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Tyler Legg
Charlotte, NC, United States
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Welcome to THFF.com! Kick your wading boots off and stick around for a while. You'll find content ranging from NC fishing reports, videos, pictures, fly fishing news from around the state/country/world, humor, and even some irrelevant, yet interesting posts.
Have a question, comment, fishing report, or a few suggestions regarding THFF or fly fishing in NC? Feel free to e-mail me at wncflyfishing@gmail.com
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Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Fishing Status: Good (cold and windy, but possible)

1.) 2008 is about to pack it in and head on out at midnight, while 2009 takes it's shoes off and stays awhile.... I can't believe it's almost 2009. Where has the time gone?!?!

2.) As you probably now, especially if you step outside here in the Carolinas...IT'S COLD. I know all of you in the Northeastern and northern Plains states are finding this hysterical...(no 10 below readings down here, but for us, 30's for highs is mighty chilly. With all of the cold, fly fishing in the mountains may not be at it's best sometimes. With days in the lower 20's and nights occasionally dipping into the single digits and even into the negative single digits, there are a few fly fisherman that would rather pull up a chair and tie from sunrise 'till sunset. A pastor of a church up in VA is an avid fly fisherman and asked me to put together some flies that are ideal for the area that he fishes (mostly the SW VA/NE TN streams including the Clinch (now unfortunately full of sludge), Cumberland, SoHo, e.t.c. So I through a few Adams, Copper Johns, Golden Stones, San Juans, one of my simple but favorite patterns, the Inch Juan Worm, and a few streamer patterns into a box that would be perfect for the type of fishing he does. 2 weeks later he sent a thankyou card stating that it was cruel and heartless giving a fly fisherman 2 dozen new flies in the middle of the Winter time...It was great!! I'll have to talk to him when it warms up a little and plan a trip somewhere up his way.... I haven't fished the New River for smallies in a while.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Fishing Status: good

1.) Tomorrow's New Year's Eve...What's my resolution you may ask? To catch bigger fish, and tie more flies. We'll see if it is accomplished or not. I will probably (well, weather permitting) head out to the Davidson River in order to sharpen up my angling skills albeit the forecasted temps are in the 40's.(in other words, I'm aiming to hook that New Year's resolution trout on New Year's Day) It'll be great to get out and put my pair of Simms on and have at it.

2.) I'm going to start a "fishing status of the day" section to each blog. Really just a spot at the top of each post that states if the fly fishing up in the mountains is good, mostly in terms of the water levels, weather, and "fishability" of the trout streams in the mnts. If the conditions are ideal for the trout and fisherman alike, the status will be Excellent. If the weather is fine, but not ideal, and the water levels are a little low or a little high, the status will be good. Now, if the weather is not at it's best (i.e. too cold, too hot, rainy), it will considered slow, and a short summary of why it's slow. Last but not least, Horrible. It's a strong word, especially in the fly fishing world and you will see it only if #1. the fish grow wings and fly away 2. All of the stream become completely dry and void of all fish. or 3. The temperature drops to 50 below zero and you need ice fishing rigs to catch the trout. I doubt any of these will happen, and I hope they really don't!!!

3.) The fishing report hasn't really changed since the last post, really, you should experiment with your arsenal of patterns and find the best fly for the situation. The water is still up, so be careful and don't try to cross what looks like a safe spot to do so without double checking first.

4.) If you live in western NC or adjacent to, Friday morning may be a little icy. The weather folks say sleet and freezing rain may arrive into the region during a time period of lower 30's. It's possible, but still on the unlikely side for now. Just keep this in mind when out early Friday morning.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
1.) Great weather over here in Vols country (Etowah, TN). It was cloudy and drizzly when we headed out to the 11 o'clock service at church, but it has really cleared up tremendously. Charlotte is now seeing the rain we saw overnight, as the cold front progresses eastward. Rain has really helped to keep the streams and rivers up at normal flows. We haven't seen flooding out of the last few storm systems, which is what we want. It takes some time for the drought to end, and with the consistent precipitation, it won't be much longer until the deficits are wiped off the board if the pattern continues. Nashville folks had some extremely rough weather last night with the BIG thunderstorms that rolled in around midnight. Everything broke up a little bit as it moved across the mountains, but most people did see some rain.

2.) I have been cracking down on fly casting over the past few days. I have a new Sage FLI rod, which has a fast action , and possesses a lot of quality to it. Madison River Fishing Co. out in Ennis, MT had their FLI's on sale, so I bought one. I trust MRFC, because they have provided my grandad and my great grandad with great flies and gear when they took trips out to MT. When I was in their shop, they were very helpful, knowledgeable, and had a lot of innovative western patterns that I really liked. They were also true "trout bums" like I am. They picked a great location to manage a fly shop.

