Head for the Mountains

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Donít you dare delay - Delayed-harvest is a winter anglerís dream

If you want to catch good numbers of trout in the winter, head for a delayed-harvest stream. These streams are heavily stocked in October and November, and fishing remains good throughout the cold months. Streams are stocked again for the spring season beginning in March, and some stockings continue through early summer.

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January 12 at 9:00 am
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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park's best streams for fishing

If you like getting away from the crowds, enjoy beautiful surroundings and don’t mind working for your trout, consider heading for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on your next trip to the western end of the state. The park has some great streams, and the best ones are on the North Carolina side.

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December 12, 2015 at 9:00 am
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Fish with slower presentation during cold spells

In the winter, when steams are icy cold and hatches are fewer, trout feed more below the surface than above. The action may be slower and less exciting than dry-fly fishing, but the quality of the fish usually is just as good. Fish have to eat regardless of the weather or stream conditions.

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November 12, 2015 at 9:00 am
672 Views

If itís brown, itís down

In early October, fall arrives in the mountains with the first dull-red coloring of sourwood, dogwood, and sumac leaves. By the middle of the month, the mountains are ablaze with color, and according to forecasts, this fall promises to be a spectacular color season.†

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October 12, 2015 at 9:00 am
482 Views

Drop a dropper on trout

Droppers give fly fishers the advantage of fishing a dry fly and a nymph at the same time, an especially effective measure when it’s not obvious how trout are feeding. The dry fly floats on the surface, and the nymph dangles in the water beneath it. The dry fly also functions as a strike indicator and makes less of a splash than commercial or homemade strike indicators.†

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September 14, 2015 at 9:00 am
492 Views

Adapt for August trout

Late-summer trout fishing requires a slow hand, patience and endurance. Hatches are fewer, and as water temperatures rise, trout seek cooler places in streams: undercut or overgrown banks and deep pools. When water levels drop, as they often do in August, trout are easily spooked.†

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August 13, 2015 at 9:00 am
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Sculpzilla: king streamer

Streamers are flies that imitate a variety of aquatic life, especially minnows, and when fly fishers fish big waters for big trout, they’ll usually tie on a streamer.

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July 13, 2015 at 9:00 am
898 Views

Home away from home

Throughout the mountains, public campgrounds are found in national parks, national forests and state parks, many of them located on trout streams or lakes. With very few exceptions, they’re well-maintained, clean, convenient and accessible. Standard amenities include flush toilets, freshwater outlets, pads for tents, picnic tables, fire rings — some with grills — and posts to hang lanterns. Some of the larger campgrounds even have hot-water showers. You can camp in a tent, a camper or an RV. Larger campgrounds have hook-ups for water and electricity.

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June 11, 2015 at 9:00 am
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A fly in the ointment

Mike Kesselring of Bryson City has, by his count, 7,500 trout flies, a collection that includes dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, streamers and terrestrials that he has accumulated over 25 years, and, he said, “The only flies I’ve ever tied were at the end of a tippet.”

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May 11, 2015 at 9:00 am
531 Views

April is new beginning

I’m old enough to remember when the trout season on hatchery-supported streams closed in the fall and remained closed until the first Saturday in April. That was before I began fishing wild trout streams, so opening day was a special event. A group of us, mostly newspaper types, would open the fishing season on Santeetlah Creek in Graham County, staying in a 100-year-old, mice-infested cabin on upper Santeetlah. We would arrive late Friday afternoon and spend the evening drinking vintage bourbon, playing nickel-dime poker and telling fish stories.

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April 13, 2015 at 9:00 am
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A trout anglerís paradise

It is possible to fish a different trout stream every day for a year and cover only a fraction of the streams in western North Carolina. Trout country runs from Surry County in the northwest to Cherokee County in the far west and includes three distinct fisheries: streams regulated by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, streams regulated by the U.S. Park Service and streams regulated by the eastern band of Cherokee Indians.

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March 12, 2015 at 9:00 am
863 Views

Donít miss the other Tuck

On just about any day, fair weather or not, the delayed-harvest section of the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County is crowded with trout fishers, either wading or floating the stream. This 4.5-mile stretch of water is the queen of delayed-harvest waters. In the spring, in March to April and again in October and November, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission stocks 49,000 rainbow, brook and brown trout. †Fishing guides love this section because they can almost guarantee that their clients will catch trout — a lot of trout. †

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February 12, 2015 at 9:00 am
1358 Views

Donít waste the winter

January and February usually are the harshest months, with cold, ice and snow, but the sun shines frequently enough, even in the dead of winter, to provide pleasant fishing respites from the cold. On those gloomy days when you can’t go fishing, take a little time to prepare for the times when you can. Being prepared often can make the difference in an enjoyable fishing outing or a frustrating one.

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January 12, 2015 at 9:00 am
925 Views

Slow down and go deep

Spring is undoubtedly the ideal trout-fishing season, but trout fishing in the winter also has its merits. What most winter anglers discover is that they catch fewer, but larger, fish. The keys to successful winter fishing are to use a slow hand and fish with more nymphs and fewer dry flies.†

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December 11, 2014 at 9:00 am
853 Views

Itís prime time for trout

November can be a tough time for fly-fishing with all the new leaf fall in the streams. Consider snagged leaves on retrieves as a normal, if not annoying, part of the normal fishing day. Plus, November’s weather can be erratic — warm and sunny one day, cold and rainy the next.

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November 13, 2014 at 9:00 am
890 Views

Put a new spin on trout

Spinner fishing is an effective alternative to fly fishing when trout aren’t rising to a dry-fly pattern or hitting nymphs. A spinner often will elicit a strike even when trout aren’t hitting live bait.

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October 13, 2014 at 9:00 am
1138 Views
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