Southern Trout Close Look: Georgia
Profile: Tycoon Rods Harry Murray: Going Deep for Trout IN ASSOCIATION WITH SOUTHERNTROUT.COM
Yep, it’s just that easy with Western North Carolina’s premier fly shop and guide service. Kevin Howell and his experienced staff have been fishing the surrounding 500 miles of prime trout waters so long, they know all the fish on first name basis. And they’ll be more than happy to make a few introductions.
PISGAH FOREST, NC
GUIDE SERVICES ONLINE & RETAIL STORE | LESSONS 2 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | |www.southerntrout.com
news Publisher’s Message
F ut u re Fish I’m under strict instructions not to share my politics, which have been described by some as the lunatic fringe element. Having said this, regardless of my or your politics, we have a shared interest in the future of trout in the South—or, for that matter, the future of trout planet wide. With seven billion or so of us populating Terra Madre, it is essential that some consideration be given to the proper management of trout if we want to have these fish in the future. In the South, we have two basic types of trout fisheries. One type has waters where trout fishing is largely dependent on annual stockings of these fish. The other type has waters where trout occur naturally or otherwise where they are able to maintain a fishable number through natural reproduction. In many instances, self-sustaining populations of trout are augmented by stocking adult or fingerling trout. The mixes and variations are virtually unlimited.
One thing is certain, though. Without hatchery reared trout released in southern waters, opportunities for catching trout in the South would be greatly reduced. No one knows for sure what might happen without stocking trout in the South. Yet, if you are a trout fisherman, I can assure you that things would be a lot different than they are today. Most trout stocked in the South are reared in state and federal fish hatcheries. Federal hatcheries are funded by a combination of revenue sources such Dingell-Johnson Act funds and money coughed up out of the “kindness” by people such as the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and a handful of other utility companies that own and operate dams in the South. State trout hatcheries also receive D-J money, but in most instances state trout management is funded largely by license revenue. Every southern state requires a special trout license, and for the most part, the money collected through their sale goes into cold water fishery management. The big ticket items on the budgets of cold water fisheries are trout hatcheries and their associated operating costs. Currently the “trout system” in the South is in full operational mode and is adequately funded. Whether or not the federal government will remain a mainstay in the operation of fish hatcheries in the future is unclear. Mitigation agreements may mandate the placement of trout in tailwater rivers, such as in the White in Arkansas and the Clinch in Tennessee.
However, the Achilles Heel of these agreements is the fact that trout are provided by federal hatcheries. It works only as long as there is an affordable source of trout to stock in these waters. Adequate trout hatchery facilities exists, but their upkeep and operation is not cheap. There are those who believe that odds are, if the feds were to bail out of the operation, somehow the states would absorb the costs of operating existing hatcheries. In most, if not all, southern states, this would probably mean that trout licenses would increase significantly, and the number of trout stocked in many waters would drop significantly. Every southern state has its own set of budget/revenue headaches. The governors of Tennessee and North Carolina have demonstrated a willingness to loot state wildlife/ fishery management coffers to fund education and healthcare. Never mind that money collected license supported game departments is strictly earmarked for their exclusive use. When times are tough, the unthinkable happens. I can assure you that every game department in the South would rather suck on shards of broken glass than propose a trout fishing license increase at their state house. At the risk of sounding like Chicken Little screaming the “sky is falling,” let me first state that for now, everything in the world of trout in the South is good. However, what the future may or may not
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news hold is anyone’s guess. My guess is that if the feds fold in their current job to maintain national fish hatcheries, trout fishing will cost anglers a bit more, and there will be fewer trout released in streams and lakes. Even if trout fishing licenses doubled in cost, for the most part, they would still be a bargain. Most of us would carp about it a bit, and then put our money on the counter. Reduced trout numbers are another matter, and certainly put more on the table in terms of controversy and options. For almost a century, many of the stream we call “trout streams” in the South have been maintained by monthly and weekly stocking of trout. Tens of thousands of eightto twelve-inch rainbows are stocked in streams where most of them are caught and eaten within a week. A certain percentage of southern trout fishermen become more “catch and release” oriented than “kill and grill.” “Put-and-take” streams are popular, especially among locals who regard stocking trout by their state as a sort of obligatory entitlement. Such programs are popular, and frankly, for a number of southern trout fishermen, it is all they know about the sport.
While I no longer fish such waters very often, I did so at one time, as I am sure many reading this did. About the only time I keep trout to eat these days is when I am camping out, not that keeping a limited of freshly stocked trout is some sort of sin. The problem we may soon face is how to maintain the enormous array of trout fishing waters we have in the South without breaking the bank in the process. Generally speaking, I like “catch-andrelease” waters, but I know a lot of people relish eating trout, so the expansion of such regulated waters is largely unlikely. I also like size limits that protect small trout and large brood size trout, but this has its limits, working well on some waters and being useless on other waters. The compromise I have seen to date is the so-called “delayed harvest” management approach. While it varies widely in its specific applications, in a nutshell, trout are stocked in “delayed harvest” waters in mid-autumn. Catch-and-release, artificiallure-only fishing is permitted thereafter until late spring when the “taking” season opens and most of the time bait restrictions are eased.
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The delayed harvest program has been widely successful in North Carolina and Georgia where many mediocre putand-take streams have become trophy trout fisheries. Under delayed harvest regulations, a single rainbow trout might be caught and released dozens of times. When stocked as a 12inch trout in October, by May, this same fish grows into a 14to-16 inch beauty. Given time, hatchery reared trout adapt and prosper in southern cold water streams. It is certain that money for stocking fish will always be under assault. It is also a fair guess that more and more people will discover trout fishing in the South. My guess is that at some point, the current expensive, low-return put-and-take management of many waters will require rethinking. I suppose in the big wide world where wars and financial collapses seem to greet us every day, that the future of trout in the South is a minor point of order. I suppose we would manage just fine without trout in the South, but the thought of it puts tears in my eyes. - Don Kirk
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THIS ISSUE FUT URE FISH 10-59
departments Generally Speaking Eschew Perspiration Induced by the Minuscule Loose Lips and Wind Knots Salsa Saved My Life
The Black Wing Olive Chronicles Playing Fetch with an Idiot History of Southern Trout Fishing Ben Craig: Dean of Smoky Mountains Fly Tiers Fly of the Month Blue Quill Mayfly Featured Rod Builder Piece by Piece: Colonel Glenn Maxwell
Wanderings of the Creek Freak Bridges Over Trout Streams
New Fly Guy Blue Lining Creating a Trout Command Center
close look - georgia
Featured Fly Shop Unicoi Outfitters
Featured Lodge Blackhawk Fly Fishing and Lodge Featured Fly Tyer Terry Rivers
Book Review Trout Fishing in North Georgia: A Comprehensive Guide to Public Lakes, Reservoirs, and Rivers
Chattooga River Delayed Harvest: A Winter Hotspot
Fannin County: The Trout Capital of Georgia
Guide Profile Reelâ€™em In Guide Service
Southern Trout Publisher Don Kirk
Managing Editor & Advertising Leah Kirk Social Media Manager Loryn Kirk
Communications Adam Kirk Creative Director Leslie Kirk Web Assistant Megan Allbert Southern Trout is a publication of Southern Unlimited, LLC. Copyright 2014 Southern Unlimited, LLC. All rights reserved.
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132 COMPANY PROFILE: TYCOON TACKLE features
My Love. The Art of Thom Glace Delivery Systems
Going Deep For Trout
Too Good to be Legal??? Bead Head San Ron Worm
Trout Legend Gold Cup
Winter Fly Selection
Have Your Trout Fishing and Luxurious Comfort, Too
Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival
Trout Chum Cookies
On the Cover
Beau Beasley, Editor-At-Large Bob Borgwat, Columnist Craig Haney, Alabama Editor Jimmy Jacobs, Georgia Editor Larry Rea, Arkansas Editor Greg Ward, Tennessee Editor
Photo Credit Winona Fly Shop
Contributors Bill Bernhardt John Berry Soc Clay Bill Cooper Dave Ezell Ron Gaddy George Grant Matt Green Kevin Howell Roger Lowe
Steve Moore Marc Payne Bob Shanks Jason Sparks Scott Spencer Benjamin VanDevender
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IT COSTS NO MORE T O G O F I R S T C L A S S ... America’s #1 Trout Fishing Resort is Gaston’s. Our White River float trips for lunker trout are legendary from coast to coast. We do the work. All you do is fish – in style and comfort. Then there are the extras that make “resort” our last name. First-class lodging. One of the South’s finest restaurants, featuring a spectacular view. A private club. Tennis and a pool. A nature trail. A conference lodge for your group meetings or parties. Even a private landing strip for fly-in guests.
1777 River Road • Lakeview, Arkansas 72642 (870) 431-5202 • E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org Lat 36 20' 55" N Long 92 33' 25" W
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ly fishers really ought to project a classy image. With that in mind, I dressed up an old cliché. How’s that for putting a tuxedo and top hat on “Don’t sweat the small stuff”? It fits right in with how fly fishermen are frequently characterized as elitist snobs by the common folk. Of course elitist snobbery is only a derogatory delusion prevalent among the vulgar masses. The truth is, I’ve known quite a few fly fishermen with a charmingly homespun tendency to meet adversity with spectacular profanity. I include myself in that category. In fact anglers are probably as bad about that as golfers especially when they’re sweating over and swearing about the small stuff. The literal small stuff (flies size 20 through 26) is what’s most often associated with our vulgar outbursts. In polite society, the small range of flies is called “midges.” Some anglers add the descriptive adjective “#%@^*&+ midges” when
discussing them out of earshot from polite society. They’re trouble any way you look at them. I believe midges, with their ability to provoke intemperate outbursts, even have spiritual implications. Catholic anglers undoubtedly pile up millennia in purgatory while midge fishing. I’m Baptist, so I just backslide. Near as I can figure, I’ve backslid 523 laps (measured at the Equator) behind the nearest ax-murderer. I don’t know what midges do to Presbyterians, but it can’t be good.
Eschew Perspirat But, I am getting better. Part of that improvement is entirely the result of better leader material. It’s easy now to find 6, 7, even 8X
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Induced by the Minuscule GEORGE GRANT fluorocarbon tippets with excellent knot and break strength. That wasn’t always the case. When I first tried midge fishing, only nylon tippet was available and its weakness in small sizes accounted for many of my transgressions. Fluorocarbon monofilament hasn’t made me a saint, but I am gaining on the nearest ax-murderer.
When fish are feeding on the small stuff, they hold just under the surface. They don’t want to expend more energy than their prey is worth by moving through current to intercept it. That proximity to the surface leaves them with a very narrow feeding lane, and any fly out of it by just an inch is ignored.
I’ve also had a couple of revelations, which is curious considering some of the company I keep. Short, slow, soft rods are miles ahead of anything else for delivering small flies. Short rods significantly increase your accuracy and midges must be placed precisely if you want to fish them effectively.
That hold near the surface does confer a small tactical advantage to the angler in exchange for demanding precision. Trout holding high have a very restricted view of the world above the water’s surface. That allows you to shorten the range for your cast if you make a stealthy approach.
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Often there are complicated current patterns between your position and that narrow feeding lane even when the range is short. Slow rods give you the time to create optimum line placement on those currents using an in-air mend to minimizing drag and extend your drift. Soft rods provide the maximum protection to a tippet after you hook up. They also give you significantly more feedback on the fight. Knowing when to apply pressure and when to let the fish run will keep you well within the limits of a light tippet. We’ll be fishing the “small stuff” for quite some time to come. Don’t sweat it. It can be a lot of fun if there are no small children or deacons within earshot. Copyright George Grant 2014 12 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
W H E N Y O U ’ R E H AV I N G A S M U C H F U N A S Y O U R D O G , Y O U ’ R E D O I N G S O M E T H I N G R I G H T. LIFE UNTUCKED
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loose loops and wind knots
ith a great deal of humility, I confess I am well known among my friends for my prodigious luck while fishing and also while pursuing less important things in life. This “luck” of mine has followed me for quite some time, and I figured “it” was with me when I boarded the plane for seven days of fishing in Montana in September. Luckily, my friend Billy had moved to Bozeman two years ago and would be my host for the week. Additionally, another friend Sam, who now lived in Gillette, WY, was driving over for three or four days and bringing his drift boat. Sitting around Billy’s home the first night, we discussed the myriad of fishing opportunities and decided to try the Madison River the next day. Billy had checked with friends and a couple of fly shops earlier that day and felt like the Madison River would be a good bet. The weather forecast was great, reading seventy-three degrees and cloudy with little wind. We didn’t realize it then, but the “Haney Luck” was lurking in the shadows waiting to “open a can” on our trip. We left Billy’s early the next day headed for Ennis and Madison River Fishing Company to check again on conditions and to spend some tourist dollars on flies and other needful things. After buying maybe a half-pound of streamers, articulated and otherwise, we headed to the truck. Suddenly, as if Moses had appeared with a message for me on a stone tablet, I realized I had left my prescription sunglasses on the dresser at Billy’s back in Bozeman. The “can” had opened ever so slightly and a wisp of my “luck” had eased out. The shop didn’t have any Fitovers, so we went down the street to the Orvis dealer where I found a pair and spent an additional fifty dollars which helped the local economy but hurt mine. Getting in the truck, we
headed upriver to the Windy Point boat ramp with the day full of promise and high expectations. It was 10 a.m. when we pulled into the parking lot at Windy Point and parked the truck and boat. Quickly assembling our rods and reels, we tied on flies and loaded our gear into the boat and pushed off into the Madison. If I had not been so ready to fish, I might have noticed the wind had picked up and that there were a few dark clouds looming in the distance. Would the name “Windy Point” become an omen of my “luck” still to come? Was the “can” of “Haney Luck” in the boat? These questions were on my mind as we started the trip. Sam is young, strong and adept at the boat’s oars, and soon we were casting streamers to the banks of the Madison. An hour passed without a strike for Billy or me. Changing streamer patterns did not help and neither did nymphs or dries as the wind had picked up considerably. As the temperature had not risen
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loose loops and wind knots since we started on the river, we decided to put on our wading jackets to block the wind and add a little warmth. The wind continued to gain velocity and the dark Montana clouds grew closer as we fished downstream. I started to wonder if my can of luck had been blown over by the gusting winds and was now leaking. It did not take long for the answer as cold rain started pelting us, stinging our faces and hands. Sam hopefully offered that maybe the wind would blow the rain away and things would settle down, but he did not sound convincing as he struggled with the oars to keep the boat on track. We soon passed a guide that had pulled to shore with his clients to wait out the hard rain. The body language of the wife in the back of the boat indicated that she was mad as heck and would undoubtedly keep her husband up half the night trying to explain why they did not go to Bermuda like she had wanted.
Moving downstream, I had started shaking as had Billy and it was clear the can of â€œluckâ€? had emptied out in the boat and affected us. Sam said as soon as he could find a place, he would beach the boat, pull out some fleece for us to put on and cook the elk tenderloin he had brought for our lunch. Before Sam found a place to pull over, I started shaking uncontrollably from the waist down due to the cold, driving rain. Seeing a gravel bar downstream to our right, Sam rowed the boat over to it and anchored. Quickly grabbing a hoodie and fleece vest from under his seat, he tossed them to Billy and me. Putting on the extra clothes under our wading jackets, we started to slowly get warmer. Sam pulled a jar of salsa and bag of tortilla chips from his lunch kit and handed them to us then set up his portable gas grill on shore and fired it up. We devoured the salsa and chips as if we had not eaten for days. I never realized how good salsa and chips could taste. Before long, my shivering slowed as visions of grilled elk started filling my head. Sam soon announced the elk was ready and handed Billy and me a piece fresh off the grill. Like wolves on a fresh kill, we made fast work of the tenderloin not stopping for bread or condiments. The rain soon slowed, then quit but the wind was still coming in strong gusts. After filling up on salsa, chips and elk, we loaded back up and headed downstream with Sam furiously fighting the wind and current. The wind never let up and Billy and I finally put our rods up in frustration as we continued down the Madison. It was disappointing to quit fishing, but the fish were clearly turned off and the wind made it tough to place your fly close to where you wanted. At least the rain had stopped, although the mean looking clouds still threatened. About a half mile from the McAtee Bridge takeout, a large rock appeared directly in
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loose loops and wind knots
front of the boat like the iceberg in front of the Titanic, and I called to Sam to make sure he had seen it looming menacingly ahead. Rapidly approaching the rock, I braced myself for the collision, but I heard a loud deep growl and the boat magically moved to the right of the rock avoiding disaster. Turning to look at Sam, his big grin told the
whole story. The magic was in his strong back and arms. Billy called from the back of the boat, “If I had been at the oars, we would have been in serious trouble!” Billy was probably right as Sam’s extra six inches in height and one hundred pounds made the difference, not to forget Sam was thirty years younger than either of us. Back on track, the ominous dark clouds and strong gusting wind had been replaced with the warming sun as the takeout came into view down river. Somehow, bouncing around in the boat, the top evidently got back on the can of “Haney Luck” just as the trip ended. I’ve often heard it said, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” That Friday on the Madison River, maybe no luck would have been better.
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the black wing olive chronicles
ne of the stark realizations of my life was when it finally occurred to me that I am, after all, but a dog. This moment of self-realization may sound a bit puzzling to you bipods, but for a dog surrounded by humans all of the time, knowing you are a dog is something you people take for granted that we understand. Indulge me for minute by imagining that since early childhood you are a dog surrounded by barking, licking and scratching. Honestly, what would be your idea of what is normal? It’s not that dogs are not all that different from people. I will concede that people are smarter, if you will agree with my contention that canines are a damned site more honest than people. You call your complex interrelations with fellow members of your species everything from family to fraternities. Dogs see you as either a pack member with an established position in the hierarchy, or as a non-pack member to be watched very closely. It is pretty much a black-and-white issue that is void of fifty or so shades of gray. Before coming to the realization that I was a fly-fishing dog, I labored under the tutelage of Daddy Boy who perceived that sooner or later I would be a “gun dog.” To be more precise, he expected me to be a retriever. I like to retrieve. Hell, I love to retrieve. Balls and Frisbees are my favorites, but if you throw out a baseball bat or hammer, I will fetch it, too. The problem with being a consummate gun dog retriever is two-fold. First, a dog needs to like carrying dead critters in its mouth. Perhaps you may recall that I prefer balls and Frisbees, not blasted apart, dead ducks and doves. Second is what I prefer to call the “flinch factor” which Daddy Boy always describes as being “gun shy.” Frankly, I am not in the least bit gun shy. I can sleep soundly right beside a loaded twelve gauge shotgun. In fact, given enough time alone with such a powerful firearm, I have no doubt that at
some point I would chew up the stock. Gun shy I am not. However, I am terrified by the very thought of someone shooting a gun. On the Fourth of July, I am always so upset by the sound of kids shooting fireworks that Daddy Boy regularly checks on me with
Playing Fetch wi hoots and guffaws. His favorite part is to bestow over me one of his very favorite bits of imagery. Much to my humiliation, he will call other members of the family to come see my quaking and quivering self. Once his audience is sufficient, he will loudly quip, “Look at that dawg! She looks like she is trying to pass a peach pit!” When it became apparent that I would not become a well-healed retriever willing to jump into icy water to fetch a dead duck, Daddy Boy graciously allowed me a chance to redeem myself. He has taken me on a number of memorable fishing trips. When we are together, he loves to say “sick ‘em” when he spots a trout-eating otter. I have never actually caught one. However, I did corner a less than hospitable black and white otter looking critter that sprayed me down with vile smelling goop. And then there was time we encountered a bear on the West Prong. At Daddy Boy’s behest, I scrambled after the bruin. The inky creature was unimpressed with my valor, and it turned the tables on me when I raced up to it. I sped back toward a laughing Daddy Boy, passing him without slowing down. This time I had the last laugh though, as an instant later, old fat-ass passed me going up the creek. Perhaps you recall me noting that I like fetching. I really like fetching when it affords me the opportunity to swim to fetch a ball or Frisbee. On the surface it seems like a pretty safe, mundane form of recreation where I get
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the black wing olive chronicles all of the exercise. However, when dealing with Daddy Boy, it is always necessary to calculate the idiot factor. The idiot factor is derived by figuring how something simple can go dangerously ary.
ith an Idiot
Olive K. Nynne
Apparently Daddy Boy read somewhere about Noccalula Falls, which has a 90 foot drop of Black Creek into a rocky ravine. Located in northern Alabama near Gadsden, it is about hour from where we live. Always looking for some reason to escape the compound (especially where respite can be found at moving water) off we went to Noccalula Falls one sunny morning when he had better things to do.
what was obviously Black Creek. The park was populated by lots of people with dogs, jogging, playing and otherwise just enjoying the great out of doors. We continued to the creek, expecting to find the famous falls, but nothing was to be found. Being a fly fishing dog, I moved out a few feet in the creek that as about 50-feet across and moving at a respectable rate of flow. Since I never let Daddy Boy take me on a trip without my favorite toy, I had brought my favorite tennis ball with me. Daddy Boy tossed it out in the current, saying, “Fetch!” Being a dumb animal, I complied, and with considerable effort, I made my way back while being washed downstream by the deceivingly fast current. Always eager to push the envelope when people are watching, and they were beginning to notice our activity, Daddy Boy tossed the ball out a second time, a little further. Of course I fetched it, and by the time I emerged from the river, I was beginning to get a bad feeling about our fun time. A third time he
The site of the falls is surrounded by a fair sized park and is graced with a bronze statue of the Cherokee maiden Noccalula who, according to local legends, plunged to her death after being ordered by her father to marry a man she didn’t love. The bronze statue of Noccalula was, at the time of its creation, the first statue of a person jumping off a cliff. The bronze used in the statue was made from pennies collected from local school children in the mid1960s. Anywho, Daddy Boy and I followed his Google map, exiting I-59 north of Gadsden where a brown sign announces the nearby presence of Noccualula Falls. In short order, we arrived at the park, deboarded his vehicle, and charged with wild abandonment in the direction of www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 21
the black wing olive chronicles
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the black wing olive chronicles
tossed out the ball, but this time I sort of acted like I did not see him do it or hear him say, “Fetch!” Fortunately, a little old woman had ventured forth from the throng of onlookers to tap Daddy Boy on the shoulder. As he turned to her, she said, “Sir, are you aware that the falls are no more than 100 feet from where you are sending that poor dog out into the creek?” I swear, I thought Daddy Boy, at that moment, had the look of passing that peach pit.