3.) My family and I went out to grab some last minute gifts, and EVERYONE had a Tennessee Volunteers hat, t-shirt, coat or something of the like. There are some real Vols fans over here. Tennessee's a great team on the field and on the court.

4.) If you plan on fishing today or tomorrow, most streams are up and flowing relatively fast, so be careful when around them. If possible, try not to even step into the water. Not only will you keep yourself from losing your footing, you will also be less likely to spook the trout. With the water up, tie on a big nymph or a streamer and drop it into a riffle, seam, or into a pool. You may be able to use 4x due to the stained and high water, but 5 and 6x will probably be a safe bet.

5.) Panthers are playing right now, but since I'm in Tennessee, the Titans are on Fox instead of the Panthers, so I'm watching the Rams-Falcons game, so I can keep track of Carolina's score during halftime, and in game highlights.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
1.) Christmas Eve is upon us, in fact I'm posting this at midnight, so politically speaking, it's Christmas morning. Got back from the Christmas Eve service here in Etowah, great stuff, really brings out the Christmas holidays in many people. For some reason, it just hit me, it's seriously Christmas, and we're almost through with 2008.

2.) Rain is moving across the Southeast, and many streams will see a boost in water levels. I sincerely hope we don't get flooding rains...just enough to keep the rivers/streams at their appropriate levels.

3.) According to Trout Zone, the Clinch River up in Kingston TN experienced a contaminant issue with the Kingston Coal Plant. It's now spreading downstream, and the fishery is declining in.... well..."fishability" if you will. TVA is studying the accident, and hopefully they will resolve the disaster.

4.) On with the report..... Fishing in east TN/west NC is not too bad, and if you don't mind the rain, it's great. Given the cloudy, rainy, dreary conditions, make sure you have a few BWO's in your fly box. I would go with a size range of 18-24 for Olives. Emergers will also be a prominent food source for the trout, so of course either tie or buy some emerger BWO's. A great fly to try would be Davie's Evil Weevil. The recipe is over in the right hand corner of the page. Not a hard fly to whip up, and not a hard fly to fish. The Davie's has dual purposes, meaning it can be used as different insects. Not only does it represent a BWO, it can also represent a caddis in it's pupal stage. Flies with dual purposes will increase your odds of catching, as the fish can the fly as two differnent insects. Also it's convenient for the fly fisherman....Most of the fish will be on the bottom of the stream this time of year, tie on the DEW and put a few split shots (depending on how deep and fast the water is...) I put my SS's approximately 8-12 inches above my fly, but you are free to adjust the width between the two. If your indicator isn't going under, and you haven't caught anything yet (or hanging up on the bottom) you're most likely not reaching the trout's preferred feeding zone, so add another split shot or two and see if that works.

5.) Merry Christmas to all, and tight lines.
Saturday, December 20, 2008

found this Gene Trump cartoon on Flyfisherman.com

1.) Off to Tennessee early tomorrow, packing after this post. Today is Saturday the 20th...Time has FLOWN past me. I should post while I'm away, if not for some reason, will do Sunday the 4th. With all of this being said, everyone have a very Merry Christmas and take time to think about what Christmas is all about... the reason is the first 6 letters in Christmas. If you are flying tonight, tomorrow, or this week, be careful, and make sure you don't have those fishing line clippers in your carry-on. I'm packing up my Simms and awaiting my new Sage fly rod on Christmas morning, getting ready to do a little last minute fly tying and arranging clothes, and we're packing up the "horse" (Golden Retriever) and heading on out.
2.) I can't stress enough, PLEASE, if you would like to leave comment, please, go ahead. I need to communicate with my readers, and also to receive tips and feed back from you guys. I will read and reply to ALL comments
Friday, December 19, 2008

1.) Man alive am I glad it's Friday. I have 2 weeks off, so I will be out of town to see family in Tennessee. I may squeeze in a little fishing, but can't tell for sure. I should post a few times during next week, but don't know. If you have the chance, go fishing up in the mountains. It hasn't been this warm since what, Halloween? The water temps are PERFECT right now... most streams are in the 60's, with mid 50's in the higher elevations. Water level is at it's best, and most trout streams are at or a little above average. Here's a few of the popular stream's water levels...

