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42 11-04-05 - Small Wild Brown Trout Water in NC

TroutJedi and I plotted a fishing trip on the BRFFF chat room and planned to meet at Chelsee’s coffee shop around 8:00. He was late and I forgot to get my fishing license so it took a while to get things all worked out and we finally decided to fish a small creek filled with wild brown trout. On the way Jedi’s wife called – he was busted! When she looked at the computer the BRFFF chat was open and I had posted that I was going fishing with Jedi!!!! Funny, you’ve got to log-off, what a rookie mistake!! We only had a couple of hours to fish as I had to be back in town by 3:00 to pick up the kids from school. We hiked in a ways before we began leapfrogging up the creek. The creek was really low running slow and clear. The bright sky didn’t help and the trout scurried for cover at the first sign of movement. I crouched low and used maximum stealth to sneak up on my prey. I even crawled in the stream bed and at one point was ¾ lying in the water to cast up to a little run. On the third cast a little dimple indicated that a trout had sipped in the fly and as I tightened the line I felt the pull of a decent trout. It ran around it’s pool and down into the next run before I brought it to hand. I measured it against the rod and released it wishing I had brought my camera to capture the beauty of this wild brown in fall color. Jedi and I continued to leapfog up the stream until it was time to head back. I caught one other brown that was about 8 inches. I looked for Jedi on the way out but didn’t find him, as he had the keys I walked the steam and then decided that he must be back at the car. He was and we made the trip home just as school got out.

41 10-6-05 - PFF V12 Nantahala River and some small brookie water....

The next day Flytyer, Brent and I cooked pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Randy manned the coffee pots and then we packed up camp before hitting the streams. Peggy hooked up with Damselfly who promised to put her on some fish. Shane was headed back down to try for that big bow that got away the day before. I wasn’t sure where I was going to fish and as I headed down the road along the Nantahala I pulled over and looked at a nice stretch of water, but decided that I had caught enough of the stocked trout in the delayed harvest section of the stream. As I pulled over Shane drove past and I hopped back in the Miata and followed him to his spot below the NOC. We hiked down the river to a large pool and he fished the middle and I worked the tailout. The water was really ripping and I kept adding weight to my streamers. I had a hit or two but no hook ups. Shane was constantly changing flies and finally he hooked a nice rainbow. He had rigged up a trout worm that he had won at the PFF raffle the night before. I couldn’t believe that he would stoop so low as to use an artificial bait to catch a trout. I fished some more and then we left. On the way home I took a side trip up a little brookie stream. It was tumbling high but clear from the recent rains. Several inches had fallen over the weekend and it made the fishing tough. The stream was roaring and the fish must have been glued to the bottom. I did manage to catch a handful of these pretty little specs.

40 10-05-05 - PFF V12 Nantahala River NC - Rainy but warm

Right after breakfast the PFF fishermen began heading out to their selected destinations. Shane and Richard went to the big water below then NOC in search of big fish. I asked around and Damselfly was headed out with some of the others, no room for me. I was just about to go solo when I ran into JT and Creek Scum. We loaded up into his truck and went on down below the powerhouse in search of wadable waters. David, a.k.a Creek Scum, had fished that area before and knew of a suitable spot. The water was running hard and the outfitters were launching their loads of rafts filled with whitewater thrill seekers.

Technically we were fishing a tailwater, but its rough and tumble nature made it more like a wild western stream. We rigged up and stretched out along the run, here the water was flowing a little slower and there was a nice large eddy that looked promising. I tied on a nymph with a couple of BB’s, hoping to get the fly down to the fish. All three of us worked the water well, casing and mending, getting nice long drifts through the deep water. I would let the fly drift deep mending again and again, then letting the fly rise at the end of the dirt. Once just as I was about to retrieve I had a genuine bite. Eventually, almost automatically we rotated positions on the run. I had started out in the middle, JT at the head and Creek Scum worked the tail. We David moved to change a fly I took his spot and worked out in the deep strong current, wading out until I was in danger of loosing my footing. “Pick me up and the NOC if I fall,” I yelled to my comrades. I even added another shot but I still don’t think the fly was even close to getting down. Nobody was getting any strikes.

Then the rafts started floating through our run. One after another, yellow, orange or blue the rafts loaded with screaming yahooing water lovers cascaded on down past us. We politely answered the obligatory question with and honest “No”. But after a dozen replies I yelled to the next boat, “We’re catching the hell out of ‘em”.

I ended up at the head of the run fishing the big eddy and gave it one last shot. All three of us had made hundreds of cast each and changed flies and made many other adjustments but still we were unable to hook up with a Nantahala trout. We all knew that the reason we weren’t catching any was because we had stayed up the night before drinking in the campground shelter. Too much drink and not enough sleep that was the real reason we couldn’t catch a wild trout. Perhaps we could find a better spot?

We drove on down the road looking for stretch of river that wasn’t a torrent of white water and even pulled off for a closer look at a few. But we decided that the water was ripping too fast for us to even think of wading or fly fishing from the bank. We talked it over and reluctantly headed up to the delayed harvest section of the river. There were cars parked a almost every pull-out and we had a difficult time finding a spot. Eventually, about half way up the gorge we pulled off. I headed downstream where it appeared to be un-crowded. I climbed down the riprap and slipped quietly into a hole. There was good water below and above me and I rigged up with an Orange Humpy. The fish went berserk and fought each other to get to the fly. I pulled fish after fish from the same hole. All were cookie cutter 12” stocked fish and were pretty healthy and quite colorful. I caught brookies, rainbows and one brown trout. Each time the humpy landed in the slack water the fish swarmed around and one would smack it. Fish on yet again! I also worked across the main flow and picked up several more rainbows. At this point the fly was well chewed and would no longer float, but it didn’t matter the fish repeatedly hit the sunken fly. It was harder to set the hook and I missed many of the strikes. As I looked downstream I saw that I had inadvertently jumped into the stream in front of another group of three anglers blocking their advance up the stream. I kept on catching more and more rainbows from the same hole. I was sure that there were even more left but I wanted to move on and explore the rest of the stretch of river. Each likely spot yielded a few trout, but none were as productive as the first honey hole.

I worked upstream until I got into the territory of the next upstream anglers. Delayed harvest brings out droves of fishermen, at PFF 12 there were over 25 and the Rocky River TU added another 20 or so plus all of the independents. There were over 100 anglers fishing the miles of Nantahala Delayed Harvest waters. The state had done its job and stocked the river the week before with thousands of neophyte trout.

I walked up to the truck and half heartedly fished the pools and runs where JT had started. These spots were way too close to the pull-off and had been hammered or poached to the point of exhaustion, they yielded no trout. Later I ran into La Troucha, another SFF, PFF, BRFFF member and watched him nymph a run. Then JT took over and worked the water, while I threw some lead into the deep fast run at the head of a pool, The water looked good but nobody was biting. JT moved on down to the tail out and I stepped in a the top of the deep slow run. I was casting an Improved Cat Caddis, JT’s original pattern but improved with a copper wire, and cast repeatedly into the run. Finally I saw a fish flash on the nymph but was too slow to set the hook. “There! A fish flashed!”, I yelled at my streamside audience of fellow anglers. It cast two or three times more and saw the fish move again, but this time I was ready and set the hook. A nice brown of 14 inches came to net, I bragged that I caught that fish behind JT on an ICC.

