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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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Thursday, April 29, 2010
Here are the instructions on how to tie my Giant Vinyl Rib Stone. Forgive me for some of the pictures. Not the best of angles for some of them!!

Hook: Any heavy nymph hook
Thread: 6/0 Rusty or brown 
Tail: 2 Brown goose biots
Underbody: Nymph dubbing or antron to build up bulk. (Don't use your good dry fly dubbing!! Use scrap dubbing, or dubbing you have plenty of)
Body: Brown vinyl rib
Wingcase: 2mm brown foam
Legs: 6 brown goose biots
Thorax: Gray ostrich herl

 Start the thread and place a good base of thread down. Wrap back to the point where the thread is aligned with the hook barb.

 Before you tie in the biots, place a small ball of dubbing down right at the bend to separate the biots.

 Tie in some nymph dubbing or antron to give the body some added bulk. Then, wrap your thread back through the dubbing to hold it in place.

 Wrap the vinyl rib forward.

 Cut a V-notch at the top of the 2mm foam. Do this only on one side. You can buy sheets upon sheets of 2mm foam of all colors at any craftstore, such as Hobby Lobby. Cheap price, but excellent foam. $5 will buy you a whole stack of 11"x8" foam.

 Tie in each biot one at a time. (Adjust them until you like how they look). 6 legs in total.

 Tie in the foam wingcase and then your gray ostrich herl. on top of the thorax.

 The legs should look like they are protruding from the ostrich herl.

 Pinch each biot to create realistic legs.

  Whip finish

You're finished!!

Front view
Monday, April 26, 2010
 From News Topic.net (Lenoir, NC newspaper)

A 65-year-old Virginia man drowned Thursday afternoon after slipping off a rock along Wilson Creek.

The man was fishing with Gary Hammerstone, a friend of his from Morganton, about a mile or so past Brown Mountain Beach store. Caldwell County Emergency Services Director Tommy Courtner said Hammerstone told rescue officials he was fishing downstream a short distance from his friend when he heard a yell. When he went to check, his buddy was nowhere to be found.

Rescue crews from several agencies were dispatched at 2:24 p.m. ATV teams, ground search teams and dive teams were requested because officials were not certain at first if they were conducting a water or land search.

As it turned out, a second sweep of the Wilson Creek area between Brown Mountain Beach campground and Lady on the Rock led to the discovery of the victim, whose name will not be released until his family members have been located and notified of his death. His body was found at 4:38 p.m. lying flat on the bottom of the river about 15-20 feet below the surface.

Courtner said the man was wearing chest waders, and it appeared that they filled when he fell into the icy water. The victim was unable to get the waders off to get out of the river.

“The waders held him down,” Courtner said. “With the water temperature and the down time – more than two hours – there was no opportunity for survival.”

Det. B.J. Fore of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said that all indications point to an accidental death at this time.

Courtner said Hammerstone told him this was the second time he and his friend had fished at Wilson Creek. They also were there last year.

Approximately 30 people from county agencies responded to the incident. Agencies assisting with the search included Caldwell County EMS, the Sheriff’s Office, Collettsville Fire/Rescue, Gamewell Fire/Rescue, North Catawba Fire/Rescue, Valmead Fire, Lenoir Fire, Hudson Fire and Lovelady Rescue.

Wading belts save lives!!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I'm not a huge midge fisherman. I fish them often enough though to know full well how effective these tiny bugs are. It has always fascinated me how fish can see such tiny flies. They are fish catchers for sure. Just because the angler can barely see them, doesn't mean the sharp eyesight of a feeding trout can't. I recently tied some midge patterns of various colors, shapes, and sizes. Here is a few that I will be trying on the midgy water of the Davidson River this summer...

March Browns are hatching all across North Carolina. Here's a March Brown tied Bob Jacklin style.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
The yellow sallies that is, not the Poltergeist. The little yellow stones are really starting to pop across a lot of areas in western North Carolina. Once you start seeing the Yellow Sallies, the Light Cahills follow pretty quickly. Last August was the last time I saw the Yellow Sallies. We were camping in the Smokies right alongside Little River (TN side of the Park) at Elkmont Campground. They started to hatch around 9:00 that evening. From 9:00 until midnight they were crashing into the Coleman lantern I had sitting next to my vise as I tied. Instantly, they would fall over charred and half melted. Fried sallies were scattered all over the table.