  • Davidson River @ Brevard...119..average is 111 cfs
  • Watauga River @ Sugar Grove...125...average is 140 (not bad at all)
  • Tuckasegee River @ Cullowhee...771...average is 441 (mostly because of the generators
  • Jacob Fork @ Ramsey...32 cfs...average is 38 cfs
  • Nantahala @ Rainbow Springs...249...average is 200
  • South Toe River @ Celo...188...average is 114
  • Oconaluftee River @ Birdtown...720...average is 535
  • Cataloochee Creek @Cataloochee NC...173...average is 97

With all of this "higher than normal" water, use large nymphs and streamers, and watch for BWO's. Also don't be surprised if other bugs hatch out that aren't supposed to due to the warm weather. All of the warmth will come to an end starting Monday, as temps will take a dive to into the upper 30's for highs on Monday. Christmas Eve will be cool with a few showers for the fat guy in red, looks like mid 50's, and Christmas will be dry with mid 50's.

2.) Montana and Richmond play this evening in the FCS Championsip game. I hope Montana will take a win back to Missoula, they've done very well this season.

3.) Finally, the Panthers play on Sunday night in the Meadowlands against the 11-3 Giants. I will be glued to the TV.

Thursday, December 18, 2008
Here's a few pictures from my last trip to the Smokies for a little fishing. All of these pics (and fish) were taken on the Little River, not far from the Tremont Institute inside the park.

I caught this trout (above and below pics) in a seam under some shade. My gut instinct me that this particular individual was hiding where I thought he would. It was late Summer (late August), so I tied on one of my "Inch Juan Worms", which is a creation that I came up with on one of those dark, dreary, cold, Winter days of just chartreuse chenille tied to the hook just like you would with a San Juan. Nothing to get hyped up about right? Well, apparently this 13 inch brown trout disagreed with my portrayal of the little worm. I had 6x on, because I new the largest fish in the section was probably this guy, as this section of the Little River isn't a big trophy trout producer. Also 6x was used due to the low water and clear water clarity.

Here's a few pics from the Davidson River back in April. I tell ya, April is a great time to fly fish the "D" as the fish are hungry, the water is cold, and the fish haven't seen many flies since last Fall.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Just got an email from Simms, and they were advertising all of the great new gear coming straight out of Bozeman, MT. Their new StramTread wading shoes are new and are already on their site ready to be ordered. Simms is a great fly fishing company. They really do their best to bring the upmost quality in ALL of their products. Try a pair of G4's on or slip on one of their Freestone wading shoes. Trust me, you won't be dissapointed.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
It's that time of year. Yes Christmas, but to us fly fisherman, Winter brings these two reliable aquatic insects: the Blue Wing Olives (Baetis) and midges (Diptera). In fact, these two aquatic insects may be the only consistent bugs hatching throughout the winter in NC. Sure, you may see small Black Stones or even early Quill Gordons sporadically hatching on the river if water temperatures are at 50 degrees of above for a week. If you have lived in North Carolina for a period of time you know that the weather is very unpredictable. We can get a full fledged snowstorm one day and then 3 days later make the transition to 50's and 60's for highs with sunny skies. Always be prepared...

---Blue Wing Olives---
BWO nymphs are swimmers, which means they can freely swim in the stream by use of their strong tails to propel themselves. Olive's tend to hatch when the water temperature is hovering at or above 40 F. They also tend to hatch when the weather is cloudy and rainy. These bugs are usually small. They can grow to about a #16 (which is large), but #20-24 "ish" are more abundant. Like all members of the Ephemeroptera family or mayfly family, the BWO's life cycle consists of 8 stages. First the eggs hatch into young nymphs that migrate to the underside of a submerged rock. The nymph then matures, while at the same time growing in size. The nymph makes a run to the surface of the stream after hatching from the egg. This time the insect emerges from it's nymphal shuck, and "stands" in the surface film to dry it's wings. This stage is it's Dun or subimago stage. The subimago stage is represented by a dry fly, which "stands" on the water. After this, the BWO will crawl onto streamside vegetation and completely shed it's nymphal shuck. Large groups of BWO's then mate and lay their eggs. At this stage they are called spinners, and are recognized by their transparent wings. The Spinner stage is followed by death, and the dying mayflies lay on the water, with their wings flat across the water's surface. The Emergence stage through the Spinner stage is completed in one day. Sometimes only hours.

