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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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Monday, August 30, 2010

The first half of the season has been pretty quiet. Once mid August rolled around, it's like the light switch was turned on. Tropical waves have been rolling off of Africa one by one. Now, I know hurricanes have nothing to do with fly fishing, but it's better to spread the word about approaching Hurricane Earl than to be sorry.

If you live on the OBX of NC or have plans to visit the OBX this week, keep a watchful eye on Earl. Start thinking of what you need to do to be prepared for a possible landfall/scrape by big, bad Earl. Weather models (what meteorologists use to aid in forecasting) have been slowly inching Earl farther westward, putting NC under the gun. Albeit the map has the storm passing a good ways off shore, it's just an educated guess. Nonetheless, Earl is one nasty storm. One of the computer models is suggesting Earl will reach Cat 5 strength with winds of 163 mph and a very low pressure of 916 mb. Sounds eerily familiar to a certain storm that annihilated New Orleans back in '05. Just one model though. Not trying to scare anyone! Pass it along to anyone residing on the NC coast. Even if it strays away from us, it's well worth the precautions. Again, my apologizes for the irrelevant post. Just felt as if I should spread the word.

*The maps update automatically. Just noticed Earl is now a Cat 4 storm. Tropical Storm Fiona is now alive by the way. Danielle is pretty much as dead as a doornail.*
Saturday, August 28, 2010
It's almost time for Delayed Harvest season folks! For most folks, DH waters offer easier access, plenty of fish, and loads of fun. While the trout that are stocked into these waters aren't as colorful and vibrant as their wild counterparts, they make up for their absence by being easy to find, somewhat easy to catch (especially after recently being stocked), and found in great numbers. Some DH waters are better than others and some are poached to the max, giving anglers an average at best experience.

Without further ado, the Top 5 WNC DH Streams based on the amount/frequency of trout stocked, access, pressure, overall quality, and scenic areas.

5.) Mitchell River DH, Surry County

The Mitchell is a great DH stream. You have to hit it right though. At times the fishing is spectacular. Especially when a respectable hatch is occurring. Other times, it seems as if there's not a trout swimming beneath the Mitchell's many riffles, seams, and pools. Like all DH streams, the Mitchell is constantly stocked from October until June.

4.) Watauga River DH, Watauga County 

Access can be an issue, given the Posted: No Trespassing signs outnumber the NCWRC Public Trout Water signs 9:1. Don't fret though. You can still find a good deal of legally accessible water on the Tar Heel side of the 'Tauga. Sporadic pullouts can be found along the river. When you find one that is void of No Trespassing signs, have at it! The trout fishing is excellent. If you hit it right, you can get into some fantastic fishing.

3.) Stone Mountain DH waters, Alleghany/Wilkes County

Stone Mountain probably contains NC's most popular DH streams. There's a good reason behind it's high popularity. The East Prong Roaring River is the trout mecca within the park boundaries. The trout are everywhere, some have grown to be fairly large, and most of them will cooperate. It's easily accessible and after parking, you'll be fishing in no time.

2.) Nantahala River DH, Macon County

The Nantahala will blow you away. Whether you want to fish for large browns and bows in the tailwater section, or smaller, but plentiful fish on the DH waters, the "Nanty" has it all. The DH section winds it's way from Whiteoak Creek to the NP&L powerhouse discharge canal. It's well worth the drive over. Scenic and wild are words that describe the Nanty perfectly.

1.) Wilson Creek DH, Caldwell County

The one and only. Wilson Creek is the best DH stream I've ever come across. Period. Excellent management, little poaching, loads of trout, and the opportunity to catch very large fish make Wilson a "well worth your time" trout stream. If you've ever fished Wilson, you know how great the fishing is. If you haven't, it should be the first on your "List of DH streams to fish in the 2010-2011 season".

Have another excellent DH stream you love to fish? Tell us about it!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I can't get enough wild brook trout. I'm a speckoholic. I seem to always find a new favorite stream, thinking it can't get any better. Then I find another favorite. I'm not a big fish junky, or even a numbers junky for that matter. Call me crazy, but I would much rather chase wild 7" brook trout in the middle of nowhere than 25" browns on a river that's a stones throw from civilization. If you're suffering from Speck Fever you know what I'm talking about. The scenery and the things you come across on a wild brookie excursion simply cannot be seen on a tailwater or a popular DH stream.

