Keith's 2002 Fly fishing log
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26. November 3 - Roaring River - Stone Mountain - Delayed Harvest.
 

First trip to the roaring river in quite a while. Not much has changed. Water was crowded, but I managed to find an open stretch. Fish wouldn't bite on the surface, so I went down after 'em. 14" brookie was holding just above where I stepped in. On the second drift he move an inch and I set the hook. Nice fish with a fat belly. I moved up and cast to likely holding spots but I couldn't detect any takes. Every time I spied a fish holding I was able to watch the fish move and set the hook. The didn't take very hard at all and if I didn't see them move to the fly I surely would have missed them. Saw about 100 deer on the roadside driving out of the park. Must have been about 25 bucks too.

25. October 20 - Unnammed River GSMNP - PFF 6.0
 

Got an early start in the rain and drove back to the stream I found the night before. It was raining lightly, but not enough to prevent me from casting a dry. I caught a number of small brook trout 6 - 7". They were little jewled creatues that fought with a wild vigor no found in bigger hatchery fish. I fished till about noon and brought over a dozen fish to hand, mostly on an orange humpy! Too bad I had to leave.

24. October 19 - Nantahala River - Delyaded Harvest - PFF 6.0
 

Drove up Friday night to the Appletree campground to join the Psycho FF. This was number 6 for those who are counting. See the Psycho page for pictures. About 30 of us, many old and a few new faces were seen around the campfire. Loop told fantastic stories from his first season guiding in Alaska! Anyway, on to the fishing. I drove down the old river road and pulled off just before the first bridge. I hiked down to the river and started casting a stimulator, with hopes of some dry fly action. Nothing rose to my fly so I quickly change to a caddis nymph (green) and proceeded to high stick nymph the deep runs. Nice fish came to net on a regular bases. I caught fourteen before lunch. My three best fish were a 14' rainbow, a 13" brookie and a 14" brown. I guess that's a Nanny Grand Slam!

I tried to move downstream, but there were two guys moving up, I headed upstream but there were two more there. I broke for lunch and drove down the river. There were a lot of fisherman on the steam, but still a few good spots open. I wanted to try the Tuck in the afternoon so I drove over there and was surprised to see the river just about empty of fisherman. The reason my have been that the water was up and the bite was off. I did manage to catch two 12" trout after I added a ton of lead. Frustrated with the current I headed on a recon mission into the park. I found my destination stream at just about dark. I managed to tie on a fly and catch a 6" bow during the last bit of the day.

23. October 5 - Davidson River
 

Went back to the Davidson River for some more punishment! Tried to fish under the Hatchery Bridge but we couldn't get anything to hit! CW worked the water and his casting is improving.

22. October 5 - Tuckeseegee River
 

Took Christopher to the Tuck, had him decked out in his soon to be too small waders, we worked the water near the bank, not wanting to get in over our heads or waist. That was some big water for an eight year old. I hooked a couple and landed one. Christopher was ready to move on, but I moved him down into the tail of a run. He cast his woolly bugger and let it swing. I've got one he cried! He reeled it in and then asked for the net, he pointed his rod behind him and held out the net and slid the fish in. Just like a pro!

21. October 4 - Davidson River
 

Fall TU outing to Balsam lodge. Took Christopher out of school and we headed up to Brevard. Fished the Davidson River, Chiristopher worked the water and I finally hooked a small one. Chirstopher had his first river baptism in the Davisdson!

20. July - Sheepscot River Me.
 

Took the afternoon off and fished for trout on this quiet stream. Caught a few brookies right off. Nothing too big, it was difficult to fish as the mosquito activity was high! Caught a few browns also mostly on nymphs.