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Fly Fishing the Smokies Guided Fly Fishing in the Tennessee and North Carolina Smoky Mountains (828)-488-7665 or flyfishingthesmokies.net Wade Trips, Float Trips, Hazel Creek Camping, Beginner Lessons, and Fly Fishing for Kids. Est. in 1999, one of the oldest and most experienced Guide Services and Outfitters in the Smokies. Wade or Float for Trout and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Muskie, and Carp. We offer guided fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the WNC Fly Fishing Trail, Tuckasegee River, Little Tennessee River, Ravens Fork, Pigeon River, and Fontana Lake
For reservations call (828)-488-7665 or book your trip on the web at; flyfishingthesmokies.net www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 25
history of southern trout fishing
he region collectively known as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has produced many of Dixie’s best known tiers of feathery trout flies. Nationally known patterns such as the Yallarhammar and Tellico Nymph have origins in the richly steeped fly tying lore of these misty mountains. In fact, over the course of the last three decades, I have spoken with at least three now dead fly tiers who told me they recalled seeing the now famous Wulff-style hair wing was tied dry long before Lee Wulff is reported to have initiated this vise practice.
Kirby, owner of Quaker Boy Game Calls of Pennsylvania.
Life has been good me by allowing me to meet such fly tying legends as Kirk Jenkins, Claude Ramsey, Joe Hall, Eddie George, and dozens and dozens of other local fly tiers. While each of these fly tiers have earned their own degrees of greatness, none has reached pinnacle of this craft to the degree achieved by Ben Craig of Waynesville, North Carolina. At least a second generation tier, this 65 year old trout fishing expert and master fly tier not only originated many of the fly patterns we use today, but also virtually everyone now tying flies in western North Carolina.
“As a young fly tier, my friends and I were exceptionally fond of floating Royal Coachman dries at the streams of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The most deadly addition we discovered for our home-tied Royal Coachman flies was the bright red plastic band used to seal packs of Lucky Strike cigarettes. Early on Saturday mornings we would go to downtown Wayneville to patrol the streets for discarded plastic bands for making these flies.”
“As a youngster, I learned to tie flies by watching my father, who was a lifelong trout fisherman found of fly fishing. He kept his fly-tying material in a cardboard box, buying only thread and hooks for creating his flies. I don’t think there are many farms in a three county area where he and I didn’t chase down roosters to ‘pick’ a few choice hackles from their necks,” noted Craig.
BEN CRAIG: DEAN OF SMOKY MOUNTAINS FLY TIERS DON KIRK
“I’ve been tying flies for over half a century,” noted Craig as we chatted in his fly-tying parlor. Adorned with enough feathers, fur, thread, and yarn to keep a dozen fly tiers in business for years, the room also housed a portion of his collection of vintage bamboo fly rods. A prize possession, a mount of a native 13-inch speckle trout, hung beside the slightly built Craig as we conversed. One entire wall of shelves in Craig’s fly tying parlor stores his current inventory of flies, which is never very high, a result of the high demand for his tying efforts. Craig sells his flies to anglers all across the country, including to such notable sportsmen as Dick
Ben Craig shares the much the same fly fishing and fly selection philosophy of this writer and many others in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Proper presentation of your fly and a general understanding of the region’s aquatic insect community are far more important than knowing the Latin name for three dozen different species of mayflies. Craig’s all-time favorite fly pattern? Adams. Of course, he carries these in a wide assortment of sizes and varieties including the Adams Parachute and Adams Wulff as well as the Black Adams. In addition to this, Craig also varies the body of the Adams he fishes from dark bodies in late winter and spring, to lighter bodies in summer. Similarly, he switches from dark brown hackle in winter and spring to grizzly in summer.
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history of southern trout fishing Craig is a treasure of fly-fishingfor-trout knowledge on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While he prefers to keep his fly pattern selection ultra simple, he has several recommendations he knows will consistently produce trout in these waters at certain times of the year. One favorite are the well-known Thunderhead and the Chocolate Thunderhead, which in his opinion differ little from a Adams Wulff. The latter is particularly effective during May and June. Another fly pattern recommended by Craig is the Elk Wing Hopper, a high riding imitation of the grasshoppers common to the region and relished by trout and bass in these streams. The secret to making a highly deadly Elk Wing Hopper is dressing its flanks with a speckled feather from a bronzecolored, domestic turkey. Extremely rare, such matched speckled feathers are his most prized fly tying material. The Orange Palmer is another fly pattern Craig recommends anglers carry when visiting the streams of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A highly efficient imitation of the orange-colored caddis flies common to these waters, the Orange Palmer is a simplistic pattern that Craig says came about around 25 years ago. He is not certain, but he strongly believes the Orange Palmer pattern originated in the hollows of Haywood County. Craig also likes the Tellico Nymph for mimicking emerging caddis pupa, but believes nothing tops the old fashion Stickbait Nymph for this chore. He ties his from a special latex material he has located that perfectly matches the dingy, yellowishwhite color of these highly sought after trout foods. Being a longtime angler, Craig is quick to point out that nothing ever whipped onto
a hook by fly tier can ever hope to produce as well as the real thing: soft, pulpy stickbait The Green Inchworm is another pattern highly recommended by Craig. These, along with a Sourwood Worm fly he created at the request of his son, Kevin, are deadly for taking trout during the late spring and summer months. When asked about the older patterns found used over the years in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Craig was quick to point that while the Yallarhammar may be one of the oldest patterns here, its trout catching magic is overrated. â€œA lot of the local fly fishermen swear by the Yallarhammar, but I can name a dozen fly patterns that will out-produce this old timey pattern. In fact, the best way to catch trout on a Yallarhammar is to put stickbait on it!â€?
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history of southern trout fishing Another old fly rarely seen these days is the Wasp Nymph which I believe was a caddis fly imitator. The Webber Forked Tail, (which may have been tied by Kirk Jenkins of Newport, Tennessee for the Webber Company), was another favorite pattern, as was the Pale Watery Dun. The latter have large mallard wings, and a large forked tail that enabled it to ride high in the water.
“Indeed, I have tied many of them, having split as many yellow flicker wings as anyone, I suppose. And because there is still considerable demand for Yallarhammar flies, I still tie them, but not with the traditional yellow flicker feathers. I have developed a dyed substitute that is just as effective as the real thing, and certainly less likely to get you in trouble with park rangers who are always alert for Yallarhammar flies made from the feathers of the protected birds they are named for,” says Craig Craig ties what he calls the traditional Yallarhammar fly, which is a full length Palmer hackle. He says this is the original way the fly was tied, not the shortcut version found in Tennessee. The Tennessee Yallarhammar usually has a peacock herl body, and two to three wrap yellow flicker feather dressing, although I have used many of the Palmer hackled version referred to by Craig tied by Claude Ramsey of Muddy Creek, Tennessee.
Ben Craig is the quintessential Smoky Mountains fly tier. An ordained deacon in his Southern Baptist Church, he probably spends less money to produce more flies than anyone. Tucked away in his fly tying parlor is remnants of the rabbit fur coats popular among the ladies a few years ago. Rather than buy expensive fur dubbing, Craig places chunks from these coats and other sources in a blender. In three seconds he has a hand full of fur dubbing equal to that sold in fly shops. Craig receives all types of fur and feathers from caribou and elk, to wild turkey and wood duck from his many hunting friends. Craig as been asked to help co-author books on fly tying in the Great Smoky Mountains as well as help produce instructional videos on how to tie the many flies of the region. However, to date, this is the first time he has allowed a writer to publish this information. “Trout fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a very personal thing for me. In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to find a stretch of stream where tubers and tourism don’t pester you to death,” said Craig. “I have shared my tying knowledge with many local years, but my privacy is extremely important to me.” Photos courtesy of Jim Casada
28 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
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fly of the month
ne of the more abundant hatches of late winter and early spring is the tiny Blue Quill mayfly. Most of these occur right after our Quill Gordon hatch. After a long hard winter, trout are eager to feed on these tiny sized #16-#20 mayflies. These can hatch in great numbers and can hatch thru the month of March. The duns ride the surface for a long way before finally taking flight. The hatch can be strongest on very cold days even when snow is on the ground. Most of the time, these occur midday when the water peaks. Most often, these flies hatch in shallower slower
moving water. This sometimes makes it more difficult to fish without spooking the trout. The Blue Quill is often confused with the larger Quill Gordon which is a larger fly (#10- 12). Also, the Blue Quill hatches for a much longer period of time. Sometimes three to four weeks longer. Another good pattern to use for this hatch is the Blue Dun. This pattern is similar but tied with a dubbed body instead of a stripped quill.
Blue Quill Mayfly
Tying the Blue Quill is as follows: Hook—#16-#20 Thread—8/0 tan or gray Tail—light blue dun Body—stripped peacock herl Wing—light gray duck quills Hackle—light blue dun
30 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
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featured rod builder
fter spending 30 years in the US Air Force, former Colonel Glenn Maxwell tells Southern Trout Magazine that he first tried fly fishing back in Pennsylvania when he was just a preteen. “My widowed mother was dating an outdoors type guy from DuBois who owned a sporting goods shop,” began Maxwell. “They
bought a rod kit and built my own 4-weight, 4-piece rod. After Virginia, I was moved to middle Georgia, and I went all out, buying jigs for wrapping and drying. I built relationships with Scott Fly Rods, Thomas & Thomas [T&T], Glenn Struble, and a couple of lesser known but quality blank makers. Scott no longer sells blanks, and Struble
Piece by Piece: Colonel Gl both shot archery in tourneys, as did I and my brothers, and we liked hanging around his shop. As luck would have it, he had fly fishing gear. I was intrigued by the rows of flies he had on display in the shop, and he gave me a few. I cannot recall what fly rod I first had, but it was as limp as a willow branch. I had one of those old automatic fly reels that double as a boat anchor, but I thought it was sweet! The fly line was more like clothesline, and I just got some mono I had from a spinning reel and tied it on…don’t ask me the knot! I tied on a Pink Lady and caught gobs of creek chubs, and one day, a little brookie in Mill Creek behind our farm outside Brookville, Pennsylvania.” This was before the long hiatus Maxwell took when he went off to North Michigan University where he received a BS in Conservation. He also acquired an MA in Natural Sciences from the State University of New York prior to his enlistment into the Air Force. Rod building, however, is an interesting segway from the Air Force. “I’ve now been building rods for nearly 15 years,” Maxwell explained, “and I must say the main reason I got into it was I did not want to pay $500700 for a good rod. After over 20 years in the military, I was assigned to Langley AFB in Virginia, where I ran into a fellow named Neil Drumheller, an excellent rod builder. Neil and I talked about fly fishing, and next thing, he built me a little 7’ 3-weight, and we became good friends and fished the Shenandoah Valley and mountain streams. Within a year, I really had the bug again,
closed shop, but I still work with T&T and they make fantastic blanks, and along with T&T, I use Sage, St. Croix, R.L. Winston and Batson blanks. I also picked up WaterworksLamson and Aspen fly reels and Royal Wulff fly lines over those years. My goal is to build a beautiful rod and pair it with a great reel and line so the client is ready to fish
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featured rod builder right out the door. I also contribute custom rods to various charity events. Maxwell has a particularly keen interest in traditional fly rods. Still on active duty, Maxwell explains that he never had time to learn bamboo rod making or to keep up with it. Travel rods, he decided were to be
travel rods. I knew I could build quality rods for folks without charging them $700-$1200 (which I find insane by the way) and let them pick thread colors and reel seats and wood inserts, etc. For me, this was a much better option than the pretty much standard rods in shops…looking all the same…same colors, same reel seat, same wood, and a
his concentration. When asked why that became his concentration, he replied, “[It became so] partly so I could throw a rod in the saddlebags of my HarleyDavidson, and combine riding in the mountains with fly fishing.” He explains, “Probably 90% of my rods are multi-piece
buyer gets a rod made just for him or her.” Maxwell’s rod-building vision has come to fruition and top sellers like T&T, Winston, and Sage propelled him into the world of rod building. Samples of his rods can be seen on his website at www.gmaxwellflyrods.com and purchased through telephone or email. “I build the rods one by one to order, and it does take a few weeks when I need to order blanks. I do always have a few T&T rods in 4and 5-weight, and Winston 3- and 4-weights already built and ready for sale.” Always curious about the advice that featured rod builders offer to people considering buying their first custom rod, Southern Trout begged the question of Glenn Maxwell. “Think about how you are going to use the rod. Do you want or need a rod you can throw in a carry-on bag? Maybe you only throw your rod on your truck’s roof rack and fish local water. Do you bushwhack to small, mountain laurel banked streams where casting room is sparse? Do you want a rod to impress your
www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 33
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featured rod builder
www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 35
featured rod builder
36 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
featured rod builder
buddies, or do you want a rod that looks great, performs great, but getting a little mud on it when you take an unexpected dip or slide down a muddy bank won’t make you soil your waders? Don’t presume to tell your rod builder how to build the rod, or ask the drag coefficient of various snake guides (he won’t care or know), or quibble about 1/4 ounce of rod weight (if that is a concern, do
more 12 ounce curls at night)…tell him what you want and let them do it. Be patient as it is being built.” Maxwell can be reached by email at max@ gmaxwellflyrods.com or by telephone at 850-276-1682. You can find more information about his fly rods at www.gmaxwellflyrods. com.
www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 37
38 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
Just a 3-hour drive from Atlanta! Destinations
include high elevation mountain streams, scenic tailwaters, and intense summer-time smallmouth bass trips. We take several backcountry trips a year to the remote and scenic Hazel Creek in GSMNP, which is an experience every Southern fly fisher should try at least once. Brookings’ also hosts some incredible destination trips to places like Argentina’s Patagonia, Belize and Montana. We are simply eaten up with fishing and will go anywhere to find the best for our clients.
Brooking’s is licensed to guide in Nantahala and Pigsah National Forests, Panthertown Valley, as well as Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
We carry brands such as Orvis, Simms, Scott, Sage, Columbia, Smith Optical, Hardy, True Flies and many more!
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Bridges Over Trout Streams Bob Borgwat
40 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 41
wanderings of the creek freak
42 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
wanderings of the creek freak
ridges over trout streams...they’re priceless because they’re your gateway to get to the other side…where the road leads away to points known, places on maps both printed and digital, leaving little to discover. And, it’s all so immediate these days with GPS tracking installed in our cars, trucks and cell phones. So, I slow life down when my truck crosses bridges that spread over trout streams, stopping when traffic allows, and I think about the river’s reach that flows perpendicular to the concrete-and-steel (maybe it’s wood-and-rock) conduit below me. I like to think in that direction. I stop and gaze upstream, downstream, rather than mindlessly looking forward across the concrete crossing where countless others have traveled. Who is it who crosses bridges
blindly, not once but twice some days to come back from where they’ve gone? From the bridges over trout streams, I renew my angler’s perspectives. I watch trout dart and dip, rise and fall, twist and turn on seams and stitches in the current. I gain insights to their practiced feeding which plants ideas in my head on how I will next best present a tumbling Hare’s Ear or float a Blue-Winged Olive to the coldwater curls and coils in a favorite creek. I consider the stream bottom, where I imagine challenges—and acquire stability—to my footfalls. I imaginatively crawl and wind— endlessly, it seems at times—through tangles of streamside rhododendrons, emerging to discover the thin blue line on that map yields wild fish, indeed.
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wanderings of the creek freak
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But, you’re rarely alone at bridges over trout streams, because bridges are magnets to fishermen. Easy access to the water usually rests below them, open to anyone nimble enough to shimmy the rocks that stabilize the footings. Look there—footprints scatter across the mud and sand, up and down the bank or stretching along its reach at waterside. In summertime, impressions may reveal a barefoot romp. In winter, the soles of wading boots twist the wet surface into cosmic patterns. And at the most obvious access sites, the signs of the ignorant and ignoble lay about: discarded water bottles, candy wrappers, beer cartons, bait boxes, cigarettes…in some places, seemingly endless. So, I walk beyond the bridges over trout streams—upstream, downstream—until I leave behind the tracings of others. I walk until I out-walk the footprints and step
beyond the reach of my peers. I walk where trails bleed out and the stream regains itself, where spongy moss clings to the crests of streamside stepping stones and drapes around the girth of long fallen hemlock trees. I climb the waterfalls—breaches in the stream’s glide that dignify the rainbows in pools below the cascade and crown the brookies that swim above it. I cast over ginclear waters and drift my flies where trout lie undisturbed but for the unfortunate insect (or my fly!) trapped in the stream flow. And when I return cross that bridge over a trout stream again, I slow the truck again, I gaze again. I understand—again—that bridge over a trout stream is a gateway that frames the discoveries, observations, experiences and exposures found upstream, downstream, and piled deep in the pockets of my fishing vest.
www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 45
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new fly guy
ver the last several months, you worked hard to overcome the learning curve associated with fly fishing. You probably purchased more gear than you ever needed and even managed to use some of it effectively on the trout inserted during the fall stocking program. In short, you are feeling pretty good about your newly
acquired skills and might be looking for additional challenges. That challenge awaits in the rugged hills and streams of the Blue Ridge Mountains stretching from Virginia into northern Georgia. Small, wary brook trout cling to hiding places in shallow, rocky streams fed by crystal clear, cold water bubbling from small springs scattered
48 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
new fly guy throughout the range. To the hard-core brookie angler, the search for small streams is known as “blue lining” since topographic maps show all streams as thin blue lines. In this article, part one of a two-part series, I explain how to locate potential streams based on information freely available and easily obtainable—we will set up your “Trout Command Center.” In part two, we look at how to do the map analysis needed to determine potential winners and avoid losers before driving to any particular stream. There is more information available now than ever before—there are no secrets. The first, and most important reason for abandoning traditional silence, stems from the need to identify wild trout habitat to protect it from uncaring or ignorant development. In areas where mining is or was prevalent, there are many examples where acid runoff destroyed a watershed. The North Branch of the Potomac in Maryland and West Virginia is the classic example of a river sterilized by acid until remediation started in 1994. While many of the feeder streams remain devoid of trout, the West Virginia and Maryland fisheries services recovered the main stem through aggressive liming to mitigate the acid continuously oozing into a reborn, but still threatened, river. A more recent example was the effort to protect a small trout stream just outside the Washington, DC beltway called the Paint Branch. The conservation organization, Eyes of Paint Branch (eopb.org), was formed in 1994 to preserve the ecosystem that allowed trout to exist. As a result of its efforts to raise awareness and restoration activities, the stream, so far, has been protected from the surrounding intense development associated with its proximity to a ma jor metropolitan suburb. The primary source of conservation motivated wild trout information on the East Coast is the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (EBTJV—www.easternbrooktrout.
org). This organization has a broad partnership spanning state, federal, conservation and academic organizations with the noble goal of protecting and enhancing brook trout populations along the eastern seaboard. While the EBJTV focuses its efforts on brookies, there are plenty of brown trout in the same or surrounding waters that benefit as well. The data EBJTV collected allows anglers to identify, at the top level, key areas likely to have vibrant wild trout populations.
