January 5, 2018
Overview: Winter is in full effect in Western North Carolina. Bitter cold temperatures have made for dangerous wind chill, and ice choked streams. With water temperatures in most streams holding just above freezing, many are almost unfishable due to ice, and lethargic fish. A few exceptions to this are the Tailwater streams below large dams, and those streams found at low elevations. Anglers should use caution and common sense when fishing in this type weather. If you’re not sure of foot, this is no time to be wading. Warmer weather is in the forecast, and the weeks to come should see a swing back toward fishability.
Davidson River: The Davidson is currently a mix of flowing riffles and frozen pools. A few fish are being caught in the areas where drifts can be achieved, but anglers should plan on hooking into some sizable ice chunks. Those anglers who plan on fishing anyway should keep flies small, tippets light, and the coffee easily accessible.
Wild Trout: Anglers looking to fish our higher elevation wild trout streams would be best served to trade in their wading staffs and felt soles for ice axes and crampons.
Delayed Harvest: Some of our DH streams are still fishable due to their elevation and aspect. That being said, fish are slow to feed during weather this cold, and scaling back fly size is the key to being successful. Anglers should focus their efforts on deeper runs where the water is moving and relatively free of ice.
Fly Patterns: Elk Hair Caddis (Black) 18-22, BWO 22-24, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail 18-22, Cream Midge 22-26, Don King Midge 22-26, Zebra Midge 20-24, Pure Midge 22-26, Slumpbuster 8-12, Wooly Bugger 12-16