19. July - Boothbay Harbor
 

Took the family on a chartered striper fishing boat. The four of us had good luck casting into the crashing surf near Reed State Park. We kept only one for dinner. Zoe and Christoper tied with the largest fish at 42"

18. May 27 - Watauga -
 

I got up at 6:00 a.m and hopped into the car knowing that I had just four hours to drive to the Smallings Bridge to meet Scott for a float trip on the Watauga. At exactly 10:00 I pulled into the parking lot and called him. He was headed down the road and I followed him to the launch. We floated quickly to the Trophy Section and began working the deep runs along the banks. I was tossing a muddler and had several trout follow the fly. The day passed quickly but the fishing remained slow. Scott caught 5 and I managed to catch one on a stimulator. A thundersorm came up and we hurried downstream to the takeout.

 

17. May 19 -Whitetop Laurel -
 

After breaking camp and saying goodbye to the gang I headed north to fish Whitetop Laurel, Shane, Croaker and other had been talking about this water and it sounded too good to pass up. I hiked in a ways from the Virginia Creeper Trail parking lot. The water looked much bigger than I expected and faster too. I started fishing nymphs in fast runs and pocket water without any bites. Switching to a dry I soon began picking the pocke water and laned several small rainbow about eight inches long. Later I manages to attracte a pair on 12 inch fish to the surface, one rainbow and the other brown. I spooke a large (16") brown at the tail of a pool and later saw a large rainbow woking the head of a pool. There were severl fish rising at the tail and after catching a few of these smaller trout I went after the big fish at the head of the pool. I couldn't get him to rise to a dry so I switched to a prince nymph. I caught a nice rainbow of 14" but I am convinced that this was the smaller brother of the one I first saw.

It was getting late, I had a long ride home so I hiked out wanting to stay longer and knowing that I'd return to this stream soon.

16. May 18 - Watauga -
 

Waking up the camp was stirring, Creek Scum was making 4 or 5 pot of coffee at a time. Eggs were being scrambled, venison sausage and bacon were being cooked . After breakfast I took FT Caddis and Lowrod over to the Watauga for their first tailwater experience. We set up in a series of pools. FT at the head of one Lowrod at the tail and I fished the lower pool. I quickly caught my first rainbow and announced that we would rotate after five fish. I caught four and have a couple of LDRs. I moved on down stream to try some dry flies and let FT take my spot. Lowrod moved up up and caught a couple. Finally FT started to get some on dry flies.

We spotted a pair of Palliated Woodpeckers courting in the trees. These large birds with their famous red crest are an awesome site. We headed off the river for lunch and then went to the Trophy section "in search of larger fish". There were quite a few PFFers at the Trophy section, Red, Rusty, Frodo, and his dad to name a few. I moved on down into the riffles and caught a couple of risers on a BWO. Then I spied a nice fish working steadily close to the bank. My first cast was passed over for a natural and the next to or three cast were slightly off target. Then I put one right in the lane and a small explosion occurred as I set the hook! I knew that I better get this fish on the reel fast! He fought hard up against the current and when he ran downstream I was able to check his run with sideways pressure. Rusty keep looking over at me as I battled my fish, he assumed that I had a small fish and was milking it for all it was worth in the fast current. Finally I got the fish in close enough to see and as I reached for the net he zoomed away. This was repeated three or four times until I was able to net him, partially. Four or five inches of tail were hanging out the rear and his head was sticking out the front of the net. After removing the hook he jumped out of the net and swam off with vigor. Visual estimates along with measurement of the net bag put this fish between 20 and 24 inches! That was my best Tennessee Trout and topped my expectations for the trip!