Once totally devoid of life, the North Branch of the Potomac is now a top fishing destination offering brown, brook and rainbow trout. With equal dedication, the various state fisheries services are highly motivated to inform the public. These agencies understand providing a robust fishing experience is critical to license sales to generate the associated revenue for outdoor related projects and activities. Tennessee makes the proud point that the Appalachian mountain range in the eastern part of the state has 625 miles of streams supporting natural reproduction of trout while the great Smoky Mountain National Park contains an additional 220 miles of wild trout water. Virginia is even more aggressive and happily advertises it contains over 2300 miles of wild trout streams. Many of the fisheries agencies are on board with the latest internet technology and supply interactive maps allowing users to click their way through
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new fly guy the pressure and prevents the overcrowding that drove many individual anglers to passionate secrecy. A little searching on the internet (or just go to wildtroutstreams.com) will uncover pages of public information. For example, Maryland published a Brook Trout Management plan documenting every trout stream in the state with population survey results, allowing the studious angler to easily identify the water supporting vibrant brookie populations. North Carolina makes the same information available. After all, if you give anglers an almost infinite number of choices on where to fish, the chances are slim any one place will be impacted. I The Maryland Intercounty connector runs across the may as well say this here... poachers already Paint Branch, a fragile trout stream just outside the know where to commit their crimes... so if Washington, DC beltway. the rest of us know about those spots as well, it puts more eyeballs on the stream to report the stateâ€™s inventory of trout water. The violations. openness of the fisheries services spreads
North Carolina is one of the states with an interactive map. Browsing and clicking provides additional helpful information an angler can use to refine their target for a day of fishing.
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new fly guy Other states, like Georgia, rely on PDF files showing approximate stream locations and public lands - a great start point for more detailed map analysis.
Not surprising, the internet is the ultimate source, but comes with the caveat of “buyer beware.” Some sites are more reliable than others with the best being those managed by a government agency or a commercial entity with forums and blogs falling at the other end of the spectrum. The bottom line is the key data you need to target wild trout is widely available, but requires a disciplined approach to organize and leverage. The logical first task is to identify the trout friendly geographic areas close to you. Visit the EBTJV and look at their maps of priority areas for protection. This page has PDF files for the entire East Coast and color codes areas for protection. Pop open the PDF for “intact subwatersheds” for your state and note the general location of the “good” water (high priority for protection). However, do not discount the “reduced” watersheds since some of those support brown trout based on their higher tolerance for warmer temperatures. The website, wildtroutstreams.com, builds on the EBTJV data set and provides “kml” files you
can load into Google Earth to make this even easier.
The NHD viewer has a plethora of interesting overlays beyond streams! To download the dataset, follow the instructions on this page. Be sure you click the box next to Hydrography first. Google Earth is a “must have” and, appropriately loaded with the right data sets, will become your trout command center. After downloading and installing the application, grab your state data set from wildtroutstreams.com. Also download other data sets you may be interested in. For example, in Maryland, the fisheries
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new fly guy service produced overlays for Google maps denoting the boundaries of all the stocked trout water by county. After opening a map, you can download it as a kml file for use in Google Earth. Virginia goes one better and has a dedicated page for wildlife related graphic information services. It provides Google Earth compatible “kmz” files showing trout water, navigable water, fishing lakes and a number of other outdoor features. Finally, for a master list of all streams, visit the USGS site and open the National
Hydrology Dataset using the USGS NHD Viewer. Now that you have the basic information on your computer, let’s work through an example of how to use it. Here’s the scenario - based upon examination of the priority watersheds from the EBTJV, you decide you want to fish the east slope of the northern half of the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
Step 1: Click open the park boundaries layer in Google Earth to see the border of the Shenandoah National Park (green line).
The base map does not include some state owned land, so your available public lands are potentially more than shown by default. Check your state wildlife service for more comprehensive boundaries. Virginia, for example, has an site (findgame.org) that shows all public lands as well as a free app for iphones and android. 52 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
new fly guy Step 2: Open the kml file from wildtroutstreams.com to show the brook trout assessment scores (yellow, brown and red lines added). The best score available is a yellow area. There are no optimal brook trout areas in the park (green or blue lines). The brown shaded areas are those where water conditions do not support trout.
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new fly guy
Step 3: Open the trout stream overlay from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF ; purple lines; red lines indicate special regulation water). If you click on the pushpin symbol, the VDGIF shows the stream name, type of trout and the stocking plan (if stocked).
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new fly guy
Step 4: Since all of the east slope areas have the same EBTJV priority status, turn off that overlay and turn on the trails overlay to determine how to reach the streams. The trails show as red lines.
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new fly guy
Step 5: Zoom in on the place you want to fish (purple line is the stream). Click on the trailhead for specific directions from your home. With the park boundary shown in green and the trails in red, you can identify the trailhead (on Forest Service Land, you can click on an overlay for trailheads). Troutstreamgps.com has access point GPS coordinates in kml, gpx (for your handheld GPS) and iphone app formats for a large inventory of rivers across the country.
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new fly guy
Step 6: Open the National Hydrology Dataset. It contains every stream large enough to be of interest to the USGS. In this case, the set shows the larger feeder streams (blue) - these may also potentially hold trout.
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new fly guy
Step 7: Click on the icon at the right of the menu bar in Google Earth to switch to the Google Maps view. Once there, turn on the terrain view so you can check the topography and assess how physically demanding the trip might be.
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new fly guy You can stop here and fish the popular wild trout water identified by an agency, or you can move to the next level and become a true blue liner. In addition to the streams named in the national hydrology data set, every fold in the terrain on a topographic map might hold a stream even farther off everyone else’s radar. Fortunately, there are additional sources of information to help you decide whether it is worth the trip. Websites devoted to hiking provide additional references. Hikers will frequently comment on streams they cross (trickle, full flow, stagnant, got my feet wet, etc.), whether they are scenic and even if they saw people fishing. Mountain biking websites provide additional, similar intelligence. You are very interested in any stream where fording was a challenge since more water makes it more likely to hold a good population of trout. Perhaps the most unusual place to look is at swimmingholes.org. This unique site is devoted to the identification of off the beaten track swimming holes. Each hole
has a description, GPS coordinates, a type (ex. creek/falls), directions and most have photos. You can use the pictures to assess the water before you hike in. There is also a category called “bathing suits.” Exercise caution as you approach if the category indicates bathing suits are “optional.” Once you narrow the choices to a potential stream or small geographic area, the next step is to do detailed map analysis, coupled with fish survey results, to determine the probability of fish being present. Where to get free topo maps and how to evaluate a blue line using five simple rules is the subject of Blue Lining, Part II in the next issue. Steve Moore CatchGuide.com 8016 Yellow Daisy Drive Wilmington, NC 28412 email@example.com 703-638-0359
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60 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
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Mclose look - georgia
s the only professional fly-fishing guide service in Ellijay, Georgia, James Bradley’s Reel’em In Guide Service has been servicing North Georgia since 2001. Operating under a U.S. Forest Service Guide and Outfitter permit, Reel’em In Guide Service has access to around 700,000 acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest. With CPR and First Aid certified guides, you can be assured that you will be safe when spending an afternoon out with these fellas. “Our guides love to teach the art of fly-fishing.” Bradley explains. “We offer basic and advanced casting instructions. Our guides are constantly teaching you no matter what your skill level is. We want you to become a more competent angler on the water!” With 7.5 miles of privately managed trophy water at their disposal, it is no wonder that the most popular repeat trips are on those stretches of water. “A lot of our clients enjoy catching mid-twenty inch trout. We have helped manage a couple of the properties we work on to provide this type trophy fishing. Some people do catch a trout of a lifetime right here in Georgia!” Other than their repeat trips, their most popular trip is the Beginner’s Special tailored towards beginners because it teaches them about the gear with incorporated casting lessons. “We keep it at up to two anglers per guide so the clients get plenty of one-on-one teaching of the basic skills for casting and then a couple
of hours on the water applying these newly learned skills to catch a trout. “We get a lot of smiles on this kind of trip due to it being on private water! “ In addition, all wading gear for a trip is included. “I got started in the guiding business because my wife was always on my case for fishing too much!” owner James Bradley says comically. “I might fish 200 days or more a year (even if it was only for 3 or 4 hours a day). In 2001, I started my service as a joke. But, over the years, it has evolved
into a good business. We have grown from a one-man service to having five guides.
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Mclose look - georgia
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And we now operate two drift boats. This is funny, but I’m still on the water about 200 days a year.” Before booking your trip, it is very important, according to Bradley, to pick the right service. “We have a lot of clients that call in and just book a trip.” He explains, “You get what you pay for when dealing with some shops or services. One thing I hate to hear
is when a client comes to us bad-mouthing a shop or service due to the guide not knowing the full aspects of guiding. Then, you have other services that take pride in themselves. Their guides are professionally taught and/or schooled, the guides are Basic First-Aid and CPR certified, they are insured, they operate under a Forest Service Permit, etc. Even the best guides can have a bad day putting their clients onto fish, but there is no reason for a so-called ‘guide’ with only a few months of experience to be on the water with clients. To have a professional guide running trips with no lifesaving training, being uninsured, or use our National Forest to operate trips without a permit is a bad business practice and gives all of us a bad reputation.” Specializing in small stream tactics for wild trout and putting their clients onto that once-in-a-lifetime trophy trout, these guys know Georgia fly-fishing. “We are one of the oldest fly-fishing outfitters in Georgia!” says Bradley and operating 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year; they are one of the most convenient by far. “While others may try to locate fish for you, why not join us and start to reel’em in!”
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orthern Georgia fly fishing specialists at Unicoi Outfitters run the oldest full service fly fishing shop and guiding service in the entirety of Northern Georgia. Orvis endorsed, this fly fishing outfitter and shop is in wonderful proximity to the Chattahoochee River near Helen Georgia. Offering guide services, regional fishing info, and trophy rainbow and brown trout in their private waters, Unicoiâ€™s waters include a one-and-a-half mile stretch of the Chattahoochee at Nacoochee Bend. Along with these private waters, Unicoi has access to Noontootla Creek Farm and Frog Hollow. While many clients fish on multiple rivers in a trip, others have come to find that they prefer a particular river over another and return time after time to experience the magic with Unicoi again and again!
As far as their guiding service goes, Unicoi strives to have the most professional and well versed 70 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
featured fly shop
UNICOI OUTFITTERS - HELEN, GEORGIA guide staff service available. All guides have extensive experience in local waters and streams across the United States of America. Having invested years in the craft, some of the guides at Unicoi have some of the highest certification by the Fly Fishing Federation including some who are Joan Wulff graduates and Orvis guide school graduates. Unicoi guides include Jake Darling, Alex Lunsford, Phil Culver, Carter Morris, Becky Stain, Ron Thomas. and Hunter Morris. Guides offer a few different types of fishing trips that include trophy trout fishing, drift boat trips and public water wade trips. Rates
and booking information can be located on their website. All streams offer anglers the opportunity to fish for trophy trout that are measured in pounds rather than inches. Unicoi has a management plan developed with the intention of providing optimum fishing for record-sized fish. Customers flock from across the globe to visit streams guided by Unicoi on a regular basis. Other than their amazing guide services and trophy trout fishing, Unicoi Outfitters also has an Orvis endorsed full service flyfishing shop. Offering a full range of tackle, clothing, luggage, gifts, fly-tying materials, and a large selection of flies, Unicoi’s shop is fully stocked in an effort to accommodate every fisherman out there. Carrying brands like Orvis, R.L. Winston, Cortland, Ross Reels, Costa Del Mar, Sage, Loon, Simms, and many more, Unicoi has everything you could need for a day out on the water. Along with their physical store near Helen Georgia, Unicoi Outfitters also operates an online store available 365 days a year, 24/7. Unicoi Outfitters is always available through phone or email at 706-878-3083 or flyfish@ unicoioutfitters.com. You can also visit their website and online store at www. unicoioutfitters.com. According to Unicoi, “We hope we can be of service for you fly fishing needs!”
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uests breathe easier here, and it isnâ€™t just the mountain air. Itâ€™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
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flyfishingshow.com www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 73
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ersonally, I love to hear a great flyfishing yarn. I don’t care where or for whom it happened. I don’t care if it is accurate. I don’t care if it is actually a “tall tale.” I don’t even care if it really happened or not. The kid in me (who once whole-heartedly believed Santa) wants to believe. I want to believe that epic fly fishing adventures are still out there, waiting for me to experience. I want to have that tale that bores everyone to death after I related it for the thirty-seventh time. I won’t care, because it will be my epic adventure. Blackhawk Fly Fishing in Clarksville, Georgia wants to give me, and anyone else, that epic adventure. Situated on the “best two miles of the Soque River,” they proclaim proudly that trophy fishing adventures with them are just waiting to be had.
fire pit, after a long day of fishing, you can sit around and have a chat with Abby and John, and they will joyfully tell you their location is on a legendary stream. As they will tell you, the stream is “lovingly preserved,” so they are able to say, with great conviction I might add, “There’s nowhere you can catch a bigger fish on this beautiful Soque River.” The Soque River begins in the Blue Ridge Mountains and winds through Clarkesville, Georgia. Because Blackhawk is able to intimately know its stretch of water, its well-trained and experienced guides provide adventures that make, according to them, “Even fly-fishing novices feel very welcomed.”
If a fisher has ever used a guide, it is true that at times the experience lacks The owners, Abby and John Jackson, opened satisfaction. However, Blackhawk prides itself Blackhawk lodge in 1996, but the Jackson for having repeat clientele. They do all they family has been stewards of the property can to make their business, repeat business. that they call “Blackhawk Fly Fishing” since Part of their success comes from their 1939. The restored farmhouse that was built simple, yet effective, mission which is to give in the 1860s is a rustic gem. At their outdoor anglers great waters to fish. To perpetuate 74 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
Blackhawk Fly Fishing and Lodge
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their success, they also love to promote the sport of fly fishing to younger generations. “Trophy waters of our caliber and quality offer a great location for experienced anglers to advance and novices to learn. Blackhawk is open year round, except during July and August due to the hot temperatures,” says Abby Jackson. “The fly fishing has seasonal peaks during the spring and fall, and some of the best dry fly fishing occurs in May, June, and September.” But, a thorough description of Blackhawk would be lacking if one left out a description of the food.
salsas.” Anglers not only catch that lifetime memory, but they also get to savor the taste of Abby J’s Gourmet. “With this combination of trophy fly fishing and gourmet food, what more can an angler ask for?” Abby joyfully quipped. “As they say, one bite and you’ll be hooked!” I couldn’t have ended this story any better myself! (And she’s right.) For reservations and availability please call Abby J at 706-947-FISH and visit their websites at www.blackhawkflyfishing. com and www.abbyjsgourmet.com
Abby’s pride in Blackhawk doesn’t leave off at the fishing. Abby makes gourmet lunches and, as she lovingly says, “tongue tingling 78 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
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featured fly tyer
Terry Rivers Clayton, Georgia www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 83
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very corner of “troutdom” in the South has its share of vise masters. They are the local fly-tying gurus who practice their passion and quite often pass their knowledge on to others. Terry Rivers, of Clayton, Georgia, is one those fellows who is well known in his neck of the woods and is deserving of being known in the wider world. For longer than just about anyone can remember, Terry has been tying traditional patterns and creating his own for catching trout from Peach State waters as well as other parts of the country. Perhaps even more importantly, Terry has taken part in countless programs where other trout fishermen and young people were introduced to fly tying.
that when it comes to fly fishing, I am pretty much self-taught. Some of my buddies whom I fished with in those days fished with fly rods, but none of us were fly-fishing school graduates. Our fly-fishing adventures included floats down the Towaliga, Ocmulgee, and the Flint River, and all of them are warm water species’ habitats.”
“Even in those days I did much of my fishing with a fly rod,” says Terry. “I’d have to say
Once back in the states once he returned to civilian life, Terry’s buddies invited
“Unlike these young fellows today, I was not introduced to fly fishing at a young age,” says Terry. “My father would take me fishing for bluegill in those days, but he was not a fly fisherman. I did not start fly fishing until my teens. Then, after high school Uncle Sam called, and I spent the next four years in southeast Asia, mostly in Japan.”
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featured fly tyer patterns he tied, he says that he started out tying a lot of patterns that he knew caught trout in the waters where he liked to fly fish. These patterns included Wooly Boogers, Hares Ear, Adams, and the Cahill. He was delighted to discover that the flies he tied worked well on the streams he fished. This was the starting point for Terry. Once he knew he could tie flies that would catch trout, he really went to work as a tier, devouring everything he could find to read about tying. In his own words, “I was hooked.” A true Southern Appalachian fly tier to the core, Terry says that when he launched into tying trout flies, well-stocked fly shops were few and far apart. “When I first started tying trout flies, I obtained fly tying materials about any way I could get them. More than a few times I have gathered up road kill for feathers and fur. Of course then, and even now, I would buy mail order tying supplies. The young tiers today do not know how lucky they are to him to go fishing. It was then that he rediscovered fly fishing which, interestingly enough, was about the time he got married. This was in the early 80s. As fate would have it, somewhere along the way, Terry found himself in a trout stream casting flies to these cold water quarries. Life has never been the same since. “My wife and I rented a lot on the Tallulah River in Rabun County for about three years which served as a ‘home base’ for easy access fly fishing for trout at that river and nearby streams,” say Terry. “Thereafter we bought some property in Rabun County. It has been home ever since.” As with his introduction to fly fishing, Terry says he is largely a self-taught tier who never had much in the way of exposure to well-known fly-tying mentors. When asked to tell about some of the first trout fly
go into a fly shop that is stocked with tying materials that we older tiers could not even have imagined having access to.”
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Mclose look - georgia Although Terry does not tie commercially, he says, “I did tie some for a year or two for a local hardware store.” He provided the store with a pattern they could not get at the time—the Y2K. Now, pretty much a standard in everyone’s fly box, the Y2K, not long ago, was pretty much a well-kept secret. What Terry does do is donate his time to helping others learn to tie. A member of one of the most active Trout Unlimited chapters in the South (Rabun), before each monthly meeting, he and a cadre of other tiers conduct 1.5 hour teaching/tying sessions. “Actually, I have and do teach privately,” says Terry. “However, for the last six years one of my summertime passions is teaching fly fishing and fly tying to youths at Trout Unlimited’s Trout Camp for Kids. For us, it has been a week-long camp we have been doing for ten years. I took over the tying classes from a great friend, Bob Foster, after his wife suffered a stroke, and he had to devote his time to taking care of her.” Southern Trout asked Terry to tell the five flies he considers essential when fishing the local streams of north Georgia. Terry responded that his recommendations would be the Wooly Bugger, Prince Nymph, Parachute Adams, Cahill’s, and Hares Ear.
What are some of the older, traditional patterns Terry likes to fish and tie? His response was the same as above, plus Zug Bug, Yallarhammar, Eggs, and Inch worms depending on the time and year and what is hatching. Like all fly fishermen, his arsenal has expanded in recent years. He says that he really likes tying and fishing Y2K and Rainbow Warrior patterns, and has found himself tying and fishing terrestrial patterns of hoppers, ants, and beetles a lot more than during his formative years. When asked what advice he has for upcoming southern fly tiers, Terry said, “I would tell first time tiers to get with a tier first and don’t waste your time on cheap vises and materials. Taking shortcuts to save a few bucks will just end up discouraging them to quit before they really could enjoy this part of fishing. I almost did.” He also recommends patience and persistence in getting together the materials needed to tie flies. “Not many times, but sometimes, the thread I want is difficult, but I can usually find it somewhere, mostly by surfing the net. This is a good place to learn about new tying materials. Some of the synthetics that have come out, have made tiers jobs a little easier.”
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uide books to fishing creeks and rivers are rarely described as being a “classic,” at least not in the sense that our culture quotes William Shakespeare or Mark Twain. In the South, trout fishing is a sub-culture of a large sub-culture. Myopic as southern trout fishermen may be, in our little world we do have revered volumes of classic literature. Currently in its fourth edition and still selling like hotcakes is a southern classic titled, Trout Fishing in North Georgia: A Comprehensive Guide to Public Lakes, Reservoirs, and Rivers (Peachtree Publishers, Ltd. 2007) by Jimmy Jacobs.
fishing methods—bait, spinner and fly. His tips on flies, techniques and tackle are dead on. Great information is given on the various species of trout found in the Peach State waters. One of my favorite aspects of Trout Fishing in North Georgia is the information regarding fly-fishing history. Whether a novice or a seasoned pro, any trout fisherman hoping to land this delicate and elusive quarry will find 240 pages Trout Fishing in North Georgia a valuable resource.
