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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 30, 2009

Just returned from a 20 minute excursion to the local pond. I'm hanging out in Fancy Gap, VA (still thinking it's Barrow, AK) for the week. Like mentioned, I went fishing earlier after the wind died down and temps in the upper 10's rebounded to the upper to mid 20's. The pond was 70% frozen over, which isn't conducive for fly fishing. We did see two ducks that were having a hard time getting across the pond due to the ice. It was a sight to behold. As I came up and over the hill, I spooked them into the pond were they hit the ice with a thud and spooked several nice fish into deeper water.
It's been cold (rivaling Missoula, MT's low and high temps). The problem is, it's going to just get colder. It's clear outside right now, but freezing rain, sleet, and maybe some snow will move into the area late tonight through tomorrow. There's already at least 8 inches of snow on the ground right now from the last snowstorm 11 days ago. I doubt the fishing will improve over the next few days up here.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
It's currently in the low to mid 50's here in Charlotte. The weather has been ideal for fishing. The streams and rivers in the western North Carolina mountains are flowing close or slightly above normal right now. I'm sure that will change tomorrow night into Christmas Day once the next storm rolls through the Carolinas. Fly fisherman here in the southeast are playing the "quick get on the river before it rains again" game. For the past few weeks storms have been rolling up the eastern seaboard on a weekly basis. After each system, we get a break and start drying out. Then, another storm system rolls through. Positive and negative impacts are present with this type of weather pattern. In terms of short range negative impacts, flooding becomes an issue and fishing can become treacherous. Long range impacts are mostly positive, as it insures the water levels are healthy and don't get too low. If your favorite main river is flooded or unfishable, turn to the smaller streams in the mountains. They are usually a bit more manageable.

We have family coming to town over the next few days, so I may or may not have the chance to post for a week or so. Until then, have a safe and very Merry Christmas...

Tyler Legg
Friday, December 18, 2009
1.) It has been a cold day here in the Piedmont of NC. Mixed with the chilly air is sleet and snow, which makes for some interesting weather. I witnessed a moderate snow shower this morning around 10:00. Looks like we'll see more of that later. In the Charlotte area, 1-3" of snow looks plausible with heavier amounts north and west of the city. Here in Kannapolis, we are right on the line (by a mile or two) of the possible 2-6". I'm guessing we'll end up with 2-4", but the nature of this storm makes it nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly who gets what. It's one of those snow events where accumulations vary from neighborhood to neighborhood (in some cases literally...) All we can do is watch the radar and look to the skies. Some folks may not receive snow accumulations at all. Some may wake up to a surprising amount. Albeit this event isn't in a perfect setup to dump snow on Charlotte like the mountains are seeing (don't get me started about the Mtns...), it is an omen of what this winter will be like. I mean, we haven't even reached winter yet and we're tracking a snowstorm?!?! (By the way, Wednesday's the first day of winter).

2.) Just checked the temperature for Kannapolis, which is 33 degrees. The pressure is 29.89 and falling. It's raining with a few sleet pellets and a loose snow flake or two at the moment. That will change come later this evening throughout tonight and into the morning hours tomorrow. The mix will change to primarily all snow for at least a period tonight. This is where the snow accumulations will start. Now, the mountains are about to be (some already are) buried alive. Up to 18" in some spots with possibly locally higher amounts, especially along the Blue Ridge. My grandparents live in Fancy Gap, VA right on the Parkway. I'm sure they already have snow on the ground and are preparing for the 3/4ths of the rest of the event... 20" is not out of the realm of possibility up that way. It blows me away!!

3.) If you are deciding on heading into the mountains to fish, you might want to hold off. I-40 is going to be a mess. I-40 west through the mountains is going to be an absolute nightmare, and the smaller roads up in the mountains are going to be transformed into ski slopes. Fishing will be tough for a while.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
While dodging "potential" winter storms over the past few weekends, I've tried to get behind the tying bench to crank out some bugs. This is one of the results Tuesday evening...

Realistic Cased Caddis

Hook: the TMC3761 is fine for this pattern, but, I tend to use dry fly hooks as they have a wider gape than nymph hooks do which allows better hook sets due to the bulky rocks. Lead wire added for additional weight
Thread: Chartreuse 6/0
Body: Crushed rocks adhered to hook with Hard as Hull (Dave's Flexament also works fine)
Thorax: Caddis green dubbing
Legs: Moose mane crimped to resemble legs
Head: Black dubbing

I haven't tried this bug out yet, but flies that look realistic can sometimes change a day on the water...

The mountains, foothills, and NW Piedmont of North Carolina are preparing for a monster snowstorm. Up to 18 inches in some spots up in the mountains, with 8-12 inches across the foothills and NW Piedmont. Here in Charlotte, looks like a smaller scale event with 1-2" maybe 3" in some places. Christmas Eve looks very interesting as well for potential precip other than liquid...Of course we've been through this before several times already... Still, if we are talking about snow before Christmas (Monday marks the beginning of winter) January, February, and March will definately be interesting.
Monday, December 14, 2009
1.) I got back around 2:00 in the afternoon yesterday. We took a trip down to Myrtle Beach with some friends for the weekend. Given it was 2 days packed with scheduled things to do, I left the "ocean fishing gear" at home. It was a windy, rainy, and cold 2 days down there. There were only a few people on the beach, given the temps were in the upper 40's to low 50's. We didn't see a single ship out in the ocean (we continued looking for the Deadliest Catch crew, it felt like the Bering Sea...). Enjoyable weekend that surprisingly went by slow...

2.) Fishing has been slow as of lately. Fish nymphs on the bottom with plenty of split shot. There are a few fish that are holding in calm and shallow water that may rise to a dry though. Check the hatch chart in the lower left column for flies to try.

