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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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Saturday, February 26, 2011

The unusual weather continues. Warm yesterday, albeit windy as all get out. Cooler today. Rain was falling yesterday morning, but it wasn't enough to tackle this drought. Apparently folks in the Triad and points north received much more in the way of rainfall. Here in the southern half of NC we were left with rain, but not a lot of it. This explains how we feel right now. It will take a hefty amount of precip to replenish the water table, so keep doing that rain dance! With that being said, tomorrow looks great in terms of the weather. 60s for highs in the mountains (70s in the lower elevations) with a few scattered showers in the evening. T'storms are in the forecast, (strong to severe storms are very much possible) on Monday associated with another cold front. We all know how much rain you can rack up with a decent t'storm. Once the front clears, the temps will be diving back down. Before it clears on Monday, we will be basking in temps near 80 in the Piedmont. Warm temps in the 60s and 70s across much of the mountains on Monday. Enjoy it!

Although the weather is changing more than Brett Favre's decisions over the past few years, fishing is not bad. You may see a few Quill Gordons and Blue Quills fluttering around, but nothing spectacular just yet. Little Black Stones and Black Caddis are much more plentiful right now. Maybe this warm spell starting tomorrow will trigger the rest to hatch. We'll see. It definitely wouldn't hurt to have a few Quill Gordon or Blue Quill patterns in your box just in case. Try a small nymph that's black. A #14 black stone nymph is perfect. Even a black Copper John. A Pheasant Tail Nymph, Prince Nymph, Micro May, Zug Bug, Sheepfly, Copper John, or just about any other smallish nymph should work as well. Make sure you get that fly down to the bottom. Add some split shot if necessary. Rivers are clear, so lighter tippet is needed. Wild trout in the backcountry generally aren't leader shy, so 4x-5x is fine. If you're fishing the Davidson, 6x is as large as I would go. Good luck!

Lastly, here's a little entertainment from fellow blogger Owl Jones. I'm in tears. Hilarious. Without further ado, here's P Diddy Fishy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Today was another warm day. The weather has been and will go up and down though. Here in the Piedmont, we're sitting comfortably in the lower 70s. Most mountain communities are in the 60s. With that being said, wildfires have still been burning across the state. Currently there is one mean fire on the Cumberland-Bladen county line out towards the coast. Fire fighters have only been able to contain 20% of the fire. The other 80% is raging across that area. More than 130 fires have burned across the state. Thankfully, a large fire near Chimney Rock was contained yesterday, of course after burning 1,400 acres of land. In addition a 600 acre fire burned 600 acres in Cherokee County and a small 6 acre fire was contained in Henderson County. We're not out of the fire stricken woods yet. Until we see rain (chances are increasing later this week), there will continue to be a fire danger. Open burning is highly discouraged right now. Click here to follow the fires across the state.

Raging fire on the Cumberland/Bladen County line.  
Copyright 2011 Capitol Broadcasting Company. WRAL.com.

The now contained Jude's Gap Fire in Polk County.
Courtesy NC Division of Forest Resources.

Courtesy WRAL

On to the fishing. Anglers have reported sporadic spring hatches in some areas. Travis Reynolds, over on the Fishing Fanatic blog said he caught a glimpse of one adult Blue Quill while fishing West Prong Little River in GSMNP. Other anglers have seen a few Quill Gordons fluttering about. Still, we're not seeing a full fledge hatch, but, the recent warm weather has enticed the first mayflies of the season to take flight. Once they start hatching, they'll continue to do so, even through colder weather. As always, we'll see them hatch in the lower elevations first and then work their way up into the higher elevations as temps warm. 

Right now nymphs will work better, given the sparse hatches. A Pheasant Tail Nymph, whether it be soft hackle, a beadhead, or a standard, should work well. They imitate dark bodied mayfly and stonefly nymphs and are great Quill Gordon nymph imitators. See the comparison below. Fish them deep and under a strike indicator. Add some split shot if you're not catching anything. You might not be getting the fly deep enough. Other patterns worth trying include a Prince, Hares Ear, Hise's Hetero-Genius, Woolly Buggers, Slumpbusters, etc. Check the recommended flies tab located under the "Fly Fishing WNC" tab at the top. As always, if you head out tell us how you do! Leave a comment below or over on the forum.