Written by one of the South’s best known outdoor scribes, Trout Fishing in North Georgia is but one of a number of books written by Jacobs. He has a new title, a guide to backcountry hiking, coming out this year from Falcon Press. Besides being an accomplished book author and fly-fishing expert, the Atlanta resident is also a long-time editor at Game and Fish Publications and the outdoor editor for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Now in its fourth edition, Trout Fishing in North Georgia is a comprehensive guide that provides extensive yet easyto-read information not only about how to catch trout, but also about fishing locations in Georgia and how to get to them. The latest edition of the book now includes photographs and has been completely updated to include five new streams and revised information on 73 other creeks, rivers, and ponds. Jacobs does a stellar job providing access information to all waters and especially larger public waters. The book includes detailed maps and directions as well as the special regulations governing each stream. He does a thorough job of covering all three www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 89
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Chattooga River Delayed Harv
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vest: A Winter Hotspot
Stocked rainbow trout are the mainstay of the Chattooga River DH fishery. www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 93
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he Chattooga River flows down the border of north Georgia and the highlands of South Carolina. Along its way to becoming part of the Savannah River, this stream triggers a range of differing emotions in the trout fisherman. For some, a mention of the river evokes scenes of outrageous whitewater rafting runs. The tumbling chutes and roaring falls provide some of the most exciting paddling in the eastern portion of the nation. The filming of the movie Deliverance on the stream back in the 1970s imprinted other images upon the psyche of outdoorsmen in the last quarter of the 20th century. An uneasy feeling sweeps over us whenever banjo music is heard drifting down a mountain hollow. From that same well sprang the phrase “squeal like a pig” to haunt Ned Beatty’s acting career and make the rest of us cringe. But, despite Hollywood’s best efforts, for most anglers today, the Polly Dean fishing the lower portion of the Chattooga Chattooga’s main legacy is synonymous with River DH near the SR 28 bridge. great trout fishing. Camping Access the river is stocked with catchable-sized brook, brown and rainbow Here again the view of the river is a multitrout. faceted one. Indeed, the Chattooga is like four rivers in one. From its headwater The area that presently gets the most around Bull Pen Gap in North Carolina down attention from anglers, especially in the past Ellicotts Rock where Georgia and the winter months, is the Delayed Harvest (DH) two Carolinas meet to Burrells Ford, the water. The DH regulations were introduce water harbors almost all exclusively wild in 2002, and during the ensuing decade, stream-bred trout. Next, the river courses through an isolated section where fingerling the rules have proven quite popular. But, even this stretch is not easily accessed by trout are stocked with the use of helicopters fishermen. Hiking trails along both shores of once per year. The rainbows and browns the river provide the only way to reach the of this portion act more like wild fish than best fishing areas hatchery plantings. Then, from the mouth of Reed Creek downstream to the State Route 28 bridge, the river is managed by Georgia and South Carolina as a delayed-harvest fishery. This third section is the “newest” portion of the fishery, and it is what has brought refreshed attention to the Chattooga. Finally, from SR 28 down to the Long Bottom
The DH water stretches upstream from the bridge at SR 28 for 2.3 miles. The upper boundary for the section is the mouth of Reed Creek, which enters the river from Georgia on the western side of the flow. Both Georgia’s and South Carolina’s DH seasons on the Chattooga run from November 1 to May 15. annually. Only single-
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Polly Dean fishing the Chattooga River DH section. hook artificial lures are allowed, although dropper rigs are legal as long as each fly has only a single hook. Needless to say, all fish must be immediately released. Conveniently, fishing licenses from Georgia and South Carolina are honored on the Chattooga, but be aware that moving up any feeder streams requires a license from the state in which the creek is located. This part of the river receives more than 3,000 catchable-sized rainbow, brown and brook trout via helicopter stocking in November. Additional releases of 500 fish monthly take place from December through February using stocking trucks. Finally, in March and April, 1,500 more trout are added each month. In total the Chattooga receives just shy of 8,000 fish during the DH period. The truck stockings are carried out at wildlife food plots on the South Carolina side,
just upstream of the SR 28 bridge. On the Georgia side the releases are at the food plot roughly halfway between Reed Creek and the SR 28 bridge. The bulk of the fish planted in the river are 9 to 12 inches long, but larger fish are present. Some of these have simply added length and weight from being in the river for several months, but there is some carryover of fish, particular the brown trout. Anglers hitting the water at the first of the season or immediately after a monthly stocking are likely to find the fish a bit less than sophisticated in their taste. Fishing Y2Ks, San Juan worms or salmon egg patterns often attract the fish better than more natural offerings. That situation changes pretty quickly, however, as the fish become attuned to
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Polly Dean with a brook trout on the Chattooga near the mouth of Reed Creek.
Foreign Legion conditions. The legionnaires were told to “march or die.” The fresh stockers soon learn to “eat or die,” as they begin focusing on the forage that the river provides. From the standpoint of fly selection, there is no one “silver bullet” on the Chattooga. That’s because often a number of different flies are adequate imitations of the most prevalent bugs. In the DH section during the fall and winter, expect small stoneflies to be abundant. Target the fish with patterns that mimic the nymph stage of the insect. Brown is usually a good color for those. On warmer winter days or later as the spring begins arriving, a number of insects hatch on the river. Three dry flies that consistently work are Blue-Winged Olives, Black Caddis and midges in a variety of hues. If you prefer spinning gear, your best bets are inline spinners, like Rooster Tails, Panther Martins or Mepps spinners. Just remember that those lures also must have a single hook.
The parking are on the Georgia side o
Another option is the float-and-fly tactic often used by smallmouth bass anglers. Clip a small bobber on the line with a standard trout fly a couple of feet below it. An angler wanting to tangle with a big carryover brown trout probably has a better chance with the spinning tackle. Often the “big and ugly” theory works in such a case. Pick out the biggest, ugliest spinner in your box and fish it. You won’t get many hits, but when a fish strikes, it could be a megabrown. Access to the DH waters on the Chattooga is either the bane or the blessing of this fishery, depending on your perspective. The only road access is at the SR 28 bridge. If you like easy access for your angling, you are limited to the lower end of the DH section. On the other hand, if you prefer walking away from the crowd, hiking trails on both shores give you that opportunity. A parking lot is available on the eastern, South Carolina side of the river at the SR 28
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of the SR 28 bridge.
The parking area and trailhead on the South Carolina side of the river at the State Route 28 bridge.
bridge. A gated road and later a trail lead from this site upstream along much of the DH stretch. It doesnâ€™t, however, go all the way to Reed Creek. A parking area is also provided on the Georgia side. To access the upstream area, walk west along SR 28 for a few hundred yards to a gated dirt road. This road leads to the wildlife clearing where the stocking trucks approach the river. Beyond that point, a trail continues upriver to the mouth of Reed Creek. For more information on fishing the Chattooga River delayed-harvest waters visit the Chattooga River Fly Shop that is a tad more than 8 miles from the river in Mountain Rest, South Carolina. There Web site is www.chattoogariverflyshop.com.
Jimmy Jacobs with a brown trout near the mouth of Reed Creek on the Chattooga. Photo by Brent Jacobs
Photos by Jimmy Jacobs
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estled in the North Georgia Mountains, 45 minutes from Dahlonega, Blue Ridge and Blairsville is a highly acclaimed private trout fishery with 2200 feet of river frontage on six acres. It is considered a fly-fishing haven by anglers and guests. Nowhere else in North Georgia will
Natalie you find a trophy trout catch-and-release stream of this caliber. Every tree on the property was carefully chosen and planted by the property owner to create a haven of peace and tranquility with a special habitat for fish. The entire property is skillfully
manicured, Photo b creating a beautiful and lush environment for guests to enjoy. The 2220 feet of river frontage provides an incredibly relaxing environment for guests to get lost in their thoughts. Guests are often found enjoying early mornings as the sun is rising, and the fog is lifting from the valley. SharperBites delivers both experienced and non-experienced guests with a unique experience that combines the artful teaching of fly fishing technique by seasoned instructors with an opportunity to catch trophy fish on 2200 feet of private
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water located on the headwaters of the Toccoa River. SharperBites tells Southern Trout that its goal is to provide a memorable experience to keep guests coming back for return trips. They also strive to please their guests to the extent that guests recommend the experience to friends and family. According to Natalie Sharp, owner, SharperBites caters to the specific needs and desires of clients, and they customize trips that are appropriate for each and every customer. Thirty-minutes of customized casting/basic instruction are given to all, depending upon their levels of expertise. Whether they are seasoned anglers or beginners, SharperBites offers practice sessions on two casting ponds prior to entering trophy water. To keep SharperBites a successful operation for
h ra 30+ inc
every customer, Natalie tells Southern Trout that everything a customer needs for a day is completely provided. Customers simply show up and are suited with waders, boots, rods/reels and flies. All they need to bring with them is a fishing license with a trout stamp, polarized sunglasses, hat/visor, two pairs of socks, a change of clothes and long underwear (if fishing during the winter months), and an attitude they will be having an experience of a lifetime. Southern Trout asked Natalie what got her into the art of fly fishing. “I grew up in Vero Beach Florida, where being on the water was a part of life,” began Natalie. “I started by learning how to boat and fish with my father at a very young age, and I later developed a passion for racing sailboats. Passing the Power Squadron Boating Course at age 13 allowed me to chart courses with my father to the Bahamas for family vacations… At age 14, I landed a 6’ sail fish and loved all the deep sea fishing trips my father would take me on. Living on the river provided plenty of spin fishing time that later in life would play havoc on learning the art of fly fishing.”
Newbie with first catch on a fly rod
“In 2000, I decided that it was time to find a hobby that would relieve the stress of my corporate day job, and I turned to fly fishing which showed me an art form of fishing that
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Mclose look - georgia deep sea fishing didn’t provide. I took lessons from a local guide, who later asked me to guide his female clients with the thought that women might learn better from a female guide. Not only was I guiding women, but also I found my corporate male clients were intrigued with my ability to fly fish. They were intrigued so much so that they started wanting to come along to learn to fly fish. My male sales
a slower life” and it allowed her to pursue her love for fly fishing. As is true for many who pursue fly fishing, Natalie’s hobby soon became a passion, and her passion became her profession. A niche market became evident for her which combined fly fishing with her tch Last ca love for cooking in an attempt to create a totally unique experience that could be shared with others. SharperBites—fly fishing with a gourmet bite
Brown trout catch using golfing with clients as their outing, and in turn, I turned fly fishing to be my outside outing to benefit my sales career.” Because she spent so much time in Blue Ridge, she moved there. It was “heaven” as she calls it. To her, “The pristine rivers and creeks, coupled with the quaintness of Blue Ridge, Georgia provided the perfect backdrop for
was born. Now Natalie had a way to share her vision of providing fly-fishing instruction with an experience that would provide relief for a guest from their everyday stresses. Fishing this section of private waters is the perfect place for beginners who want to cast their way into a new hobby or the
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seasoned angler who is looking to hook a monster trophy trout. Beginners benefit from learning casting techniques in the fly casting pond and the serious anglers head straight for river where trophy trout are plentiful. “The fish are everywhere!” says Natalie. Over hanging limbs have been trimmed or removed to make casting much easier from longer distances to reduce spooking. All this has been done to make this stretch of river as beginner friendly as possible while maintaining the ecology and habitat of the river. Trips are limited annually as to keep the fish and water in pristine conditions. Snacks are provided on all trips. Picnic lunches or gourmet shore lunches are available with advanced notice from April to October. Gourmet lunches consist of an appetizer, shrimp/smoked salmon (among the favorites), a gourmet summer salad (a variety of gourmet lettuces that Natalie grows in her summer garden), a main course with a vegetable, homemade dessert, and choice of beverage. According to Natalie, “Couples particularly like the dining aspect of sitting by the waterfall and enjoying the total experience, while the seasoned angler wants a quick bite so he or she can hit the trophy water in search of the monster fish and is happy with a quick picnic lunch.”
fishing on private water, and enjoy having the chance to catch trophy fish. It’s not unusual to see their guests book a couple of times during the year. For trips of two, a guide is provided for each guest to allow for one-onone instruction. For Table S etting couples, a guide is provided per couple for the day trip. Male guides are also available upon request. Customers who visit SharperBites have given rave reviews about their experiences. “With her disarming personality, patience, sense of humor and expertise in the art of fly fishing, Natalie provides the perfect learning experience for your fly-fishing adventure that creates a truly memorable experience.” Another guest said, “Natalie not only taught me how to catch trophy fish, but I learned that there was a new hobby that I could pursue with my husband that would force me to relax, and escape my daily work routine. A sport we could do together.” To visit SharperBites, you may leave contact information for Natalie Sharp at www. sharperbites.com. Also, feel free to call 706632-7051 or 706-455-2074(cell) for voice mail messages. If you are visiting, they will provide detailed directions.
When asked what else makes an experience with SharperBites unique, she responded, “After two or three trips with SharperBites, customers are often comfortable enough to go out on their own.” Natalie will guide guests to public areas locally to fish. However, many customers come back because they truly develop a passion for www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 101
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62:%8*5281'83 “A Celebration of Fly Fishing” th st nd March 20 , 21 & 22 , 2014 9:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m. Daily Baxter County Fairgrounds
1507 Fairgrounds Blvd. • Mountain Home, AR
Sandy Barksdale © 2014
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Mclose look - georgia
FA N N I N C O U N T Y: T H E T R O U T
f you are looking for further proof that trout fishing is the new hottest pastime in Dixie, consider Fannin County’s claim to being the “Trout Capital of Georgia.” In 2010, the Georgia House of Representatives passed House Resolution 1773 declaring Fannin County the Trout Capital of Georgia. The 13 bodies of water, designated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as trout waters, are home to rainbow, brown, and brook trout.
The Toccoa River, which rises in adjacent Union County, flows northward across Fannin County into Tennessee, where it becomes the Ocoee River. Blue Ridge Lake, created in the 1930s spans a substantial stretch of the river in the northern part of the county. Its tailwaters are rated among the best in the country. Fannin County is located along the northern edge of Georgia. Only established in
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1854, Fannin County still managed to send five regiments of infantry into the War of Northern Conquest less than ten years later. While still only modestly populated by north Georgia standards, Fannin County is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Southern Appalachians. The county seat is Blue Ridge, which reeks with trout. “Blue Ridge holds the states best tailrace in the Toccoa River,” says Jeff Turner, manager and part owner of Blue Ridge Fly Fishing located on Blue Ridge’s Main Street. “On top of the Toccoa, Fannin County has and is surrounded by more than 4,000 miles of trout streams with countless trophy waters. Trout fishing has always been occurring
in Blue Ridge, but thanks in large part to trout fishing, the downtown area has had an incredible resurgence in the past decade. “The town is great not just for the fishing itself, but also for its small-town charm with the accommodations of any great destination,” says Turner. “Growing from a few store fronts, Blue Ridge now offers incredible dining, shopping, and attractions. As the town has grown into a destination for people from many walks of life, an increasing number of visitors choose to go on guided fishing trips in the area. This correlates to more people finding an interest in the sport of fly fishing. For example, Blue Ridge Fly Fishing Shop is also located next to Oyster
C A P I TA L O F G E O R G I A
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Mclose look - georgia shop. Kory and Jeff guide and run the shop while the head guide, Hunter Barnes, if not out with clients, he can be found in the shop as well. The three of them are young Turks with a lot of energy and passion for the sport. They are always trying to improve the service they provide and to make people’s fishing experience that much better. “With a large part of the people coming in to the town to shop, dine and be in the mountains, a large percentage always makes their way into our shop to go fishing with our great guides,” says Turner. “As for fisherman this is absolutely a place where they flock to fish with some of the best water in the Southeast. We are a full service shop which so very important due to the amount of people wanting to fish, who are just starting out, and the incredibly experienced anglers we find in here on a daily basis looking for just the right gear. Bamboo, one of (if not the) greatest bamboo fly rod artists in the world. Oyster Bamboo brings in fly-fishing fanatics from around the country and the world, and they always end up falling in love with the area. “There has been a fly shop in this location of Blue Ridge Fly Fishing for almost a decade. It was originally founded by Jimmy Harris who owns Unicoi Outifitters, but it has been Blue Ridge Fly Fishing for the past three years,” says Turner. Along with Jeff, Kory Chastain, and Hunter Barnes are the mainstays at the
“Many people need advice on their first rod, choosing where to fish out of the massive amount of water, and what flies to take with them. An experienced angler needs a place here in the mountains to gear up for the day, and if it is their first time in the area, inside information on the water. During the busy months, the shop sees hundreds of novice fisherman come through the shop. Being a full-service fly shop, Blue Ridge Fly Fishing offers not only offers guides trout, but outings where anglers wanting to learn more get
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instruction.” According to Turner, “When you go fishing with our experienced guides, the guides figure what waters are best suited to your skill level.” “We want people to always be able to call us for something they need,” says Turner. “With this in mind, we carry everything possible, and we have a policy that we will find what you need—regardless. All of our employees have one goal. It is to make the experience in the shop or over the phone the best we can.” Fannin County holds 100,000 acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest. It is well suited to DYI trips, even for first time visitor here. Fannin County is home to the famous Trout Adventure Trail. Designed as a “plan your own” hiking network and learning experience for kids of all ages
along legendary trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest in north Georgia, the trails provide outstanding access to great backcountry fly fishing. The Trout Adventure Trail is designated by the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce as one of the top-12 wintertime activities in the region. It’s tough to talk about going trout fishing in Blue Ridge without the subject of food and drink sprouting forth, at least with the sort of folks I hang with. Blue Ridge has numerous great eateries, but believe me when I tell you that no trip to the Trout Capital of Georgia is complete without a trip to the famous Toccoa Riverside Restaurant. Located right on the river right between the catch-andrelease section of the Toccoa and where bait fishing is permitted by those with lack of conscious, owner Tim Richter has eight different trout dishes on the menu. The
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Mclose look - georgia fire, the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant has resided there since 1992, when Richter, then a recent graduate of Penn State University, spied this spectacular setting where he envisioned the dining experience of really great food. Most weekend evenings during fishing season finds the place hopping with live bluegrass music. When asked what he would like to convey on a personal level regarding Blue Ridge, Jeff Turner said, â€œBlue Ridge is a truly special place. From the scenic train rides, to the incredible dining and lodging, there is something here for absolutely everyone. You cannot really tell the passion the people working here have for this town until you visit it firsthand. You can fish one of the best 50 tailwaters in the United States, or a tiny stream in the middle of the mountains. Whatever you are looking for, Blue Ridge has it to offer. Sounds like a capital ideaâ€Ś
newest is the rosemary trout, but if you are a first timer here, order the pecan encrusted trout. Had Sherman known this dish was in Fannin County, doubtless he would have sidestepped Atlanta. Although rebuilt in 2012 after a disastrous 108 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
Trout only live in beautiful places.
Fly Fish the Trout Capitol of Georgia. With over 550 miles of beautiful rivers and trout streams, Blue Ridge and Fannin County have the richest, most diverse all-season fishery in the state.