After that we explored a side creek but decided against hiking down into the gorge and would save it for another day. Then we fished the upper wild section of the Nanty for a couple of hours before heading back to camp to prepare JT’ famous gumbo.
shane lands a big one blue line brookie blue line

39 Sept. Smith River VA - Hot and Sunny

I headed up 220 North as soon as the children were dropped off at school. I was headed back to the Smith on another mid-week fishing trip. On the way I thought of all the different places to fish on the Smith, up near the dam, some of the riffles down a ways, the special regulations sectoin and the hayfields that I had just fished earlier in the week. I remembered some of my favorith places along the special regs section, the trestle pool and the runs up above. Yes, I decieded that was where I would fish todya. When I got to the parking lot there were tow other NC cars already there. I suited up and headed down the tracks, ther was still fog on the water but the sun wa blazing down ofn the tracks. A black snake was curled up under the rails and I played with it for a while until it becam so agiteted that it stated striking at everyting. I waled on down to the treatle pool and wento n down to the river. There I found another fisherman working the water below the pool. I hollerd at him to find out which way he was fishing. Upstream he replied, but he almost insisted that I fish the pool, it didn't matter to him. I gave teh water to him and moved on down below the pool. I entered the river at the switch box and worked the deep runs there with a weighted allie worm.

38 Sept. Smith River - Va Hot and Sunny

Raplh gave me directions to the hayfields on the Smith, a section that I had not fished before. I cut through the woods on a fishermans' trial and when I got to the slippery bank I noticed a rope tied around a tree. This was perfect for navigating the slope. There was a little riffle right there and I proceeded to tie on an Allie worm. I worked the water from the near side all the way over to the far bank without a hit. I moved on up a little and in the next run I nice little 12 inch bown took the weighted fly. The river in this spot isn't as clean as the upper sections including the Special requlations section. Here there was quite a bit of litter from tires and metal rims to paper along with bottles and cans. I tried not to focus on then and concentrated on the good looking water. As I worked on upstream I caught a couple more trout and lined one that must have beed 16 to 18 inches. All four of the browns htat I caught were about 12 inches and all took the alliworm. On up in the flats fish were sipping on the surface and I tried everything from CDC emergers to Griffith's Gnats but was unable to entice one to take on the surface. All too soon I was time to head home to pick the kids up from school.

37 August 11, 2005 - Wild Browns in VA again! 80's partly cloudy.

Troutjedi and I took the day off to hit some wild trout water. Even though we both had time constraints we managed to plan about four hours on the water. We hiked up the trail armed with my 4 wt GL3 and Jedi's 5 wt DSII. I sent Jedi off the trail to start fishing and as I walked a little further I heard a slip and a snap, and at first I thought it was a stick that snapped but the sounds coming from Jedi indicated otherwise. "Are you OK, I asked as I stopped and turned in the trail? "Yes, but I broke my rod", he replied. I had a spare in the car and Jedi made the trek down the trail as I continued up the stream to where I planned to fish. I kept thinking, "what are the odds of breaking two rods in one day. Who is this Jedi fellow and why did I let him borrow my Sage SP? All of this served as a distraction and I didn't fish very well for a while. Finally I started to get into a rhythm and began to catch some fish. The first one was a 10 inch bow that had survived an attack from a heron as the mark was clearly upon his back. Later I caught seven or eight browns, the largest running 12 or 13 inches. Nice healthy fish. All too soon it was time to stop fishing and head on back to the car. I ran into Jedi and he reported some success but it had slowed down once he got to where I had started fishing.

"I sure didn't feel too cool when I turned my two piece Sage into a three piece before it even got wet  You know you're going to have one of THOSE days when that's how it starts off!  Lo and behold, it actually turned out to be a great day despite the rough start and the reluctance of the trout to attach themselves to the end of my line.  WB introduced me to a durn nice stretch of water (I am sworn to secrecy, so no PM's... ), it was an awesome day to play hooky from work - flailin bluelines beats just about any other daytime activity.  And even though the company was dubious at best   it's nice to spend an afternoon with the font from which all SFF knowledge flows......even if he makes you fish his sloppy seconds (hee, hee...jes kiddin)  

Quote of the day.....  "I'm gonna just jump in at the bottom of this hill.  <<slip>> SON OF A........!!! <<crash>>  WOOOOPS!!!!  << SNAP!!! >>  Mother &$%@!!!"

What kind of BS story am I going to tell the warranty folks at Sage this time"

- Troutjedi


36 July 24, 2005 - Retreving the Miata

I had attempted to call my friend Gary and get him to bail me out of my predicament the other day, but he was with family 100 miles away. However he agreed to take my up to get my car the next day. We left around 9:30 to make the 90 minute drive. It was a pleasant drive and the weather wasn't bad. I had assumed that he would be fishing with my, but he had too many things to get done for the Smallie Show the following weekend. I unlocked the car and got my fishing gear on and headed upstream to fish for a while. I didn't want to press my luck and stay two long, but I did want to catch a fish or two. I started on some of the bigger pools with a stimulator. Several good cast and drifts and I moved on. I worked one run real hard because I almost always managed to get a fish to rise there. As I moved on I decided that I might need to change tactics. I spent a lot of time working a pool as I just knew that there had to be a trout in it. I changed to a #12 tellico with a strike indicator. On the second or third drift I felt the weight of a fish on! I dogged about the pool running left then right back across the pool again and again. I finally got its head up but then it took a turn and ran downstream past me into the run below. I checked it and brought the fish to shallow water where I captured its image. It was a bright sunny day but the exposure for this shot was 1/7 sec. at f 2.8! The canopy of trees and the tall mountains have blocked most of the light from penetrating to the bottom of the gorge. Although this brown only measures 13" it was a truly beautiful wild fish and it made my day.
wild brown trout

35 July 23, 2005 - Somewhere in VA - Hot n Sunny

I drove up to VA to visit an old friend. This small mountain steam is a little jewel tucked away in the hills.It's been several years since I last fished here and I noticed a few changes on the stream. It was a hot sunny day and I was sweating heavily by the time I got to the trail leading down to the stream. Once sheltered by the canopy of trees it felt much better and stepping in to the cold water was a relief. I tied on a stimulator, my favorite pattern on this steam because there is usually a good stonefly hatch and the trout are always greedy for them. I got on the water just below a run where I had hooked a number of fish. I had been shelterd by a downed tree, but the recent flooding had washed it downstream leaving the run exposed. I cast the stimulator from behind the rocks that I was using for cover. The first cast was almost perfect and it dances in the current catching glimpses of sunshine as it drifted down the run. I was sure that at any second a fish would strike. I couldn't get a fish to rise and I tried again and again, searching the run casting to the left and up a little further then on the right side of the seam and then again straight down the center. Finally I moved on not quite ready to switch flies. I worked the runs and pockets as I worked upstream. I finally sat down and searched my fly box for a different pattern,,,,hmmm what should I use. An ant! I picked out a quick sight and, the ones with the black foam body with white tip. I cast it in the same run as the stimulator and on the thirds drift I let the fly go on downstream between to rocks. One trout rose and took it beating out his competitor who turned and dove for cover as I set the hook in the quicker fish. The trout put up an energetic fight and ran up and across the stream before I brought him to hand. This wild brown measured 10 inches and was beautifully marked with large red spots painted on its flanks. I had left my camera at home but had my cell phone as a clock and a backup camera. I took a picture of this fish before letting to go but I failed to store the photo.

I continued to fish that ant pattern until lost in to a tree. As I move up the stream I came to a deep fast run and I tied on a stimulator. On the second or third drift down the center a large fish rose from the depth and smacked the stimulator taking it with a turn and dive back to the bottom of the run. The line zipped up and down back and forth the run throbbing and pulling line the fish left the run and headed downstream. I chased after it hopping rocks and sloshing through the water. I caught up to it in a large pool and after a couple of runs the fish came to hand. This time I saved the photo and the fish measured close to fifteen inches. I fished for a little while longer, kept on going one more pool or run before heading back out of the gorge.

