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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, October 28, 2010
1. Thanks to a stalling cold front, the bulk of NC was replenished from the abnormally dry to moderate drought. Super cell thunderstorms roared across the Tennessee Valley and eventually into the Piedmont of North Carolina. An EF2 tornado was confirmed in the small town of Vale, NC unleashing 135 mph winds and destroying everything within its 3 mile path. Vale isn't too far from South Mountains State Park. Click here for some pictures of the damage. Haven't heard of any casualties. That's definitely good news. Folks were trapped under rubble as buildings collapsed. Tornadoes aside, the cold front was beneficial. It really helped the short term drought conditions. Behind the front, colder temperatures are encroaching. Most places will drop down into the lower 30's with higher elevations likely reaching the upper 20's. If you're heading out to the river, dress in layers, as mornings will be chilly and days will be in the mid 60's. Wet wading, while some anglers are wading wet, is probably not going to be necessary from here on out. Breathable waders will be far more comfortable.

2. The fishing here in western North Carolina is not bad at all. With DH season in full swing, water levels up (at least for now), and great weather, we're looking at some excellent conditions. If you're a wild waters kind of angler like yours truly, you'll discover that the wild waters are on fire. The wild brookies are decked out in bright orange and green, spotted with yellow and blue spots. You haven't lived until you've held a wild brook trout in your hands. The colors are beyond spectacular. It looks as if someone took 50 canisters of paint and randomly splashed the colors all over. The pictures above and below were taken in late September. High elevations (5,000 ft) allowed for the brookies to start displaying their colors a little early. Grab a map, a GPS, and your adventurous side and start searching for a blueline!



3. The higher water has given a some leeway on stealth and small tippet sizes. Stealth is still advised, but you don't necessarily have to use 7x and 8x tippet. 5x and 6x (4x should be fine on DH waters) is perfect. Fly selection is not nearly as important, unless of course you're fishing the Davidson. DH fish will take just about anything. They're probably growing a little weary of egg patterns in some places, but you should still catch fish on them. Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Princes, Lightning Bugs, Copper Johns, Giant Vinyl Rib Stones, San Juan Worms, Woolly Buggers, Slumpbusters, Parachute Adams, and even smaller #12-14 Stimulators will produce fish. DH waters are loaded with fish, so finding them shouldn't be too much of an issue.

4. Recently downloaded "Blogger Droid" onto my Droid phone. With that being said, I can now post from the river as long as signals cooperate. I'll likely use it next weekend at the expo. Should come in handy. Highly recommend it for any Android users out there.

So, if you're heading out to the water, have fun and enjoy it! You'll be glad you got out.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
As a great deal of anglers here in the state know, the WNC Fly Fishing Expo creeping closer (next weekend). It will be a fantastic show, incorporating many shops, businesses, fishing companies, and demonstrators combining to create one heck of a fly fishing show. For more info click here. My hat is off for the folks who are behind the show. Frank Smith, owner of Hunter Banks fly shop is in charge of the whole event.

If you look to the right of the post, you will see a poll. I'm interested in discovering what you would like to see tied at the show. I'm sticking with more in the way of simplistic patterns than 200 step, advanced flies. Adams, Pheasant Tails, Hares Ears, even the simplest of the simple such as the San Juan Worm. Even if you are not going to attend the expo, what would you have liked to see tied? Multiple votes are welcome, as I'll tie numerous flies throughout the afternoon.

A buddy of mine was planning on attending and tying with me that afternoon. The rising PGA star has a sizable golf tournament that weekend and he told me he had to cancel the trip. I may be tying solo. That's perfectly fine with me.

Looking forward to next weekend. Looks to be a load of fun.

Check back tomorrow PM. Should have an updated fishing report up. A decent amount of rain has fallen and the rivers are back up to normal and above normal.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010



The ongoing need for rain prevails. Red, orange, and burgundy colored dots on the USGS WaterWatch maps are continuing to overcome the green dots we briefly saw with the last bout of rain a few weeks ago.      

We've seen far worse in past years. Still, abnormally dry to moderate on the drought scale is not helping the rivers and streams. Kevin Howell, owner of Davidson River Outfitters, said that the Davidson is 16" below normal levels. The Big D is currently running at 28 cfs. Average is 100 cfs. Relief may be on the way though. According to the long range forecasts, storm tracks may start to crank back up again, throwing drought-busting storm systems at us. Cross your fingers. It won't be too long before more and more mountain communities begin to see snow. Usually by early-mid November the higher peaks (mainly facing the NW) will start to see increasing snow chances with the many northwest flow events we see. That will definitely help bring the water levels back up. Snow up high will eventually melt, seep into the small headwaters, and sooner or later the water will make its way to the rivers. Still, early snowfall usually doesn't amount too much here in North Carolina. Until then, stealth, long leaders, and light tippet are going to be a must.