After the hatches of May, the terrestrials come out to play in late May/June and continue on through the summer. We're entering the month of May here in a few days, which means hatches all of a sudden start to explode. May is the climax of the year in terms of numbers of species of bugs that hatch. The myriad of  insects that hatch out next month is overwhelming! Light Cahills, Green Drakes, Hendricksons, Gray Foxes, a caddis buffet, and midges of all kinds (just to name a few) are all preparing to hatch. We're already seeing the other half hatching right now: Yellow Sallies, March Browns, Hendricksons, caddis, etc.  If you fish in the evenings, a mask of some sort may help if the caddis hatch out in numbers!! It seems as if they're sole mission is to suffocate anglers on the river. They swarm by the millions sometimes. Don't worry about a good drift or what fly you have on the end of your rig. Just throw something out there and the caddis will cover it up!! It's an amazing sight to see for sure.

The dog-days of summer are bearing down on us. Camping, summer hatches, and fishing until dusk are right around the corner. I don't know about you, but bring it on!!
Friday, April 23, 2010
I just reviewed the Storm Prediction Center's Convective outlook for the Carolinas. It looks like we're in for a bumpy ride tomorrow evening. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee look to be slammed by violent severe weather tomorrow. The farther you are to the east, the later the storms arrive. Here in western North Carolina, expect some pretty nasty storms to continuously roll through. Some will likely grow to super cells and there is definitely the possibility for tornadoes. Remember the evening of March 28th? We could be dancing the dance again. I'm not a meteorologist, but I thought it was important to pass this along. Wouldn't hurt to have a NOAA weather radio just in case.

The fishing will be sketchy tomorrow. Storms will start rolling through Georgia tomorrow afternoon and should reach us by tomorrow evening and throughout tomorrow night. Then, Sunday boasts another chance for storms. Not as bad as what it looks like tomorrow, but fishing will have to be planned according to the weather. If you're reading this now and you're thinking about heading to the river, have at it!! The rest of today looks fine. In fact much of tomorrow will be fine, especially if you're fishing in the Piedmont. It's tomorrow evening when the weather dives south. If you're out on Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake, High Rock Lake, or fishing for smallies over on the Uwharrie River, you should be fine. Just make sure you pack it in when you see dark cloud or hear thunder. Something tells me we'll be dealing with high water after all is said and done. Have those big streamers ready!!

Click the "Recommended Flies" tab above to see a list of recommended patterns working right now. I'll update it next Friday for May.
Monday, April 19, 2010

Redfish Can't Jump - Teaser from Luke Pearson on Vimeo.

Redfish Can't Jump, an amazing new documentary featuring North Carolina's best redfishing is now out. It's now selling and according the their site, copies will be sent out soon. I've got goosebumps after watching the teaser above. The music is by Jason Andre. Excellent stuff. I liked it so much, I emailed Jason and asked if I could use his music in future podcasts (Episode 3 coming out soon). He said he's fine with me using it!!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
 I finally resolved the camera issue: forgot to turn the macro setting on. After weeks of trying to figure it out, I finally pressed one button and images were as clear as a bell when taking up close snaps of flies. I don't feel so bright!!

Anyways, here are some recent hair balls...

        Legg's Vinyl Rib Stone
 After a good while of sitting behind the tying bench, I came up with this stonefly nymph. The combination of undulant ostrich herl and rubber legs makes for a lifelike stone. It's heavily weighted with lead and a BH, so it gets down to the fish pretty quickly. I will be tying these at Troutfest next month.

Hook: 3x long Nymph or streamer hook bent to form thorax.
Thread: Brown or rusty 6/0
Tail: Brown goose biots
Body: Brown vinyl rib
Underbody: Dubbing to make the body more bulky
Thorax: Gray ostrich herl
Legs: Rubber legs (brown or black)
Antenna: Rubber legs
Head: Black 3/16" bead

        Burkholder's Club Sandwich

Hook: TMC 5212
Thread: Yellow or tan 6/0
Body: Gray, tan, and yellow 2mm foam
Legs: brown or black rubber legs
Indicator: 2mm yellow foam

       Burkholder's Club Sandwich (chartreuse underbody)
I got a kick out of what Derek Young, a guide out in Washington State told me...  "it looks like that female hippie Muppet thing".  I think I should have closed the head a little!! I have to agree with Derek... It does look like a Muppet... Just saying...

Recipe is same as above, except the underbody is chartreuse 2mm foam.

