fiberglas rod, no doubt acquired for that purpose, was my tool of choice. But the lure of trout on a fly was always there. After college, I began to explore the White River system. Each tailwater on the White held its own challenges, but, absent high water from generation, offered the patient wader a great opportunity. I quickly decided that places that held trout were places I wanted to be. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 199

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Apart from the scenery, I think it is the strategy of fly fishing that draws me in. Sight fishing, understanding the natural habitat and food sources of the trout, “reading” a stream to map out the likely lairs of the bigger fish, all contribute to a great satisfaction when a fish is actually brought to hand. Of course, the White River system is largely dependent on hydro-electric power, so wading can be limited by higher flows when either flooding or demand for electricity cause high water operations. The trade off is cool, oxygen rich water, full of nutrients and food sources for the trout. Catch and release is a foreign concept when fishing muddy water. Fish are kept to be weighed, reported, and often eaten. Fly fishing provides a level of satisfaction in bringing fish to the fly, that allows the fisherman to feel good about releasing that fish in a manner that will ensure its survival and growth, perhaps to be caught again. I don’t begrudge my friends who ply muddy water - many of them do quite well, and have a deep understanding of the waters that they fish, and how the seasons affect them. I’m happy for them. But for me, when I have time to fish, I want to be waistdeep in clear water, casting a fly that best matches what the trout are looking for. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 201


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 YOU KNOW HIM AS THE AUTHOR OF GUIDEBOOKS TO TROUT FISHING IN THE SOUTHEAST. NOW EXPERIENCE THE OTHER SIDE OF JIMMY JACOBS’ 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

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ead on if you seek a great combination of performance and price, as the new The Fenwick Eagle series of graphite fly rods will really make you feel like you are spreading your wings in an updraft. One of the earliest mass manufacturers of graphite fly rods, Fenwich’s Eagle series represents the company’s rich heritage as a premiere rod builder.

Some forty years ago Fenwick introduced the High Modulus Graphite fly fishing rod that changed our world forever. Fenwick HMG fly rods are designed My first graphite with a crisp, medium-fast fly rod was made action that generates by Fenwick. While it a high line speed to looks pretty beat up stabilize the line in the air (and is…), I would not for effortless, pin-point hesitate to take it to accurate casts up close a stream tomorrow. and at a distance. These It’s the old warrior you rods are ideal for popping can see in about all bugs, dry flies, nymphs of the photographs or streamers, just right for that illustrate my early panfish, trout, bass and Smoky Mountains fly any other fish a fly angler fishing guide books. To chooses to pursue. say Fenwick and I go The new Fenwick Eagle back a long time is a fly rod reinvents this fair statement. Because fishing classic with the of their technical lightest, most comfortable innovations, Fenwick Fenwick fly rod ever. was the dominant fly rod The Eagle is a time maker through the late tested and proven from '60s, '70s, and early '80s. the original graphite Fenwick made it mark rod company that is the selling a vast numbers company’s most popular of glass fly rods, many of priced graphite fly rod. which are still available If you are wondering if on the secondary market. we’re talking about a Used Fenwick fiberglass low cost, stripped down fly rods are usually “sallie,”, then you need to bargain priced. think again. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 205

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The Eagle’s a precision design fly fishing instrument that has many unexpected features such as hard chrome stripper and snake guides that are super lightweight, strong, corrosion resistant and durable. The Eagle’s 4-section blank has woven carbon detail. The reel seat is a woven carbon spacer with aluminum up lock function that connects gracefully to its high quality, lightweight B2 burled cork handle. B2 burled cork designs provides the feel of traditional cork, but is more chip resistant and durable. The Eagle comes with a with a cloth covered Fenwick travel tube and a five year limited warranty. Not so bad for a great rod that come in at under $99. Regardless of the price tag it carries, when it comes to fly rods the proof is always in the pudding as the old saying goes. The day it arrived I lined up my Fenwick Eagle (model EAFLY865WT-4) to see how it would fly. Despite its modest price tag, frankly my expectations were high, as I am that big a fan of Fenwick and its implied quality. The first thing which I really like was the Eagles feel in my hand. Additionally it was very light, and pleasantly well balanced. It was clear that it was not the first rodeo for the team that created the Eagle. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 207

The action of the rod is neither too fast or two slow. It is the quintessential midrange fly rod. Mine was designed for a 4 weight fly line. So strung, making 40-foot casts in a modest breeze was almost too easy. The rod has the backbone you would expect in a fly rod that carries a $300 to $400 price tag. Just to check its versatility, I changed reels on the rod, taking off the 4 weight line, and putting on a reel spooled with an 8 weight

