Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Birthday Weekend on the South Toe River

Birthday Weekend on the South Toe River

 Casting dry flies to native brook trout and wild ‘bows’, upstream fashion, onto the crystal mountain running water, with Mt Mitchell looming high in the background.

 High-sticking while bringing line in as I watch my dry fly drift with the current, below the white waterfall, towards me.
 Dropping a dry fly, just fractions of an inch, from the downstream side of an exposed boulder. It settles long enough for a possible quick strike, from beneath, before being swept away by the converging of water just a foot or so downstream.
 Laying the tippet with the dry, in a length of pocket waters, in between cross current of tumbling riffles, and watching with an itchy hand. It floats to the near end of the pocket, a sudden flash and splash at the dry and…..

 Pin-pointing the dry fly underneath the outreaching laurel branches with a sidearm cast, cross creek. The dry imitation lands within the shadows and sets there, for a second or so, upon the slow flat water. The leader just begins to slowly pull on the dry. The movement appears real. A sudden attack on the lifeless dry….another trout is fooled.

 Sprinkles of rain fall from the sky but there is no stopping now. The hungry wild trout are still eager to snap at a fluttering natural or quick floating imitation.

 The fishing ends with a small birthday party get together in a cabin high tent, sheltered from the light rain. Blueberry pie is presented to me with lit candles as I enter the tent. The ‘girls’, my grandson and my two sons sing happy birthday.
 After the ‘girls’ and my grandson leave, we take to the campfire that sprouts flames within the darkness. Giddeon, Jesse Pete and I drink beer and pass a bottle of Jim Beam Black to toast to my birthday. We talk among ourselves about whatever comes to mind. I smoke a Carolina Cigar Company hand made stogie, one of my birthday presents, before turning in.

 Sunday we rise and decide to fish the hatchery supported section of river. The colder weather and wind makes for tough going, the fish not wanting to feed. We all catch a few trout, Giddeon hooking up more times, but we all have a delightful day within the solitude on the South Toe River within the mountainous region.
 One catch that comes to mind was watching a trout rise, from a deep depth, snapping twice at a fluttering March Brown being blown across the surface water. The March Brown reached the bank-side safely and flies away. I immediately tied on a bushy March Brown dry and with a good drift, towards the recent riser; the trout doesn’t hesitate to take my imitation. The custom 4wt flexes with excitement.

 After noon we fish downstream further. I only catch one brown trout on a woolly bugger in the windy, rainy conditions before driving down the road to find the boys; I find them fishing within talking distance. I sit on the bank enjoying watching my two youngest sons fly fishing towards the far bank of the river.

 Back at camp, under rain, we dismantle the tents and break camp. We cook our last bratwursts over the campfire and wash them down with cold brews. Still being daylight we fish the wild trout stream one last time before calling it a day. We catch a couple of wild trout on dries even in the rainy conditions.

 Monday, after a late breakfast, we go into Asheville to the Carolina Cigar Company store. It was like going into a micro brewery only cigar aroma filled the interior. Cigars were displayed in open boxes on shelves in the walk-in humidor. Their three distinct banded cigars, Four Blend, Reserve and Cabinet Select, are displayed in different sizes and styles. I wanted to start sampling them right there but it was a cigar store and not a brewery. I buy $45.00+ of cigars with good intentions.

 Upon leaving my son’s house we bid my family good-bye and Teressa and I start our 10 hour drive home. A couple cigars, one being a Reserve reddish Corojo leafed torpedo blend, made for a relaxing drive homeward.

 It was another memorable birthday weekend, wild trout fishing, good beer, family and a few good cigars. Oh, and my blueberry, candle lit, birthday pie!


 My son Giddeon is a License guide in North Carolina. He lives in Asheville and guides in western North Carolina for wild trout and stocked waters. He knows how and where to catch them. He can help you to fly fish and/or just guide you to them. He loves fishing dry flies. He knows the hatches and what the trout are taking throughout the year. As you can see it will be a memorable good time!
Here is his web sight to get ahold of him;

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2 Days on Oil Creek (Part 1)

2 Days on Oil Creek
Good Saturday (part1)

 After catching 2 sporadic risers, Saturday morning, the wind picked up on the stretch of Oil Creek I was fishing that it just wasn’t fun anymore. A friend stopped down along the bank and mentioned that it usually isn’t as windy up by Drake Well. I headed to the van and found another friend, Bings, parked beside me. He was just finishing up lunch. We discussed on fishing Drake Well. Even though it’s not as big an area to fish, as Petroleum Center, we were hoping it wouldn’t be crowded. I followed him there to finish off the day.

 We found a gang of cars in the parking lot and fly fishermen on the stream but we moved on down creek for an open place to fish. I took my 5wt Scott SAS rod being it is a medium fast action and can cut through the wind better than the Scott G2.

 Bing’s and I found that along the brushy banks almost any dry with a black body would make the trout rise with a good presentation and accuracy. The trout were hugging the bank and most were in hard to reach places. Some were holding in a small back eddy of slack water just beyond a faster current a few feet out towards us. We kept our distance so the trout weren’t spooked but we were sure the trout knew we were there anyhow.
 With a sidearm cast and pinpoint accuracy some of the trout were fooled but you had to be quick with the hook set or you were left with a wet dry fly and a sigh. Once the trout missed the fly or seen enough of it I would switch to another type of black bodied dry. We didn’t catch them all but had quite a few rise to our imitations. 

Bings with one on!