We all caught a number of smaller fish in the slower water as a nice steady hatch caused the fish to rise in numbers. I was on cook detail so we had to leave the water just as thing were getting interesting

 

15. May 17 - Watauga - Beaverdam - PFF v 5.0
 

I headed over the mountains to PFF 5.0 carrying three rods, tent, camping gear and a cooler full of frozen ingredients for Saturday night's dinner for 0! The Miatia was packed full! I drove to Sycamore Shoals and nymphed the riffles. I caught a number of nice 10 -12 inch tranbows on a beadhead brassie. Later, after a fish jumped at my indicator, I switched to a Tennessee Wulff and caught a few more. With thunderstorms threatening I headed over to Shady Valley to set up camp around 4:00. I arrived to see twenty tents already set up. As I drove into camp I was greeted by old friends and new Pffers who recognized my form my bulletin board photos. After setting up my tent JT, Ron Randle and I went fishing on the Beaverdam. Green Drakes were hatching and the spinner fall is famous for big brown tout action. As I stepped into the creek two fishermen cam walking back down the road, I hoped that the water wasn't spoiled. I tied on a Green Drake pattern, it was rejected by a couple of fish in the first run I cast into. I switched to a smaller size and it was also refused. Finally I caught a nice brown. Shortly after that I ran into JT and we headed back to the truck and camp. Croaker was cooking his famous Low County Boil. We joined the line and chowed down. Plans were made around the campfire for the next days fishing. Later that night a storm blew through with high winds and heavy rain.

14. May 6- Smith River- Delayed Harvest -
 

I found myself free for the after noon and couldn't decided where to go fishig...too late to travel to Tennessee, not enough time to hit the wild trout stream... I finally thought about the Smith..surely the Sulfurs would be hatching by now. I planned to arrive after five and see what was going on the river. I met a fisherman coming off the water, "Wasn't my day, broke a big one off when he got tangled in a tree, lost another to a bad knot!" "Sulfurs", I asked? "Yeah, 16s." I headed on down the tracks, when I got down to the water there were a few fish popping out of the water and a few more sipping emergers. I forgot to mention that my reel seat on the Sage 590 had come off and I was planning to epoxy it back together...I only had my 6 1/2 foot 2wt with me and it is not the rod for that river which usual had a stiff breeze blowing. I was able to put the fish down either by wading too close or casting too short. However I manager to catch a few of the smaller ones, eight to twelve inches. The all were browns and fought hard zinging left and right and even jumping. The sulfurs were still coming off the water and many trout cleared the water chasing them as they emerged. Others were laying their eggs and the trout were picking them off one by one. The river was alive with rising fish as the sun set and the golden light of the evening reflected on the darkening surface of the waters.

13. May 2 - Mitchell River - Delayed Harvest -
 

I guess I fish the hatchery waters because they are convenient. The are easy to get to and there are usually plenty of easy fish. They will take a dry fly or nymph of just about any design, you don't have to cast very far and fine. You can fool yourself into thinking you are a great fisherman. But these rubber fish are not a great catch and are not what fly fishing is really all about. You catch a dozen or more in an hour and can't tell much difference between them. They are all between ten and twelve inches. They don't put up much of a fight and there colors are dull like a faded photograph. It just happens to be the only trout water I can get to in less than an hour. I'll fish this river again and lie to myself about how much fun I'm having catching all of those trout.

12. April 21 - VA Mountain Stream - Wild Trout - Water 58 - Air 87
 

The weather was unsettled, they were calling for a 60% chance of severe thunderstorms, so I didn't want to travel too far from home. I went to a wild trout stream in Virginia. The trillium, may apples and wild iris were in bloom. At home the dogwood are in full bloom and the azaleas are just past their peak. Stoneflies were hatching, small back and yellow ones and a larger one that I couldn't get a good look at. The fish weren't hitting the surface and I fished a nymph for most of the morning. Caught a few browns and headed back downstream when I reached the big beaver dam. I wanted to be closer to the car if the storms came along. I fished a section I skipped earlier and being tired of fishing nymphs tied on a stimulator. Worked a pool from tail to head without drawing any attention. Then I moved up a little further and cast over a down tree up against the bank and wham, it felt like I was snagged on the bottom. But the bottom stated to move! Had to get the leader over and around the tree and the fish into the pool. Dive, dive dive the fish headed for the deep water and couldn't be coaxed to the surface. Finally it tired and I landed an beauty of a brown measuring at least 14". Moving on up stream to a spot where a rock divides the stream I cast, firs to one side then the other, and hooked a 12" rainbow. A little later after missing a few I caught another nice brown. These stream born trout are jewels to be treasured. So I ain't telling where I was so don't ask.