Caddis Larvae

Hook: TMC 2457
Thread: 6/0 black
Tail: 3 strands of black ostrich herl
 Body: Caddis green dubbing
Shellback: black Thin Skin
Rib: Copper wire
Thorax: Black ostrich herl
Head: 1/8" black bead

Wiggle Stone

Front hook: TMC 2457
Rear hook: TMC 3761
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail: 2 Black rubber legs
Body: Black Thin Skin wrapped to form segmented body
Thorax: Ostrich and peacock herl
Legs: Black rubber legs
Antennae: Black rubber legs
Head: Black 3/16" bead
Thursday, April 15, 2010
 Sulfur mayfly (Courtesy Chatahoochee/Nantahala Trout Unlimited)

Sounds like the Sulfurs can't resist the tempting warm weather. One of the guys over on the forum reported that he saw Sulfurs up on the Mitchell River yesterday. He also added that they were hatching in pretty good numbers. Sulfurs will increasingly occur first at the lower elevation streams and then overtime higher elevation streams will see these little yellow mayflies. A yellow bodied mayfly imitation, such as a Sulfur Dun, Jim Charlie, Sulfur Comparadun, Sulfur Thorax, or a Sulfur Sparkle Dun will work well.

Next in line on the hatch train is the the Light Cahills. The first Light Cahill hatches should occur soon. Probably around the end of the month. Dare I say that some folks have spotted a few terrestrials. Not really enough to say terrestrial season has started, but enough to remind you that the season is literally right around the corner. Bring it on!!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A wild speck displaying a myriad of colors.
When you think of western North Carolina, you probably think of quaint, antiquated towns, rich in history and diversity. You think of small towns nestled in valleys surrounded by the oldest mountain range in North America, the Appalachians. High up in the mountains, you'll find another one of Appalachia's jewels. The native southern Appalachian brook trout. Mountain folks refer to them as the "native trout" or the "speckled trout". Contrary to popular belief, the brook trout, is not a trout at all. It's a char, related to the dolly varden, bull trout, and arctic char. The southern Appalachian brookie is indigenous to western North Carolina, the high mountains of east Tennessee, the highest mountains of northeast Georgia, and northwest South Carolina. With that being said, non-native rainbow trout and brown trout, introduced years ago, have driven the brookies upstream to the tiny headwaters. Back then it was much different. One did not have to hike and search intently for them. They were the only salmonid in the southeastern United States. Biologists say that the rainbows and the browns outcompete the brook trout for food and habitat. To top it all off, logging, road construction, stream degradation, silt issues, acid rain, amongst many other environmental issues have quickly decreased the once flourishing population of these colorful and lively fish. If you are catching wild brook trout, you are fishing a pristine, clean, and possibly untouched stream. Specs are considered a biological indicator, as they can only live in clean streams that have low acidity and high concentrations of dissolved oxygen and nutrients.

Where do I find Brookies?

Wild brook trout are found in the headwaters of many river systems in NC. Most of the time, these streams are extremely small, concealed by a canopy of rhododendron and mountain laurel. Brook trout prefer high gradient streams that contain numerous plunge pools and small waterfalls, usually situated at an elevation of 3,000 ft or higher. To find these streams, you'll need a Delorme Gazetteer map and a sturdy pair of hiking boots.
You're not going to find many wild brook trout streams around here that meander along the road. A hike to the stream is usually involved. If you're catching all rainbow trout or all brown trout, hike upstream until you find the specs. Make sure you know the area and have a map, as bluelining can get quite dangerous if you get lost. It's really a trial and error kind of thing when attempting to locate brook trout streams. Sometimes a stream will be teeming with specks and sometimes the brookies won't be present. Once you do find that native brookie stream, keep it secret! 

Fishing for Brookies

Wild brook trout usually don't see a lot of angling pressure (some haven't even laid eyes on a fly), due to the fact that they thrive in remote locations. Stealth must be brought into the equation to get close enough to these naturally spooky fish. With that being said, stealth isn't as hard as finding brook trout. In most cases, locating a wild brook trout stream is far more arduous than actually sneaking up on and catching them. Brookies will eat anything they can get into their mouths. Their enthusiastic reaction to a fly hitting the water is priceless. Dries seem to be the most effective and the most enjoyable method to catch them. I've had fish launch completely out of the their pool to grab a helpless looking fly on the surface. It's those moments that push me to sometimes leave the nymph box behind and take only a handful of smallish dry flies. Dry flies can be anything from realistic looking to cartoonish. These guys don't ever seem to mind. Attractors work extremely well. Trudes, Wulffs, Stimulators, Humpies, Turk's Turantulas, Madam X's, and just about anything else that is highly visible and floats well will draw these jewels to the surface. They seldom are very picky, as the streams they live in are fast and quick decisions must be made. Usually, their decisions involve attacking the fly like there's no tomorrow. I've found that setting the hook is not recommended, as these fish are so small, you'll fling them over your head. Keep your hooks sharp and barbless and they'll hook themselves. Immediately return these fish when you catch them. Keep them in the water and make sure they swim away healthy.