A Quill Gordon (Epeorus pleuralis) Nymph.

 A Pheasant Tail Nymph

Friday, February 18, 2011

Upper 70s here in the Charlotte area. Slightly cooler in the mountains, but still very nice. In the mean time, get out and fish!

Oh yeah, high fire danger. Again. Wildfires have been popping up all over the state over the past week or so. Open burning (or any fire related activity for that matter) is about as dumb as a freshly stocked trout.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The above webcam is courtesy of High Country Webcams.com. 
Updates every 5-10 seconds.

Wildfires are still burning here in WNC. In fact one just broke out behind a school in Charlotte. If you get a whiff of what smells like barbecue, it's likely a wildfire burning in the distance. In the webcam above, the haze is not low lying clouds frequently seen in the high country, but smoke. Which is not frequently seen around here. The fires are right on the edge of Boone. I'm inclined to think this won't harm the many trout rivers in the area given the fires are not burning at a large scale. With that being said, one might think wildfires don't harm organisms beneath the water's surface; they affect only the surrounding landscape. Not so. They destroy vegetation and annihilate habitats. Vegetation, while an inconvenience to anglers wishing to fish backcountry water, is necessary for the survival of our wild brook trout (and in most cases, trout in general around here). Brookies require the coolest water temperatures of all three salmonids here in the state, thus need the shade provided by overhanging vegetation. Vegetation also provides the fish with protection from predators. Especially those from above. Not only do fires heat the stream up to intolerable levels, but in hours, a wildfire will eat away at the vegetation and leave a desolate "naked" stream. Soon there after, dead fish and aquatic organisms follow. I doubt we'll see this, but this is what wildfires do to a trout stream. Take it easy and avoid all burning outside until we receive some rain (which won't happen until possibly next week... sigh). We definitely DON'T want to see that scenerio playing out before our eyes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

High winds, relatively warm temperatures, and very dry conditions have all combined to create and fuel wildfires in western NC. These are not the massive and out-of-control wildfires you see in California, but they are destructive and should be taken seriously. There have been several fires today. The pictures below are from the ire in the Boone area. Open burning is not recommended right now. Even small campfires can spread embers and start a larger scaled fire within minutes. Take extreme caution! The good news is, fire fighters should be able to contain them tomorrow.

Pictures courtesy of WCNC who received these shots from viewers.

Steelhead fly?
Now, I'm not giddy with excitement when the Grammys are aired, but I do thoroughly enjoy watching the "interesting" moments. There were plenty of them last night.  I thought the Avett Brothers, who originate from right here in my neck of the woods, would be one of the few performances worth tuning in for. I was wrong. Cee Lo Green, a popular hip hop artist, was decked out in vibrant and gaudy ostrich herl and pheasant tails. He looked like he raided a dozen fly shops. The duet included Gwyneth Paltrow and if I'm not mistaken, she too was wearing hackle of some sort. I didn't know if I should watch them or tie them onto a leader and cast them into a river. They honestly looked like 2 steelhead flies dancing on stage. So, if there's a shortage of tying materials at your local fly shop, Cee Lo and Gwyneth were likely the culprits...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

After a long, cold, and snowy 3 months, spring is pushing winter aside and replacing highs in the 30s with highs in the 60s and in the Piedmont, low 70s. It's about time! It looks like spring is here to stay, but Old Man Winter may visit briefly before winter is officially over. Here in the Tar Heel State the weather is wild. Especially from fall through early spring. At times the weather can alternate from scorching hot to unusually chilly during the warmer months. Believe it or not, flurries have been reported atop Mt. Mitchell in June, July, and August. In the Piedmont, it seems as if we abruptly end winter and are shoved into spring within a few days. Last Monday we saw snow. 7 days later, tomorrow, we are forecasted to reach 71, with mainly 60's and a few days approaching 70 all week. Any remaining snow up high will likely be thinned out, if not melted completely during this "heat wave."