When I got back to the car I put my vest in the trunk and slammed the lid shut. Oh no! My keys were in the vest! I spent the next several hours trying to get into the trunk by taking the back panels off. That didn't work as the spare tire blocks the only access. Finally got a ride to the nearest town where I had to wait for another couple of hours for my wife to come and pick me up. Needless to say she was less than happy with me. I had planned to be back home mowing the lawn when she returned but I was stranded, needing her assistance instead. Not a pretty picture. Not as pretty as the picture below. Was it worth it?
15 in. wild brown trout

34 July 10, 2005 - S. Holsten River TN, Hazy n Hot

With all of the talk about sulfurs hatches, spinner falls and Randy's big brown I had to make a trip to the S. Holsten. I had visions of the last time I fished it remembering the fish rising to the bugs in the big fast runs along Big Spring Road . I was on the water by 3 pm and got into a nice bow on the third good drift. I thought “Man, this is going to be a good day!” I tried in vain to get another to rise and since there weren't many bugs coming off, I switched to deep nymphing. I used Brassies, PT, GRHE, Copper Johns, and BWO's. I caught six or seven bows in the next hour or so, the largest and best fish of the day was a 17” bow. Well, maybe the best fish or was it the one that snapped the tippet at the end of a drift?

As the sun left the water I was hoping for a hatch of some sort but there were only sporadic risers and I failed to hook any. The water from the 5:00 release was headed my way so I left Big Spring and drove up to the dam. Walking down the trail I noticed the fish popping up all over the flats. I caught a nice rainbow on the second cast and then was frustrated for the next half hour as darkness crept in. They were taking emergers…

33 July 3, 2005 - Smith River VA, Sunny hot, water 54 degrees

Managed to head up to the Smith this afternoon. Mostly sunny with occasional clouds. Fish hit better with the clouds. Water 54 degrees air much hotter. Waded into a nice little run and picked off four bows and a pair of browns. All came on a variation of the Alli Worm. I tied it with a hot pink tail, wrapped a couple layers of non-toxic wire, body peathingyherl, black saddle hackle....yum, yum. The fish about wore it out. Moved on up catching nice bows up to 14" and browns at 8". A few sulfurs and yellow stones? were coming off. I saw a few risers and switched to  a dry to see how well I could do OTS. On the first run there were no takers, so I moved up to where I could see more risers and I picked off four more bows OTS. Not bad for 4 hours on the river. I stopped, only because my left leg was leaking and I didn't want to get my cut wet. I'm sure the fishing only got better from 6:30 till dark....

some of the fun pictured below...

32 June 25, 2005 - Abrams Creek - GSMNP - Sunny and Hot

I had plans to meet up with Hans a fellow member of the Southern Fly Fisherman Forum (SFF) I was originally going to camp at Cades Cove but changed my mind and ended up in Cataloochee. We were planning to meet up at the cove entrance at 12:OO and I figured it was going to take a couple of hours to get there. Sure enough I took the road out of Cataloochee to Big Creek and on to Cosby before heading west to Gatlinburg and into the park. The whole trip took 2 1/2 hours to get to the entrance of Cades Cove. Hans had incorrectly reported that the gates would open at noon, but in fact the opened at 10:00. I stopped and talked to the park official at the information booth and told him my story about meeting up with Hans. When he ask what he looked like I had to reply that I didn't know at I never met the fellow. I drove on down the cove to the Abrams Creek trailhead, that only took a half hour. Now I would fix a little lunch and wait for Hans.

Has arrived at the entrance a little before noon and walked around a little looking for a guy that might be a fly fisherman. The workers at the information booth asked him if he was Hans and told him that I was waiting at the trailhead. I had been checking out every car that came into the parking lot, no not that one there are two people. Nope not him or her, finally I saw Hans walking across the lot and knew it must be him. "Hans," in inquired? To which he replied in the affirmative. Soon we were on the trail to the falls and about an hour later we reached the top of the falls and began the steep decent to the water. Hans tied on a big old stimulator and I tied on a much smaller one.

The rocks just above the falls are perhaps the most slippery I have every encountered, on some I just slid down without any traction at all. I really needed the wading staff and caution was the word of the day. We worked our way up the stream, fishing the fast water of each run and pool. The stream runs to the north and at one o'clock the sun was blazing directly upstream. The scenery was just magnificent and picture perfect except for the noticeable haze in the air. Hans lead the way and I followed cautiously as we worked the pools and runs. The water was full of unknown promises and we watched each drift with anticipation. Hans was fishing a Stimulator in the fast water when he got the first fish of the day a 10" rainbow. I was fishing a nymph and didn't have any luck but most of the time I was fishing behind Hans. We did the leap frog thing a bit and I got into an eight inch bow on some fresh water. Hans knew the river quite well and pointed out runs and pools where he had caught fish before. "There is a fish in that run up there, one below the tree and another above," he pointed out. I couldn't get a rise in the lower part but sure enough a 10" inch bow took the dry just above the tree. We fished on up to a point were the stream split, Hans went left and I went right. There were some great little runs full of fast frothy water. I hooked a bigger fish in the first run and ripped the hook out. As I was stepping up to the next pool, my foot slipped and I crashed my shin into the rock. As I picked myself up I looked down at my now bone white shin. The swelling stared immediately and I moved around trying to gain focus from the pain. When I next look down the blood was filling in the white and the swelling had increased to an impressive size. I took a few minutes to manage the pain and then I fished that run half heartedly before hobbling up stream where I found Hans waiting. "I was beginning to worry about you," he said, "I was just about to come look for you." He had a first aid kit and I wiped some antibiotic on the wound. He thought it best that we head on out, but I insisted on fishing a few spots alone the way. It took about twenty minutes before we got to a point where we could hike out to the trail. Once on the trail it took another 30 minutes to get to the parking lot and then an hour to get the the end of the Cades Cove Loop. My plans were to stay over and fish on Sunday, but I decided to drive home instead.

31 June 24, 2005 - Palmer Creek, Cataloochee Creek

I fished Palmer, now I've read that it gets a fair amount of pressure and that the better fishing starts up the trail a mile or two. Perhaps that's what I should have done, but it will have to wait till next time. I wore my new Simms Keen River Sandals for the first item, shocked at how cold the water still was I gave second thought to putting waders on but didn't. The sandals had excellent bite on the rocks but caution was needed not to bang up my ankles. I started fishing right at the bridge and fished up about a mile. The water is tumbling fast in a constant cascade of white water with little eddies and deep pockets yielding eager bites from rainbows. I fished dries and nymphs, catching the first rainbow on a blond tellico as shown in the picture below. The fish didn't come easy and I change flies often searching for the proper color, size or pattern that would trip their trigger. The next fish came on a Cat Caddis, and I think it was a combination of the brightness of the day and perhaps a little more stealth would have helped too. I was fishing a 9' 5 wt. but I think that this part of the stream would be fished better with a 7.5' 3 wt. I also ran into other fishermen on the the stream, I may have been fishing behind someone also. I enjoyed the beauty and solitude of this tumbling energetic creek.

I hiked back out after 6 and went up Rough Fork past the end of the road. Dobson flies had hatched and they were dancing above the steam. I didn't fish but just went for a hike for about a mile up the creek, remembering past adventures and fish caught in the various pools along the way. Then it was back down to the main stem of the Cataloochee for the evening rise. I picked out a section that was a little deeper and had much longer runs. There weren't as many yellow sallies this evening and I didn't see that many fish rise. I enjoyed working the stream in the soft evening light, listening to the birds sing their night songs. I had a few hits before I hooked a nice rainbow which zipped the line through the water across the stream before coming to hand. I found a great deep run up against the bank and knew it would hold a few good trout. But, casting in the fading light, I hung the fly up and spoiled that water. Moving up close to the paved bridge I caught another nice bow and thought that would be a good time to stop, but the enticing water caused me to fish into the darkness.