 Click the on the map for a larger view 

Some of you might be raising your brow with ambiguity, while the thought, "why must an angler hike miles upon miles, or study a map for hours upon hours, just to catch a bunch of small, 6 inch trout" runs through your brain. Anyone who has ever fished a native brookie stream, knows that there's a sense of accomplishment when you bring a wild southern Appalachian brook trout to you're hand. The image of that wild speck squirming in your hand is instilled into your mind. The colors you see will leave you dumbfounded. Brook trout that were and are facing trouble on the horizon. If we continue to abuse the environment surrounding these fragile little streams, we may face total extinction of the southern Appalachian brook trout. Though several organizations such as Trout Unlimited, are in the process of bringing back Appalachia's only native salmonid, we have to do our part. Just like oil, natural gas, coal, and rainforests, they are a natural resource. Once they are gone, they can't be brought back. Remember the Passenger Pigeon? It's a pigeon right? There's tons of pigeons around isn't there? We all thought they were everywhere. We also thought they wouldn't be wiped from the face of the earth. The chilling fact of the matter is, they did.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The weather can't get any better. It's currently in the low to mid 70's across the lower terrain and valleys of WNC. The higher streams are cooler, more in line with early spring. Conditions on the the lower elevation streams/rivers are already up to par with late spring/early summer. Quill Gordons and Blue Quills are the main insects hatching up in the higher elevations, while March Browns, Dark Hendricksons, Red Quills, Black Caddis, (and some possible surprises) are hatching in lower elevation waters. If you're still looking for Quill Gordons and Blue Quills, you going to have to go up higher. Looks like the bulk of the Quill Gordon/Blue Quill season is waning. March Browns are now starting to come out. I noticed one Saturday fluttering around while fishing Stone Mountain and lower elevation streams in Virginia. I didn't notice any other notable mayflies though (usually they'll hatch out in the evening). Sulfurs, Caddis, Light Cahills, Green Drakes, and the cream of the crop stream, the terrestrials will be out before we know it. Start filling those terrestrial boxes up!!
The one and only Lightning Bug...

In the morning, fish runs and pools with nymphs. On a bright sunny day (we've had a bunch of them lately) a Lightning Bug, or any other flashy nymph fished under an attractor dry or an indicator will work well. Pheasant Tails, Princes, Copper Johns, Hot Wire Princes, Micro Mays, etc will also work well. Try a Green Weenie if all else fails. It seems as if the Green Weenie produces when not much else will. By the afternoon/evening, switch over to dries. Your typical dries will work well: Royal Wulffs, Turk's Turantulas, PMX's, Elk Hair Caddis, Humpies, March Browns, etc.

We're currently in a fishing pattern that can't get much better. One week full of sunny, warm days and cool nights, followed by a little rain associated with cold fronts is keeping WNC streams healthy and looking up. Hopefully this pattern lasts through the summer. We definitely don't need another year of low, warm water.

**Enjoy DH waters while you can!! The season ends on June 4th.**
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I thoroughly enjoy it. As you've noticed through the blog, I'm not one to complain about writing an article for a website or an article for a magazine. It has always been a passion of mine. Writing about topics that don't pertain to fishing, well, doesn't really amuse me though!! I just submitted a resume to Examiner.com to become the NC Fly Fishing Examiner. Basically I will write articles pertaining to fly fishing here in NC. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if I break down and write book (no, seriously) about fly fishing in the Old North State. I've had too many people suggest that I write a book. So, this NC fly fisherman continues to write....
I just completed an article for FlyFishingNC.com entitled "Bluelining for Brookies". This article is solely about the southern Appalachian brook trout. It covers flies, techniques, habitat, habits, finding brookie streams, etc. I'll post the article here on the blog when it comes out.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tomorrow will be the third try at "Expedition Wild Brook Trout". The last 2 outings have not produced any brookies (people around here refer to them as native trout, specks, mountain trout, etc). I've set my sights on what looks like an excellent wild native brook trout stream nestled close to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Some of you might be raising your brow with ambiguity, while thinking, "why must an angler hike miles upon miles, or study a map for hours upon hours, just to catch a bunch of small, 6" trout". Anyone who has ever fished a native brookie stream, knows that there's a sense of accomplishment when you bring a wild southern Appalachian brook trout to you're hand. Brook trout that were and are facing trouble on the horizon. Years of logging, road building, stream degredation, and acid rain have expeditiously decreased the once flourishing population of this colorful and lively fish. Brook trout are considered a biological indicator, indicating pristine, clean, clear, and nutrient rich water.