I wasn't expecting to get the opportunity to fish before the expo in November. I had the mindset that the last trip was going to have to hold me over until November. School starts back up tomorrow, so I jumped on the opportunity to explore some new and unfamiliar brook trout water before the dreaded fishing lull sets in for me. Mount Mitchell was the destination of choice. Pulled into the parking area at 9:45, greeted by chilly temperatures rebounding from a night in the upper 40's to low 50's. Mt. Mitchell was deserted at 9:45 in the morning. Compared to a Saturday in mid July, NC's first state park wasn't busy at all. Passed only 4 hikers on the trail.

With my great grandad's old fiberglass 6'9" fly rod, I began the day. This particular creek, (name shall not be named!) usually produces fish. They're all brookies too. Today was an outlier from those fantastic days where you catch fish out of every pool. The fishing was OK at best. Low water is to blame. Fish are being forced to move to other pools. I did manage to hook several fish, but unfortunately they wiggled off before I was given the chance to take a picture. I threw in the towel once I got to one of the waterfalls. I hiked back out of the valley and hopped over to the next stream.

The next stream was the reciprocate of the last one. It was loaded with wild brookies. They were abundant in almost every pool and would rise to anything you offered them. The Extended Body Inchworm did it again yesterday. It enticed fish from every direction. Instead of that infamous one shot per fish rule, it was multiple tries per fish. they would rise to the EBI over and over again. It was truly incredible. I had a field day from the first pool I fished to the last. I lost count of the numbers. Missed literally 60 or 70 fish. This particular stream is my new favorite.

After about an hour of fishing, I came across a deep pool below a small waterfall. I was sure there was a fish that exceeded the average size of the fish in this stream. With high expectations, I made a short cast into the pool. At first there wasn't any action. Nonetheless, I decided to keep the fly in the water for a few more seconds. I'm glad I did. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a wake charging at my fly. A moment later that wake transformed into an splashy attack. It reminded me of Shark Week. You know, where the seal is annihilated by a breaching Great White. This fish took some line off of the reel.

So, what stream will beat the current favorite? Time and map studying will tell...

Saw plenty of these.

The Extended Body Inchworm does it again!

Decent male brookie. Spawning season is right around the corner. you can tell by the colors.

Up close view of the myriad of colors displayed by this Appalachian jewels.

Fish of the day. 9 inches. A trophy brook trout in these waters!

Tight quarters!

Friday, August 20, 2010
Traditional salmonflies (not to be confused with the clumsy, bat-like, giant stoneflies) are fun, but somewhat daunting to tie. I created this one on one of those nights where you've tied just about everything in the book. A salmonfly was the only thing I haven't tackled in a long while. I grabbed the guinea feathers, ostrich, and pheasant skin and got to work. It's not the traditional salmonfly most tyers are used to tying. Not quite as captivating as other salmonflies. I always use generic materials. No orangutan fur, zebra hair, or giraffe mane incorporated into this one! Still, I'll hang it up on the wall with the others.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
The heavens opened up last night. It absolutely poured for several hours. The updated USGS WaterWatch maps tell the tale. There's only two yellow dots on the map, which indicate below normal flows. Every other river/stream is at or above normal. Short term relief has come! Most locales received at least an inch of rain, which really helps towards improving water levels. There were a few areas outside of the mountains that had 5" of rain literally dumped upon them in a matter of only a couple of hours. Some areas received a months worth of rain in one night. Now, as much as we need rain, a months worth of it in one night is going to cause problems. Flash flooding occurred in areas prone to flooding. With that being said, most mountain communities dodged the heavy, heavy rain, but did see some healthy totals.
 Fishing has improved immensely across western NC. Cooler weather is flooding into the Tar Heel State and anglers and fish alike are relieved. Rain/storm chances look to stay with us through the weekend. The northern NC mountains (Boone, Banner Elk, Alleghany Co. area) will see sunny skies tomorrow. The southern NC mountains (Asheville, Brevard, Hendersonville area) will continue to see storm chances tomorrow and through the weekend. Pack a wading jacket or rain coat and go fishing! If it starts raining, tie on a San Juan Worm or a terrestrial and start counting fish. Bugs are getting flushed into the streams from all of this rain and wind and the trout have been gorging on them. If the water is off color or stained, 4x-5x should be fine. If you aren't getting any strikes, downgrade to 6x. Unless you're fishing the Davidson, I wouldn't worry about 7x or 8x. Right now, my go to fly would with out a doubt be the Green Weenie. A yellow Stimulator will work well too. Tie on you're favorite dry attractor and hit a wild stream. It won't be too long though until Stone Mountain, Wilson Creek, Mitchell River, and the rest of the list of DH waters will be teeming with eager trout from October 1st until June. I'm looking forward to it. I've noticed in recent years the state has been stocking some very large fish into some waters. Wilson Creek always has fish that go 22,23,24 inches. I've hooked into some large, but not very colorful rainbows. I talked to a guy back in March at Wilson Creek who watched a 25" brown swim right in front of him. Most quality trout streams are 3 hours or more from Charlotte. That's about to change in about a month.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I hate to say it, but when you combine very little rain, low water, and temperatures that can fry an egg in 5 seconds, the fishing isn't so hot. Yellow dots that represent below normal water levels on the USGS charts are on the upswing. We want to see all green dots and very few yellow and red dots. The Davidson River is amongst the lowest in western NC. The D is flowing at 44cfs. Average is 82cfs. Nearly half of what it should be. With that being said, some watersheds have seen some heavy t'storms. Cataloochee Creek is known for being dangerously low this time of the year. It's above normal as I type. Cataloochee is sitting at 98cfs. Average is 66cfs. It's been spiking up and down for the past few days. The forecast calls for more widespread showers and storms over the next few days, so more and more watersheds should improve. The cold front to the west is on the move. I'm thinking most rivers and streams will receive some much needed precip. The tropical system down in the Gulf is expected to track close to western NC, which will of course bring some rain. Overall, conditions should improve here in North Carolina. Still, we usually don't start seeing widespread normal flows and happy trout until December when the snow and cold returns.