Midges are extremely important to trout in the long, cold, lifeless winters of the environment they live in. People often mistaken these bugs with the common mosquito. Both are extremely similar in size shape and life cycle, but midges don't bite; their harmless. Midges will hatch regardless of the temperature, thus giving the trout a constant food source throughout the winter. The life cycle of a midge is a little different than mayflies, as these guys are similar to caddisflies. They have a larval stage, where they bury themselves in the riverbed, usually in a slow, calm section of the stream. After this stage, they transform into a pupae, and swim to the surface. This is the most vulnerable stage where a trout will happily pick them out before the insects make it to the surface. The bugs that make it to the top, will hatch into adults. Most midges are in the 20-28 size range. Although, a few species of midges can grow to a size 16 or 14. But, your common midge is going to be tiny. Griffith's Gnats, midge dries, and midge clusters are ideal flies for the adult stage, while disco midges and Zebra Midges are great for the larval and pupal stages.

I hope this has cleared up two of the most important aquatic insects that you will likely encounter, if you fly fish in the cold and snow.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
1.) Just checked out the USGS water flows, and the Davidson River is at 129 cfs. The "D" is flowing above average by only 7 cfs, but still, the trout aren't as skittish, and you can actually cast your line without scaring the giant browns and rainbows. It's still possible to tie on those black stonefly nymphs and Zonkers, but as the water is gradually receding, switch to the PT nymphs and BWO nymphs. You also may get by with 5x due to the higher water levels, but to be safe go with 6x.

2.) Montana is in for a pretty big blizzard over the next few days. 30-40 mph winds, and EXTREME cold are on tap for Big Sky Country. West Yellowstone is sitting at -2 with wind chill values at -19 degrees. Billings is currently at -6 with a wind chill of -26!! Doesn't matter though, the Montana Grizzlies are heading to Chattanooga to take on the Richmond Spiders in the FCS championship game Friday night....I wish I could find tickets...so it goes...

3.) Everyone have a great day, and I will post after the Panthers/Broncos game at 4:15 on CBS.
Thursday, December 11, 2008

Click to enlarge....

1.) This storm system has been an extremely rare one. When was the last time you saw New Orleans, Houston, Baton Rogue, and extreme ("gulf-front" counties) receive upwards of 6 inches of SNOW!!! Yeah, snow...I'm not kidding, the visibility was down to less than a 1/2 a mile in New Orleans due to the snow. What happened was the cold air aloft in the storm was pulled down to ground level..not something you see everyday, allowing for HEAVY, HEAVY snow. Global Warming....OKAY, Al Gore. Here in Charlotte we were on the warm sector of the storm, which in return allowed storms to fire off.

2.) Nonetheless, much needed rain has really helped for short term drought in the NC mountains. Fly fishing will be GREAT the next few days. Trout are ready to pounce on any fly that is big, bulky, and gaudy. Zonkers and Woolly Buggers are a great choice if you want to catch that big wary brown. Temps are up, mid to upper 50's, but it won't be too long before those temps take a nose dive back into the 20's. A cold front is expected this weekend, making Saturday and Sunday chilly. Saturday morning will be well below freezing, around the mid 20's, so black ice and slippery roadways will possibly make it a treacherous ride to work. Some mountain counties will see a few inches of snow, as the wrap around moisture well, "wraps around the NC mountains, a few inches may accumulate. Hey, the trout won't mind, so layer up and hit the stream, or pull up to your bench and do some tying. If you do go fishing, work the riffles and seams...these will be your best option. If your stream is muddy, PLEASE, PLEASE, use that 4x...heck, I'd even go down to 2 or 3x. 6 and 7x is just not a good route to take when water is high and cloudy. I have seen numerous people fishing in stained to muddy water, and using that light tippet. I don't want you to catch that monster brown trout, and lose the battle all because of 6x tippet. Use the opportunity as your advantage.

3.) I can't believe it's almost Christmas. Time flies by. Flies...no pun intended....yeah I know HA HA HA, hold the laughter. Anywho, everyone have a great evening and more tomorrow.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

1.) Shows you just how unpredictable the weather is. Instead of snow and cold, thunderstorms (some of them could be of the "hit the deck" variety tomorrow) look to be in the cards. This is a massive storm system, as one down in the Gulf, and one traversing over the Tennessee Valley will meet and storms may be a problem as Wednesday rolls on. Folks along and mostly east of I-85 will see the possibility of a few tornadoes according to the meteorologists covering the area. These past few weeks have been very weird weather wise. It's almost like we see lower to mid teens for lows one week, and the next week lows are up in the mid 50's (which will be the case tomorrow night. Snow chances don't look to impressive at all with this system. But, I guess since this storm system is complex...who knows. Just make sure those weather radios are at hand...might need them.
2.) RAIN is on the way...a lot of it too!! The trout are ready for a boost in the streams. Like any other rainy, high water day, the big, bad, black stoneflies come out of the fly box, and the 2x is tied on to that said fly. Sculpins and big gaudy streamers in the Zonker/Woolly Bugger category will be perfect. The Davidson River is at 38 cfs...by late Friday it should rise well over the "water half covering the trout's back stage".