Fishing here in the Carolinas is not too bad. Despite the low water, the temperatures are lower thus the trout are relatively happy. Fly selection is the last thing an angler should worry about right now. Long leaders, stealth, and light tippets are far more important. Stick with a 9ft or a 12ft leader and the lightest tippet you feel comfortable fishing. 6x should be fine in most situations. DH trout won't mind 5x. On waters that are a little more technical, such as the Davidson, 7x (dare I say 8x?) might be a better option. Especially if you're fishing the slow, long, gin clear pools up at the hatchery. If trees and fly nabbing rhododendron allow, false casting to the side will maintain a low profile and keep your shadow from hitting the fish. DH waters excluded, smaller flies are going to be better than larger flies. Heavy flies will splash upon hitting the water. 9 times out of 10 the fish will scatter in all directions. Unless you can lay the fly down in choppy water and then drift it into slower water, large beadhead nymphs won't be too productive. A standard nymph or a soft hackle should be the ticket. Try a #16-18 Pheasant Tail Nymph or a Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail Nymph. If you prefer to fish with a small indicator or even without one, you're in luck. While large Thingamabobbers are probably one of the best strike indicators invented to date, they won't do much good when fishing slow or shallow water, because of their tendency to 'plop' on the water's surface. Even if it's a light 'plop', trout can hear it even though the angler might not. Yarn indicators are probably your best bet. They land softly and cast well. As far as dries go, a small #16-20 Parachute Adams should entice fish. Streamers will also work, given the large browns are moving away from their daytime hiding spots and into the shallows. Cast a #10 Woolly Bugger 5 ft or so upstream of your targeted fish and allow it to drift close to him. If he wants it, he'll chase it down in an attempt to oust any intruders.

Wild waters are fishing well. Like all other waters, they're low and the fish are extremely spooky. You'll have to crawl, crouch, hide, and wade carefully. A yellow Stimulator or a small Green Weenie will catch fish all day. Stealth is much more important than fly selection.

If you do decide to head out, have fun!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
The Western NC Fly Fishing Expo is right around the corner. This year it's being held on November 6th and 7th at the WNC Agricultural Center (adjacent to the airport) in Fletcher, NC (just south of Asheville). Fly casting, fly tying, excellent Carolina BBQ, and rows of exhibitors are just a few of the many things the WNC Fly Fishing Expo has to offer. I'll be there that Sunday afternoon from 12 until about 3 or so as a fly tyer. I'll be doing demonstrations mainly revolving around tying simple to intermediate patterns. If you are going to be at the show and you are wanting to learn how to tie a certain pattern, or want to learn a specific technique, leave a comment or shoot me an email. A lot of tyers at expos tie according to what their audience wants to learn.

All in all, I'm looking forward to that weekend. Looks to be a lot of fun. Fishing on Saturday and tying/running around at the Expo on Sunday. Perfect weekend in my book. Hope everyone can make it! It will definitely be worth the trip.
Friday, October 8, 2010
We've been blessed with warmer days and abundant sunshine lately. When fantastic weather combines with DH waters that are on fire, the outcome results in some spectacular fishing...

The NCWRC has really gone above and beyond this year. Compared to last year, dramatically larger fish are
being caught in western NC DH waters. In addition to larger fish, fish counts are very high. The state dumped plenty of fish into western NC DH streams. It was almost as if the method of stocking was by helicopter and a helicopter bucket. 50+ fish days in a matter of hours are being reported by some. Right now, the fish are about as a dumb as Ernest P. Worrell on three bottles of Nyquil. Anything that remotely looks like trout food will usually be eaten. After being pressured a great deal, these fish will start to become increasingly stubborn. With that being said, the usual Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams, or a Woolly Bugger (just to name a few) will catch fish all day. If you're not hanging up on the bottom, or better yet detecting strikes, add a split shot to your leader. Once you get to the right depth, you'll likely catch them left and right. As far as leaders go, stick with a 9ft. 6x is best used as a result of the water being so clear. Stealth is your best weapon. Although stockers are not nearly as spooky as wild fish, they still know to scurry when someone starts splashing through the water.