30 June 23, 2005 - Cataloochee Creek GSMNP - 70's Partly Cloudy

After getting the tent set up in the campground I headed downstream to look for some water to fish. I drove all the way to the single lane bridge and didn't see any other fishermen along the way. I started fishing just above the bridge at 7:30 and saw that yellow salies were popin out all over the place. I saw a few trout rise and I hooked one on me second cast. I missed a few and then had a couple of LDR's. The water was much smaller than what I remembered from the first time I fished hear many years ago. It was before the elk were reintroduced and I remember being intimidated by the size and depth of the creek, maybe it was flowing harder, but I have been to much bigger water since then.

I worked my way up the stream picking off the risers that I saw. They all hit the fly, but I missed more that I caught. As darkness crept into the creek I caught one last fish out a run. I headed back to camp and cooked up a late dinner. After I ate I took a walk down the road away from all of the coleman brightness to marvel at the fireflies blinking by the thousands in the pitch blackness. Up above the stars show brightly even with the rising near full moon.

29 June 21, 2005 - Wild Trout Stream ~ Blue Line - Partly Cloudy 70s - Thunderstorms

I high tailed it out to a Blue Line streams this morning, driving 120 miles to get there. I didn't have much time on the stream as the weather was threatening. Thunderstorms have been popping up all week, mornings, noon and evenings too. I hiked up the stream a ways and crawled down the bank to the fist promising pool. I worked it hard for quite some time, maybe too long, I changed patters six times, form Copper Johns, Stimulators, Improved Cat Caddis, various drys, and finally an ant. Still nothing came of my attempts at that first pool. Just up from there was another promising plunge pool, and I tried a ICC and hooked a nice 12" brown. This feisty little guy fought with gusto and pulled line off the reel as the moved into the fast water, I had to run him down as he headed down the stream. I stopped him in an eddy and quickly removed the barbless hook. At the next pool I lost the ICC and tied on an ant. I coated it with Loon Dust and cast into the pool. I was using a 12 foot 6x leader on my Sage SP 9' 5wt. I watched the fly drift in the current and I cast again. With a violent slash a big brown slashed the ant and came half way out of the water. I set the hook and the fish went berserk thrashing about in the pool it headed for deep cover under a boulder. It was dogging its head close to a sharp under water rock and I had to keep it off of the rock or the tippet would be cut. I had to work the fish back and forth across the pool being careful not to let it run down stream where it could easily run a hundred yards and down over a waterfall.This bad boy wanted to break off in the worse way. He kept running into his hidey hole trying to break the tippet on some rocks. I had a time keeping the line off the sharp rocks, when he went the other way the stream was open for a down stream run and at the head of the pool was a tangle of trees and roots. Finally the fish's head came out of the water and I attempted to get it in the net. My first attempt was aborted as the fish flexed and freed itself from the net, the second time I was able to get the whole fish in the net and take its picture before removing the barbless hook and setting it free. If you look closely you can see the ant fly in the upper jaw about 1/2 way into its mouth. I caught four browns, three on the ant and one an Improved Cat Caddis. As I moved up the stream it started to rain, easy at first then much harder. I had to leave shortly anyway so when I heard the thunder I headed back down to the trail. Six hour drive time two hours fishing....yeah it was worth it!

28 June 18, 2005 - South Fork New River - Partly Cloudy 62 - 70

Gary came by the house a little after seven and we headed up the road to meet up with Peddler, Landlocked, Dennis (elkriverfisher), and David for a float down the South Fork of the New River. We met at the gas station at the intersection of 221 and 21. I got a cup of coffee (12 oz cup) for a buck and then went to look for some lunch supplies, Dennis came in with the same mission, hmmm slim pickings, Vienna Sausages, Pimento Cheese Sandwiches (made fresh in Iowa) and a couple of packs of Nabs would have to do. We sat out side and waited for Peddler and Landlock who arrived shortly, blaming their leisurely breakfast stop at Bojangles for their delay. We headed down the road which went right by David's house, he was waiting in his car and pulled out as soon as he saw us. We crossed the river on the way to the camp ground and there were already canoes on the water. The weather was cool and partly cloudy. A little too cool for this time of the year. The thermometer in the car read 62 degrees and when we checked the water temp at the Twin River Camp Ground (future site of the Smallie Show) it was a chilly 66. The water was up a little running hard and heavily stained, with visibility less than a foot. After scouting the campground and making shuttle arraignments we headed to the put-in.  

The six of us fished the river hard using all sorts of different surface and sub-surface flies. I caught a small perch early on with a little popper.  Dozens of canoes and inner tubes floated past us during the day. Fishermen on the bank also reported it being real slow The bite was not on and we didn't catch a lot of fish. After trying conehead muddler minnows, clousers, woolly buggers, I finally went back up top and tied on a white gurgler. I floated down along the bank and cast to the bank as close as I could get, I cast at every little clump of grass, indentation in the bank, every log, eddy and even to places I didn't think looked that great. But I didn't catch anything, it was as if nobody was home!

The rest of the group was way up ahead and I fished slowly and covered all the water I could. I wasn't going to go home until a caught a small mouth bass. I was now on the final stretch down to the take out. There were some really good looking spot along the bank and I cast to them, finally a take a quick splash and I set the hook. The fish fought hard as I stripped in line and played the fish until it came to the surface, it was a little smaller that is felt, those smallies sure do put up a good fight. I had to take a picture just to prove that I did in fact catch a smallie.  In fact only Dennis, David and I caught any fish at all, Dennis and I both caught a perch and a smallmouth each with my smallie being the big fish of the day. David also caught a couple of fish. I floated on down past the campground and found Landlocked, Peddler and Dennis anchored at the top of a rapid. I pulled up and asked what was going on? Gary and David were going on downstream to scout for a better take-out spot. As we waited a youth canoe group pulled up on the bank below us and got out to scout the rapids. After they left we pulled out toon and canoe out at that spot. I took a while for Gary to walk up the road and then everybody started the shuttle. I fished the rapids while they went for the cars. We have to come up with a better plan for the Smallie Show as this shuttling took a long time. Still we had a good time and look forward to warmer days and clearer water .

27 June 16, 2005 - Stone Mountain Creek

Once again on a hot summer afternoon I took my kids up to the park to cool off. The weather was perfect, puffy white clouds, low humidity and a little breeze. We got to the sliding rock and the kids stood at the top contemplating the plunge into the cold water. Neither wanted to go first. Christopher finally made the slide into the large pool with a big splash and for effect he dunked his head and surfaced with a loud wahoooo! Zoe was quick to follow and Christopher insisted that she too dunk her head to get completely wet. I sat on a rock and watched them as I strung up my 2 wt rod. As the kids slid down the rock into the pool below I fished the two pools above the falls. I drifted an original cat caddis along the seam and hoped for a bite. Nobody home. After a while the kids were turning blue and Zoe was shivering, they changed out of their wet clothes and we headed up the stream to check out some other fishing spots. Zoe wanted to fish and we moved upstream a little, I told her that there was a fish in there and she roll cast into the pool and watched the strike indicator. She gave up after her third cast and joined her brother downstream where he was looking for crayfish. I cast a dozen more time before I hooked a 12" brook trout, I sent Zoe to fetch my net and she came back to land the fish. I asked the kids if they wanted to eat it for dinner and they both said no, they wanted to let it go. With the hook removed Zoe cradled the fish and let it swim back into its pool. The kids were tired and ready to leave so I packed them up and we drove down to the church stopping along the way, I got out and hit a few likely spots while they stayed in the car playing the game boy. We stopped and got some ice cream cones after leaving the park. Two scoops for the kids and one for me. We sat on the front porch and rocked in the chairs. The sun was shining on Zoe's cone and she was having a difficult time keeping up with the drips. Every time she stopped licking she got further behind in the race to lick up the melting ice cream. I had to go inside to get her some extra napkins and when I returned I found her face covered in ice cream and she was giggling uncontrollably. She calmed down a little and tried to regain control of her melting cone but in the end she lost the race.

