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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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Sunday, February 28, 2010
Fly Fishing in the Spring
by Tyler Legg
Fly fishing during the Spring time months can be spectacular. Still, it has it's challenges. With gradual warming temperatures, trout begin to move around. After a long and cold winter, trout are ready to start filling up on larger insects usually not available in the winter months. Here in the southeast, particularly North Carolina/Virginia/Tennessee/and N. Georgia, early March marks the emergence of the first major hatches of the year. The quill gordon's and the blue quills being the major hatches. Generically speaking, a trout stream needs to reach 50 degrees for at least 3 or more consecutive days before the quill gordon's start to really make a move to the surface. During a hatch, the insects are swimming from the bottom of the stream, riding with the current, while propelling themselves to the surface. Trout will take these helpless bugs with reckless abandon. When you start seeing quill gordon's on the water, tie on a quill gordon wet, let it sink to the bottom, and slowly inch it up to the surface when it nears your intended fish. This sometimes results in vicious strikes, so hang on.

As Spring rolls on, May brings with it a plethora of insect hatches. Hatches during the month of May include the Ephemerella Subvaria (Hendricksons), the Stenonema Vicarium or March Brown, and the Stenonema Ithaca (Lt. Cahill). Other hatches worth mentioning include the Gray Caddis, Gray Fox, Yellow Midges, Sulphurs, Black Caddis, Green Drakes, Giant Stone Flies (Pteronarcys), and the BWO's (which never seem to rest). If you look at a NC hatch chart, you will notice that May is the outlier in terms of how many insects hatch. Straying from aquatic insects, late Spring marks the beginning of terrestrial season. Hoppers, ants, beetles and eventually inchworms make their appearance in western North Carolina.

If there isn't a hatch occurring, the best thing to do is tie on a nymph such as a Pheasant Tail or a March Brown Nymph. The absence of a hatch doesn't necessarily mean that a hungry trout won't tackle a lone dry fly, it just means that you will have more consistency catching fish nymphing.

This winter has been exceptionally wet and snowy. I don't foresee extensive drought problems this year. Water levels should continue to flow fine throughout spring. This means less stressed trout due to low water and less spooky fish.

A few helpful tips for Spring-time fly fishing

  • Be aware of water levels. This time of year yields more rain, thus more water. Spring time in NC means severe thunderstorms. If you hear thunder or see lightning, stop fishing and wait for it the storm to pass. Often, thunderstorms that occur well upstream will send water downstream.
  • Fish the seams (where moving water meets slack water.) Trout wait in seams for passing food.

  • If the water is stained or muddy, use heavier tippet (2-5x depending on clarity of water).

  • 90% of a trout's diet consists of nymphs, so you are more likely to catch a trout on a nymph vs. a dry in most situations.

  • Try a new fly that the fish have not likely seen yet.

  • In high, stained water during and after spring rains, use big #4 Zonkers, Woolly Buggers, and Zoo Cougars.

  • Most rainbow trout spawn in the early Spring, so try using an egg pattern.

Spring in NC can be spectacular to say the least. Fishing is usually excellent with abundant hatches, warm temperatures, and plenty of hungry fish. Take advantage of the optimum weather conditions spring commonly offers.

