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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, July 25, 2010

High Elevation Brookies from Tyler Legg on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 24, 2010
All of the tying and map studying paid off today. Today I fished a wild stream in Yancey County. It's one of the highest perennial streams in the Appalachian Mountains. I was given strange looks and questions such as "where ya goin' fishing around here?" as I began the strenuous hike down to the stream. 20 minutes into the hike, I quickly found myself alone. The 2 hikers in front of me diverted to another trail. Other than my bulky wading boots clunking around and my lanyard clinking upon every step, the only sound I could hear was the Frasier Firs and Red Spruce swaying in the breeze. Eventually the distant sound of rushing water began to intermingle with the ambient noises of this ancient Southern Appalachian Spruce-Fir forest. Now, this particular stream is unusual. In some parts it looks more like a stream you would expect to see in Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park. Not a bad looking stream at all! The fishing wasn't bad either!

Immediately upon stepping into the stream, I saw a nice fish sitting in the pool (seen in the picture below). As he turned, I saw the white leading edges on his fins. Jackpot. We've got brook trout. Problem was, he was facing downstream (looking at me). Most normal trout face upstream. There was a little flow in the water, but he still wanted to face downstream for whatever reason. Hey, whatever floats his boat. Knowing that any wrong movement, or jerky motions would send this wild brookie fleeing for his life, I stopped and slowly crouched into position. He was still sitting there. I made the cast and he rose to my dry. I set the hook and in a quick splash he was off. I shrugged it off and scouted for more specks. Not every pool contained fish, but most did. You could see them at the bottom of each pool, given how clear the water is. A #14 Elk Hair Caddis tossed into these crystal clear pools brought dark torpedo shaped shadows to the surface. A #12 Green Weenie sent the fish into a feeding frenzy. Every fly I tied on caught fish. You have one shot per fish with dries, but they would repeatedly attack a nymph. I hooked one fish 2 or 3 times before getting a hook set. He ate my fly, got off, came back, ate my fly, got off, ate my fly again and I managed to get a hook set. I watched him swim back to his spot after I released him. I'll let the pictures serve for themselves...

This high altitude stream has earned it's place in my top places to fish in western North Carolina. Simply fantastic. I'll be back for sure.
Monday, July 19, 2010

BP finally finished the cap we've all been anxiously waiting for. Looks like the oil spill is history (I hope). If you're a NC fisherman who enjoys fishing the upper Watauga River in NC, don't get too giddy about the BP spill being contained. The BB & T in Boone screwed up. Big time. Apparently a contractor who was spreading asphalt sealant on the BB & T parking lot, failed to prevent the sealant from washing into this creek during a rainstorm. All aquatic life (trout, crayfish, insects, darters, baitfish, and of course anything that drank from the water are dead). 97 trout were found dead in only 1.5 miles of this Watauga River tributary.
Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tying the Para Foam Inchworm from Tyler Legg on Vimeo.

I just got around to taking a few pictures of a handful of classic flies my great grandad owned years ago. Besides playing guitar in the popular bluegrass band Reno and Smiley, he was an avid outdoorsman. He grew up in Clyde, NC, so he frequented the nearby Pigeon River. I was given his old 6'9" fiberglass rod in addition to the box of flies (and a stack of his bluegrass records) when he passed back in 2005. Judging by the material used, the overall condition of the flies, and the lack of synthetic materials, they've got to be old. Not 1800's old, but old enough. When was the last time you saw golden pheasant tippets used for the tail on an Adams?! The hackle looks to be pre-genetic too.  Gnarly looking hackle for sure. He didn't tie, so I'm left to assume he purchased these.

The Tellico Nymph with all of it's hackleless glory.

Light Cahill dry. The cream colored quill has turned to a Quill Gordon color.

Royal Coachman dry.

Female Adams.

Quill Gordon Wet
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Lately I've been seeing some kind of a liquid substance falling from the sky in varying intensity. Rain! It's been awhile (we were closing in on a month) since we've seen anything liquid falling from the sky. There was a catch in order to receive the needed rain. Around noon Monday, we were under a tornado warning. I don't know why we (Kannapolis) are a tornado warning magnet, but we are. Another tornadic super cell t'storm developed and roared across Lincoln and northern Mecklenburg County. A tornado did touchdown around the town of Denver, but the storm dissipated enough to halt any more touchdowns. Rain has been plentiful lately. As fly fisherman, we know rain is good thing. Too much isn't, but enough H2O to keep the rivers flowing is welcome. Speaking of rivers that have not been "up", the Davidson is looking a lot better right now. At 58 cfs cfs (close to 100 cfs Friday) the trout are receiving a much needed break. I'm afraid it's short term though. Looking at the USGS stream flow maps, rivers quickly crested and are now rapidly receding. It's going to take some time to replenish the water table, but it will come. Good news is that more rain is expected over the weekend. Could be another severe weather event though.