26 June 11, 2005 - Stone Mountain Creek

My wife and I took the kids back to the same sliding rock on Stone Mountain Creek. The kids had a blast an mama watched them while I snuck away for a little fishing. I tied on a Copper John with white rubber legs and fished downstream to the bend in the creek. I scared one out of the tail down against the rocks and on the way back up I caught a 12" brookie. I thought for a moment about serving it up to the kids for dinner, but put it back. I continued above the falls and stuck a nice brown. I flung a fair numbe of Dace though the air as they were launched by the hook set....

Great day to be out with the family. There are still fish in the river, you just have to find them. The water was still a little stained from the rain.

I was planning to fish the Smith today but after visiting the Fly Line going-out-of-business sale, i had to return home and the family planned a trip to Stone Mountain.(Rods, Reels, Waders, Boots 20% off, other stuff at 30% and clothing, books, fly tying stuff, hooks, leaders & tippet 40% off, flies were $15 a dozen per packages) There was a good crowd there and all the popular stuff was flying off the shelves. I was looking for boots, but with only a 20% discount I thought I might get a better deal somewhere else. Sad to see a great little flyshop go out of business, but as I overheard one of the employees say "I'd sit around all day reading a book and some guy would come in an buy a couple of spools of tippet....."

25 June 9, 2005 - Stone Mountain Creek

Took the kids and their friends up to Stone Mountain for a little fun. We parked at the picnic tables on Stone Mountain Creek for lunch and then the kids went sliding down the rock for a couple of hours. A guy came up the creek carrying a cooler and was fishing with an ultralight spinning outfit. He came up and caught one in the pool above the falls. I peeked into his cooler and he had a half dozen trout ranging from 10 to 14 inches. I asked what he was using and he showed me an unidentifiable black beadhead nymph. Stated that he wished they would make the creed fly fishing only!

Another guy who was watching his kids slide down the rock was a wormer, he also caught one out of the same hole and placed it on the rock. It was about to get away, although I think it was mortally wounded, and my son's friend caught it before it flipped into the creek. The guys says something to the effect that "It'd be okay, he didn't really care to keep it".

Anyway we left during a rain storm but returned for another couple of hours of sliding an splashing, before we  wet a line. Scott and I fished for a little but the others wanted to catch crayfish and salamanders. We started a collection in a jar and had three or four salamanders, a couple of stonefly nymphs, crane fly nymphs, and some others along with two or three crayfish.

24 June 8, 2005 - Smith River - Hot with threating thunderstorms

I've been thinking of the sulfur hatch on the Smith since Sunday and I've been trying to figure out how to get back up there. Today the generation schedule was from 1 - 5 and I worked things out so I could be on the water from 5:30 till o'dark thirty. I was going to fish up close to the dam so I wouldn't have to wait long for the water to drop. I got there just as the water was receding and as I was suiting up I notice the fog rolling in. Oh darn! I wasn't really expecting it so soon, I thought it would develop as the air cooled like it had on Sunday. The thick fog made it difficult to read the water, but as I entered the stream I heard a fish jump and I tied on an Allie Worm. A few cast later a nice little brown was on the line.

I got another hard strike on the Allie worm as it swung downstream. Then I couldn't get another strike and I began moving upstream. I changed flies a couple of times; copper johns, PT, Epoxy backs, none of which brought any results.
As I was casting a voice shouted from the bank, "I'd know that cast anywhere!"

It was damselfly, she found my car and was joining me for the evening rise. She too commented about the thickness of the fog. It came and went as warm and cold air blew down the river. Due to the fog we were fishing out of sight from one another, but our voices carried eerily in the fog and we sounded much closer that we actually were. Lauri worked her way downstream and I moved in the opposite direction. I fished the runs, the pockets, the flats all without seeing a strike. As a thunderstorm approached I moved on up to a pool of rising fish. They were sipping something tiny off the surface, I tried a midge pattern and then a trico, but we were driven off the water by the approaching storm.

Nice evening, too much fog, but we had a good time fishing and we both ended up with one fish apiece.

23 June 5, 2005 - Smith River VA

The sulfurs were hatching on the Smith and the trout were hitting the surface. Took a while to get them to take my imitation. Managed to catch a bunch of browns and one 14" rainbow. Put down a bunch of good fish and had a couple of LDRs. Fished until 8:40 when it became difficult to follow my fly due to the fog and darkness.

22 June 3, 2005 Roaring River and Stone Mountain Creek - Cloudy 65

With delayed harvest ending I took the kids up to Stone Mountain with the hopes of everybody landing a fish or two. We arrived at one of our favorite pools and I took Zoe out for for the first fish. There were several hitting surface and I let her pick out a fly, she chose a red midge. And it worked, she missed a couple of strikes and then I helped her set the hook and she landed a nice rainbow. I caught a couple more when the kids went off exploring. They found a newt and took some pictures. Later, after lunch, Christopher caught a couple on a Stimulator, the brown in the picture and a rainbow about the same size. We talked about how they would be caught, killed and eaten tomorrow. Everybody had a great day.

21 May 28, 2005 - Blue Line Creek - NC

I was planning to fish the Smith, but when I called in the morning I found out that they were going to generate all day! I then proceeded to mow the lawn and think about where I was going to fish. Then it dawned on me and off I went to a little blue line creek that I hadn't been to in years. The day was cloudy and I encountered some rain on the drive, but by the time I got to the trailhead it had stopped. I began my hike it, as I hiked along the stream I reflected on the fish caught and all of the times I had been on this creek. On time in the fall I had wet waded and I remembered how painful the hike out had been with me feet burning with to cold of each crossing. I'll never wet wade at that time of the year again. It's hard to get to the headwaters of this creek, sure the hike in is four miles but it isn't the distance that makes it difficult, it's passing up all the good water on the way. After a mile or so temptation took over and I began to fish promising water.  There were plenty of bugs coming off the water but I didn't see many risers all day. I worked the small runs and pocket water fishing an CDC Elk that I had tied up last night. I caught three colorful browns on the way in to the brookie waters. Back on the trail is keep an eye out for familiar landmarks, I wanted to fish a certain run and pool that had yielded some nice trout in the past. As I neared my destination I crawled down to the stream and maneuvered in the creek bed to get into casting position. Third cast and wham! A nice little brookie took the fly. I worked my way up through the gorge and crawling around I caught several more nice bejeweled brookies. Green Drakes, Little Yellow Stone Flies and Caddis along with tons of tiny flies were hatching throughout the day. I saw a lot more fish than I caught, every time I climbed up over a rock and could finally see the water it was too late, the trout were seeking cover shooting up and down their small pools. I think of them as "Black Lightening". I continued through the gorge and when I go to the top I decided that that was enough for the day and I turned back down the trail stopping along the way. As dusk approached the browns were even more cooperative and I caught several in some nice little pools, pocket water and cascading runs. My Blue Line outfit: CFO I, Orvis One Ounce 6'6" 2 wt.