Thursday, February 25, 2010
Aside being a fly fishing nerd, I'm a weather geek. You've probably noticed this, as the bulk of my posts start off with the weather. We have seen everything from rain to sleet, a little bit of ice, and we've seen snow this winter. Since this is North Carolina, we have seen a few thunderstorms as well. Computer models (which are large, high tech computers that forecast weather...It's what the NWS, the Weather Channel, and local news sources use to aid in forecasting) have been suggesting a significant snowstorm for the Carolinas Tuesday/Tuesday night/Wednesday of next week. I have watched the storm as it continued to be suggested by the computer models close to 2 weeks ago. Now that we are closing in on 4 days away from the event, it looks like this powerful low pressure shooting out of the Gulf of Mexico has it's sights set on North Carolina (and the Southeast US). I'm not saying we will definitely see a major snowstorm here in the Carolinas, but judging by the looks of things currently, well, watch out!! Get ready for more high, muddy water...Joy...
Friday, February 19, 2010
Well, not exactly Spring-like temperatures, but the mid 50's today, mid 50's tomorrow and upper 50's to low 60's Sunday isn't bad at all! Unlike the past few weekends, snow is not forecasted. In Asheville, the last time 50 degrees was hit was on January 27th. Quill Gordons will sometimes hatch in late February when temperatures warm suddenly. I don't know if that will happen this year. The water is still going to be cold, despite warmer air temperatures. I've heard that water temperatures need to be at 50 degrees or higher for 3 consecutive days to start seeing quill Gordons. Still, Spring is just around the corner. Stock your boxes now with spring time flies. Quill Gordons, Blue Quills and Black Caddis are primarily the hatches to watch for as we head into March and April. Once May rolls around, the hatches are endless. Here in NC, May brings with it Light Cahills, March Browns, Sulphurs, Green Drakes, Caddis, Giant Stones (Pteronarcys), Midges, etc. Eventually terrestrial insects such as grasshoppers, ants, crickets, beetles, and inchworms, are sought after by trout. We still have to get through the rest of February and probably into mid March though. Snow and cold is still looming in the long range forecasts, so don't hang up your coats just yet.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Snow is on the ground yet again here in the southern Piedmont of North Carolina. It was an unexpected storm, as most forecasters were expected the storm to stay well off to our south leaving North Carolina clear and dry. After Dallas, TX received 10" of snow (much more than expected) everyone new something was up with this storm. News 14 Carolina started to suggest 1-3" of snow around our area, before upgrading to 2-5". The other news stations were WAY off. One news station forecasted only 1 inch of snow. Our next round of snow looks to be tomorrow night into Monday. We may see some accumulating snow here in the Charlotte Metro once again. The mountains will definitely see snow with this strong clipper originating from the Dakotas. Fishing should be fine, we aren't seeing a blizzard, so conditions will be OK for fishing. Just make sure you layer up and keep warm. The water is going to be VERY cold. We know that cold water equals sluggish trout. As long as you get your fly of choice on the bottom, you should be fine. Check the "Recommended Flies for February" list to the left. Hang in there, Spring is coming...eventually. Forecasters say we'll probably see snow into mid March in Charlotte though.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Western North Carolina was freshly dumped upon again with snow/ice yesterday. We didn't receive any accumulating snow here in the Charlotte area, but once you start going north and west of the Queen City the ground gradually turns white. Of course the 6 inches in some areas up in the high country is absolutely NOTHING compared to the snow occuring north of us. Baltimore, MD reported 26.5 inches of snow at 11:45 this morning at the airport. They're expecting another 3-6 inches before the storm wraps up later this evening. Up to 32 inches of snow is expected in some areas. Talk about "dude, where's my car"...

Temperatures will be up and down throughout the week in WNC. Unfortunately, so will rain/snow/ice. You'll probably run into more snow Tuesday through Wednesday, but it doesn't look like it will be a big deal. Tomorrow and Monday will be nice if you don't mind some fresh, cold air. Take it easy and get an update on roadway conditions in the mountains if you plan on venturing out to a trout stream. Temps won't be bad, in the lower 30's around Boone and in the upper 30's around Asheville/Brevard with light winds. Water levels will be high and slightly off color in some places, so you should get away with switching to slightly heavier tippet. Be careful when you're wading right now, streams and rivers could be swift following all of the snow and rain. The fish are going to be slow, so as always in the winter, make sure you get your fly in front of their nose, or they're probably going to ignore it. Check the updated "recommended flies" for the month of February to your left to get an idea of what's working.

The new forum is starting to take off. We're eventually going to start an online fly tying contest on the board. It's a great place for new tyers to gain tips and pointers on fly tying. Check out the forum here if you haven't already. We would love to see you over there.

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