Wild streams and catch and release waters are your best bet. October 1st is the beginning of Delayed Harvest. Stone Mountain State Park, Mitchell River, Wilson Creek, South Mountains, and many more will be teeming with fish once again. Hang in there! DH is right around the corner!

Wild fish are hitting just about thing you put in front of them. A #14 yellow Stimulator, Foam Back Ant, or Extended Body Inchworm will take fish all day. Now, if you plan on fishing the Davidson, you'll have to get technical. 6x and 7x leaders are a must. I would fish 12-15 ft leaders, given how low and clear the water is. If you can, fish upstream of the Hatchery. The farther you go upstream the better the fishing will be. Trout are extremely stressed right now. Especially from the Hatchery on downstream. Leave the 3 wt rod at home if you're fishing the Davidson. A 5wt/6wt allows you to play fish quickly. Playing a large fish on a 3wt for 10 minutes is a death sentence for overly stressed trout. It's fun to play fish on a light rod, but Fall/Winter/Spring are the best times to do so. I've watched fish float downstream belly up because of poor catch and release tactics during hot weather. It's been so bad, trout are dying on their own. Keep your fingers crossed for some widespread rain!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Tom Chandler, author of the Trout Underground blog, came up with 7 signs that tell you you're fishing in the middle of a heat wave...

7. The trout you catch are already poached.

6. Guides stop whining about tips for a change.

5. Your fat, sweaty buddy fly fishes naked all day.

4. You wear oven mitts when holding fly rod and still get second-degree burns.

3. “Dry fly” vs “nymphing” disagreement in camp leads to knife fight.

2. The “Dead Stretch” in the middle of the day lasts until midnight.

1. Local fly shop employees too hot and tired to be surly.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Articulated Bunny Leach

Modified Zoo Cougar (zonker strip instead of marabou).

Extended Body Inchworm

Rusty Smidge

Rusty Smidge Emerger
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
1.) Dave Hise, who owns Casters Fly Shop in Hickory, came up with an excellent way to allow tyers from around the world to manufacture their patterns. I took advantage of this great idea! Not for the money, but more so to give people the ability to test out my fur balls on a hook. I need some field testers. The Vinyl Rib Stone, Foam Back Ant, Extended Body Inchworm, and the Inch Caddis  (I know, pretty lame names) are now up and ready to go here. Still, my patterns (and names of said patterns) don't do justice when compared to the Hise's Heterogenius, Eggi Juan Kenobi, or the Hise's Sumpin' Ugly!

Big thanks to Dave for allowing me to join!

2.) The WNC Fly Fishing Expo is fast approaching. It is held on the 6th and 7th of November at the WNC Agriculture Center on Airport Rd in Asheville. I was asked to be a fly tying demonstrator at the Expo, so I'll be there on Sunday the 7th from noon until 4. Looks to be a ton of fun. Fly fishing, barbecue, and good friends just mix perfectly.

3.) Some of you may be members of the forum, or lurk around the THFFF. If you are, you may have seen a recent post about a young tyer (11) who just tied his first flies. Forum members pitched in and helped him get off on the right track. Now, when I started out, my flies looked like they just took a ride through a food processor. I was amazed at how great these flies looked for a first time fly tyer. He's already tying parachutes. That tells you something! So look out fly tying world, we have a fly tying mastermind in the makings...

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