Wild waters aren't too bad. Like most everywhere else, they're low, but by now anglers and trout alike are pretty much used to it. It's not early fall without low water here in NC. Stealth is again going to be a crucial aspect when on a wild stream. These fish are unbelievably spooky. Once you spot them, they've spotted you. Crouch and crawl into position when approaching a likely looking pool. Standing or running right up to a pool will immediately send the fish swimming for their life. If you spook a pool, forget about fishing it for a while. Fish the next few pools and then come back to the pool and try again about 30 minutes later. 

Catch and Release streams such as the Davidson are fishing relatively well despite the low water. The water temperatures are just right for a trout's liking, so they're pretty happy. Light tippet and small midges are the ticket.

If you're venturing out onto the water this weekend, have fun! Tell us about your trip!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Mt. LeConte, located in Great Smoky Mountains Nat'l Park is the Park's third highest peak, behind the second highest, Mount Guyot and the highest, Clingman's Dome. The 6,593 ft peak received the most snow in October since 1979 - 3 inches. It won't be long (I'd say in the coming weeks) before other high peaks along the NC/TN border receive some snow. I'm a bit surprised Mt. Mitchell only received a trace. Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in eastern North America has seen snow in all 12 months of the year according to records. Matter of fact, Mt. Mitchell is sitting at 32.7° right now. All we need is some moisture. Snow is the best remedy for an ongoing drought. The ground isn't bombarded with liquid. Instead, the ground is slowly fed moisture as the snow melts.While the rain we received recently helped, it only does so much.

Both pictures courtesy of the High On LeConte blog


Delayed Harvest (DH) waters are looking great. I've been hearing of some excellent days out on the water. Just about any pattern will catch fish. It's early, the fish have been in the streams for only a few days and they've yet to accumulate any knowledge of patterns. Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Hare's Ears, Zug Bugs, San Juan Worms, Adams, an Elk Hair Caddis, or even a #10 Woolly Bugger, will catch fish. Stick with a longer leader (9ft) and relatively light tippet (5x-6x). Lighter tippet sinks faster than heavier tippet, so you'll have the added advantage of getting that fly down to their level quickly. 6x sinks at a much more rapid pace than 1x. It's a physics thing. If you get out on the water, tell us how you do in the comments section below the post!

Here's the Stocking updates below. The NCWRC updates the info here every Friday at noon during DH season. According to the NCWRC, the following streams are full of fish and are ready to go...

County Stream
Ashe TROUT LAKE (DH)
Caldwell WILSON CREEK (DH)
Madison BIG LAUREL (DH)
Madison SHELTON LAUREL (DH)
Surry MITCHELL RIVER (DH)
Transylvania EAST FORK (DH)
Wilkes EAST PRONG ROARING RIVER UPPER (DH)
Wilkes STONE MTN. CREEK (DH)                               
Friday, October 1, 2010
No more 90's for the rest of the year. Fall is finally making its presence, as the cooler air is really starting to encompass the eastern US. Mid to upper 50's for highs Monday in the Piedmont. Colder in the mountains and much colder in the higher elevations. In fact Boone probably won't make it out of the 40's Monday. It will definitely feel more like winter!

Delayed Harvest is officially open for the season. Delayed Harvest waters give anglers the opportunity to fish in rivers that generally don't take 4 hours to get to. They're also always full of fish, so you're almost guaranteed to at least see the fish your targeting. As of right now, I don't know what streams were stocked today. The NCWRC doesn't get around to stocking every mile of DH water in 24 hours. I would imagine the more popular streams such as Stone Mountain, Wilson Creek, Helton Creek, and South Mountain DH streams are stocked with plenty of brookies and bows (and a few browns). The amount of fish stocked was cut back a bit, as a result of the recent drought. The remaining fish that are not stocked will be stocked when the water levels are at a suitable level. Any DH waters that were not stocked today will be stocked in the next few days. If you do plan on heading out to a DH stream soon, most generic flies will catch fish all day. Princes, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Zug Bugs, Lightning Bugs, Hise's Hetero-Genius, Woolly Buggers, and #14 Adams, (just to name a few) will catch fish. A 9 ft 5x-6x leader will work best.

The higher elevation wild streams will fish well for a while. The much colder temperatures rolling in will likely slow the fish (and the angler) down a bit though. The brookies are in spawning mode right now. Especially at higher elevations. That means the males are extremely colorful. Brown trout are also in spawning mode. Big males are forming kyped jaws and are increasingly aggressive. Large streamers stripped in should entice them.

Waders will once again be needed soon, so dust them off and check for leaks! Fall is here and it looks like it will stay. I'm glad!

Lastly, I put together a short video comprised of a handful of shots I got on last Saturday's trip. With that being said, it's definitely not winning a Grammy anytime soon!


Wild Specks in the Backcountry from THFF Media on Vimeo.

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