20 May 27, 2005

After I picked up the van with its new (rebuilt) transmission I had to take it for a test drive and that just happened to be near the Mitchell River. I had two hours to kill, so I wet a line. Parked at the end of the road, there sure were a lot of cars parked all up and down the river, doesn't anybody work on Friday anymore. Went to the first run just past the deep pool and looked for bugs, nothing much was coming off the water, so I tied on an EHC. While I was tightening the knot I saw a dimple of a rise up against the far bank in the slack water. I cast a couple of times getting nice long slow drifts past the spot where I saw the rise and on the third cast I got a bump! Tried again and got another bump. Dagnabit, two refusals on an EHC! Changed to a "little yellow bug" and bam! Fish on.   There weren't any other risers in the run, but I continued to work the water and noticed that I got several good looks from a large trout when I drifted right down the center. I'd rest him for a spot and cast elsewhere in the pool and I picked off a couple of browns in the process. Went back down the center and never could get the bigun to rise again. I finally moved on after throughly working this run and catching 3 browns and 1 brookie. One of the reason I spent so much time on this pool was because there was another fisherman just upstream in the next pool.

When I got to his spot nobody was home and I continued up into the slough. Trout were dimpling the water everywhere. They were sipping some unseen emergers. I changed flies to a green caddis emeger with trailing shuck and watched the rise forms. I picked out a fish watched the rise and then timed the cast. Wham! Just like magic! I caught 4 browns on the same fly. Time to go so I headed down the path stopping at the first run to try for that big trout again. This time it took the emerger on the third cast. The picture below right is that fish.

19 May 25, 2005 - Mitchell River - Delayed Harvest

But I had a few hours to fish today, I was planning to hit the Smith if there weren't going to generate.   So I went to the Mitchell instead... Sulfurs were coming off and the fish were hitting the surface!  Hatch: Fly: #14 Sulfur Parachute. I caught 3 rainbows in some deep runs and then caught a brookie. I spotted a fish dimpling the water under a tree and worked the roll cast to drift through the seam. After a dozen or so cast I caught a 8 inch brown. I thought that this was not the fish that caused the dimples that I spotted, so I continued to work the water and after a few more cast a 14" brown took the fly and rocketed downsteam pulling drag and I had to chase it down. The fight didn't last long but that initial bust of speed was exhilarating. Next I caught another decent brown in a long run, before loosing my fly to a tree...I tied on another sulfur and took a brown out of this little eddy. It rocketed off the bottom an really smashed the fly hard, turning and running into the current.  Small brown cooperated for photo....Almost forgot to mention the three snakes I saw in the grass and one in the water, ya'll be careful out there!

18 May 15, 2005 - Shady Valley TN - PFF 11.0 - Watauga River

I got up to the sounds of people breaking camp and heading out for home or to fish. I scrounged up a cup of coffee and helped clean up the kitchen. Gary has the bulk of the labor as he is pretty much left alone to pack up his truck full of cooking gear. I said many goodbyes as the crew pack up and left the muddy field. JT pulled HC's toy truck out of the mud and Irby cut a new road in the hay for us to get out on. Damselfly help me strike my tent and when I was all packed up we headed to the Watauga in the rain. We thought long and hard in the parking lot about fishing or just going home to hot showers. I said what the heck let's give it a shot, it can't get any worse. So we hiked down the trail and crossed over the river to the runs and pools that ran swift and clear. A few caddis were coming off the water, but we decided to nymph the runs. I loaned Damselfly a couple of Flashback PT's and she went to work on the upper pool. I headed down to the lower run and tried my luck with a copper john. Damsel caught a few small bows. I worked the water hard, but didn't have any luck. I saw a few risers so I switched to a dry and cast to them. The rain continued to come down hard and I had no takers. I moved on up to Damsel's pool and watched her cast for a while. Two other fly fishermen were coming down the river and I let them take the lower pool. After a while the rain slacked off and the bugs became more prolific as the sun came out. Damsel invited me to cast the pool and as I stepped into the tail she sat on the shore and watched as I laid out the line delivering the fly to the feeding lanes at the head of the pool. I caught a couple of nice bows as they eagerly took my elk hair caddis. I turned to pool over to Damselfly and she brought a trout to hand in short order. We continued to switch back and forth enjoying each other's successes in cast, drifts and catches. Hunger finally drove us from the stream and we turned over our productive pool over to the other fishermen. I think that they were glad we were leaving. This was a great ending to the eleventh PFF (Psycho Fly Fishing)

17 May 14, 2005 - Shady Valley TN - PFF 11.0- Watauga River

After a rainy night we were all staning around the campfire talking about which streams would be blown out. There weren't a lot of options, but I knew of one place on the Watauga that would be running clear. I grabbed Howard and asked what his plans were, he didn't have any so I invited him along. He was traveling with Arky Dan so the three of us headed to the Watauga. After our hike in we got to the pools and were greated with a nice Caddis Hatch. We didn't see any fish rising so we started out nymphing the runs. I managed to bring two small rainbow to hand by high sticking the fast water. Howard set up below in the next run and he caught a couple as did Arky. After about an hour the fish started feeding on the surface, chasing down the caddis. Howard and Arky studied the caddis hatch and watche the trout as they moved into different feeding lanes as the hatch progressed. We enjoyed casting far and fine. I brought a number of bow and browns to hand before a thunderstorms chased us off the river. In the parking lot we talked to another fisherman from Memphis who had joined us on the streams and for the hike out. I showed off my pictures and we talked about our plans to get a burger for lunch. I drove off and we headed to town. In the parking lot of Wendy's this guy motions for me to roll down my window and he says, "I've got something in here that's going to make you very happy." Before I could figure out what he was talking about he told me how I had driven off with the rod on top of the car and how Howard had driven over it and he stopped and picked it up. Wow this was my lucky day, rod and reel were no worse for the wear.

After lunch we heaed back to camp to cook up the Loon Stew. Just after getting everything it the pot a storm blew up and we had to hold down the cook tent. Some PFFer's packed up when this storm blew up. Dinner was served in shifts between storms. Maniac showed of his latest collection of S. Holsten bugs that he had picked off stream rocks. His imitations matched perfectly and he is truley an amazingf flytyer. Late nite campfire talk ended with another storm and I hit the tent with the rain pouring down again.

Arky Dan fishing the hatch

Bright Watauga Bow

Howard at the lower pool

Look at the colors of this brown

#@$% Snakes!

Another nice brown

16 May 13, 2005 - Shady Valley TN - PFF 11.0 - Whitetop Laural Creek - VA

Grabbed a great breakfast of scrapple, eggs and coffee before heading to Creek Junction on the Virginia Creeper Trail. The creek was running stained so instead of hiking downstream and fishing back to the parking lot like I had planned, I crossed the creek to fish the clear waters of Whitetop in the Special Regs Section. I got a few quick looks at a stimulator I was tossing, but they weren't taking it. So I switched flies and began a day of catching rainbows. I fished from about nine to five before hiking out. I caught 11 rainbows and one gorgeous brookie, all on dry flies. Little yellow stoneflies were hatching and I saw about a half dozen green drakes. After hiking back down the trail I went below creek junction and fished a long run with long cast. I was enjoying casting and even hooked a 14" bow about 50 feet out in the current. I spied several fish rising and caught them on the surface. Headed back to Elizabethton to purchase a warm sleeping bag. Was not going to freeze a second night!. Got back to camp just in time to enjoy Croaker's Low Country Boil. I was wiped out and hit the sack early. Man there is nothing like a warm dry sleeping bag.