The Fenwick Eagle line, as things like this are always good to know series is available in in an emergency. While four models. The Eagle casting took a little more model EAFLY865WT-4 effort, there was no real is a medium fast action, noticeable loss in terms 5-weight, 8-feet, 6-inches four piece fly rod that of performance. In fact, the same amount of effort weights a mere 3.88 needed to get a nice 40- ounces. The Eagle foot cast when using a 4 model EAFLY905WT-4 weight fly line, netted an is a medium fast action additional ten feet when 5-weight, 9-foot four piece fly rod that weighs casting the 8 weight fly line. Perhaps not kosher, 4.06 ounces. The Eagle but certainly good to know model EAFLY906WT-4 at times when a 4 weight is a medium fast action 6 weight, four piece fly lines seems a bit rod that weighs 4.27 underweight. ounces. The Eagle

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model EAFLY908WT-4 is a medium fast action 8 weight, four piece rod that weighs 4.55 ounces. All are $99 or less if you are a bargain hunter. For more info visit www. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 209

North Carolina Fly Fishing Museum Book Release


ur Fly Fishing Heritage: The Making of the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians captures the story and timeline of one man’s drive to build a museum showcasing the rich fly fishing history found in the Southern Appalachians. The book provides the story of the museum’s formation. Author Alan Baker traces fly fishing in the Southern Appalachians, and then explains the development of a unique museum that celebrates that age-old thread. He visits local tiers and rod builders in Bryson City, Marion, Brevard and Lenoir in North Carolina and other fly fishing strongholds in the Southeast to gather history straight from the story tellers.

Baker assembles biographic information, photos and personal memorabilia on each regional angler, fly tier, rod builder, and conservation leader or to create “Stream Blazer” exhibits within the museum. The book which is available on Amazon for $19.95. For more contact or

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608 Emmett Rd. Bristol, Tennessee 37620

The Wonderful Mr. Rapidan Fly Family by Harry W. Murray

The Mr. Rapidan family of flies began over 30 years ago when two gentlemen in my advanced fly fishing class at Lord Fairfax Community College came to me with a simple request. They asked me if I could teach them to tie a dry fly that would float very well in the choppy mountain streams, that would mimic the major aquatic insects which hatch during the first several months of the season and that would be easy for them to see on the stream. I thought this was a great idea so I started experimenting. To help the fly to float I choose straight moose body hair for the tail which is slightly hollow. Fine diameter poly dubbing was just coming on the market so I used this for the body. Mrs. Pat Barnes was a wonderful fly tier and had a great fly shop with her husband in West Yellowstone, Montana. Several years previously she had suggested that I use yellow calf tail wings to improve the visibility of my flies in highly shaded streams. This was the perfect choice for the wings of my new fly. I choose grizzly and brown for the hackle because this had proved itself on many great flies. At the time I was working with Art Flick in identifying the aquatic insect hatches in the Blue Ridge Mountains for the book I was writing, Tout Fishing in the Shenandoah National Park, at the request of the Park officials. Realizing that the Epeorus pleuralis (Quill Gordon) and the Stenonemia vicarium (March Brown) where the first two major hatches on our mountain streams I wanted a fly body color that would show the trout the body color of these two insects. At the time I had to blend my own poly dubbing to get the color I wanted, but later the Fly Rite Company put this on the market as Quill Gordon Fly Rite dubbing.

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Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry: The Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry in sizes 14 down to a 20 is the author’s favorite dry in the series because it catches trout all across the country in all situations. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 213

Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Caddis: The Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Caddis is a real trout-catcher and it is easy to see at dusk. .

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We tied this in my class and it became an instant success. The next year we tied the Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry Fly and I added both of these to my line of flies in my fly shop. Since the Eperous pleuralis mayfly emerges up through the stream with their wings out I felt it was important to add a Mr. Rapidan Emerger to the series. Fishing these with a rising motion like the Leisenring Lift is very effective. Naturally, when bead head nymphs became popular I added these to the line. All of these first four proved themselves well in sizes 12 to 16 on freestone streams. A very pleasant surprise came one snowy late September day on the Yellowstone River. The heavy overcast produced a great beatis mayfly hatch. I had tied some Mr. Rapidan Parachute dry flies in sizes 18 and 20 so I tried them. Both the browns and the rainbows took them readily and today these are standard for me in all of my beatis hatches. About 10 years ago my son came to me after a late summer guide trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains and exclaimed, "Dad, my clients did well with size 18 and 20 dry Black Ants but they had trouble seeing these on the stream. Let us tie up some Black Ants and use a yellow post parachute wing. Thus the Mr. Rapidan Ant was born and it is the top selling ant in my fly shop in sizes 14, 16, and 18. Chironomid midge hatches are frequently very heavy on many trout streams and these bring up some very large trout. When these occur on sections of the streams where there is a moderate current the trout will hold on specific feeding stations and take the naturals as the current delivers them. Many of these natural midges are quite small and it is necessary to use size 20 or size 22 flies to fool them. Naturally, these small patterns can be difficult for you to see so by adding a yellow post wing to our Mr. Rapidan Midge we have improved the fly visibility. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 215

M. Rapidan Ant: The Mr. Rapidan Dry Ant solves the problem for anglers who have trouble seeing a regular small Black Ant on the stream.