11. April 1 - Harper Creek - Wild Trout
 

Every year I try to hit Lost Cove Creek on Easter Monday. I drove the two and a half hours thinking about the water and the fish. Thoughts of being alone far away from anybody on a remote stream had me filled with anticipation.. As I turned up the Forest Service road I remembered the lost hikers that I helped last year. But when I arrived at the trailhead I was shocked to see six cars parked. Yikes, I didn't even stop I turned around and went back down the road to a Harper Creek trail. The hike in is a little longer and steeper and the water a little smaller, but nobody else was on the water. Once I reached the stream I continued hiking downstream to the confluence of N. Harper and Harper. The recent rain had filled the creeks and it was good to see them running at a high spring level. The waters usual gin clarity was even so slightly stained.

There was an abundance of BWOs hatching, #18 but I didn't see many risers. I love to fish a Royal Wulff in the fast pocket water and bouncing riffles of this freestone stream. It took a little while to find their holding pattern. Once I figured it out I caught fish after fish from each little run or pocket that looked promising. These beautiful little jewels measured from six to eight inches in length. All were rainbows except for one dazzling brookie. I spotted a few early black stoneflies mixed in with the BWOs.

Later I fished up Harper and things slowed down dramatically with the brilliant sun shinning straight down the steam. The glare and brightness made fishing and wading tough. So I ambled back down to a pool I had spotted earlier. In the shadows of the evening I tied on an Adams parachute. I managed to raise a twelve inch rainbow. His heroic struggle on the 2 wt rod was thrilling. He jumped and ran and just when I though I had him at hand he went berserk on another long run. I tried to take his picture but he didn't cooperate and was soon swimming in the 50 degree water.

The air was filled with the chill of the evening. Many pools remain unfished but it was time to hike up out of the gorge. I changed out of my waders and as I removed my boots I notices a styrofoam nightcrawler container tucked under the root of a tree. Even on this remote section of a bait fishermen had violated the stream.

10. March 26 - Mitchell River - Delayed Harvest
  Headed up to the Mitchell after work and fished till dusk. Not much surface action, fished a tellico and hooked up with a couple of good sized brookies and brows. Can't wait for the days to be a little longer to allow more time on the water after work.
9. March 25 - Smith River VA
  Fished the trophy section for a couple of hours. Does the wind ever stop blowing on that river? At least this time it was coming from behind me!Thing started to get interesting about 5:00 when the fish started jumping all over the place. BWO #20 were the ticket. I caught a couple before I had to leave for the day. Had to be back in Winston at 7:30, so I left the water at the magic moment. If only I had another hour to fish the hatch!!!
8. March 10- Smith River VA
  Just about got blown off the water. The wind was whipping down the river and I finally gave up. I was fishing Al's "allieworm" but didn't get any bites. Gave the head of a pool "one more chance". Finally spied a few risers. Tied on a couple of BWO, first #16 then #18. Got two bites, then cast to a riser on the far side of the river an watched him come off the bottom to take the fly! Fish on! Landed a nice 12 streambread brown. He ran an jumped two feet out of the water. Somehow that made it all worth while. Small mixed hatch diminished about 4:30 but the wind just kept blowing.
7. February 25 - Smith River VA
 

Well I did it again. Went up to VA and got my annual license and then headed over to the Smith to try it out. Three cars in the Mirror Plant Parking area. On down the tracks I ran into 4 tight lipped fly fishermen. One said he caught one! Hiked on down a ways and jumped in. Worked the Trophy Section without any bites for a couple of hours. Fished #20 black nymph deep in the runs. Finally a BWO hatch brought the fish to the surface. But failed to get any. These fish are picky!I got a few bite before I hooked up with a nice streambread brown a foot long. I really had to work to get this fish and the satisfaction of catching one of these tailwater trout cannot be equaled with hatchery trout.