3.) Panthers...Panthers....Panthers....You gotta" love 'em!! Was going to celebrate with Bojangle's, but time did not allow. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, AKA Smash n' Dash were AMAZING yesterday. Carolina played textbook football, and they really showed the NFL what they are made of.
Friday, December 5, 2008

1.) Not as cold today with sunny skies and a few passing clouds. I say go hit the trout stream, but hey that's just me. Water levels are fine, but they are all on their way down from the rain we received a few days ago. The water temps will be in the mid 40's to maybe 47-49, so the PH and dissolved oxygen is where it needs to be, which is perfect for the Brook Trout that are native to the southern Appalachians. The browns and rainbows will be pretty slow, so you still need to get that fly down to their feeding level (well, really, right in front of their noses). Use fine diameter leaders and tippets, as 6X sinks a lot faster than 3X....and too the water is clear. BWO nymphs, lightning bugs, Zug Bugs, PT nymphs, and small midge patterns have been doing well on most of the NC's streams. I would still consider fishing the trout laden tailwaters over in Tennessee. From what I've heard, the water is a little warmer, and the trout are in heaven. The Clinch, Hiwassee, Caney Fork, Holston, Watauga, and Cumberland have all been worthy of a fly cast or two. The freestoners are all pretty slow, but only because of the "still on the chilly side" water temps.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Season 1

Episode 1: Fly Fishing for Beginners

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

1.) Today is the 2nd day of December....where does time go? It seems like it was 85 degrees yesterday..(well not that easy, given that we have seen 40's for highs and 20's for lows. Speaking of cold, get ready for some REAL cold stuff by mid December. Modeling is really wanting to put some truly Arctic....or even polar air into the east. No snow yet, but the GFS is flip flopping back and forth on a bit of freezing rain early next Tuesday morning into the late morning hours. Not a lock yet, and can't tell you how much, or even when it's going to exactly hit the area. With that being said, the pattern looks very conducive for more arctic cold air and Gulf storms, so maybe we'll get a good snow event in the near future.

2.) The tailwaters over in Tennessee and here in NC are really showing great consistency. Anglers have been hooking fish of truly scary proportion. Give one of the TW's a try...the freestone spring creeks are very slow, and the fish are taking it easy. Until we can get a few consecutive days of upper 50's or low 60's, the streams won't warm up much. If you have cabin fever, and really want to wet a line, and tailwaters aren't a convenient choice, fishing the freestoners should be fine as long as you follow a few tips....

  1. THE # ONE tip is to dress in layers. I like to use Under Armour or Simms Waderwick under a regular long sleeve fishing shirt, with either a quality wading jacket or a moisture wicking fleece. Don't forget those Glacier Gloves either. Layers will allow you to stay warm during the coldest part of fishing, until the air warms up a little, and you need to shed a layer or two.

  2. Remember when fly fishing for trout, always use the appropriate amount of weight corresponding to the water depth and the trout's preferred feeding lane (which usually isn't too impressive this time of year).

  3. Use dark colored flies. In the Winter, the insects trout feed on are for the most part, small and dark colored. There aren't any light cahills and light hendricksons in December, so think according to the season.

  4. One of the best things you can do to catch trout in the Winter, is to make sure the fly nearly hits the trout. If your fly is 4 feet away from a fish in 25 degree weather, he's not going to race over across the pool and through the riffle to grab it....wastes too much precious energy.

  5. Try a point fly and a dropper. A small white Wolly Bugger with about 6 inches of tippet tied to the hook bend followed by a small (# 18-22) beadhead PT nymph should be perfect.

  6. Lastly, forget about the cold...I know what your thinking..(YEAH RIGHT).. but if you can concentrate on catching the fish, things may lighten up a bit.

I like fishing in the Winter. I remember a few times when I fished on the Jacob's Fork in downright frigid conditions, but regardless, this past February the trout were all netted and all of them willingly ate small midges and San Juan Worms. Also, if your a hatchery supported kind o' angler, there are PLENTY of trout for you to catch. Most of the time, by June, the fish are all gone, and albeit the hatchery trucks come once a month in many streams, a lot of anglers will follow the truck around until they put the trout in the river.

3.) Anywho, everyone have a great day and I will do my best to update tomorrow.

THFF Readers

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