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Even more difficult to catch are those trout feeding on midges in sloughs and large back eddies where there is little or no current because these trout feed by cruising. Here the Mr. Rapidan Midge is invaluable because you can cast it out in the cruising path of the trout and watch it closely for the trout's strike. Many fine trout streams have wonderful caddisfly hatches and the trout feed very heavily upon them. Unfortunately many of these hatches occur very late in the evening when it is difficult to see our fly on the water. I felt this was a great situation in which to expand the Mr. Rapidan series. By experimenting with various ways to mimic the natural tent-like wing configuration and to produce the realistic light pattern on the stream I came up with the Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Dry Caddis. I now tie this in three different colors in sizes 14 and 16. The black, olive, and tan patterns meet all of my caddisfly needs and the yellow top-wings help me see them on the stream. The wonderful Hexagenia mayfly hatches on the smallmouth rivers prompted me to tie a Mr. Rapidan Dry Skater in size 8 to meet this need which it does exceptionally well. If you wonder how much the smallmouths' feed on this hatch you should have been with me the evening I counted 17 separate bass coming up to the naturals in one minute. I put on the Mr. Rapidan Skater and took one nice bass after another. Actually, on our smallmouth bass guided float trips the Mr. Rapidan Skater has become our number one dry fly. Little did I realize when those two gentlemen came to me in my college fly fishing class 30 years ago that their simple request would evolve into the many great flies we now have in the Mr. Rapidan series. However, I am glad they did. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 217

Mr. Rapidan Dry: This Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly was just the first of the now greatly expanded series and they are all very productive.

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Mr. Rapidan Standard Dry Fly Hook: Mustad 94840 in sizes 12, 14, and 16 Thread: 6/0 Tan Prewaxed Nylon Body: Quill Gordon Fly Rite Wing: Yellow calf tail Tail: Straight Moose Body Hair Hackle: Brown and Grizzly Dry Rooster Coat hook shank with thread and tie in about eight moose body hair fibers for the tail, which is equal to the length of the hook shank. Tie in a clump of calf tail for the wings after removing the short hair fibers. Split the wings to each side and apply a small drop of cement at the wings base. Wax the tying thread and apply the Fly Rite dubbing to the thread. Wind and taper the body neatly to one eighth of an inch behind the wing. Tie the grizzly and brown hackle feathers behind the wing with the dull side up. Wind each hackle feather forward separately placing the majority of the wraps behind the wings. Tie off the hackles in front of the wing, trim hackle off, whip finish and apply cement to the head. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 219




Air Strip Shirts W TM

ith all due respect to everyone else out there who makes technical fishing shirts, none rises to the top like ExOfficio’s Air Strip shirt in my not so humble opinion. Take a look at any picture of me at work or play—read, “Fishing”—and I am likely to have on an Air Strip shirt. In fact, it would be odd to find me with anything else on…

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gearhead A quick peek in the old closet showed 12 Air Strips—11 more than I have suits. And I have worn out, ripped, burnt or otherwise ruined several others over the years. I bought my first Air Strip roughly 20 years ago from Hunters Angling Supplies in New Boston, New Hampshire. I still have several that are in the 15-year-old range. While long a fan of the solid colors, one of those boring Yankee things, I recently started buying some plaid Air Strip shirts. Unlike solid colors which can wash out in pictures, especially light color ones, plaid shirts tend to photograph better, look better, and make me look younger— very important now that I have started getting mail from AARP, and am knocking on the door of Social Security… I have a few white Air Strips—the absolute best option for really hot weather, as well as blue, rose, tan, pale yellow

and a new designer color called “Feldspar”—kind of a cool medium olive/ green. Oddly, feldspar refers to a type of mineral that is more often tan than green. I have three so-called “Macro Plaid” and one “Micro Plaid” as well. The plaids have become my go to shirts for shooting pictures in support of writing assignments. White is my favorite for fishing Most so-called tech shirts I see would be better referred to as shop shirts--they look really cool while working around the fly shop. Others could be classified as fish bum formal wear –the closest thing to a dress shirt most of us own. But ExOfficio Air Strip’s are different— they actually work on the water; and they can be worn around the shop or out to the bar after a day on the water. Many of today’s technical fishing shirts are either too heavy or not vented enough for