With that being said, I'm heading out once again early in the morning (trying to beat the weather later tomorrow evening). I've got a feeling the brook trout will be there. I'm not holding my breath, but I do have that feeling. We'll see what plays out. you know what they say, third time's a charm.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
We hit the headwaters of the Dan River and she hit us back. Could not find a single fish in the salmonid family in those waters. Round Meadow Creek, on the Parkway, was one of the more pristine streams I've stumbled across. The streams have been and will likely continue to be pretty muddy and high given the huge snow year they've had up here. I asked my grandad "So, when did the snow completely melt?" His reply was, "We saw snow a week before Christmas and it stuck around through about March 20th." I reminisced back to my trip to Montana, during one of the worst snow years they've had in years. The Madison River from Hebgen Lake downstream to Three Forks looked like an endless supply of chocolate milk. Muddy. Murky. Fast. High.
 Trail leading from the Parkway down to the creek.

Anyways, the trip today was filled with scenery and trouting. We stopped by the pond to give trouting a break. I caught several bass and several panfish. Mostly small, but fun nonetheless. Oh yeah, I was about to have a heart attack when a 50 pound plus blue catfish slowly met my #6 streamer and grabbed it. Thankfully Mr. Whiskers didn't hold on, or my 6wt, 5x tippet, and I would have been up the creek pond without a paddle. I think that was the only time I've ever HOPED a fish would NOT eat my fly. Heading out to either the East Fork of Chestnut Creek or head over to the Jefferson Nat'l Park tomorrow. Will report the results tomorrow evening.

 Blue Ridge Parkway as seen from the creek.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I'm finally in Hillsville, VA for the week. My grandparents moved from their mountain house on the Parkway to town. Everything you could possibly need is within a short drive here in to: grocery store, gas station, the church, etc ('cept a fly shop). This area is truly a fly fishing mecca if you will. You have the second oldest river in the world, the New River, a short drive to the west, the Dan River just to the east, and a plethora of wild trout streams. Virginia is said to be the best place to find native southern Appalachian brook trout south of New England. I'm taking advantage of that little tidbit tomorrow. Grandad and I just got back from a scouting expedition to check out Big Reed Island Creek. Looks like an excellent year round smallmouth river. I would imagine trout swim in these waters, but they'll soon migrate upstream, retreating to colder water when the summer heat sets in.

Tomorrow's schedule begins with a trip to Fancy Gap (grandparents old house) to load firewood into the truck. Warmwater fishing for bass and panfish follows. Then, it's off to the headwaters of the Dan River for some wild brookies. Should be a fun day!! A report should be posted sometime tomorrow.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The temperatures are heating up and the fishing is going to be crazy good folks. Quill Gordons and Blue Quills will be out in full force for a while. You might also see some March Browns in some places given the unusually warm temperatures. Black Caddis are also becoming increasingly active. Also, keep an eye out for BWO's. An unusually early warm spell has engulfed the east, providing folks with a taste of late spring/early summer. We're currently experiencing temps that should occur in late May/early June; mid 80s today and mid to upper 80's tomorrow. As always, it will be cooler in the mountains, ranging from mid 70's in the higher terrain (mid 60s 5,800 ft or so and above) and low 80s tomorrow. Combined with a light, but warm breeze, and an almost zero percent chance of rain, it's going to be NICE!!

Fishing will be spectacular over the next few days. Conditions are right for great dry fly action. Afternoons and evenings are going to be the best time for dries. Try nymphs in the morning and then a dry/dropper in the late morning/early afternoon, before switching to dries in the afternoon/evening.

Good nymphs to try:
Copper Johns #14-18
Pheasant Tails #14-20
Hare's Ears #12-18
Prince Nymphs #12-16
Hise's Hetero-Genius #12-16
Zug Bugs #12-18
Hot Wire Princes #12-16
Micro Mayflies #16-20
 Green Weenie (catches fish year-round regardless of it's representation of an inchworm) #12-14
 San Juan Worms #10-14
Y2K #12-14

Good Dries to try: 

Quill Gordon #14
Blue Quill #18-20
Brown Elk Hair Caddis #14-20
Royal Wulff #12-18
Adams/Para Adams #16-20
Black Caddis #14-18
Stimulator #12-14
Trudes #12-16
Turk's Turantula #12-14

If you're in the backcountry, wild brookie kinda mood, your general attractor patterns will catch fish right now.

**Episode 2 of the THFF Podcast should be out soon. Probably sometime this weekend, so look for that.**

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