15 May 12, 2005 - Shady Valley TN - PFF 11.0- Sayandikillu

Headed over the mountain to the eleventh Psycho Fly Fishing gathering in Shady Valley. It is hard to believe that the group has stayed together so long. I was planning to fish the Watauga but the TVA was dumping water and I had to make alternate plans. I fished a wild rainbow creek. At first I couldn't find a place to pull over, the first one had three fly fishermen, and the second and third spots had a spin fisherman, finally I found a vacant spot and looked over the bridged into the dark but clear water. I saw a trout feeding in the seam. It would see the bug and drift back two or three feet before taking it on the surface. I thought I could catch that fish. After doning my waders and rigging my rod I climbed down the bank and worked my way into position to cast my 6'6" Orvis One Ounce 2wt rod. I couldn't get the fish that I saw to take the dry fly I was casting but when I began searching other areas of the run I caught 4 or five beautiful rainbows. One of them headed off down under the bridge and a 14" trout came out to inspect what this one had in his mouth. They danced around the pool as I brought the fish to hand. I fished for about an hour from 7:15 to 8:15 and as I worked my way up the small steam I caught trout after trout in all of the likely spots. Fishing that evening was very good and as JT would say it was "perverted". I head off to camp and just managed to set my tent up in the fading light. Dinner was over, but I managed to get a three course meal of soup, chicken kabobs, and salad. There was a great turnout and it looked like at least 60 fishermen had showed up for Thursday night. We had more this night than last year's total. We swapped fishing tales and passed stomp around.. Campfire talked ended early with a heavy storm that lasted several hours.

14 April 21, 2005 - Mitchell River - Delyaed Harvest - Hot and Sunny

I just wanted to fish dry flies, and even though there wasn't much of a hatch and no fish were rising I worked a run for a while. I must have cast 50 - 60 times all over the place, from the tail to the head and from side to side. I was just about to cut off Caleb's Yellow Palmer when, as the fly was drifting down the center of the run, I saw a rainbow rocket off the bottom and take the fly. As I set the hook it took off into the air doing a summersault, then it took off down steam and the CFO sang as the line ripped off the reel. Another good jump and then this trout was played out. It took a while but this was a nice first fish of the day. I continued to fish the Yellow Palmer until a tree grabbed it and wouldn't let go. I talked to a couple of other fishermen and moved upstream around them. There was a long run and I thought that would be a good place to get another fish. I searched the water with an Elk Hair and finally spied a trout rising. My first cast was a little short and to the left. My second cast was well placed and as the fly drifted over the fish flashed and took the fly. It headed for the bottom and I thought brown trout. I was going to take a picture but it flopped out of the net while I was turning the camera on. I was searching for another fish when I heard a gulp behind me and I turned to see a ring from a trout. I cast across and upstream and let the fly drift up against the far bank and over the lip of a small hole, the fish made such a loud gulp that I think I jumped and set the hook too hard and broke off. I tried in vain to get the fish to take another fly. Moved on up and caught a couple more browns smaller than the first. Headed back to the car to check the time and then headed home.

13 April 19, 2005 Roaring River - Stone Mountain SP - Sunny

After dropping the kids off at school I headed up the road to fish. My choices were the Mitchell or Stone Mountain as I would only be able to fish for 2 -3 hours. I passed on the Mitchell and hit the Roaring River. I fished from the old group camping on up to the church. I decided to fish dry flies and carefully worked the water casting as far as possible. I got some nice hook-ups 30' away and striped in the little rainbows. I'm sure that I could have caught more on nymphs or woolly buggers, but I enjoyed casting the dry flies as much or more than actually catching fish. By the time I got to the Church I had brought a half dozen fish to hand and it was time to leave the par. Nice day hardly a cloud in the sky. Little Yellow Stone Flies and Quill Gordon's? were coming off the water.

12 April 17, 2005 - Roaring River - Stone Mountain SP - Sunny

Sunday after packing up we hit the stream again. They boys didn't want to put on waders so we fished from the bank. They lost about a dozen woolly buggers before Scott hooked and landed a nice rainbow.  I was getting crowed and one time a father and son, all decked out in "fishing catalog" fashion walked into Scott's pool. The father said to the son, "Come wade into the pool with me." Later my boys said, "Geeze, they had all this stuff, but didn't know the first thing about fishing."  

By three in the afternoon the boys were ready to leave so we hit the road in search of some BBQ!

Church Pool Catch

11 April 16, 2005 - Roaring River - Stone Mountain SP - Sunny

We were going to go to Virginia and camp with the boy scouts in the Shenandoah National Park, but we were unable to get away Friday night. The boys still wanted to go fishing so I took them to Stone Mountain SP Saturday morning. After setting up camp we went to the Roaring River and everybody got suited up in their waders. Christopher put on his new Dan Bailey breathable's. The boys wanted to fish dry flies, so I tied on some Adams Parachutes. They fished a pool, and got a few rises but were unable to hook up. We moved slowly and I spent a lot of time tying leaders and untangling lines. I managed to catch a few trout just to show the boys that there were fish in the stream. After several hours the boys were getting hungry and we headed back to camp for dinner and the boys had a roaring fire going in no time. They cooked hamburgers on the coals and when the fire had died down we headed back to the stream for some more fishing. I caught a couple more and the boys fished hard but came away without a hook up.

Back at camp the Forsyth Astronomy Club had set up a dozen telescopes for public viewing. We all got some impressive views of Jupiter, Saturn, Orion's Nebula, Several Globular Clusters, not to mention the Moon,

Returning to camp we built up the fire and after telling stories about ghost, monsters and Bigfoot the boys hit the sack. I followed after the fire died down. The overnight temps were in the upper 20's.

10 April 11, 2005 Roaring River Delayed Harvest

I took my son and a classmate (11 & 12) to fish the Roaring Rivers after school today. We stopped in at Harvey's and I got a pair of Dan Bailey's waders for Christopher, I had an old pair of Streamlines for his friend. By the time we got to the park and got rigged and suited up it was about 4:30. They both ran down to the stream excitedly looking for fish. Christopher went on fishing while I gave Joseph casting lessons. There were a few fish smacking the surface and even a few clearing the water chasing emerges. Christopher hooked a nice bow, but the dreadful slack line allowed him to self release. I untangled knots, tied on flies and retrieved flies from trees. Once while repairing a leader I hooked a 14" bow with the fly just dangling in the water as I concentrated on tying knots. I handed that rod to Christopher and he reeled it on into the net. The boys started chasing each other in the water and the both managed to get soaking wet, good thing the temps were in the 80's. When I next looked at my watch it was time to leave and head back to Joseph's scout meeting. Wish we could have longer!

9 April 10, 2005 - Smith River VA

Note to self call the dam BEFORE leaving home. I planned to fish the Smith for several hours on Sunday evening, but as I got my first glimpse of the river I knew something was wrong. I called the dam and confirmed my fears, they Corps of Engineers were releasing till 3:00 and were going to resume at 5:00. I waited for the water to recede passing the time by walking along the river. I met a fisherman from N. Y. who was traveling the south fishing TU's top 100.I gave him and Allie Worm, the fly of the river. I then watched another fly fisherman casting to the shaded bank. Nice day, bad timing!

8 March 30 2005 - Mitchell River DH - 70+ degrees Sunny

Water was way high from the rain Sunday. Fished a cone head muddler and caught a few 12" bows. There were about a dozen fishermen on the stream which is about enough to cover the entire stretch of Delayed Harvest water. I though that I'd be slaying them with the high stained water, but they must have been keeping a low profile and I might not have been getting down quite deep enought. Only had an hour and a half on the water. Still a nice day to be out fishing.