warm weather. Others are prone to holding odors—a real problem when you wear the same shirt three days in a row while guiding. Some are made from materials that absorb water and take a long time to dry—like we are not going to get wet? Others wrinkle easily—and we look bad enough without any help. And some are prone to thread pulls—a real problem when wearing a lanyard full of tools or pushing through bushes to get to your favorite fishing hole… ExOfficio was founded in 1986. It was owned by Orvis from 2001 to 2003, but the company is now owned by Jarden Corp., a leading provider of niche consumer products. The Air Strip shirt first appeared on the market in 1994. It was the first ExOfficio shirt to provide UV protection. It was also the first ExOfficio shirt to utilize the threeposition sun collar. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 223

gearhead Air Strip shirts are sold by most major outdoor retailers and made in China. They offer sun protection— UPF 30+ for solid colors and UPF 40+ for plaid colors. They are wicking, quick-drying and lightweight—8oz. Air Strips have longsleeves with a tri-fold collar, mesh-lined vented sides, mesh-lined foldup vented back, cargo pockets—one with an inside zip pocket and one with a eye glass slot, rollup sleeves with tab and button to secure them in place, rod holder—like that found on a fly vest. Air Strips are available in solid, Macro Plaid and Micro Plaid colors. Colors change from one year to the next

like most other clothing. They come in SM to 3XL sizes, as well as a “Tall” version which is available in M, L, XL and 2XL. The material varies by type. Per their website, solid colors are made from 73% Nylon/27% Polyester, Micro Plaid colors from 44% Nylon/56% Polyester, and Macro Plaid colors from 60% Nylon/40% Polyester. Air Strip shirts are machine—or stream— washable. They should be tumble dried to help take out the wrinkles. They are, however, easily air-dried, but may not look quite as stylin’ when you are done.

Pros: Air Strip shirts are lightweight, quick-drying, durable, well designed, well

built, good looking and very wrinkle-resistant. They provide great protection from the sun—and skin cancer is nothing to mess with. Those with higher nylon content wear exceptionally well—I have had some for 15 years and countless outings, and they absorb less moisture, dry faster and remain a bit more wrinkle free than those with lower nylon content. 224 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l



At $90, Air Strips are a bit expensive--but you get what you pay for. Those with lower nylon content seem to wear a bit faster, absorb a bit more moisture, dry a little slower, and remain a bit wrinklier than those with higher nylon content. Some do not like the large cargo pockets—but I’d rather have them and not need them, than need them and not have them. l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 225

gearhead Air Strip Shirts Do’s and Don’ts

Nylon and polyester melt quite easily when exposed to flame or excessive heat, so those that smoke—anything--need to be very careful. I once knocked the head off a cigar trying to get something out of my pocket (a story for another day…) and rolled it down the inside front of my shirt. I basically destroyed the shirt—and burnt my chest--and in a juvenile hissy fit, made damn sure I ruined it by ripping the melted area wide open… • I dry my Air Strip shirts until they are damp and then throw them on a hanger, or over the back of a chair much to my wife’s displeasure, to finish drying them. This keeps the wrinkles down without subjecting the shirt to excessive heat—and in fact, actually removes wrinkles better than fully drying them.


There is no better fly fishing shirt than ExOfficio’s Air Strip— period, end of story… And I am apparently not the only one who feels that way. Consumer ratings are typically in the 4-out-of-5 range including 4.6 for ExOfficio, 4 for EMS, 4.5 for REI, 4.8 for Orvis, and 4.6 for Amazon. Even those who buy from the discounters, always a critical bunch, rate them high as evident by the 5 rating from Sierra Trading Post. And while I am reluctant to throw my name behind any product; like I did with R. L. Winston Rods, I would gladly join the ExOfficio “pro team” if the opportunity ever presented itself. And I really want Olive and Walnut Micro Plaid shirts to round off my wardrobe. Hint, hint, hint… BOB MALLARD has fly fished for over 35 years. He owned and operated Kennebec River Outfitters in Madison, Maine from 2001 to 2015. Bob is a blogger, writer and author. His writing has been featured in blogs, newspapers, ezines and magazines at the local, state, regional and national levels. He has appeared on radio and television. Look for his books 50 Best Places Fly Fishing the Northeast and 25 Best Towns Fly Fishing for Trout (Stonefly Press). Bob is also a fly designer for Catch Fly Fishing out of Billings, Montana; as well as the northeast sales rep for both Stonefly Press and Catch. In addition he is on the R. L. Winston Rod Co. Pro Staff. Bob can be reached at www.,, or 207-474-2500. 226 l June 2016 l Southern Trout l


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, Michigan to bustling Small Amadou Park City, Utah. Includes Asheville, North Carolina and Cotter, Arkansas. based products Signed first-edition copies are available from l Southern Trout l July 2016 l 227

Building a Monument to the Rich Heritage of Fly Fishing in the Southern Appalachians

“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.� – 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