For a free Visitorâ€™s Guide, call 800-899-mtns
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Selectivity FLY FISHING
The Theory & Method of Fly Fishing for
Fussy Trout, Salmon, & Steelhead
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we’re blue in the face and ﬁshless; always thinking upon his publisher to send readers of Matt Supinski’s book Selectivity: The Theory there is a monster lurking around the next bend is not Southern Trout Magazine an excerpt from his & Method of Fly Fishing for Fussy Trout, the appropriate way to ﬁsh. Here, each piece of water book. I believe this will give you just a Salmon and Steelhead delves deeply into the newcan hold a large trout—in habitat-rich spring creeks taste of what this book is lying all about. history of fly fishing and the thoughts behind and tailwaters, the exciting sheer amount of ﬁsh in total likeiswhat you’ve read go of outﬁsh Supinski’s approach. He explores and defines If you’d disguise amazing. There are here, hundreds local fly shop andundercut purchase copy. what steps you can take to easily determine to your among all the weed growth, banks,aand dark If you’d like to meet Matt Supinski in person which tactic and approach is best for your channels. You often walk past sections of a fertile and habitat get anand autographed of for histhe latest situation. Are you fishing a spring creek, or trout lies whilecopy looking honey book you’re in luck. Supinski is a featured hole. On one of my favorite spring creeks in Wisconfreestone stream? Are you tossing streamers, sin, it at tookthis an electroshocking ﬁsh survey to teach me speaker year’s Virginia Fly Fishing or swinging nymphs and bead head this lesson. The biologists came downstream Festival www.vaflyfishingfestival.org heldand in patterns? In this book, Supinski discusses shocked a section of river I thought was ﬁshless— Waynesboro, Virginia, April 12th and 13th. If presentation methods that work, but more to 24-inch browns appeared out ofone nowhere, leavyou 16move fast you may get into of the importantly, why they work. If you want to ing me completely bafﬂed. coveted slots in his Advanced Tactics for read a book that is just as entertaining as it is hunting, plain and simple. BilatSpringSight-nymphing Creeks class being offered at this is informative, then go to your local fly shop eral and extremely acute vision is required. Stalking at year’s festival. The class may have sold out, and purchase a copy of Selectivity. Gentle sipping rises occur to spent caddis or ﬂoating crippled a low proﬁle out of the sun’s shadow is a must. And but if you do get in the class, I hear a bottle pupae that have just turned into adults. JOHN MILLER having the patience to study the patterns and behavof good Scotch and smoked salmon goes a As a personal favor to me, Supinski ior of a large S/R trout nymphing is paramount to suclong way prevailed My friends Carl Richards and Gary LaFontaine cess. to endearing you to the instructor. came up with some highly specialized imitations. In ity s that the ctivheavy le e ge trout, know S r averarivers—another e fo th e an th these caddis-infested being the or is Pra lective, the water Aggressive, Se more time on . find them— at he is, with Tips for Trophy Fish nt disposition An Elk-hair in which you ski, guide th statetailwater—exactness Missouri matters. their curre e th to on ing “Matt Supin s rd nd co s ac balance right h depe tic fis at tac th of d r ts an ge vio s i sk flie ur pin yo Su t . jus feeding beha ion or ad tat d, to en it. When the elhea key in on a trout Timing is everything here. The power of cloudy days proper prescut that you needCaddislecoften salmon, ste tion, half won’t Passive—and trout, Atlantic fly pattern se your catch of always half increase like to r de or Imitation is in speciﬁc phase the pupa, which comprises 75 perwith light rain is amazing on these rivers, which are en what to do wh es and tells you after.” thor, Trout Fli au be , t es gh gh mi u Hu ve e e yo cent of theDafeeding during this hatch, dead drifting or broad and wide open without shade. Often when you t. Relianc whatever els fined the spor s that once de er methods of the traditionpupa will d othyou m an g fro twitch-and-go drifting give many looks ﬁsh them on sunny days (the Delaware is one examhin ed fis ay between fly y as fishing has str into jeopard rred the lines st 30 years, fly reasingly blu ort’ has come sp inc “Over the pa pt s n’s ke ha ma ich on rejections. the ple) you could swear there isn’t a trout to be had. Big inking But whenreq and wh is on heavy, al innovatiand often uired hatch elf as ‘the th on technologic ods once Selectivity, of angling its ditional meth Supinski, in the tradition y. Mattkey. stery of tra ncthe ma cie e sheer numbers of naturals is Eventually the and selective tailwater trout are always on the hunt for effi angling. Even e lik g ut ntit Ze hin r bs ercial fis its forme s come to su t from comm n’s sport in technology ha thinking ma quite differen ate ing .” th im ed ult me ain e so att th trout make mistakes in these situations after you have for food, comfort, and feeding handouts and they go as ective as cts erwise to be sport fishing torical persp d Other Subje levels not oth hing into his stery of skill e Steelhead an ma Lin e y th Dr has put fly fis to or, life consistently and monotonously presented your ﬂy through all the selectivity phases in direct correlation , auth ep devoting one’s Bill McMillan May the Rivers Never Sle attractions of thor, for and co o live dozens wh rs over and over to-authe same ssiﬁsh. It might take with the conditions. They can traverse many miles of he fis fly for those rtain cla c ust read,’ a ce ‘m a is , ok y of casts, but you should stick with one good ﬁsh river in several weeks due to the stable hydrodynamlatest bo g as to wh tt Supinski’s understandin “Selectivity, Ma cts in e and effect’ salmon. bje us tic su ‘ca lan e his At let of d s mp itsesbehavior will pay off. A ics and ﬂat river terrain. For the most part this dictates ead, an despite refusals. the activitie ovides a coObserving trout, steelh ed and haviorist, pr ok. He organiz havior observ e lifelong be sis for this bo nt. Every be Supinski, th is the ba orma at /D Th ve . ssi do mid-depth suspended trout jittering from side to side their mobility, and so the angler must be also mobile. Pa ey ; what th Reflective salmonids do st ve; Selective/ gressive/Acti . himself the mo i Ag ies sk or er: pin teg nn Su ca ma e d n usually feeding towiascending pupae or driftIf you’re a hatch-matching dry ﬂy nut like me, it’s thes ll fin a clear ws fromindicates fisher must ow els, but most the author flo nce every fly on many lev explained by the one refere with readersrises. Quick onate larvae become resing to ll slashing rises usually indicate critical that you know a stream’s aquatic insect hatches d wi ne sti ity de tiv is Selec . This book rt of the book . d Fly Fishing on ea lm elh interesting pa sa Ste d an or, as well as the percentage of mayﬂy, caddis, stoneﬂies, feeding on emerging pupae or ovipositing females that th , au ut, steelhead, Trey Combs major if targeting tro e for the first ne mi no my nchironomids, and midges that make up each hatch, so climbed underwater to lay are now ski, iseggs and wi tter credeswimide Matt Supin riter th be ofessional gu d any angler-w owner and pr d compelling be hard to fin Often lodgeming ose an uld pr by wo y, ely that you have a basis for ﬂy selection. No two tailwaback to the surface. trout will leap comIt vit liv y. cti ur his “Sele first cent nced by ard in its a new stand of the twentysubject, enha is sure to set complicated angling book is ity th tiv to lec e Se tic . ters have the same emergence schedule; the hatches pletely or partially in the air when A/A attacking t to do jus photographers tials or talen contributing m Matt and ts fro sec y In ph m gra ea Str photo egg-laying females. are dictated by climate zones and seasons. Some tailauthor, Trout on Dick Pobst, field.” at trout, salm the world’s gre on g e waters, such as the San Juan River, will have many hin tiv fis more selec ng and fly today are far time of guidi ut we fish for ated. In this through a life , uc tro e ed red . th ve : .D co rn Ph lea year-round emergence schedules, with concentrations s dis the survivors we all should “Supinski ha g has made ucci/Nastasi, ers, something d rivSight-Nymphing aro, Flick, Ca d-release fishin and steelhea plains re. Catch-an nnings, Marin ex Je yo i of midges and tiny Blue-Winged Olives occurring daily. of of sk ys pin ion da Su dit ts— re in the tra entomologis than they we c—written in ing amateur havior in their atching classi ad) becommon fly-fishcrystal-clear -mWhen er lhe tch tee oth ha /s d rn an on , I am nymphing water, in During a hatch, I recommend ﬁshing upstream of de lm in mo ert, Meck ut (and sa your teeth ards, Schweib nt) or gnash eam. Learn tro Swisher/Rich ssive/Dorma w face onstr Pa no d d an we an , g— ms ve din ru nd tailwaters andSelecspring creeks, I approach the ﬁsh, so that you can present the ﬂy with a downconu tive/Reflecti g understan slowly and the modern tch-matchin sive/Active, in modern ha viors (Agges an instruction each piece of the river into feeding beha cautiously, is ok dividing small and-across reach cast. The greater distance you can bo an is rm Fly Fishe stration. Th d grow.” er emeritus, onstream fru ans, read it an olph, publish ndrivers r. By all me Ra vio hn ha Jo be fly ) parts. Our tendency on is to roam and wade till keep from the ﬁsh the better. Be careful not to produce ting (angler the most exac
st-read for er written. It ould be a mu e volumes ev king. This sh rtant referenc at an underta po wh im d st an mo ok e t a bo one of th “Wow. Wha that it will be ing would guess Fly Rod Trout fisherman. I many times.” or, Ed Shenk’s d rea red Shenk, auth d an rea Ed be ld ou sh
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Frank Sawyer nymphing on his beloved Avon in Hampshire, England. Sawyer wrote in Nymphs and the Trout that “Nymph ﬁshing, if you are to be successful, is indeed a matter of being careful. It is not just the business of throwing a nymph at all the likely places and hoping the ﬁsh will take it. You turn yourself into a hunter and, with all the keenness of a stalker after a stag, ﬁgure wits and your eyesight against the facilities and faculties of the wild ﬁsh who are on the feed and continually on the lookout for nymphs moving in the water or below.” TERRY LAWTON
wakes, which will quickly shut down the ﬁsh. Long leaders of up to eighteen feet allow you to ﬁsh ﬁve to seven feet of tippet material, which can allow for extremely long drag-free ﬂoat.
t OUT THE SHALLOWS. p r CHECK e Exc
It was a bright sunny day in July, with a heat index near 100 degrees. The water temperature was in the mid-50s and nothing much was on the surface. “You’ll be amazed at the water these ﬁsh are holding in— inches!” said John Miller. “They are holding in the tight rocky rifﬂes and tailouts right by your feet!” he said. When big, selective browns and rainbows have optimal water conditions, their highly driven metabolic engines are in overdrive and they will hunt
TROUT: HABITAT, BEHAVIOR, AND TACTICS 51
An original Sawyer Pheasant Tail Nymph. If I had to ﬁsh one ﬂy pattern in the world, the Pheasant Tail Nymph would be it. Created to mimic the Baetis Blue-Winged Olive nymphs, it is a general pattern that imitates a host of mayﬂies, particularly Sulphurs. Like all of Sawyer’s nymphs, this simple design is highly effective for S/R trout when all other nymphs fail. It has no legs since the Baetis is a quick swimmer and its legs are tucked in. TERRY LAWTON insects in areas where the nymphs concentrate before the hatch. They ﬁnd islands that have shallow rifﬂes and gradient structures. They position themselves close to the shoreline for crawling and swimming nymphs. John cited two big browns in the mid20-inch range, right in spots that were shin deep. Developing a keen eye for the body silhouette, tail, and white mouth is the key to spotting these ﬁsh. Both of the ﬁsh ate our Isonychia wiggle nymphs like
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Too many anglers ﬁsh out of the comfort of a drift boat even during low water ﬂows. This will spook the trout with your high proﬁle. It is often, but not always, better to get out and wade slowly into position. LAURIE SUPINSKI
I learned the New Zealand–style approach to trophy-hunting nymphing from the Zen yogi trout hunter and guide Johnny Miller on the wild, selective-trout-ﬁlled Delaware. JOHN MILLER candy, though in the bright daylight they were reluctant to move far outside of their feeding lanes for them. Make sure your nymph imitation is presented well above the ﬁsh and turn it broadside just before it enters the ﬁsh’s window.
KNOW THE TEMPS On tailwaters across the country, optimal conditions are not always where the water is the coldest. Often bottom-released water at dams is too cold and sterile and it isn’t until the water warms to a more agreeable range (between 50 to 65 degrees) and the food becomes more diverse that you begin to see larger, selective trout. For instance, on the Neversink, another Catskill tailwater, the steep canyon walls of the mountains on the upper East and West branches of the Neversink above the reservoir trap underground spring and rain runoff water, causing the river’s acidity to rise. The Neversink’s diminishing mayﬂy and caddis life and increase in acid-tolerant stoneﬂies has been documented by USGS surveys. By these systems feeding the reservoir, what comes out of the bottom draw is extremely cold, clear dystrophic water lacking fertility. It isn’t until the water warms up and receives oxygen and sunlight that fertile habitat, like vegetation and deep pools, forms in the lower valley. The river then starts to hold large wild S/R browns many
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TROUT: HABITAT, BEHAVIOR, AND TACTICS 53
Laurie Supinski probes the Neversink tailwater, which looks like a giant spring creek. Its enormous rock- and boulder-lined pools, which run for more than one hundred yards, can reach depths of eight to ten feet. These are the huge winter holding pools that do not accumulate anchor ice and allow for large trout and young of the year parr to survive the harsh Catskill winters. MATT SUPINSKI miles downstream. Trout in tailwater systems can, and do, travel great distances in search of ideal habitat.
Freestones Freestone rivers are synonymous with trout and salmon ﬁshing. They were the ideal primordial forest environments with cold, clear waters when the ﬁsh evolved 70 to 30 million years ago. The birthplace of European ﬂy ﬁshing in the Dinaric Alps of Macedonia, the “ground zero” of the American ﬂy-ﬁshing school in the hallowed Catskills, and the home of the new age of Western ﬂy ﬁshing on the Madison in Montana—all are freestone rivers. The sounds of waterfalls and rapids cascading through rocky volcanic boulders and the sight of spring brook tributaries winding through dense green forests are things of beauty. But if spring creeks embody stability, freestone rivers facilitate chaos. Freestone trout must master fast river ﬂows for food detection, tolerate droughts and ﬂoods, and constantly be aware of predators that often go
undetected due to the volatile and fast-ﬂowing surface water that distorts the trout’s vision. Freestone rivers are a complex capillary system of multiple mountain springs, creeks, rivulets, and spate runoff water that channelized through geologic time. Rock in all forms—andesite, basalt, carbonite, granite, dolomite, shale—is carved and molded into varioussized boulders, stones, and gravel, which shows the power and patience water has with time. Freestone river environments change constantly, and each river system in the world is unique, which is what makes ﬂy ﬁshing fascinating. Most freestone rivers start off oligotrophic, as sterile but extremely pure water emanating from underground caverns void of oxygen. As they hit the forest, tundra, or river valleys, light, oxygen, and organic matter start to add eutrophic fertility, and so begins the food chain. Austria’s Roman Moser, a world-famous ﬂy ﬁsher, ﬂy tier, and author, knows freestone rivers, particularly his alpine models, better than anyone. He describes freestoners simply: “On the freestoner, the annual temperature ranges and the varying currents
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New for 2014 from Stackpole Books SELECTIVITY
The Theory & Method of Fly Fishing for Fussy Trout, Salmon, & Steelhead Matt Supinski • Strategies for fooling tough fish in all types of environs, from tailwaters to spring creeks to Gaspé salmon streams • Breathtaking photos from the top streams around the world • Hundreds of innovative fly patterns with recipes and notes $39.95, HC, 288 pages, 245 color photos, 8.5 x 11, 978-0-8117-1101-2 “Selectivity, Matt Supinski’s latest book, is a must-read, a certain classic for those fly fishers who live for trout, steelhead, and Atlantic salmon… This book is destined to become the one reference every fly fisher must own.” Trey Combs, author, Steelhead Fly Fishing
Selectivity and other Stackpole fishing titles are available from booksellers and fly shops nationwide. Visit www.stackpolebooks.com or call (800) 732-3669 to order.
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hom Glace carries the distinction of finding true love, not once, but twice in a lifetime. He first attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and found his direction by pursuing a BA in Journalism. Once he found direction, his life took off which included meeting his first love, Mary, who became his wife. It was with his first love that Thomâ€™s life experiences took his life from a walk to a brisk stride. Thom experienced journeys that are only parts of dreams for
marketing and sales with assignments in The Netherlands, he was able to experience over 40 countries while pursuing international marketing. Yet, with all his grand life experiences, seven years ago Thom had an experience that could have ended all his walks and journeys. A heart attack forced Thom to retire on disability. Then, in a search for a hobby that would engage this obviously talented, driven man, he found his second loveâ€”painting
My Love. The A
some of us. His travels included North Carolina, New Hampshire, St. Croix USVI and The Netherlands. After college, his professions took him from working in a publishing firm, a newspaper and two advertising firms, to owning his own business in Greensboro, NC. This flexibly talented man not only managed a firm in the Virgin Islands, but he also taught college at the University of the Virgin Islands and wrote on a couple of television shows in the Caribbean region. Also employed by a ma jor electronics components company in
watercolors. Drawing on the influences of other artists such as Archibald Thorburn (a Scottish watercolorist of the early 1900s), Phil Bean (a contemporary landscape artist from New Hampshire), and Gerges Seurat (a French Post-Impressionist1859-1891), he found a new direction in which to walk, and like in his earlier life, once he found a
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feature direction, his life (and art) took off. Thom specializes in watercolor studies of fish and dragonflies. When he is asked why he chose these subjects as his specialties, he says, “My answer starts with my love of nature, especially water. That comes from a father who loved snorkeling and took our family to island vacations where I discovered the beauty of the underwater creatures. I was scuba diving before I was a teenager! Later, my wife gave me an Orvis Fly Fishing
with the dragonfly. While I started with local species, I now paint what catches my fancy, everything from the Peacock Bass of the Amazon, the Marble Trout of Slovenia to the Masu (Cherry) Salmon of Japan.” Even though Thom may, at times, challenge himself by painting a wild horse or a megalith in Ireland or Wales, he always goes back to his love—watercolor studies of fish and dragonflies. “I paint with transparent watercolor, almost
Art of Thom Glace Loryn Patterson lesson as a present, and my love of trout and salmon grew like Kudzu!” “After 30 or so fish studies,” Thom says, “I decided to branch out to the insect world where I wanted the challenge of the delicate features…My first attempts were of a dragonfly and a butterfly—I fell in love
100% drybrush on Crescent Mat Board. While this method has absolutely no forgiveness— one mistake or blotch and I start over! I love the soft effect you get that give a wonderful balance between realism and that thing called the ‘painterly look or effect.’ I have started using Gum Arabic on fins and wings to get a glossier feeling.”
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The love Thom has for his subjects and his art glows through each painting. Because his love shines through, the popularity of his art has, as Thom says, taken a life of its own. “I now work out of my studio and provide work to galleries throughout the country [with] commissions to customers around the world. I have created a wonderful network of contacts…that provide me with reference photos and material of species to paint. They are from Japan to Slovenia, Montana to New Hampshire to Oregon. Plus they give me the encouragement to continue. One special relationship is with two entomologists from Texas A & M who have provided me with reference photos of dragonfly species.” Although his accomplishments are many, Thom’s most recent accomplishment includes being named the Festival Artist for
the 2014 Virginia Fly Fishing Festival (the largest outdoor fly fishing festival in the country). Although it was a heart attack that broke his stride, it was that heart attack that brought him into the business of art. Since then, he has regained his stride by involving himself and his art with organizations such as the Besides the Center Stage program for children with Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. There, Thom is on the Board of Directors with the Center for Independent Living—working to set up an art program with the disabled. He is also involved with Project Healing Waters, a nonprofit organization who works with disabled veterans to expand their enjoyment of life with a national fly fishing program.
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feature Thom’s work can be found in galleries and shops in Montana, New Hampshire, Gettysburg, Boiling Springs, New Cumberland, Lancaster, Coburn and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He is expanding to galleries in North Carolina, Texas and Delaware in the coming months. He has participated in exhibits from NYC, West Yellowstone, Montana, Lady Bird Johnson Park, outside of Stephenville, Texas, plus many exhibitions in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
Of his accomplishments and success, Thom says “I was given a second chance at life 7 years ago and a wife who supports my love of watercolors while putting up with a crazy artist.” We at Southern Trout are looking forward to what he will accomplish in the future. If this is just his stride, imagine what he will show us if he begins to run. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.thomglacewatercolors.com
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An American Tradition.. Still Made in the U.S.A.
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In the 1930s, Tycoon Tackle, Inc. developed and patented a heart-shaped laminated split-bamboo method of fishing rod construction that became the standard for excellence. The parabolic design was light and strong and this type of construction proved to withstand 60% more stress pounds per square inch than the conventionally shaped rods of the same crosssectional area. Today, we still manufacture the laminated split-bamboo fishing rods with the same care and quality as in the past. Our standard sizes are specifically designed for Trout fishing. Contact us with your fly-rod needs.
Nothing but net...
