Fly Fishing Reports

Fly Fishing Reports

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February/March 2019

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The trend still for winter of 2019 has been raining practically every day! The Asheville news claimed last night that 22 of 28 days in February had rain events. Compound hatches in the region have EPIC. This past weekend had quills, bwo’s, black caddis, little winter stones, and the first sightings of Hendricksons. Fish gorged themselves all afternoon long despite the high waters. Numbers of trout netted was one of the highest action days this year.

If you are fortunate to be here during the high water periods, you can have great success throwing streamers in the park. Usually though, the reality of living here for 34 years people tend to fish when the weather is perfect outside. I rarely ever see folks on the park waters when fishing for large browns is at its best! Catch the water increases flow with slight color for best results on the streamer bite.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Streams (Deep Creek)

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Rain events have been plentiful throughout the park and the water tables are full to the max. The good news is that the rain causes the park streams to rise and fall rather quickly. The park streams rarely run off dirty water like the DH streams near more man-made development areas. Nymph fishing has been very good early in the morning or all day long if the temps remain cool. Check out the hatch report for typical bugs during your visit.

Lower Nantahala River

The lower Nanty rarely disappoints with some great fishing! The main trick is numbers will increase when there is no generation by fishing smaller size flies. It is common to stay on #18 and smaller when it is low water. Probably the most common mistake is to fish in a hurry on low water. The trout are heavily pressured and remain wary more than normal as a result. Flies that are too large tend to send more fish to cover than produce results on low water conditions.

One of the main benefits of the lower is that it usually runs clearer than most of the other larger rivers in the area. It tends to fish great year round!  The month of March is closed on the lower Nanty like all of the other trout designated waters managed by the NCWRC (except the Delayed Harvest Streams). Plan your trips near the best best lunar phases throughout the year. Here is a moon chart if you get curious.

Tuckasegee River Delayed Harvest 

The Delayed Harvest program runs between the first Saturday of October and closes on the first Saturday of June. There still plenty of nice trout, however, remaining on the streams that still have water temps near 45 degrees.  You may check the stocking schedules for all of the Delayed Harvest Streams at the NC Wildlife site.

The river usually fishes better with attractor patterns over matching hatches. However, small flies deep can produce better when fishing pressure remains high.  Small stretch tubing flies such as the BWO nymphs are excellent choices.


Small #20 BWO Nymphs common for the Wild Streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Upper Nantahala River

The upper Nanty has trout dispersed all over likely holding locations! The upper usually produces some of the best hatches to be found in all of western NC! The same bugs you find coming off in the National Park can be found on the Upper-just more prolific!

Use the hatch report to find out what may be happening during February & March. The activity of bugs popping off really depends on the air temps as well. Close to 80% of the trouts growth occurs in the spring. It really starts to taper off by the end of May for all over this region of NC. The upper Nanty took a real beating with high water events last year. The road damage was significant but it has been repaired now.