7 March 26, 2005 - Watauga River TN - Chill in the am but sunny skies and 70 in the pm

Got up at a quarter till six, the sky was turning gray as I headed down the road to meet with Gary and Harvey for the trip over the bump to the Wataugh. Plans were for us to meet Randy, JT and Peddler at the Food City by nine. Harvey wanted to try the interstate route, I-77 N to I-81 S to Bristol and on to Elizabethton. We arrived a 9:15 just a little late. It may be quicker for HC to go that way but I still think that 421 -> 321 is quicker coming from Winston-Salem. Peddler and Gary rode with Harvey in his Hyde drifter. JT and I rode with Randy (www.trout-fishers.net) in his River Wood Boat (riverwoodboats.com). We started off and it wasn't too long before JT had a fish on. As we drifted on it became obvious that it was going to be a slow day. There were bugs coming off the water but the trout weren't interested. We nymphed the runs and floated on down. As we passed other drifters the reports came in about the same with the exception of one guide claiming a 2 1/2 pound brown. Discouraged we pushed on Finally at the last eddy after adding a ton of weight I landed the big fish of the day. JT added a split shot and he hooked up with a fish the was pulling drag and Randy pulled anchor to follow the fish downsteam. JT was into backing and we wondered if he had a striper from the lake on his line. But as he reeled the fish in we realize that he had foul hooked the trout in his "motor" We all got a good laught at that. After doing the shuttle thing we all fished a freestone stream where we had better luck. Anyway you look at it this was a good urn. Sort of a mini PFF!

6 March 25, 2005 - Mitchell River - Delayed Harvest

I had a few hours on Friday afternoon to fish so I headed to the closest stream. There was only one other car in the parking lot so I pulled in and noticed two fisherman in the pool below. I walked down the road and put in at the second turnstile. I tied on a stimulator with a Improved Cat Caddis (ICC). The water is quite deep in this spot and I was sure that it held a lot of fish but my flies weren't attracting any attention. I made some weight adjustments and on on cast the stimulator was sucked under by the current and the drown stimulator attracted a nice large (14") brown. He put up a good fight for a stocked fish. I then switched to a brown woolly bugger. Fished it 1/4 upstream stripping slowly and letting the fly swing downstream. Soon after I had a 12" rainbow on the end of my line. One quick jump and a slow run straight at me and I had this fish stripped in. It was getting along toward dusk and the birds were chirping and may files were hatching. I spied a few risers and quickly tied on a blue quill in the fading light. I watched and waited for a rise. There. Wait, wait, okay cast. I watch the fly drift one foot, then another, when the trout rose and sucked down the fly. I set the hook and stripped in a colorful seven inch brookie. I waded up the river in a confident manner, but soon slipped and crashed into the streambed. My right hand clenced around the rod as it smashed into a rock, next I felt my knee crack into another rock and then the water began flowing into my waders. That quickley go my attention ad I scrambled to my feet. I fished another pool and then headed back to the car. On the way home I decieded to stop by High Country Fly Shop and pick up a few items and shoot the breeze with Harvey. I got to the store a little after seven and they were already closed. I continued on home but by the time I got to Elkin I was on the tail of a drift boat and Gary's truck. I figured the were headed off to dinner and I followed them to the local BBQ. Over dinner I found out that they were going to float the Watuaga on Saturday with Randy. Randy had and extra seat in his boat and I was added to the manifest at the last mintue.

5 March 14, 2005 - Mitchell River - Delayed harvest - Cold and real cold when the sun set.

It wasn't working, it just wasn't working. I was nymph a deep run and the fly was bouncing along the bottom but I wasn't catching any fish. There weren't any bug coming off the water to speak of, just a few midges and an occasional stone fly. I worked from the tail to the head of the run and finally a trout rose, in fact jumped, to my yarn strike indicator. Without hesitation I clipped off the nymph and tied on an Irresistible. I then caught 3 fish on three cast from the shallow head of the run. First was a 14" brown, followed by a 10" brown and then a 10" brook. I missed a few and then caught about 10 more in the next thirty minutes, mostly browns with a few brookies. The sun was setting, my feet were numb and a chill was in the air. I called it a day! I had been planning to fish the Smith with Ben but things didn't work out, the weather for one was iffy and I didn't clear my schedule until three in the afternoon. The sun peaked out in Winston and bolted out the door to the closest water. I was sure that a hatch might start soon. But when I arrived on the water the sun was replaced with cloud cover and a cool breeze blew. It's suppose to be warmer tomorrow, I wonder if I can sneak away then....

4 March 8, 2005 - Roaring River - Stone Mountain Delayed Harvest - Partly Cloudy 55 - 70

Gotta fish, only have a couple of hours, is it worth an hours drive to fish for two? Yes, closest water Stone Mountain. Sure it'll have been hammered this past weekend but surly I'll be able to catch a few and the crowds shouldn't be bad. I found an empty stretch of water but by the time I had strung up my rod a fisherman jumped into the run I was going to fish. He caught one and then his friends and family proceeded to jump in the stream and slosh through the water I had been thinking about fishing. I hiked downstream and managed to catch a few. Finally found a few risers at the head of an undisturbed pool. I paused at the tail and changed leaders and flies. But before I could finish some guy in Red Ball hippers came out of the woods and stood on a rock at the head of the pool and thrashed and slashed the water with his lead rig. Needless to say all of the fish were put down. I calmly finished rigging my rod and then laid a cast out to his feet. He got the message and ran off. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with DH water? But I did catch a few and that's better than staying home. As I fished the stream I remembered the rocks and pools that I had fished many years before. I caught a large brown from under that bank, I caught another one on the side of that rock in the middle of the stream. Funny how you can learn a stream and remember fish caught there. I remembered carrying my son in a back pack and fishing up this stretch.

3 March 7, 2005 Watauga River - TN Sunny - Windy - 56 degrees

I planned of fishing the Caddis Riffles and imagine my surprise when I arrived and found the parking lot empty. A quick run down to the river confirmed my fears. The water was up. I think the TVA changed the release schedule or I misread it??? Anyway I headed back up stream and checked several location and finally ended up at the Siam Bridge. I fished the riffles just above the bridge. I wanted to try out my Improved Cat Caddis (ICC) and on the third cast hooked a nice 12" watauga rainbow. It jumped three times before it was brought to net. I moved on down a little confident that the next trout would come quickly on the ICC but it just didn't happen. Finally I switched to a copper John and shortly had the best fish of the day a 16" brown. It fought hard and pulled down bulldogging beneath the surface. Then it erupted on the surface like a tarpon shaking its head from side to side and whipping the water into a froth. I changed flies again and caught my third and final trout of the day. I did see a small hatch of BWO and tried the dry fly thing to a couple of sporadic risers without success. I moved back down stream only to find the water still unmanageable. Headed home a dusk. I was planning to take some pictures but when I pulled the camera out to photo the brown I realized that there was no "film" in the camera. When I got home the CompactFlash memory card was sitting on the desk.

2 February -

I went to the "Ditchell" on a warm Februray day to wet a line. The wind was really whipping and after about twenty minutes the skin on my knuckles started to crack. I whimped out and called it a day without catching any.

1 January 2, 2005 - Roaring River

New year's resolution - FISH MORE!
2004 was my record low since I started fly fishing 12 years ago. I hope to get back up into the 30 - 40 trips again this year. So with the warm January weather I headed to stone mountain. Everybody had the same idea and the river was crowded. I thought I found a quiet stretch but when I got to the water there were fishermen above, below and walking through the woods. I moved downstream and found a nice deep pool. I figured that the fish were "Hole Oriented" as JT would say. I drifted a BH Copper John through the pool and on the third drift I had a 12 inch bow on the line. With that quick fish I thought I'd have a good day, but the next fish didn't come as easy. I watched a nice bow flashing in a pool beside a rock. I worked that fish for an hour, changing flies without any success. Finally I gave up even though the fish was actively feeding. I guess I didn't have the right fly. I fished with my Loomis: GL3 8'6" 4 wt. with an Orvis CFO III Reel.