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early every fly angler I know likes to fly fish not merely because they enjoy fishing, but because of the whole concept and tradition of the sport. Certainly some fly anglers are more into tradition than others. I’d wager brook trout anglers from Western North Carolina and East Tennessee, for example, are far more likely to fish traditional dry flies and nymphs than… say…saltwater anglers from New Jersey. The former like using tried and true native trout patterns like Yaller Hammers, while the later chase stripers and are constantly coming up with new fly patterns made with synthetic material. Yes, I realize these anglers are chasing different species altogether, but I’m talking about one having a much longer historical pedigree than the other. Also, just to clarify things, I’m not saying one angler is better than another, I simply believe trout anglers, and in particular bamboo rod
aficionados, are really into history and the tradition of their sport. They may not sit around reading Dame Julian’s treatise on angling, or burn the midnight oil reading Roderick Haig-Brown’s A River Never Sleeps, but these guys and gals seem to appreciate where they’ve come from, and respect their history. If you’re one of the folks mentioned above who has a real passion for this sport, and you have a passion in particular for rods that are hand crafted and originating in America, I have some good news for you. Tycoon Tackle, an American made fishing rod manufacturer, has recently decided to reenter the market place with a new series of products from classic light weight bamboo trout rods, to large saltwater fishing tackle. Tim O’Brien, son of the founder, is President of Tycoon Tackle. He knows the story Tycoon Tackle intimately from the company’s
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Company Profile: Tycoon Tackle earliest days to present, and he has quite a story to tell. What many anglers (both spin and fly) may not realize is the debt of gratitude they owe to a rod designing pioneer from Florida. Tycoon Tackle was founded in Miami, Florida, in 1935 by Frank M. O’Brien Jr, who had a zeal for saltwater fishing and eventually made a name for himself as a premier angler and rod designer. “My father was one of the genuine pioneers of big-game angling” says Timothy O’Brien. “He regularly fished the waters of Florida, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and other parts of the Caribbean and South America.” Young Timothy was taken along on fishing excursions from the time he was nearly old enough to walk around on a boat, so he has a real sense of how and why the company came about. “As soon as I was old enough to hold a rod, I was out there with my dad. As a result, I got to fish a great deal and with legendary captains and crews like Tommy Gifford, Art Willis and Mike Benitez.” During the mid to late 1930s, saltwater fishing was really coming into its own. This was about the same time that serious offshore fishing was first taking hold. Suddenly, it seemed, fish were being landed in the category of hundreds of pounds, something previously unthinkable. Frank O’Brien’s dream was to level the playing field by bolstering the under gunned angler with a better rod. It was common for anglers in those days to break multiple rods in a single outing if the fish was too large, or the angler too inept. Needless to say, this was heartbreaking for the angler that lost a prize fish, not to mention this was prior to any sort of rod warranty. Frank O’Brien
wanted to help anglers slug it out with these saltwater Goliaths and give the angler a serious shot at landing a fish of lifetime. “My father’s company was coming on the scene just as the first stories of ‘un-catchable’ fish were surfacing” says O’Brien. “He provided the primary component anglers were missing in their quest for giants– quality big-game fishing rods. His combination of angling skills led to the creation of state-of-the-art wood and bamboo rods, which allowed anglers to really pull on a fish without fear of the rod breaking.” Frank O’Brien’s approach to providing rod strength was very different than conventional approaches. According to O’Brien his father’s rods set a new standard. “His radically different vertically laminated rods were immediately recognized as being superior to all else on the market. They incorporated laminated strips that are tapered to the correct specifications for the various size rods. The cross-section was “heart” shaped, adding strength under pressure. In fact, more International Game Fish Association records were made with Tycoon Tackle than with any other rods well into the 1950s, including Alfred Glassell’s 1,560-pound Black marlin, which still stands today.” Frank O’Brien started out by doing intensive research and even studying the bows of champion archer Howard Hill. Rods, in his time, were wooden, and O’Brien spent nearly a year traveling and interviewing saltwater captains and guides. He consulted with his fishing colleagues and created multiple prototypes. His initial rods were indeed sturdy and were regularly used to land massive tuna. By the late 1930s, a Tycoon Tackle Rod was used to land a broadbill
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swordfish off the coast of Nova Scotia. The finned beast tipped the scales at 600 pounds and Tycoon Tackle’s name quickly spread like wildfire. Soon company rods bearing the name Bimini King, Royal Hickory and Regal were on the lips of nearly all competitive saltwater anglers. In 1939 World War II had broken out in Europe, and the fear of Hitler’s Third Reich seized the world. Frank O’Brien, always the forward thinker, realized that as an owner of a machinery company with skilled workers he could be of help to the war effort should the United States enter the fray. By 1941 O’Brien had his first contract with the U.S. Navy making struts for Navy aircraft. The contract was terrible financially for the company as the workers had no experience in such construction, and the machinery was ill-suited for the work. Despite the contract
being a total financial loss, O’Brien made good on his promise and delivered 100% of the struts on time and with “no defects noted” from the Navy. By 1941 the United States had entered the global conflict, and the world held its collected breath while Hitler’s armies swept across Europe enveloping everything in its path. As a result, all manufacturing in the country related to fishing was indefinitely suspended due to the war effort. Frank O’Brien’s forethought proved prophetic as his company then moved into full-time military contract fulfillment. Eventually he would come to employ nearly 800 skilled workers in two locations. The company operated 24 hours a day 7 days a week and earned the respect of the War Department. For the entire length of the war Tycoon Tackle never missed a deadline, and never went over
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budget. By the wars end O’Brien’s company had received five Army-Navy “E” (E-for excellence) commendations for excellence in manufacturing. By the 1950’s Tycoon Tackle teamed up with Fin-Nor, and the company’s reputation continued to grow. Outdoor Writer Kip Farrington noted, “There is no question in my mind but that Tycoon rod did more to help develop big game fishing…than any other single item of fishing tackle.” Farrington was far from the only sportsman or noted writer to acknowledge Tycoon Tackle rods. So strong was the reputation that even Earnest Hemmingway mentioned it in his book By Line: Earnest Hemmingway. He also described Tycoon Tackle rods in his personal letters to angling associates fishing in Cuba as “must have” items for those wishing to successfully fish there. Hemmingway also wrote about them in several of his magazine articles.
By the 1960s the company had diversified into many other branches such as shipyard building, government contract work and became involved in the clothes manufacturing business. Frank O’Brien wanted his son, Timothy, to continue in his footsteps once he finished college, but Frank died of a stroke Tim’s junior year in college. As a result, the company eventually evolved out of the fishing business altogether and tackle brand went dormant. Despite this, Frank O’Brien’s contribution to the fishing community was solidified when he was inducted into the International Game Fish Associations Hall of Fame in 2011. Thankfully, Tim O’Brien is reviving his father’s dream of putting quality rods back into
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the hands of anglers and in particular, in the hands of fly anglers. Tim O’Brien is an avid fly angler himself and is currently producing custom made Tycoon Tackle rods with the same skill and dedication to quality his father had. Still, Tim O’Brien is a realist and understands competition in the market place today is very tough. “I think competing in the fishing industry is much more complicated today than in years past for several reasons. First, the competition is much stiffer and the marketplace is much more complex.
With the big box stores, the Internet, and imported goods, a fisherman can buy an outfit in almost any price range. Furthermore there are nearly an endless number of brands available today, each vying for a share of the market.” Tycoon Tackle has always been a company dedicated to making the best products possible. Now for the first time in many decades, you too can purchase a custom made Tycoon Tackle rod yourself. Currently, the company’s line-up for fly anglers consists of 3# 7-footers which are perfect
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company profile for mountain trout anglers, all the way up to 12# 9-footers which come in handy when going after smallies or saltwater species. “Today, the entire world is our market place” O’Brien told me. “We’re shipping rods to every corner of the United States, as well as to customers in Japan and Mexico.”
trout. While the company specializes in bamboo rods for fly anglers, fiberglass rods are also in their lineup as well as a full range of spinning gear. For more information on Tycoon Tackle you can contact the company by calling (434) 282-2799 or going to www. tycoonoutfitters.com.
Tycoon Tackle has a full range of fishing rods ranging from two piece and four piece rods suitable for bass and steelhead fishing, and several options for
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Tycoon Tackle Product Debut
Tycoon Tackle, located in Charlottesville, Virginia, is one of the oldest rod makers in the country, but chances are you’ve never heard of them. Tim O’Brien, the son of the founder and owner of Tycoon Tackle, is setting out to change that and is spear heading an effort to revitalize his father’s dream of producing the best American made rods anywhere. Though it’s unlikely you’ve even seen a Tycoon Tackle Rod, much less cast one, that’s about to change. O’Brien is crisscrossing the country attending trade shows all over the country demonstrating his line of rods. You can meet O’Brien in person at the 14th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival www.vaflyfishingfestival.org in April in Waynesboro Virginia. Tim will be on hand with a full display of his hand crafted rods for sale.
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2014 SPEAKERS Matt Supinski • Lefty Kreh • Fishy Fullum • Beau Beasley Ed Jaworowski • Wanda Taylor • Tracey Stroup • Blane Chocklett Tom Gilmore • Cory Routh • Don Kirk • And Others
Advance tickets, merchandise sales, fly fishing class regis 142 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
April 12-13, 2014
2014 MAJOR SPONSORS Orvis â€˘ Dominion Temple Fork Outfitters
strations & program information: vaflyfishingfestival.org www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 143
t’s six a.m. on 30 October and my little red Jeep is loaded with enough fly fishing garb to catch every trout in the Great Smoky Mountains and maybe even a few squirrels. After mentally checking and re-checking my gear inventory and pondering the weather and water levels, I finally got around to laboring over what my delivery system for the day might be. When fly fishermen (including me) get into a habit or routine of fishing a certain rig, it’s easy just to continue with the same rig even though water conditions may warrant a different “delivery system.” I normally fish two nymphs using a surgeon’s loop or double blood knot rig with no indicator. However, with the water levels being very
low, I decided at the last minute to be prepared to fish two dry flies or a dry and dropper by using my (SRW) San Ron Worm as the dropper. I had about 30 minutes before my fishing buddy would arrive, but no SRW tied as a dropper. As I finished dressing up my third SRW with a tungsten bead head and a few wraps of lead, my fishing partner-in-crime showed up and we were off to the races. As we arrived at Big Laurel Creek and started our rigging-up process, we discussed our fly selections and the “delivery systems” that would be most effective in the low and clear water. After evaluating the water levels and water color, I still decided to
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situational fly fishing in the great smoky mountains go with my old standby, the short lining, high sticking nymph rig and no indicator. After two hours of spooking fish and only a few hook ups, I decided that my “delivery system” was not going to be very productive in the low and clear water. After spotting an October Caddis or two, I decided that I would rig up a two dry fly surgeon’s loop
was pretty sure it had something to do with putting the big hurt on some oncorhynchus mykiss. I finally decided that my “delivery system” would be the Orange Stimulator (since already proven), tied about 14 inches above a bead head SRW using a dropper loop.
system consisting of a big fat size 10 Orange Stimulator and a size 12 Orange Palmer that would allow me to fish a good distance farther than my high sticking method and hopefully, spook fewer fish. On my third cast, two creel size rainbows hit the net and it was game on for about the next two hours until my lunch rendezvous. As my fishing partner and I packed in a few hundred calories in short order and diagnosed the morning’s events, we both verbally recognized that it was going to be an exceptional day of fishing. As we rigged up for our afternoon tug-of-war, I knew that my partner (probably the best dry fly fisherman in the region) would be fishing two of his top water terrorizers and wreaking total havoc on any trout looking for a few calories anywhere close to the surface. As he smiled and sharpened his fly hooks, I could only imagine what he might be thinking, but I
The minute I hit the creek, fish swarmed almost every time my rig hit the water. I hooked up every few casts on either the dry or the dropper. I kept thinking that had I not changed my “delivery system,” my fishing day could have turned out a lot different. As dark thirty approached, I was thinking I might have to hold a gun on myself just to get out of the creek. I reluctantly climbed out of the creek and made my way up to the road. As I started to shed fishing gear, my partner drove up grinning like a “possum eatin’ a persimmon” and climbed out of the Jeep. After we piled my wet gear in the Jeep and started back to Haywood County, there were the usual fish catching and “the big one that got away” stories to tell. After comparing notes, we did agree that together we had netted well over a hundred fish. Not a bad day for two old hillbillies.
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feature Delivery Systems To be more productive, every fly fisher should have a few different rigging methods to employ as water levels and conditions change. The distance between the two flies for a two dry or two nymph rig should be about 10 to 16 inches depending on the size of the fishery. The distance from the dry
to the dropper should be around 1.5 times average water depth. High sticking two nymphs with added split shot or clam shot works well in higher, faster, and stained water, but when the water gets low and clear, fishing two dries or a dry and dropper will increase your reach, spook less fish, and increase your hook ups. Fish Responsibly.
Tandem Rig A Tandem rig is as simple as tying a second fly to the bend of the hook of the first fly using a clinch knot. It is very effective if your top fly is basically used for an indicator.
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situational fly fishing in the great smoky mountains
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feature Surgeon’s Loop Rig A surgeon’s loop rig is set up by tying a piece of tippet to your existing tippet using a surgeon’s loop, sizing your tippets to the desired lengths, and then tying on your flies on using a clinch knot. With this system hook ups on the top fly will be a little better then the Tandem Rig.
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situational fly fishing in the great smoky mountains Dropper Loop Rig I use a dropper loop to tie my top fly as it allows more movement and better hook ups and fowls up less then the Surgeonâ€™s Loop System. The bottom fly is tied using a clinch knot. This is also a very good system if you would like to tie on multiple flies which is a very fast way to learn for what the fish are looking. I have tied five or six flies on using this system and let the trout pick out the one they want. Very effective! Keep in mind that if you are using this system with nymphs, you can put your clam shot on the bottom and lose fewer rigs.
For questions or comments please visit my website at: www.JonathanCreekschoolofFlyFishing.com or email: JCSFF@cbvnol.com www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 149
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5 States 38 River Systems $21.95
9 States 46 Tailwaters $19.95
Trout Fishing Guidebooks For The South By Jimmy Jacobs
80 Watersheds On Public Land $15.95
Autographed copies available.
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ep For Trout Harry Murray www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 153
any large trout live and feed along the stream bottom in the heavy runs and deep pools in all of our streams. These trout can be very difficult to catch because both the speed of the currents and the depth of the water present special problems for the angler in getting the flies to the bottom and in detecting the strikes. However, with the proper tackle and using the correct tactics these trout are definitely catchable, and the gratifications one receives from mastering these challenges are extremely rewarding. I was very fortunate when I first started fishing this type of water because I got to know the late Charley Brooks of West Yellowstone, Montana. We became close friends and for many years, often fished together. Brooks’ interest was only in catching large trout. This interest was shown to me the day he told me that he didn’t want to be bothered with releasing the size of trout for which some anglers fish. Plus, Brooks was a master at fishing the heavy deep runs in the large rivers in the Rockies where many large trout hold. Brooks has a conception of the feeding habits of these trout and a subsequent manner of fishing for them. I believe his ideas are the cornerstones for success in this kind of angling. One can begin a quest to achieve successful fly fishing by looking at the system which carries his name—the Brooks’ Method. The entire thrust of this method is to navigate flies down close to the 154 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
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feature stream bottom where the trout can see them, and then to detect their strikes and set the hooks before the trout discern the flies as phonies and eject them. On the large rivers this calls for special tackle. Many of these heavy riffles and runs are the natural habitat for a variety of large stonefly nymphs. So in order to match these and to give the trout a fly that they can easily see, I use artificial stonefly nymphs from size 4 down to size 8. Two of my favorites are the Brooks Dark Stonefly Nymph and the Bitch Creek Nymph. I tie these on 3X long shank hooks, and I weight them heavily with eight to twelve wraps of .030 lead free wire to help them sink. A friend of mine refers to these as “Murray’s Fuzzy Sinkers,” but I think there is more to be argued about that.
five to eight feet to my side where I suspect the uppermost trout in the run will be holding. In order to simplify this in my fly fishing schools, I stress that we are going to be wading downstream, casting upstream and fishing the water beside and slightly below us. My first cast is up and across stream about fifteen feet at a forty-five degree angle.
In order to help take these nymphs down even more quickly, I use a fast sinking thirty-foot head line such as Scientific Anglers Hi D head which sinks at the rate of 3.25 to 4.25 ips attached to 100 feet to 0.21 inch mono and a 6 foot 3X leader. For the large rivers my favorite rod for fishing this heavy head and the large flies is a strong 9 foot 7 weight model. For me, personally, the one word which helps me most in understanding and fishing the Brooks’ Method is “control”—control of the fly placement, control of its sinking, control of the drift and control to detect the strike and set the hook. In the actual fishing, it is important to remember that we are fishing our flies in exceptionally heavy water, and the trout here are seldom wary. Thus, we are concentrating on that portion of the stream which is from five to thirty feet out from where we are standing as we wade out into the river. This is why the positions we select to make our presentations are so critical. I evaluate the run then wade into a starting position about twenty to thirty feet upstream and
The next step is what Brooks called the “sinking phase” where the nymph is allowed to sink to the stream bottom. Those unfamiliar with this technique will often want to tighten up on the line at this point and watch for a strike. This actually robs you of the depth
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feature the nymph drifts below me being sure that the rod tip is directly over the spot where the fly line enters the water. This gives me a tight line on the nymph which enables me to feel the strike the instant it occurs. When I feel the strike, I quickly set the hook with a solid jerk with both the line hand and the rod. This extra force helps telegraph the strike through the deeply sunken belly of the line and hooks the trout.
you need and defeats this method. When I asked Brooks about how to detect a strike upstream if I had all that slack line, his only reply was, “If you’ve done everything right in the previous upstream position, you’ve already caught those trout.” As the nymph drifts along the stream bottom, we begin what Charley called the “control phase” where the rod is extended up and out over the stream in an attempt to negate the fast currents between you and the nymph. I begin to actually start fishing my nymph when it is straight out from me or slightly down and out from me. I swing my body as
I like to make about six casts at this angle into the same area with the same length of line to be sure every trout in that part of the run has seen my nymph, then I lengthen my casts about five feet and angle a little more out into the river and repeat the above sequence. I continue this tactic until I’ve covered all of the water out to thirty feet. I’ve found that if I get greedy and try to fish further out into the run with this method, I fail to get the depth I need, and if I do get lucky and receive a strike, I usually miss the trout. A better ploy is to wade downstream and repeat the above process. In summary, to take advantage of Brooks’ Method, we’re using a 9-foot, 7-weight rod with a fast sinking 30-foot head and a 6-foot 3X leader and showing the trout size 4 to size 8 weighted nymphs along the bottom of the stream. This is a great technique to use in the heavy runs and riffles, but what about those large deep pools in our large river? Admittedly, big water can be intimidating to even accomplished anglers who are accustomed to fishing mainly small streams in their home area. For example, I recently directed a friend from Virginia into one of my favorite large streamer pools on the lower Yellowstone River. I was really disappointed when I saw him several months after his trip because instead of the stories I
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expected to hear about the big trout he caught there, he simply said, “That great big water sure didn’t look like a trout stream to me, and so I didn’t fish it.”
The standard technique for fishing these big pools with a fast sinking head and a big streamer calls for wading into the head of the pool just below where the riffle enters it.
Actually, these big pools are easier to fish than the powerful riffles and runs because they are simpler for controlling the drift of the flies, detecting the strikes, and setting the hooks.
Charlie Waterman showed me a trick here that is very simple and has given me many large trout over the years that I would not have caught without his advice. He suggested that before we actually wade very far out into the river to cover the main part of the pool, we should thoroughly fish the shallow corner just where the riffle enters the pool. If this water is only two feet deep and it’s flowing through some grapefruit-size cobblestones, this area can easily hold several large trout that have moved in to feed, especially in a low light level. Just last fall, this ploy gave me two of the largest rainbows I’ve ever caught.
The same 7-weight rod, 30-foot fast sinking head and 6-foot 3X leader I use in the riffles does a great job for me in the big pools, also. And, although the above mentioned nymphs will take good trout in these large pools, I normally use streamers. I especially like sculpin patterns such as those by Shenk, Whitlock, and my own, but I also use a broad variety of attractor streamers in sizes 4 and 6. The hot spots in many of the large pools are the heads and the tails of the pools, but I’ve found that it is wise to keep an open mind and experiment from pool to pool at various times of the day and at various seasons.
After I’ve thoroughly covered these small corners, I wade on out into the river and begin to methodically cover the head of the pool. My first cast is across stream about forty
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feature feet. I give the streamer about five to ten seconds to sink, and then I begin a slow retrieve by stripping the streamer six inches every ten seconds. I fish this in about ten feet then pick it up and cast out about fifty feet and repeat the streamer play. I continue lengthening my casts and fishing my streamers across the stream bottom until I’m casting as far as I’m comfortable with. Then I wade downstream about ten feet and repeat the above pattern. Next, I drop down about two more times, and I repeat the pattern. This is a very effective method for covering all of the good water in the head of a pool, because if you envision the paths your streamer takes as it swims through the currents after each lengthened cast and each dropped down casting position, you’ll realize that you’ve covered the water before you very thoroughly. As the riffles in these pools finally flatten into the main part of the pools, I no longer make gradually lengthening casts, but I instead work only with my longest casts while slowly wading down the side of the pool until I’ve covered the whole pool. In order to help me detect the strikes quickly and set the hook consistently with the long casts used in this deep streamer fishing, I always try to keep the rod tip pointed at the spot where the fly line enters the water. This simple step enables me to quickly feel the strike in my line hand. Then, I can quickly set the hook with both the line and the rod. This is a great help because the stretch in this long line with the cushion the current produces on the line means we need to set the hook forcefully. Even with barbless hooks that I sharpen frequently, I still want to strike these trout with gusto. Speaking of striking the trout, it is very important to stay alert when using this streamer tactic. For example, some of the largest browns I’ve caught with this deep rig in the fall have “bumped” the streamer very gently first, then several seconds later have
taken it solidly. We’ve spent many hours discussing just what the trout is doing when we feel this “bump” because it only happens in a small percentage of the strikes. However, I can assure you when I feel that bump my pulse quickens, and I get ready to stick it to him on the strike. I have one final thought on these deep tactics. We are usually after large trout when we’re using these tactics, and naturally there are not as many large trout in our streams as there are small ones. Therefore, one should expect to land fewer trout. However, it behooves us to be ready when we do get those strikes. About every fifteen minutes I check my tippet knot and the knot on which I’ve tied the fly. The constant flexing during long casts and bumping the bottom can reduce the knot’s strength, and I sure don’t want to lose the best trout of the season because of a poor knot. I also check, and often sharpen, my hooks about every fifteen minutes. It’s amazing how many times I’ve checked a hook point that I sharpened earlier only to find it slightly dulled even when I was not aware of having hit the bottom. Again, I just don’t want to take a chance. I’ve found these tactics very effective for catching large trout in heavy water in trout streams throughout the country. When I fish slightly smaller streams, where the water is not quite as heavy and the natural trout food is smaller, I drop down to a 6-weight outfit. Finally, on the smaller rivers I will drop down to a 4 or 5-weight outfit. However, my goal is still the same; it is to punch my flies through the heaviest currents and to fish them convincingly along the stream bottom. If you would like to master those heavy riffles and deep runs in order to catch larger trout, I think you’ll be amazed at the success you’ll have with these tactics.
