Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Best Spring Break!

Spring Break for many college aged kids involves heading down to FL for a week of fun in the sun with friends.  While this was a realistic concept for me, I decided to spend several days in North Carolina with the hopes of peace of mind and plenty of hungry trout.  During my three-day jaunt, the weather could not have been more perfect with temperatures in the high 60’s and partly cloudy skies until late Sunday afternoon.

Half the trip was dedicated to fishing the Davidson, or “the D”, as many locals call it. There are three sections to the Davidson River that are of interest to anglers. First is the normal catch and keep section which is located the farthest downstream and is closed to fishing until April 1st.  Next is the artificial lure only Catch and Release section which is located upstream of Avery Creek to the Pisgah Wildlife Education Center which houses a trout hatchery.  Finally the section of most interest perhaps is the catch and release, fly fishing only section located right next to the hatchery. This section of the Davidson is famous for its numbers of large browns and rainbows that are notoriously picky in terms of fly selection and even presentation. As much as I enjoy the challenge of fishing for large fish, I personally enjoyed fishing the lower sections of the Catch and Release section more for the shear fact that there are miles of great water downstream that house both great numbers and even some fish of size.  The fish, from what I experienced, were far less fussy downstream and the water a whole lot prettier and enjoyable to fish.  Smaller hares ears and zebra midges dragged behind a mohair leech or a San Juan worm worked well.

I called it quits and headed north to Great Smokey Mountains National Park in the hopes for even more scenery and wild trout.  I camped two nights at Smokemont and this last half of the trip was exactly what I had in mind for the whole trip.  Winter Stoneflies and a few Quill Gordons were even dancing for me on arrival.  However it was apparent after flinging various dry flies with meager results that the fish were just not looking up on Saturday.  I think this was in large part due to the fact that the water temperature topped out at a still fairly low at 46 degrees.  I reluctantly went back to dredging and salvaged the last few hours on my same Davidson rigs from the day before.
However, as many good anglers say, you cannot rely on what worked yesterday (literally in my case!) Sunday started out much warmer and the bugs were again out in force again by 10 AM. However there was something different and I could feel it after releasing my last trout dredged up in the morning. The water temperature hit that “magical” 50 degree mark and kept going up. After another half hour of fruitless dredging, I took notice of the poking noses in the next pool upstream and clipped off the shot and stuck on a caddis dry with a beadhead hares ear dropper 2 ft. underneath. The rest of the day was just downright silly with wild rainbows and browns hitting the dry and the suspended dropper, even in rather deep pools!

My trip was great, but there were three things that I came away with:
  1. Always adapt to changing conditions.
  2. Keep an eye on that water temperature.
  3. San Juans work very well, despite what locals say!

Landon Williams

No comments:

Post a Comment