Fishing here in western North Carolina is looking better. Rivers are not as low as they were and the fish aren't as stressed. The usual summertime menu is in play. Expect good terrestrial fishing during the day (hoppers, beetles, ants, inchworms) with a plethora of bugs hatching in the evening. Light Cahills, Yellow Sallies, various species of Caddis, Little Green Stones, and Isonychias are all hatching when the sun starts to set. Other than the trophy section of the Davidson, a #14 Copper John or a Green Weenie (Chartreuse seems to be the most productive color given all of the inchworms inching around) should catch fish all day. When it starts to warm up, tie on a terrestrial. During and after a t'storm, terrestrials are going to be knocked into the water. If it starts to rain, don't leave! Of course if there's lightning, run back to the car or head inside and wait it out. Heavy rain will flush hoppers, beetles, ants, inchworms, and earthworms into the water. The trout will usually go mad. Carry a wading jacket/rain coat with you if you head out over the weekend. Rain chances look pretty healthy.
Monday, July 5, 2010
The Davidson River is always a great place to fish. It's one of the best fisheries in the state. Stable and self-sustainable are two words that fit the bill when describing the "Big D". It's also an absolute zoo on Fourth of July weekends (which happens to fall between the busiest time of the year: between Memorial Day and Labor Day). A lot of folks have the day off, so I was expecting it to get pretty bad in terms of the crowds. The Davidson along 276 was producing a pretty big inner tube hatch. Looked like they were about a size 100/0. I didn't see any trout rising to them though. I think they put the fish down. Driving up the road, more inner tube hatches and more people. As we approached the curve in the road right before the hatchery, there were cars crammed into a small parking area. That gave it away. The resident 5 foot long black snake sprawled out across the road wasn't happy with all of the cars and people! He was striking at every car that passed him. They seem to do that a lot! I saw one in Cherokee sitting in the middle of a busy intersection biting tires as cars went by.

Anyways, it was an absolute zoo as we crossed over the bridge at the hatchery. Anglers were spaced out every 80 yards (or less). Managed to find a vacant parking space behind 2 activity buses. I took a hike a good ways downstream and fished. The Davidson was getting low and if we don't get any rain soon, it'll be very low in the coming days. A #30 midge attached to 7x and 8x tippet seemed to produce the most interest in the fish. The water was very clear, very low, and the fish were pressured. Big time. Within an hour, I threw in the towel. I made my way back to the truck, took a look at the Gazetteer, and quickly got away from the madness! Instead of turning right on 276, we took a left. Higher up on the mountain, the fish would be less pressured. As the pavement turned to dirt, the first parking lot at Cove Creek was packed. We continued on. The next parking area was filled to capacity with hikers, bikers and campers. Pressing on, we crossed a bridge that sat above a promising looking wild stream. At first glance, it looked like a classic wild brookie stream. You know, high gradient, small waterfalls creating plunge pools, narrow water squeezed between 2 walls of thick rhododendron, a classic southeastern brook trout stream. In an excited dash, I tied on a #14 Chartreuse Humpy. I swam through the rhodo and within minutes I was crawling into position for a cast. The first toss of my fly yielded a few short strikes. I thoroughly worked the pool over with a #12 Green Weenie. Eventually, a fish chomped down on my fly and I was able to make a proper hook set. It definitely didn't look or act like a brook trout. Upon closer inspection it was a wild 8 inch rainbow. Fun is an understatement. Although Jaws pictured above is only 7 or 8 inches, he put up a heck of fight. By the way, that big, green thing hanging out of his mouth is the infamous Green Weenie.

Progressing upstream, I began to see a few brook trout sporadically mixed in. Rainbows are light colored trout with dark markings. Brook trout are dark trout with light markings. Also, the rainbows were always found in the faster water. It's in their genes to flock towards faster, more turbulent water. Brook trout on the other hand, sit and wait in calm water. This stream has it all, plenty of slack water and it's fair share of fast riffles and short runs.

Then it happened. When I least expected it, I was starring at an absolute monster (well, for this tiny stream). I watched as a 14" wild rainbow sat in the tailout of this pool (left picture). I was shocked to see a fish of this proportion thriving in an 8-10 inch deep pool, only a few feet across. Of course, I had to see what his reaction was when I placed a Green Weenie in front of him. He had the fly in his mouth the second it hit the water. I had to remind myself to set the hook. In a split second, he wiggled off. Then, in a desperate search, he did laps around the pool trying to find the fly he just lost. I made another cast right in front of him and he nailed it once more. I set the hook this time, blinked, and he wiggled off again. Then he had nothing to do with me. I called it a day. I hiked back with the company of a half a million gnats that followed me all the way back downstream for half a mile. I'll be back for sure. I may even pass up the Davidson in it's entirety and fish this little Appalachian stream next time I'm in that area. Lesson learned, never, NEVER pass up a small stream. You never know what's in them!

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