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Contest Begins January 1st Winner Chosen February 15th
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Get Spooled Looking for the ultimate in simplicity and presentation trout on southern waters? If so, take a shot at winning a new TFO Soft Hackle Tenkara rod. Based on a traditional Japanese method of fishing using only a rod, line, and fly, tenkara fishing permits anglers to make precise casts, delicate presentations, and manipulate their fly with extreme ease. Telescoping down to 20 and 20.5 inches, the Soft Hackle rods are perfect for the backpacking angler.
The rods come with a spare tip and second section. The rod sock has a unique line holder built in to help organize your line when not in use. They are available in two actions to match your style of fishing
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Bead Head San Ron Worm Fly Pattern Cut about 2 dozen tentacles from your Squirmy Wormy Goofy Eyes toy purchased from your local Dollar General store and apply Loctite brush on super glue to the raw ends of half of them. Place them in a manner that the glue doesnâ€™t touch any surface. It takes 60 seconds for the glue to get tacky enough to stick so you can actually glue 12 or 15 ends before sticking them together.
he SRW (San Ron Worm) during the last year or so has become a common fly fishing term all over the US among traditional fly fishers as well as many Tenkara
groups due to its ability to consistently catch trout. After a year of tweaking the SRW materials and hooks for the size 10 and size 12, I finally had the SRW thing covered, or so I thought. After much prodding to deliver a bead head version of the SRW, I decided to tie a few and fish them as a dropper just to see if an SRW dropper was worth any further ado. The results were pretty amazing. This is how you do it.
Put a size 12 mustad egg/ caddis hook in the
vise with a pink tungsten bead head and a few wraps of round lead and brush stripe of super glue on hook shank and lead. Wrap a layer of fuchsia nylon thread together with some fuchsia prism thread around the hook from the bend to the bead head and end with a half hitch. Put another stripe of glue on top of the thread.
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.020 a the
feature Place your worm on top of the thread with the worm joint mid ways of the hook and it should stick. Lightly wrap a layer of thread around the hook and worm to make a worm heart and cover the worm joint and finish with a couple of half hitches. Use your fingers since a bobbin will put too much tension on the material. Donâ€™t wrap tight enough to disfigure the worm. Trim off your thread and finish with a drop of thin Zap a
Gap and let dry. Be careful not to glue your fingers together. A gentle touch with a paper towel with pull off any excess glue. Fish
Too Good to be Legal??? Bead Head San Ron Worm Ron Gaddy
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eam Dead Drift hosted the annual Trout Legend Gold Cup on November 22, 23, and 24. This yearâ€™s event was the largest competition ever held in Georgia, with over 40 competitors and countless volunteers and spectators. The event drew anglers from as far away as Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Anglers competed on four separate venues (Fern Valley on the Soque River, Frog Hollow on the Chestatee River, and Upper and Lower Tickanetly Creek on the Eastern Fly Fishing Property). Friday night consisted of a BBQ buffet, the anglersâ€™ meeting, and kickoff party. The outstanding fare was provided by Rib Country BBQ which has several locations in North Georgia and Western North Carolina. Anglers drew for their competition times and venues and the rules of play were discussed in detail. Representatives from NGTO, Georgia Women Fly Fishers, Trout Unlimited, and The Atlanta Fly Fishing Club volunteered to help direct anglers all weekend. Saturday, anglers caught dozens of fish in their 1.5 hour fishing sessions. Various flies and techniques caught fish but often one angler doing something a little different than the other anglers seemed to be the key to catching fish. Fish had to be netted by the angler and then taken for measurement to a judge who was on the bank nearby. Fish were quickly slid into a measuring tray and length to the nearest centimeter was recorded. This was all done in a matter of seconds and a revived and healthy fish was released by the judge. One of the highlights on Saturday was a session at Fern Valley on the Soque River where angler Bret Nelson scored 19 fish which averaged over 17 inches (including one large fish over 22 inches). Anglers concluded the day and headed to tie flies, drink beer, and relive the experiences they had on the water. As is often the case in any competition, the nights before the next day were filled
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Trout Legend Gold Cup Benjamin VanDevender with anxiety, excitement, despair, and an
air temp was well below freezing at all the venues. The anglers all knew fishing was likely to be very tough due to the cold front and the pressure the fish experienced from anglers the previous day. Light tippets and small flies defined the second day of competition. Angler Hunter Hoffler, host of “In the Loop” on WFN Network, landed several fish in a notoriously tough beat on 8x tippet and dry flies. This move helped Hunter win his session on that venue. Setting the hook, and landing 18-20 inch fish on 8x tippet is no easy feat, but Hunter is the kind of angler who made it look easy. Cam Chioffi of Team USA Youth (whom I might add is this year’s World Champion youth angler after the World Championships in Ireland in July, 2013) landed his largest trout to date 3 separate times in one session at Frog Hollow on the Chestatee. While fishing 7x and midges in slow frog water, he landed a 64cm (25inch) Rainbow Trout, a 65cm Rainbow, and then another 65cm Rainbow. Anglers experienced highs and lows
assortment of other emotions depending on how fellow anglers did during the previous day’s sessions. Late nights spent at the vise trying to get a good working supply of flies for the following day, making a strategic plan on how to capitalize on a bad beat, strategizing about a particular session, or simply drowning a bad day of fishing with good friends with a few brews are all part of this strange obsession we call competitive fly fishing. At the end of the evening, everyone was sound asleep and motivated to move up the competition leaderboard. Sunday, a cold front had moved in and the
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feature throughout the competition and everyone met at Frog Hollow on the Chestatee for the awards ceremony at the conclusion of the day. This event has been lucky in that many of the industriesâ€™ companies sponsored and provided some great prizes for competitors. Simms, Redington, RIO, Cheeky Fly Fishing, Trittâ€™s Outfitters, Temple Fork Outfitters, and many more donated generous prizes to our event. Team USA Youth angler and member of Team Dead Drift, Gabriel Wittosch, secured a first place finish. They were followed by Team USA Youth angler Cam Chioffi with Virginia angler Mat Kidwell, president of Team Dead Drift. Virginia took third. The event seemed to run flawlessly due to the great anglers, volunteers, and the fellowship in fly fishing that all shared. Until next year...
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s the water temperature drops into the thirties during the winter, everything slows down. The metabolism of the trout slows along with that of the insects in the stream. The number of anglers in the streams decreases, also. With less active insects, the trout have fewer varieties of food from which to choose. However, the trout have to feed to survive. During the winter months, the few active insects are Little Winter Stoneflies (Little Black Stoneflies), Midges, and Micro Caddis Flies. High water events may wash worms into the stream, as well as dislodge a few large stoneflies. For a general rule in the winter time, darker colored flies tend to produce better than their bright and flashy counterparts. The one exception to this is San Juan worms and eggs. The best winter color I have found is dark gray/brown followed by blue and then black. In the San Juan worms and eggs I
look to pink to be my start color. In the winter time, I typically fish a smaller fly than I would the rest of the year. Generally, I like to use a size 14-20 in the nymphs. For the few little dry flies one encounters, I use a size 16-18 black Elk Hair caddis, or for the winter stoneflies, I use an 18-20 Stimulator. For the Micro Caddis, a size 20 Elk Hair or Web Wing Caddis will usually suffice. When I am fishing the smaller nymphs, like the Poison Tung and the Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail, I will usually use a nine-foot leader tapered to 5X or 6X tippet. I will then attach a small strike indicator about 5-6 feet above the lead fly, and then I will add more weight, usually one to two BB shot to keep the flies down in the water column. Here are my favorite winter flies and how I fish them.
Kevinâ€™s Stonefly Original This is the largest of all the winter flies I use, mainly because stoneflies have a three year life cycle in the stream which means there are large stoneflies available to trout every day of the year. This fly works best in the winter in times of high water. The fly should also be heavily weighted. I prefer a size 8-12 weighted with a full shank of .030-.050 lead wire depending on water speed and depth.
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Winter Fly Selection K
Sheepfly This is one of the flies that will produce all year regardless of the water conditions. I prefer a size 8-12 in the winter; I generally use a 12. Again, the fly should be weighted heavily with a full shank of .030-.050 lead wire. While I think most trout take the fly for a large crane fly larva, it really does not represent any insect in particular.
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feature Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail Dark colored with subtle movement, this fly has long been a “go to” of most guides and serious fishermen. I generally use a size 16, but I will fish it all the way down to a size 22. During the winter months, I carry both weighted and un-weighted versions. For the weighted flies I will use a Black or Nickel Silver Black tungsten bead for weight. The un-weighted versions can be fished just under the surface for the trout that are taking the little black winter stones.
Deep Blue Poison Tung This small nymph has always been a winter-time producer. I make a small variation from Charlie Craven’s Original pattern. When tying them, I use a Blue Dun Ice Dub instead of the gray ice dub. I prefer to fish this fly in a size 20 on a scud hook.
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Z Wing Caddis Caddis are present in most of our streams; in the winter the Micro Caddis are active. The small size 18 Olive Z Wing Caddis tends to work well. I often fish this fly in conjunction with another nymph like the Deep Blue Poison Tung or the Soft Hackle Pheasant tail.
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feature Howellâ€™s Trip Saver This heavily weighted pattern is available in sizes 10-16. My preferred size for the winter is a size 16. The trip saver with its small rubber legs and soft hackle really has a lot to offer in the way of lifelike movement. The Black tungsten bead works well to get it deep in the water column.
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feature Barrâ€™s Slump Buster In the winter the baitfish are smaller and less active as well. So I prefer a small streamer that is weighted heavily but still has some motion to it when fished slowly. The Slump buster with its slender profile and Zonkerâ€™s strip, sinks amazingly quick and still has lifelike motion. This allows anglers to fish with a slow presentation near the bottom. In the winter I primarily use a size 8 in olive.
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Have Your Trout Fishing and Luxurious Comfort, Too
ince the birth of the Macedonian deceit for speckled fish that used a twist of red wool that was attached to a hook, adorned by a couple of feathers from the wattles of a cock, fly fisherman have been in a state of constant evolution. In my opinion, the amount of literature concerning the pursuit of trout exceeds all other. The history is quite fascinating and would take a lifetime to digest. Arguments abound among obsessed trout anglers about the most important aspect of the bewitching sport. Some taunt that the evolution of the fly is the paramount subject of importance, while others lament about the steady technological improvements of fly-fishing gadgetry. Personally, I contend that, admittedly or not, every fly angler experiences a metamorphosis as similar to the aquatic insect as it progresses through life.
As an aged fly fisherman of trout, I have progressed through every conceivable phase of the endeavor. Boundless energy rushed me from one wild, remote destination to another in pursuit of brightly colored fish, early on in my career. Energetic dashes about the countryside eventually gave way to concerted efforts to own the latest and greatest gear, or more aptly, the combination served to elevate the intensity of my pursuit. As miles accumulated and my knowledge base expanded, the procurement of each had exacted a toll. I ultimately began to seek creature comforts to accompany my fly fishing excursions. It is not that I do not enjoy trout fishing in the hard to reach, wild places anymore. My physical limitations simply grow exponentially with my age. I traded long hikes into remote regions,
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feature which required a backpack and a hiking stick, for destinations I could float into or negotiate with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. I still pitch a tent on a river bank at least once a year. However, most excursions now include, at the least, a rustic cabin. Most recently I have evolved to enjoying the exquisite comforts of fine trout fishing destinations. Lodges, built with every detail of decor in mind, add a new dimension to my experiences. Rustic lodging facilities, fine wines by the fireplace, and overstuffed chairs add the ultimate touch to the end of the day. I find such amenities conducive to the enjoyment of reflecting upon and relating to the events of a fine day of fly fishing in gorgeous streams that are well managed. Revealing favorite destinations to fellow fly fishers is akin to giving up the secrets of your favorite fly. However, it becomes easier
with each passing year to share information with others. It becomes an investment in the future. Westover Farms, in Crawford County, Missouri is the premiere private fly fishing destination in the Ozarks. Its long and rich history is as attractive to the fly fisherman as is the beautiful environs of the stream and facilities one finds there. Known for decades as the Fishermanâ€™s Dude Ranch, the site supports a put-and-take trout fishery and supplies grocers and restaurants with fresh fish. Today, however, Westover Farms is an organization dedicated to providing the highest quality outdoor recreation experience for individuals, families, and corporations in a lovely, quiet, rural setting. Regardless of whether you want to fish for a few hours or a week, Westover has a
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program for you. A cold water spring branch courses through the property before spilling into Dry Creek. With a total of 2 1/2 miles of fishing opportunities, an angler never has to feel crowded. A limited number of anglers are allowed each day, and a trout pond is provided for those who are less experienced. Most advance to the stream quickly, however.
at the office which is housed in a streamside building suited to the noble cause of making you feel at home.
Gorgeous, top-rate facilitates fit naturally into the landscape. Century old hand hued log-and-stone homes melt into the natural landscape. Enjoying these tastefully adorned lodging facilities with all the modern convinces (including TV and WiFi) is an adventure every fly fisherman, young or old, should experience.
Once inside, a great room, adorned with another inviting fireplace and an inspiring outdoor decor, halts you once again. Just down the hallway to the left, you will find Lisa with a big a smile on her face and a phone in her ear. Multi-tasking never looked easier when you watch her perform.
Tom and Lisa Schlueter are hands down the best hosts I have ever encountered at a trout fishing destination. You will find them
If you attempt to enter the office area via the side door, which most do, you will get sidetracked by an inviting free standing, stone fireplace, where a constant blaze invites you to sit for a while.
You guessed it; another fireplace compliments the laid back style of Westover Farms. By the time you enter the fly shop, your blood pressure has calmed and you
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Farms experience is rubbing elbows with a wealth of trout anglers holding combined centuries of TOW (Time On the Water). Most of these gray-haired expert anglers share my advanced phase fishing attitude. They will happily share their knowledge with you and a few unbelievable stories as well.
have entered the early stages of the Nirvana of fly fishing in the Ozarks. The Schlueters are dedicated to your experience and both harbor an encyclopedia of trout fishing knowledge which they are eager to share. If you are a newby, they will make you feel like an expert. Plus, one of the most beautiful aspects of the Westover
There is plenty of room at Westover to practice your style of fishing. From 2- weights to 7-weights, you can find spots here to utilize your favorite wand. It is no surprise, but there are rainbow trout to match. Streamers, such as wooly buggers in sizes 4 and 6 are popular flies for larger rainbows. However, fish can be caught on a wide variety of flies. Matching the hatch applies
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here, just as it does any where else in the world of trout fishing. Caught up in the splash of fall color that enveloped me on Dry Creek, I responded slowly to the strike on my Bitch Creek fly. I reveled in the strength of the lunging trout. As I have done countless thousands of times over the decades, I loved that rainbow for a short time and returned it to the captivating waters from which it had emerged. Westover Farms, in all of its eloquence and comforts, suits my fly fishing desires these days. However, I have great difficulty making it past the verandah and the outdoor fireplace. I am going to request a rocking chair. Contact Lisa at www.westoverfarms.com 546 Highway BB, Steelville, MO 65565 or call 573743-6284.
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Westover Farms, located in the beautiful, secluded surroundings of the Mark Twain National Forest, is the Midwest’s premier fishing and shooting venue. Enjoy great trout fishing in one of Missouri’s largest privately owned springs located just 90 miles
from St. Louis. You can also enjoy sport shooting at our fully automated five-stand. For group or corporate events, Westover skillfully blends work and play to create a productive and recreational experience for you and your group.
Westover Farms Also Features: Beautiful On-Site Lodging • Meeting Facilities • Catering Private or Group Events • Guide/Instruction Services • Fully Automated 5-Stand Full Service Fly Shop • Fresh Raised Trout Available for Take Home MAJOR CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED
Directions: From St. Louis, take Highway 44 West to Exit 208 (Cuba/Owensville). Turn left and head south on Highway 19 (approx 9 miles). Pass through downtown Steelville. You’ll come to a 3 way stop. Go straight and head east on Highway 8 (approx. 5 miles). Turn right onto Highway BB. Follow BB another 5 miles to the Westover entrance gate. Drive to the back of the property and park in the parking lot. Walk across the raceway bridges|and check2014 in at the shop. Trout | 187 www.southerntrout.com March | fly Southern
What all will you do? In Pigeon Forge, we are firm believers in the family vacation. Itâ€™s the perfect way for families to reconnect, grow stronger and flourish. With so many ways to entertain people of all ages, we also believe our city is the perfect place for your next vacation or short getaway.
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River's Edge Outfitters has you covered when it comes to fly fishing. With two shops we guide on more than 3000 miles of trout and smallie waters. For the experience of a lifetime give us a call and book your trip today! LEARN FLY FISHING FROM OUR EXPERT INSTRUCTORS
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We will supply you with all of the tackle and flies while teaching you valuable skills and techniques. Casting strokes, knots, fly selection, reading water, presentation techniques, wading safety, and tips for safely handling and releasing trophy size trout are all part of our program.
Our "Private Waters" offer guaranteed solitude and the chance to catch trophy-sized trout (up to 25 inches) in a pristine mountain stream environment. River's Edge Outfitters manages these private waters with fishermen regularly catching browns and rainbows up 25 inches.
All three of our fly shops are located in the heart of the best trout fishing in the country. Here in Western NC we fish 365 days a year. Whether you are after high country wild brookies, trophy brown trout, or chasing smallmouth bass, our guides are dedicated to putting their clients on fish.
Our full day local wade trips take place on wild and hatchery supported/delayed harvest trout streams. However these trips allow our guide to take you to places that could not be reached with the time allowed on a half day trip. You will also be able to fish an assortment of great locations if the conditions allow.
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eing the publisher of Southern Trout has a few perks: among them is attending about every organized gathering of fly fishermen from the Ozarks to the Appalachian. Since launching this title in May 2012, we have trekked to dozens of events where we peddle the notion that a free fly-fishing magazine is indeed “free.” Shortly after we booked a booth at the 2014 Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival in Waynesboro, Virginia, everyone on staff and his cousin “volunteered” to be present to help man our booth. There’s a reason everyone here was so generous with their time, of all of the shindigs Southern Trout has participated in, the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival is one of best events we attend all year.
Don Kirk an array of local vineyards at the event are more than pleased to fill your glass. In fact, if you attend the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival, don’t bother looking for me at the Southern Trout booth. I’ll be over at the winery tents making sure everyone is getting along well. “This year we’ll have 70 onsite exhibitors with the latest in fly-fishing equipment, fly tying and guide services,” says Beau Beasley head of Programs and Sponsorship Development. “Beginner to expert anglers will enjoy nonstop lectures on where, when, and how to fly fish in the MidAtlantic and beyond. Virginia wine tastings, microbreweries, local food and live music will also be featured.” When asked why he thought the festival was so popular, Beasley,
Easily accessed from interstate 64, the festival draws attendees from as far north as New York, and as far south as Georgia. Various exhibitors, vendors, guides and outfitters are gathered together for the weekend’s festivities and it’s more fun that you can imagine. A variable smorgasbord of fly-fishing, programs are presented by nationally acknowledged experts and the latest gear at fly shops are there for the sampling. Speaking of sampling, as the name of the event implies, it is not only a fly-fishing show, but it is also a wine festival. If you enjoy tasting superbly created local vino, and I bet you do, 190 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
who is known as a respected fly-fishing author and speaker in his own right, didn’t hesitate. “One of the main things that set this event apart is the festival’s desire to attract new anglers and those that may be too intimidated to go into a fly shop on their own. We readily accept newbies,
and we go out of our way to make things informative, fun and inviting.” Various classes are offered that you may not see in other locations venues. For example, Beasley recruits well-known female instructors like Wanda Taylor, and Tracey Stroup. Taylor will be teaching a beginner’s fly-casting class, and Stroup will be doing a class on Safe Wading and Injury Prevention. Beasley is very direct in his approach to drawing attendees. “Our industry is notorious for talking down to folks, or making them fell like if they don’t speak Latin, they aren’t real fly anglers. My position is simple, let’s just have a great time, introduce folks to the sport of fly fishing at whatever level they feel comfortable with, and get them into our sport.” Beasley, who is known for his detailed guide books, seems to be on to something as the festival
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has had to expand its grounds several times to accommodate the growning crowds. For a number of years Waynesboro has hosted the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival (VFFF) on the banks of the South River. While it started out as little more than a local event, the VFFF has become the largest outdoor fly-fishing event in the country by drawing anglers from such long distances that some actually fly in to attend the festival. One reason the event is so well attended is the talent it hires. This year’s list of speakers reads like a Who’s Who of fly fishing. At the top of the list of course is Lefty. Besides Lefty however guest will get to meet author and guide Matt Supinski, fly tying columnist Fishy Fullum, as well as Wanda Taylor, casting expert Ed Javaworski, Tracy Stroup, Mike Smith, Blane Chocklett, Captain Gary Dubiel, author Tom Gilmore, Dan Davala and Cory Routh. The festival has
every class imaginable from Spey casting to kayaking and how-to classes on catching every species imaginable from redfish, bass and stripers, to brook trout, musky and, believe it or not, even tuna! Besides seminars and presentations by the fly fishing elite, the VFFF is a ma jor crossroad in the sport where fly fishermen can meet representatives of fly shops, resorts, manufactures, artists, guides, craftsmen and conservation groups. “We have been a staunch supporter of the VFFF since its inception,” says Tom Rosenbaum of Orvis. “With a growing number of retail stores in cities like Vienna, Richmond, Arlington and Roanoke, the state of Virginia is very important to the Orvis brand. Orvis is proud of is long association as a sponsor of the VFFF.”