3.) I may be able to get out on Saturday. If so, Wilson Creek or Stone Mountain...

4.) The Montana Grizzlies won in a great football game against Appalachian State. Snow started to fall towards the end of the 1st half and by the beginning of the 2nd, the field at Washington-Grizzly Stadium was covered in snow; it was a full fledged blizzard. We play Villanova this Friday in the Nat'l Championship game. I'm ready for it!!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
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.
Monday, December 7, 2009
1.) Except for a few locations in western NC, generally speaking, the rivers and streams weren't effected majorly as a result of the light rain on Saturday. The big weather word this weekend was the cold. It hovered in the mid 40's in the morning, before dropping through the day into the lower 30's. Saturday night into Sunday morning, it was in the upper 20's, with lower readings in the mountains. I'm not complaining at all. I favor cold weather. Especially over the hot, humid, and muggy summers we're known for. I also enjoy fishing in cold weather. The opportunities as an angler are plentiful in the winter months. The crowds are at a standstill, the water levels are usually running where they should be, you don't have to worry about the "big, yellow inner tube hatch", and the trout are glad to eat your fly given you adjust your tactics. Some folks believe trout stock up on food in preparation for the winter. They do, but more so in preparation for the spawning season, usually occurring in late fall for brown trout and brook trout. Trout eat in the dead of winter. They have to eat. They are usually very lethargic as to where they don't expend more energy than they take in though.

Go-to flies right now would be small mayfly nymphs (PT's, Copper John's, Lightning Bugs, Micro Mays, etc). BWO's are hatching (#18-22 "ish") along with Little Black Stones. Keep an eye peeled for these bugs. They can turn an ordinary day on the river into a spectacular day. Streamers are also working (Buggers, Clousers, Sculpins, etc). Midges, of course are working (year round) and will catch fish on most rivers. If you plan on hitting one of the DH streams in NC, Y2K's San Juan Worms, egg patterns, Hise's Hex, Princes, Pheasant Tails (PT's) and similar flies will be fish catchers. Long leaders with 5x-6x tippet are going to be necessary given the clear water.

2.) The weather pattern over the next few weeks looks VERY interesting in terms of snow and ice here in NC (not just the mountains). True Arctic Air (not 30's...more upper teens for lows) is attempting to make a run for the south. This, combined with an active branch of the jet stream makes snow and ice concerns very plausible as we head through the rest of the month. This winter is going to be a wild one. We haven't seen annual snow amounts rise to double digits in a few years. This year may be different in some places. Make sure your neoprenes are in working order!!

3.) My Montana Grizzlies dominated and pulled apart the #1 offense in FCS football. Stephen F. Austin (Texas) lost to the GRIZ 51-0 Saturday afternoon. I'm thrilled with their efforts. It's not over yet, Appalachian State is visiting the Griz in Missoula this Saturday at 4pm. It will be broadcasted on national T.V. via ESPN. App State has a heck of a football team, so Montana will be put to the test.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
If you have recently glanced at the 7 day for Houston, or the forecast for St. Charles, La, the first thing you probably noticed was the word 'snow'. I, myself, could not believe it. It's true folks, snow (accumulating too) in places such as Waco, Houston and Austin, Texas. In Louisiana Alexandria, Lafayette, and Lake Charles, are forecasted to see some snow. Hattiesburg, Mississippi could even see some snow along with Vicksburg. The Lonestar State is blue and purple, indicating either a Winter Weather Watch, warning or advisory. Biloxi, Mississippi is expected to see a few snow showers. These are areas along and close to the Gulf Coast!! It is almost unheard of to see snow this far south in early December. It happened last year in December in the same exact places. Who's next in line? Charlotte?!?! We may see a very cold rain transition to a mix of rain/snow with a short period of all snow possible (especially north and west of the metro) later in the evening/overnight on Saturday. Jeff Crum, chief meteorologist of News 14 Carolina, Charlotte, added that the notorious "gotcha" is not out of the question and we receive light accumulating snow. As of now, unfortunately the cold and moisture can't combine correctly for a major snow event. Oh well...We usually receive our big snowstorms in late January into February and early March.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The western NC rivers and streams have boasted some fantastic fishing conditions as of lately. Nice weather will end abruptly with deteriorating conditions as we head into tomorrow as a storm system will deliver heavy rains and possible thunderstorms into the region. This usually equates to higher flows and tougher than average fishing conditions. When we see heavy rains on area rivers and streams, deep nymphing with large, buggy stoneflies or dead drifting gaudy streamers through deep runs are usually the best bet in terms of catching fish. It does look like a sizable amount of rain will fall tomorrow across the Tennessee Valley and into the Carolinas, so rivers will be nearly guaranteed to rise; rapidly in some cases.

In most rivers 4x-5x tippet is small enough. The Davidson River being the only exception as the D is running crystal clear, so 6x-7x here (that'll change come tomorrow).

All of the area DH streams are fishing very well. Fish are being caught on Y2K's, San Juan Worms, egg patterns, Copper Johns, Princes, Hise's Hex, Woolly Buggers, etc. They shouldn't be too tough to entice. If you notice BWO's hatching, don't hesitate to tie on a para BWO or an emerging BWO. The best set-up right now looks to be a #10 Woolly Bugger as the point fly with a smaller nymph (ie Princes, San Juans, Y2K's, CJ's, etc) as the lead fly. Don't be too surprised if you even catch fish on a #16 Elk Hair Caddis or a Stimulator. Stocked fish tend to tolerate cold weather better than their wild counterparts, thus they tend to become liable to rising to bugs on the surface.

See ya out on the river,
Tyler Legg

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