6. February 20 Oak Creek Canyon AZ - 68 Sunny
  Fished the C&R section above Junipine. Didn't see another angler anywhere on the creek. Fished the pockets and runs with Prince, PT, Caddis, WD-40's and others without any success! Clear water and Bright Sun from behind might have been part of the problem. Didn't see any fish except for one holding deep in a 40 foot pool! This stream looks great and is reported to hold 12 - 16 inch browns. However the didn't appear to be feeding during the four hours I was on the stream I didn't see one rise although there was a BWO hatch going on. Switched to a dry fly for the last hour with hopes of getting a rise, none was to be had. Should have stayed another couple of hours but I had to return to Scottsdale
5. February 17? Watauga, S. Holsten - 30 Cloudy - Snow
 

Brown Trout and I went over the mountains for a day of fly fishing on the Watauga. By the time BT got his license and we got to the trophy section the water was rising. It takes about four hours for the dam release to get to the trophy section.

 

So we waited an hour and headed back up to the dam but the water didn't stop as scheduled by the TVA. Checking the schedule for the S. Holsten indicated that there wasn't a release. So we were surprised to see the river up when we arrived. We fished anyway. The strong current and deep water resulted in 0 fish. Since BT hadn't been here before we decided to scout the river a bit. Up stream we found the water had receded and we fished a couple of riffles. BT caught a fish on a brassie I tied for the big W. We planed to go back to the Watauga and fish after the last release of the day and we found the water down when we arrived. The cloudy skies started to snow and checking weather reports decided to fish for a little before heading back over the mountains to NC. The snow slacked off and we waded down to a productive hole. BT quickly caught his second TN trout. The snow started coming down harder and we head home. The drive up the mountain was quiet as we watched the snow pile up first on the lawns and trees, then the shoulder of the road and finally it started to stick on the pavement just as we crossed over into NC. Fortunately the storm ended and by the time we go to Boone it was clear.

 

4. January 29 Mitchell River
  Fished the delayed harvest waters, not much happening so I switched to my secret winter weapon and bingo: Fish on! Caught a number on an egg pattern! Nice day on the river.
 
3. January 21 Helton Creek - Delayed Harvest
 
Wind Wind and more Wind! Somehow manage to catch a few fish, day started off cold and windy, but warmed up a little but the wind blew harder! Signs of poachers everywhere including fresh fish heads!
2. January 13 - Roaring River - Stone Mountain SP
 
The Mackey Creek scouting trip was canceled so I took Christopher up to Stone Mountain. There were a lot of fish, some of good size, in the roaring river. However the fishing was slow. Christopher complained about cold feet, I don't think he will forget his wool socks next time, and we only fished for about two hours. Good day and a lot of fun with a few fish thrown in for good measure.
1. January 12 - Watauga Smallings Bridge
  Didn't get up quite early enough to fish with JT, but I met up with him, Midge and Maniac at the Smallings Bridge, start of the Trophy section. They were pulling out and JT headed back to the Queen City. We drove on up to on of Maniac's holes and fished there for a couple of hours, I caught the first fish on a green Serendipity. Maniac caught a couple and then I tied on a blue magic and caught another rainbow. After loosing the magic I switched to another pattern and hooked my third rainbow. Midge caught several brown and a rainbow.

Later we move up to the Watauga Dam. Midge and I watche a big fish working the pockets across a run. He was boiling and there were the tiniest cream midges coming off. Midge asked me what I'd try and I handed him a beetle! He waded into position and cast. It took several cast to hit the target and the fish went for and missed the beetle. Excited he continued casting and finall the fish sipped the beetle. Fish on! After a brief fight the rainbow was netted and released. I measured 16"

Maniac muttered "Beetles in January?"

We then headed back to the trophy section and fished till dark, catching a few more fish.

What I nice day in January to be fly fishing for trout!