February 8, 2018
Overview: Abundant rainfall, along with warmer temperatures, are bringing winter fishing back to life across Western North Carolina. After almost a month of bitter cold, trout minded anglers have found the past week to be somewhat of a reprieve. Water temps are back in the 40’s, and river levels are perfect for fishing streamers. With some more heavy rain in the forecast for Saturday, the weekend might be a bit of a wash, leaving next week prime for hunting larger fish.
Davidson River: The Davidson is fishing well for winter. Sunny days provide some surface action with winter stoneflies and midges, while the rainy bits have made for some fine streamer fishing opportunities. As it always is with the D, keep the tippet light and the leaders long for most applications that don't involve “hucking meat”. With the exception of the area immediately around the fish hatchery, concrete feet typically lead to fewer fish, so anglers should be prepared to wade beyond sight of their parking spot.
Wild Trout: Wild trout fishing has been good on warmer days in lower elevation streams. The extra water of winter usually makes for less spooky fish, and gives anglers the ability to fish more rhodo friendly tippet sizes. That being said, more water in the river means that high gradient stretches such as the North Fork of the French Broad, or the forks of the Pigeon, are difficult, if not dangerous, to wade. Please use caution when attempting to fish these areas.
Delayed Harvest: Good fishing can still be found in area DH streams, but anglers will find that they will have to work harder than in the weeks following the fall stockings. The higher streamflows coupled with months of angling pressure, have caused the fish to naturalize and move into new haunts. Light tippet and small flies should be the backbone of a winter trout angler’s repertoire, and Delayed Harvest streams are no exception. Remember that there is no magic fly pattern, just make good drifts and keep moving.
Fly Patterns: Elk Hair Caddis 18-20, Black Stimulator 16-20, Griffith’s Gnat 18-22, Peacock Soft Hackle 16-20, Olive Hare’s Ear 16-18, Frenchie 18-20, Pete’s Dick Teaser 16-18, Pheasant Tail 16-20, Squirmito 12-16, Micro Spawn 10-12, Zebra Midge 20-22, Tube Midge 20-22, Red Hot Midge 22-24, Barr’s Emerger 20-22, Slump Buster 6-8, Zoo Cougar 2-4, Drunk and Disorderly 1/0-4