With temperatures on the rise, fishing will greatly improve. Trout will become more active as we progress into the week. Right now, it doesn't look like the Quill Gordons will be hatching out but you just never know. 50 degrees (water temp) tends to be the magical number on a trout stream. We might hit the magical number this week. Especially on the lower elevation streams. If you head out, make sure you have a variety of patterns. Nymphs will catch more fish, but, with the warmer weather, dries will become more and more effective. A parachute BWO or small Para Adams should work well in the afternoon. Streams are very clear and most are getting low. I'm getting a bit worried about our drought situation. As of February 8th, the mountains are classified as abnormally dry on Drought Monitor. I'd imagine we are now under moderate drough conditions. Rain is non existent for the next week or so and the streams are already on their way down. If we don't receive enough rain in the next few months, this summer and fall will likely be a horror story for trout and anglers alike. Keep your fingers crossed.

If you haven't heard, we recently lost a fly fishing/fly tying great. Sylvester Nemes, a pioneer in fishing soft hackles, passed away at his home in Bozeman, MT on February 3rd. Before his popular books, The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles: A Trout Fisherman's Guide, soft hackles lost their popularity. We can thank Mr. Nemes for bringing soft hackles back before the more exact and modernized patterns took over. To read the article, click here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Many of you are probably familiar with the Pheasant Tail Nymph. The PT Nymph was invented by the late Frank Sawyer, an English river keeper and renowned fly tyer. He's grouped alongside the fly tying greats such as Lee Wulff, Al Troth, and Dave Whitlock. Over on the forum, we are tying another fly of his, the Sawyer's PT Nymph for week 22. After watching this video, I thought I'd share it. The footage was shot in the 50s and is the only known footage of Mr. Sawyer tying the nymph. You can't hear him talking, but regardless the video is worth watching.

It looks like we will be greeted with some well above average temperatures next week. The meteorologists have been hinting at a relatively big warm up. Right now it doesn't look like spring will arrive early though. Just a week of warm weather before possibly diving back into winter. We'll likely see several more snow chances before finally welcoming spring. Warmer weather will make for some much better fishing next week. We still have to get through this week, which looks to be quite cold and at times, snowy. Weather.com's ten day is of little use past about 4 days, so I wouldn't put too much stock into the upper 40's to near 50 degrees early next week. We'll see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed this potential warm up will come to fruition.

Fishing here in WNC is slow, as we've seen most of the winter. The fish are reacting to the cold weather by laying down deep and taking it slow. Catching them is not out of the question though. You just have to change your tactics in order to entice fish. Make sure your nymph is getting down to the fish. If you're not catching fish or you're not getting hung up every now and then, keep adding weight (split shot or a beadhead nymph). As far as flies go, selection isn't that important. Trout in western NC are opportunistic feeders and quickly make meals out of anything that remotely acts and looks like food. Make sure you present the fly in a manner that imitates the natural (a tiny Baetis mayfly naturally lands softly on the water's surface with little in the way of ripples and a small nymph drifts with the current).

On most waters, a 9-12ft flourocarbon leader with 5x tippet is perfect. On the Davidson River, where arguably the smartest trout in the state reside, a 12ft flouro leader with 6-7x is best.

If you head out anytime soon, have fun and tell us how you do!

Friday, February 4, 2011

I recently created another Nymph Skin creation — the Nymph Skin Grub. Despite it's It's easy to tie and is extremely effective. The realism created with the use of Nymph Skin is unmatched. If you can wrap chenille around the shank of the hook in order to make Green Weenies or Woolly Buggers, you can use Nymph Skin with ease.

Decided to post the video here. I posted it over on CFT as well.

Lastly, I hope I don't make you too dizzy and disoriented. The camera I'm using has some trouble focusing on close objects (in this case, the fly). It's an excellent camera, just doesn't work so well with the macro setting enabled while shooting a video.

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