Thursday, November 7, 2013

Into the Wild

It was one of those days when the stars aligned.  I had a Monday slated to fish, a remote section of river had rare flows that made it accessible and fishable the same Monday, and the October weather was going to be in the low 60's and overcast. I had only fished this gorge section once in my life... and I got skunked.  It had been 8 or 9 years since I made the trek into the gorge one hot mid-summer day, and the legends of big browns never came to fruition. Heck, dink rainbows never came to fruition. I felt like this October trip would at least serve as a litmus test for the fishery.

The hike in started with a waist high stream crossing to get to the trail, and subsequently, the next trek up the gorge in waders quickly became a wader-sweat-fest, despite temps in the mid 50's. 30 minutes later, we hop in the stream and I begin to work it with a Bill's Provider and CDC pheasant tail dropper. Less than 15 minutes later, I'm holding a gem of a 10 inch bow and I began to wonder if legends will prove true.  At least I can verify that there are fish in the river.

Scrambling up house sized boulders, sliding down the other side and trying not to break my stick or my neck was half the adventure. If my buddy Sam hadn't tagged along I wouldn't have fished this section of river due to the remote sketchiness of gorge.  Sam saw a big fish chase his streamer after I directed him to pull it under a overhanging rock. I then miss a few fish, and 2 hours later it seemed to slow down and disappoint.

I then walk up to a long run with a big tail out that looks promising. This run was 5 or 6 feet deep instead or 10 plus feet like a lot of the other holes.  I switched to a Kevin's Stonefly with a size 18 BWO emerger. The olives were come off pretty good by hatch standards for Western North Carolina.  Second or third cast, I hook the biggest fish of the day to that point, and when I play it in close to my feet another large trout is chasing it! I think it was a brown around 18 inches.  The fish I have on spits the hook right at my feet, so I'll guess he was 12 inches or so. Moments later I'm into a fish that has my click pawl screaming.  I had to play it for five minutes.  I was certain it would be every bit of 18 inches. Turned out it was a generous 14 inch rainbow, but it was a great wild NC trout that fought like mad.

I caught a couple more, then felt compelled to take Sam to a DH stream near buy and get him on some trout.  It was his first time fly fishing, and the wild trout were a little too quick for him.  Even thought the fishing seemed to be picking up the further we got from the trail head, and it looked like a long stretches rock pile before the next big hole and a good time to bush whack our way back to the trail. It left me wanting to go back and walk in a little further before hopping in the stream.  Don't worry, this remote stream still had some unsavory visitors out in the rugged wilderness.

old night crawler container in a artificial lure zone

Sam caught his first trout on a fly rod about an hour and a half later, rounding it out to be a great day. Can't wait to get back to this gorge, but who knows how long it will be into the stars align again. I am confident those plunge pools hold some brutes. I arrived home to find the latest Drake had arrived in the mail.  It was a solid day.

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