 By evening Dano showed up and we began to fish to the occasional Grannom hatch. When the Grannoms started to appear, at times, the wind would change the formation of the swarms. The Grannoms would start to swarm, flying up creek. The wind would kick up and blow them off the creek and back to the bushes and trees. This went on throughout the evening so one never knew when the next swarm would show. Along with them Stoneflies were also coming off so the trout may have been rising to them also. With so many Gannoms about I suspected that there were surely enough beneath the water to keep the more lethargic trout from rising do to the cold water conditions but some trout still rose occasionally.
 During a big hatch it would be hard for a fish to pick out my fly with so many naturals upon the water. No fish were methodically rising. It was more like one here and than one somewhere else. I would keep a mental note of where these fish were rising in the middle of the swarm of caddis. I would fish, though, nearer the banks where the fish had less of a selection. This worked well as I was sure I had more hook ups than in the middle of the conglomeration of the swarm mid stream.

 When the Grannom swarm died off or was blown away, I would then concentrate more on the fish that rose amidst the heavier swarm. With fewer flies on the water, and still hungry trout, my Grannom pattern had better success.

As it got later fewer risers were about. Dano waited and fished the back of the pool only to the few risers he seen.  

Dano catching risers!

 I on the other hand was casting blindly, most of the time, to areas where I seen risers earlier. When I did see one rise to a natural of course I pinpointed him out and would occasionally get them to rise to my imitation.

The evening ended with satisfactory results. Fly fishing with good friends, good dry fly action and a Candela wrapped cigar on my way to get wings and a night out listening to the band Trixx.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Last Van Standing

Last Van Standing

 It feels good to lie down in my bed for a nap after a late night and early rise. What was supposed to be a 3 hour fishing jaunt turned into a 6 hour ordeal, blame this on rising trout. The bed feels soft and warm as I lay the covers over my fatigued body, I can still smell the candela wrapped cigar aroma upon my moustache as I close my eyes in relaxation.

 My last trout was a brown caught on a deep drifting brown woolly bugger. By now I was chilled to the bone from the past two hours or so wading thigh high in the cold water. There were times, as I stood casting; I thought my waders were leaking as the coldness felt suspiciously wet upon my skin. The chill in the air and a biting of a stirred up breeze penetrated my clothes, under my fishing vest, enough that there was very little warmth left. If it weren’t for the rising trout I would have been home hours ago.
 Prior to that last brown I was casting Blue Wing Olive patterns to the occasional rising trout. It was a little after noon by then. The sky was still overcast as it was when I got to the creek about 8:30am. At home I had dressed warm in preparation for the cold morning but an extra sweatshirt was needed once I exited the van to check out the water conditions. By that time there were already 5 or so vehicles in the parking lot and a few more anglers out on the stream. Throughout the morning and early afternoon more fishermen arrived and took the places of those who had left. All in all there were at least 5 vehicles in the lot throughout the day.
 The longevity of me sticking around was when a single trout was rising consistently while I was fishing buggers and nymphs beneath. The guy on the other side of the creek was hooking up, beneath, pretty regularly within the same deep run I was sharing with him. He was drifting a bugger beneath an indicator. It was if the trout were bunched up, as I heard him exclaim, as his fly rod arced with another hook up. I had caught a couple of browns near the location, swinging and stripping in a bugger, but he just had a better drift or a better shade of bugger. I couldn’t see any Mayflies on top of the water yet and being that no one would be bothering the rising trout, I continued to fish beneath. When I seen a couple more fish rise I took a better look and noticed a few BWO’s upon the surface water. I switched to a dry and it wasn’t that hard catching the first riser that I seen. After that it was time to try and pick off a few more. I had caught another just before the guy across the creek gave up and left. I went upstream and circled to the other side of the creek. I was casting blindly in a soft spot below and between the riffles when I got a good look at a trout rising to inspect my fly. At one time I watched as he back finned almost two feet before deciding not to take it. I wasn’t discouraged that he wouldn’t take it though. With each new dry fly pattern I would tie on I’d cast out towards him first. If he rose to inspect it I knew it was a good match and might fool other unwary trout. If he never took a look see, I didn’t spend too many casts downstream for any risers that I seen. Upon his inquisitiveness nature it didn’t take too many good casts to make a trout rise to my dry fly.
 The G2 Scott rod, with weight forward floating line, casts the thin tippet and #18 BWO dries with smoothness and soft turn over of the line and leader. The biggest challenge was the occasional cross wind that blew downstream from the dam. I found out that the trout didn’t want the dry to land right on their noses but more up creek so they can see it coming at them. Casting up creek and trying to calculate windage, so the dry would drop up creek from the risers, wasn’t the only problem. The cross current, once everything fell upon the water surface, was a challenge also. Once the dry fly landed I had to get the line upstream of the fly and hoped that it would reach the risers zone without drag. When the breeze did kick up it gave the surface water a washboard effect which hid the line and any conspicuous flaws, either in the fly or slight drag. I managed to pick off three more trout on the dry before dropping the bugger for a last trout.

 Before noon I only managed three but with the dry fly action after noon and the few I caught beneath made for a good pastime of trout fishing.

 By the time I quit and got to the van the parking lot was void of all other vehicles. It was only around 3:30pm but I was sure that the cold weather, overcast sky and chilling breeze were a big factor in everyone else’s departure. This also took a toll on my body and influenced me to call it quits.

I rewarded myself with a Don Tomas Candela wrapped Cetros #2 for the ride home. The 18 year aged Talanga Valley Candela wrapper was a smooth and extra mellow smoke compared to the robust darker tobacco stogies I’ve been smoking.

 When I got to the cross roads where route 322 and route 36 intersected I had already made my choice. Instead of turning right and getting on the interstate within a few minutes I went straight through the light. I took the long way home so I could enjoy the 6.5” x 42 green wrapped cigar.