Monday, June 25, 2012

Down in a Holler

deep, dark hills of Western NC
Fished a new stream near the NC/TN border with some friends yesterday.  It was down in a holler with some interesting characters and full of southern appalachian culture, including a little patch of marijuana  by the stream.  I walked under a number of personal drive way bridges, some rather dodgey, creepy,  and old.  Being a native of the WNC mountains, i felt like a "feriner*" in the area on this day.

*foreigner -pronounced fer-i-ner by my grandparents. Meaning, he ain't from around here.

The stream is a hatchery supported stream in its lower stretches, but was full of little wild fish and the occasional migrated stocker.

lingering rhodo blooms stream side

The water was off color, and I fished a double nymph rig all day.  I caught most fish on a red fox squirrel nymph (sz #12) with a hot spot, and the others on a red copper john or a cdc fb pheasant tail.  I hooked two fish over 14" but was unable to land either. I played one for a couple of minutes before it had me all turned around under a low hanging tree and came unbuttoned in the rapid below. All and all, landed about 30 fish in four hours with the fish below being slightly above average size for the stream.

Here are a few of the rouge stockers i found.

A stream worth making the 2 hour drive to another day. And I am slowly learning to look outside of the  national forrest and park boundaries to find quality wild fish. There are THOUSANDS of streams in the NC mountains, most of which hold fish.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Arkansas River, CO

Ark River Brown

I know.  A two month hiatus from the blog. I have been on a two month trek into the wilderness, fishing everyday, with no internet access.  Not exactly.  However, I was in Colorado three weeks with work, and did manage to get two quick trips to the Arkansas River near Buena Vista, Colorado in.  Here are the goods.

I was able to fish a private section of the Arkansas near Nathrop twice during my 3 weeks at Young Life's Frontier Ranch.  This section was full of cookie cutter 14" wild brown trout.  The flows were lower this June (typical run off season) than they were in August 8 years ago due to the non-existant snow pack this winter. By lower flows, I mean it was running at 350 cfs as opposed to the 4000 cfs it was running last June. It made fro great wading in this typically big water.

Double stone fly rigs were the ticket. A big foam dry with a bead head stone dropper in the evening, or a double stonefly nymph rig in the heat of the day.

The fish below took me to my backing.  I think it was the first time that's ever happened to me on a trout.

Leroy made a run

This brown below was maybe the prettiest brown I have ever landed.  It was on fire with red fins and spots.

A total of 3.5 hours, 45 minutes one night at dusk and 2 hours and fifteen minutes in the heat of the afternoon, yielded about 10-12 fish.  3 rainbows, and the rest wild browns, most of which were 14 plus inches, but none bigger than 16".

Back in the winter, I didn't even think I would bother fishing during my three weeks in Colorado due to the traditional run off that would occur.  Turns out, run off was a non-event this year.  Fish have been fattening up and feeding like crazy with low flows and warmer water temps.  It will be a banner Spring and Summer on the Arkansas. Wish I had more the 3.5 hours to fish it.

Later Leroy