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feature family vacations in one of the loveliest corner of West Virginia. Over the years we’ve attended a number of similar functions, but nothing like the festival in Virginia. It is professionally run in every aspect and we’re proud to be a sponsor.” While the sleepy little town Waynesboro is known now as the home of the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival, it hasn’t always been Rosenbaum’s sentiment toward the VFFF well known to fly anglers. In 1999 the VFFF is reflected by an array of supporters. This was founded by the nonprofit organization includes the long time support of TFO. In Waynesboro Downtown Development fact, the event is so popular with TFO that Incorporated. They reasoned that since the owner Rick Pope flies in from Texas to the South River ran right through the personally attend. When asked about the city’s downtown and adjacent to one of its festival’s popularity, Pope does admit the parks, why not create the perfect tourist festival has one drawback. “One of the attraction for fly anglers. What began that problems we have is that everyone that spring as a simple affair with a few curious works for TFO likes this event and wants to attend. No one wants to stay home and mind onlookers has become an enormous draw the company store.” Pope is also circumspect for fly angling tourists from across the country. The South River has also matured on his assessment of the festival. “This is a unique event with all sorts of ages attending an a lot of excitement, it’s not your typical fly show. I’ve never really seen anything else like it” Pope’s assessment seems to be held by other fly fishing business owners too. “The VFFF is great venue for us to put our family vacation opportunities in front of people from multiple states,” says Todd Harman, Owner of Harman’s North Fork Cottages. “While we offer great fishing for trophy class trout, our business is designed to accommodate www.southerntrout.com | March 2014 | Southern Trout | 193
feature in its own right, and it has become a fly fishing destination for those seeking trout just outside the state’s capitol of Richmond. While the festival is fun for all that attend, some of the funds generated by the festival goes into actual stream restoration work on the South River, a waterway hobbled by industrial pollution in the late 70s and early 80s. While the river isn’t something you’d see in the Smokies, it is making a name for itself, and is more or less that training ground for the beginner fly anglers that attend the festival. One of the things that make this fly fishing festival different is its ability to draw new sponsors which in turn helps it to promote the event to new anglers. While Orvis and TFO are names well known to those in our sport ma jor sponsors also include Steve Toyota/Scion and Dominion, a local Virginia power company with headquarters in Richmond. Other sponsors include Tycoon Tackle, a custom rod maker out of Charlottesville, Virginia and Flymen Fishing Company based out of Brevard, North Carolina. Newly joining the rank of the festival is Cortland Fly Line Company. To round things out, some lucky winner will get a shot at spending a few days at South Holston River Lodge complete with accommodations and guided fishing, if of course, they win the Grand Prize Drawing. If while you’re there you may get tired of looking at those brand new spanking Toyota
trucks, or drooling over all the gear from Orvis, TFO and assorted other goodies. You can always stop by the Southern Trout booth and say, “Hello.” We’ll be giving a TFO outfit away to some lucky winner over the weekend. You could also let me know what rivers you think we should be covering in
future issues of Southern Trout. If I’m not there, check in the winery section. For more information on the 14th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival go to www. vaflyfishingfestival.org
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April 12-13, 2014
2014 SPEAKERS Matt Supinski • Lefty Kreh, Fishy Fullum, Beau Beasley, Ed Jaworowski • Wanda Taylor • Tracey Stroup • Bob Clouser Tom Gilmore, Cory Routh & Others! NEW Extensive Celebrity Fly Tyers Section • Advanced Specialty Classes Beginner Fly Tying and Casting Classes
Advance tickets, merchandise sales, fly fishing class registrations & program information: vaflyfishingfestival.org
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te Sta ! i r T ion Reg
Georgia -- Tennesssee -- North Carolina
Trout -- Bass -- Striped Bass -- Panfish
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! ing ! h s i g F Fly- Fishin n Spi
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or those out there who know my dad (Don Kirk), you may have experienced him fishing. One could say he is experienced. You’d be right. One could say he is skilled. You’d be right, again. One could say he is poetry in motion, but I wouldn’t. He has had more than his share of comical, pratfalls while navigating treacherous banks and creeks. One of the reasons he butt kisses the earth as much as he does is because when my dad fishes, he thinks only of fishing, to the detriment of everything (and I mean everything) else. As you can see, during this fishing trip, my dad had this PBJ tragedy. He absolutely refused to see it as edible once he was reduced to squeezing it out of the bag. As a result, he had only his flask on which to depend for nourishment.
they are toasted take care of the need for an additional fat, but, the cookies taste buttery. I used a Ninja blender which made this a very, very quick process. This recipe makes 12 cookies.
Trout Chum Cookies Adam Kirk Since I have more than once had to sacrifice my fishing fare to Dad so he can keep his blood sugar steady, I decided that he needed something to eat that was edible whether it “made it” until eating time or not. He needed something that had plenty of nutrition and energy while remaining edible even if it cushioned his fall as he tried to navigate the rocks above Abrams Falls. As a result, I came up with an amalgamation of several recipes to make what we Kirk’s call, Trout Chum Cookies.
Now for a side note. The only problem with the Ninja blender is that at any time, Dad may abscond with it, take it to his garage “man cave” and use it to make dubbing for flies. As a result, the blender is washed many times and sanitized in the dishwasher before we put it to use. The use of the Ninja in our house is a source of constant tug-of-war between me using it for smoothies and Dad using it to make his own (as he calls) Big Buck Shake from venison and coffee. I kid you not. Yet, the cookies are well worth the cleaning precautions.
Free of added oil, these cookies seem to last longer than oil based cookies we’ve tried to make. The pecan oils that are extruded when 198 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
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1. First, gather your ingredients. Dry ingredients: 1 cup pecans, toasted 1 cup + 1 tbsp oat flour (You can make your own by blending oats until they are the consistency of flour.) 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp rolled oats 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 scant tsp fine grain sea salt 1/2 tsp baking soda Wet ingredients: 1/4 cup pure maple syrup 3 tbsp honey 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract Mix-ins: To “hearty up” these cookies I added dried sweetened cranberries, pepita seeds, and mini chocolate chips. (Dad hated the idea of eating “bird food” but I didn’t tell him the seeds were in there until after he said how good they were.) 1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries 3 tbsp pepita seeds 3-4 tbsp mini chocolate chips 2. Preheat oven to 325F and toast pecans for around 8 minutes. Watch them closely. (We “practiced” on a batch before we did the real one.) Remove and set aside to cool. Go ahead then and turn the oven temp to 350F. 3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or grease with oil. Set aside. 200 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
4. Once the pecans have cooled, we put them in our Ninja blender and in a few powerful pulses, they chopped smaller than peas (which is what we wanted.) Other nuts could be used, but because we are in the South, pecans are our first choice. Either walnuts or pecans or a mix of the two should work just the same. 5. Mix your ingredients with a low setting for the blender. Donâ€™t chop the ingredients. Use the blending blade. You donâ€™t want to turn them into butter. The consistency will be very, very sticky.
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6. Roll the dough into balls. You will probably have to keep dipping your hands in warm water to roll the cookies into balls, but it will not hurt the cookies. Pack them very firmly into the balls.
7. After 11-12 minutes at 350F, we have a winner! As you can see, the cookies do not spread much.
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Two cookies for a snack are great! They give energy without too much â€œsugarâ€? energy. We love them because they are nutrition packed. Plus, if they are crushed, they work great as soft granola.
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Highlands 4th Annual
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This fun weekend for the whole family includes Lunch Both Days, Opening Night Reception, Closing Night Winnersâ€™ Dinner With Food, Prizes and a Fishing Goody Bag
Entry Fees Payable to the Town of Highlands Scholarship Fund are 100% Tax-Deductible www.HighlandsThreeRiver.com or 828-526-8673 206 | Southern Trout | February 2014 | www.southerntrout.com
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contributors Beau Beasley, Virginia Editor Beau Beasley is a well-known name among readers of fly angling magazines. His work has appeared in nearly every ma jor fly fishing periodical in the country. He is the author of Fly Fishing Virginia. Recently he won the TalbotDenmade Memorial Award for Best Conservation Article from the MasonDixon Outdoor Writers Association for his investigative piece “Where Have All The Menhaden Gone?” He’s also the director of the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival www.vaflyfishingfestival.org and lives with his wife and children in Warrenton, VA. Bill Bernhardt Bill Bernhardt, 52, is the owner of and guide, instructor, and custom rod builder for Harper Creek Fly Fishing Company (www.nc-flyfishing.com) located in Lenoir, North Carolina. In addition, Bill is somewhat unusual in that he specialize in small streams, wild trout, and back county, remote access, walk/wade trips into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Consequently, his freelance outdoor articles along with his nature photography focus specifically on the exceptional beauty and excellent trout fishing opportunities available to fly fishermen in western North Carolina. John Berry Located in Cotter, Arkansas, “Trout Capital USA,” John Berry provides wade and float trips on the White, Norfork, Spring, and Little Red Rivers for trout and Crooked Creek for Smallmouth Bass. A retired CPA, he has been a professional fly-fishing guide in the Ozarks for almost two decades. An active conservationist, he has taught fly fishing and fly casting at a long list of colleges and events. Bob Borgwat, Columnist Bob Borgwat, 55, leads the team of Reel Angling Adventures at ReelAnglingAdventures.com as owner, administrator, webmaster and guide. His freelance writing, editing, and photography covers fishing across the US, but his daily piscatorial adventures take place with fly-rod in hand just outside his doorstep in the southern reach of the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. He is a former senior editor for Game & Fish Magazines, Primedia and Intermedia Outdoors, and is an active member of the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association. Soc Clay Soc Clay was first published in Field & Stream and Outdoor Life magazines in the 1950s. He was one of the first members of the SEOPA, served as director for the OWAA, founded the Kentucky Outdoor Press Association, an inductee of the Freshwater Fishing Hall, and he is a poet laureate of Kentucky. A lifelong resident of South Shore, Kentucky, Clay is also known as an outdoor photographer. His photography has graced the covers of scores of magazines including in one year 11 of 12 issues of the fabled Bassmaster magazine. His latest book Soc Clay’s Mad Trapper Sourdough Baking Book, portrays the romantic history of the use of sourdough starters and recipes used to sustain rugged prospector during the Alaska Gold Rush. It is the authority for the use of sourdough in baking in the world. (www.WhitefishPress.com)
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contributors Bill Cooper Living in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks, Bill Cooper has experienced the magic of the long rod from the Allegheny in the East to the Yellowstone in the West, and from the Quetico in Canada to the North to the Yucatan in the South. With an MS in Outdoor Education, his experience as a park superintendent and teacher of outdoor skills at Bass Pro Shop’s Wonders of Wildlife School has served him well as he serves as a tourism consultant to Campeche State, Mexico and Maya Amazing Outfitters. He is the author of the Outdoor Celebrities Cookbook and is writing experience spans writing for Cabela’s Outfitter Journal, Basspro1sours.com, Game and Fish, Trophy Whitetail World, Turkey Country and Union Sportsman. Dave Ezell Dave Ezell grew up fishing on East Tennessee rivers and lakes and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Lucky enough to make a living in sales and as a scribe for business publications, he also has enjoyed fishing a variety of waters from steelhead on the Sol Duc to tarpon off North Captiva, Florida. Dave is one of the sparkplugs in the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, he has been intimately involved with Troutfest since its inception. Currently he finds himself just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Maryville, Tennessee. Ron Gaddy Ron Gaddy grew up in Waynesville, North Carolina and started fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains at an early age. He grew up fishing Cataloochee, East and West Fork of the Pigeon River, Little East Fork of the Pigeon River, Nantahala River and Jonathan Creek. Ron left North Carolina at age 24 for a career with the Department of Defense at Charleston, SC and Norfolk, Virginia. After retiring from DOD in 2009 he returned to Waynesville, North Carolina to be close to all the great trout fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains. Since retirement, Ron has consistently fished in the Smoky Mountains for trout. When not fishing, Ron is tying flies or building fly rods. George Grant George Grant lives in Johnson City with his wife and earnestly wades upstream through his sixth decade. Mountain streams large and small are his first love, but he regards the South Holston and Watauga tailwaters to be his mistresses. In addition to actually fly fishing, he enjoys the history and the craft of fly tying, especially “resurrecting” patterns that have passed from common use. For many years Grant worked in local fly shops. He also wrote columns about fly fishing for a local sports magazine and for the Bristol Herald Courier. Matt Green One of the most knowledgeable authorities in the South on cold water aquatic insects, Matt Green is a graduate student at North Carolina State University. That is of course when he is not fishing, speaking at seminars on trout stream aquatic insect life, or fly fishing for trout on his favorite waters, the South Holston River. A prolific writer published in a number of fishing journals, Matt has also launched the South Holston Aquatic Insect School. For more info on this contact Matt at email@example.com
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contributors Craig Haney, Editor-at-Large Craig Haney has spent a lifetime chasing trout on the streams, headwaters and tailwaters of the southern Appalachians and elsewhere. After graduating from Auburn University with an animal science degree, Craig has spent the ma jority of his career in the outdoor industry as a manufacturers’ rep for fishing, boating, camping and hunting gear as well as operating partner of Riverwoods Outfitters / Haney-Mullins Orvis for eight years. He has taught fly tying and fly casting at his shops and community colleges. Additionally, he has written on fly fishing and other outdoor subjects for a variety on national and regional magazines. Craig and his wife Lynn live on Shades Mountain in Hoover, AL in the southern Appalachian foothills. Kevin Howell Kevin Howell fished 38 states before college. In 1997 Kevin took a job as Manager of Davidson River Outfitters. He was also helping his father run Dwight and Don’s Custom Tackle. After his father passed away in 1998, Kevin took over the operation of Dwight and Don’s Custom Tackle while remaining the Manager of Davidson River Outfitters. In 2000 Kevin purchased Davidson River Outfitters and combined the operation of the two businesses. He is also a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor. Kevin is also a nationally known fly tyer and is currently the FlyTying Editor for Fly-Fishing the Mid Atlantic States. He has also had several of his original patterns published in various magazines as well as being produced by some of the national tying companies. Jimmy Jacobs, Georgia Editor Jimmy Jacobs is with Game & Fish Magazines. He also is the Outdoor Columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper and online Atlanta Outdoor Travel Writer for Examiner.com. Jacobs has authored five guidebooks to fishing in the southeastern United States, including Trout Streams of Southern Appalachia; Trout Fishing in North Georgia; and Tailwater Trout in the South. His writing and photography have earned Excellence In Craft awards from the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, Georgia Outdoor Writers Association and the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. Roger Lowe Roger Lowe was born in Waynesville, North Carolina and now lives in the nearby town of Cashiers. He has enjoyed fly fishing the waters of the Southern Appalachians all his life. He first began tying flies and fishing them at a very early age. Roger had his own fly shop for twelve years and has been guiding full time for twenty seven years. He currently can most often be found at Brookings Angler in Cashiers, where he guides daily or works in the fly shop where his signature patterns are available. He is also a fly tying instructor. He is author of Roger Lowe’s Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains, and he has a fly tying video, Smoky Mountain Fly Patterns, that shows how to tie a lot of the Smoky Mountain Patterns.
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contributors Shawn Madison A Clinch River, fly-fishing fanatic, Shawn Madison is also a passionate entrepreneur and experienced boat builder. Using his vast experience in design, engineering, and manufacturing in the boat building industry, Shawn is currently finalizing the production plan for a Southern Style Drift Boat. An avid photographer, fly tyer, and inventor, he also maintains The Clinch River, TN Facebook Page which promotes one of East Tennessee’s greatest resources. His goal is to help promote the sport of fly fishing, increase conservation, and to help others find the joy of tricking trout. Watch for his current project soon, a book titled Find the Joy of Fly Fishing! Steve Moore A native of northern Virginia, Steve Moore grew up fishing in a fishing family. Steve’s father, much to his mother’s chagrin, was fishing in a local bass tournament the morning Steve was born. Steve has published five books on fishing in Virginia and Maryland including Maryland Trout Fishing, Wade and Shoreline Fishing the Potomac River for Smallmouth Bass, Wade Fishing the Rappahannock River and Wade Fishing the Rapidan River. Steve provides frequent updates on fishing these waters and others on his popular blog at www.CatchGuide.com. Marc Payne Marc is a Knoxville, Tennessee based fly fishing enthusiast. His popular blog, The Perfect Drift, has been up and running since 2009. Riverdale Classics Bamboo is a one man company Marc started seven years ago. His first stab at bamboo rods was purely economic, as he says that he could not afford a bamboo rod but wanted one badly. So he read on techniques, took a couple of gratuitous classes with rod makers, and bought several old rods to restore. From there, he began repairing and restoring old rods for friends, and as word of his skills grew, he began building for others. Now he is repairing, restoring, and building new rods for folks from all over the country. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org Larry Rea, Arkansas Editor Larry Rea is the seasoned, retired Outdoors Editor for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, TN, where he held that post between 1967 and 2001. Currently he is the host of Outdoors with Larry Rea on Sports 790-AM in Memphis; www.lroutdoors.com. He is also free-lance writer for The Commercial Appeal’s DeSoto Appeal (Sunday outdoors column). A master scribe, for five consecutive years he was a double award winner (first and second place) in Tennessee Outdoor Writers Association’s Excellence in Craft Broadcast category. He was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame in 2010 where he is now an honored lifetime member. Larry also serves on the board of directors for Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (2010-present).
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contributors Jason Sparks Jason Sparks is the founder of Southern Appalachian Tenkara Anglers, a growing community of fishermen that embrace the elegant simplicity of the traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing. As an ambassador in promoting tenkara across the South, he often conducts clinics, instructs techniques and speaks to groups on the subject. A Navy Veteran, he has fished the world in waters from the Azores to the Appalachians. Now living near Banner Elk, North Carolina, he is recognized by Tenkara USA as a Certified Tenkara Guide and a leading instructional resource in the Southeast for inquiring anglers and fly fishing clubs. Scott Spencer Scott Spencer is a freelance writer who was born and raised in Alabama. An avid hunter and fisherman, he learned about fly fishing nearly 40 years ago when he first picked up the flyrod at the age of 12. He was tutored in the art of casting and fly fishing using my father’s 1952 Phillipson bamboo flyrod. A banker by profession, he has hunted across the United States and has done both television hunting programs and hunting DVD’s. A passionate fly fisherman, Spencer frequently fishes the streams and tailwaters of North Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. He is married with three children.
Benjamin VanDevender President of Team Dead Drift, Georgia’s Competitive Fly Fishing Team, Benjamin VanDevender, fell in love with fly fishing and chasing trout across Georgia. In recent years he has won accolades and awards for his fly-fishing expertise. Ben started fly fishing competitively a few years ago. Through competitive fly fishing, Ben learned more advanced tactics than some have ever thought possible. Already a fan of fly fishing for trout, his entry into its competitive side has given him a new appreciation for all aspects of the sport we call fly fishing. Greg Ward, Tennessee Editor Greg Ward lives in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, where he has been a full-time hunting and fishing guide since 1989. He owns and operates Rocky Top Outfitters, a hunting and fishing guide service specializing in stream fly-fishing, spin fishing, and guided turkey and bear hunts. His articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and outdoor magazines. He is the co-author of the Ultimate Fly Fishing Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains. Greg has hosted several radio shows and has been a popular presenter at Pigeon Forge’s annual Wilderness Wildlife Week. He lives in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with his wife and daughter.
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CALL TODAY FOR YOUR
FLY FISHING ADVENTURE! James Bradley Ellijay, GA (706) 273-0764 cell (877) 647-4535 home
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THE BEST TROUT FISHING RESORT ON THE
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All trout. All South. All the time. Distilled southern trout fishing since 1959. CLOSE LOOK: GEORGIA