Keith's 2002 Fly fishing log
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11. April 1 - Harper Creek - Wild Trout

Every year I try to hit Lost Cove Creek on Easter Monday. I drove the two and a half hours thinking about the water and the fish. Thoughts of being alone far away from anybody on a remote stream had me filled with anticipation.. As I turned up the Forest Service road I remembered the lost hikers that I helped last year. But when I arrived at the trailhead I was shocked to see six cars parked. Yikes, I didn't even stop I turned around and went back down the road to a Harper Creek trail. The hike in is a little longer and steeper and the water a little smaller, but nobody else was on the water. Once I reached the stream I continued hiking downstream to the confluence of N. Harper and Harper. The recent rain had filled the creek and it was good to see them running at a high spring level. The waters usual gin clarity was even so slightly stained.

There was an abundance of BWOs hatching, #18 but I didn't see many risers. I love to fish a Royal Wulff in the fast pocket water and bouncing riffles of this freestone stream. I took a little while to find the holding pattern. Once I figured it out I caught fish after fish from each little run or pocket that looked promising. These beautiful little jewels measured from six to eight inches in length. I spotted a few early black stoneflies mixed in with the BWOs.

Later I fished up Harper and things slowed down dramatically with the brilliant sun shinning straight down the steam. The glare and brightness make fishing and wading tough. So I ambled back down to a pool I had spotted earlier and in the shadows of the evening. I tied on an Adams parachute. I managed to raise a twelve inch rainbow. His heroic struggle on the 2 wt rod was thrilling. He jumped and ran and just when I though I had him at hand he went berserk on another long run.

The air was filled with the chill of the evening. Many pools remain unfished but it was time to hike up out of the gorge. I changed out of my waders and as I removed my boots I notices a styrofoam nightcrawler container tucked under the root of a tree. Even on this remote section of a bait fishermen had violated the stream.

10. March 26 - Mitchell River - Delayed Harvest
  Headed up to the Mitchell after work and fished till dusk. Not much surface action, fished a tellico and hooked up with a couple of good sized brookies and brows. Can't wait for the days to be a little longer to allow more time on the water after work.
9. March 25 - Smith River VA
  Fished the trophy section for a couple of hours. Does the wind ever stop blowing on that river? At least this time it was coming from behind me!Thing started to get interesting about 5:00 when the fish started jumping all over the place. BWO #20 were the ticket. I caught a couple before I had to leave for the day. Had to be back in Winston at 7:30, so I left the water at the magic moment. If only I had another hour to fish the hatch!!!
8. March 10- Smith River VA
  Just about got blown off the water. The wind was whipping down the river and I finally gave up. I was fishing Al's "allieworm" but didn't get any bites. Gave the head of a pool "one more chance". Finally spied a few risers. Tied on a couple of BWO, first #16 then #18. Got two bites, then cast to a riser on the far side of the river an watched him come off the bottom to take the fly! Fish on! Landed a nice 12 streambread brown. He ran an jumped two feet out of the water. Somehow that made it all worth while. Small mixed hatch diminished about 4:30 but the wind just kept blowing.
7. February 25 - Smith River VA

Well I did it again. Went up to VA and got my annual license and then headed over to the Smith to try it out. Three cars in the Mirror Plant Parking area. On down the tracks I ran into 4 tight lipped fly fishermen. One said he caught one! Hiked on down a ways and jumped in. Worked the Trophy Section without any bites for a couple of hours. Fished #20 black nymph deep in the runs. Finally a BWO hatch brought the fish to the surface. But failed to get any. These fish are picky!I got a few bite before I hooked up with a nice streambread brown a foot long. I really had to work to get this fish and the satisfaction of catching one of these tailwater trout cannot be equaled with hatchery trout.

6. February 20 Oak Creek Canyon AZ - 68 Sunny
  Fished the C&R section above Junipine. Didn't see another angler anywhere on the creek. Fished the pockets and runs with Prince, PT, Caddis, WD-40's and others without any success! Clear water and Bright Sun from behind might have been part of the problem. Didn't see any fish except for one holding deep in a 40 foot pool! This stream looks great and is reported to hold 12 - 16 inch browns. However the didn't appear to be feeding during the four hours I was on the stream I didn't see one rise although there was a BWO hatch going on. Switched to a dry fly for the last hour with hopes of getting a rise, none was to be had. Should have stayed another couple of hours but I had to return to Scottsdale
5. February 17? Watauga, S. Holsten - 30 Cloudy - Snow

Brown Trout and I went over the mountains for a day of fly fishing on the Watauga. By the time BT got his license and we got to the trophy section the water was rising. It takes about four hours for the dam release to get to the trophy section.


So we waited an hour and headed back up to the dam but the water didn't stop as scheduled by the TVA. Checking the schedule for the S. Holsten indicated that there wasn't a release. So we were surprised to see the river up when we arrived. We fished anyway. The strong current and deep water resulted in 0 fish. Since BT hadn't been here before we decided to scout the river a bit. Up stream we found the water had receded and we fished a couple of riffles. BT caught a fish on a brassie I tied for the big W. We planed to go back to the Watauga and fish after the last release of the day and we found the water down when we arrived. The cloudy skies started to snow and checking weather reports decided to fish for a little before heading back over the mountains to NC. The snow slacked off and we waded down to a productive hole. BT quickly caught his second TN trout. The snow started coming down harder and we head home. The drive up the mountain was quiet as we watched the snow pile up first on the lawns and trees, then the shoulder of the road and finally it started to stick on the pavement just as we crossed over into NC. Fortunately the storm ended and by the time we go to Boone it was clear.


4. January 29 Mitchell River
  Fished the delayed harvest waters, not much happening so I switched to my secret winter weapon and bingo: Fish on! Caught a number on an egg pattern! Nice day on the river.
3. January 21 Helton Creek - Delayed Harvest
Wind Wind and more Wind! Somehow manage to catch a few fish, day started off cold and windy, but warmed up a little but the wind blew harder! Signs of poachers everywhere including fresh fish heads!
2. January 13 - Roaring River - Stone Mountain SP
The Mackey Creek scouting trip was canceled so I took Christopher up to Stone Mountain. There were a lot of fish, some of good size, in the roaring river. However the fishing was slow. Christopher complained about cold feet, I don't think he will forget his wool socks next time, and we only fished for about two hours. Good day and a lot of fun with a few fish thrown in for good measure.
1. January 12 - Watauga Smallings Bridge
  Didn't get up quite early enough to fish with JT, but I met up with him, Midge and Maniac at the Smallings Bridge, start of the Trophy section. They were pulling out and JT headed back to the Queen City. We drove on up to on of Maniac's holes and fished there for a couple of hours, I caught the first fish on a green Serendipity. Maniac caught a couple and then I tied on a blue magic and caught another rainbow. After loosing the magic I switched to another pattern and hooked my third rainbow. Midge caught several brown and a rainbow.

Later we move up to the Watauga Dam. Midge and I watche a big fish working the pockets across a run. He was boiling and there were the tiniest cream midges coming off. Midge asked me what I'd try and I handed him a beetle! He waded into position and cast. It took several cast to hit the target and the fish went for and missed the beetle. Excited he continued casting and finall the fish sipped the beetle. Fish on! After a brief fight the rainbow was netted and released. I measured 16"

Maniac muttered "Beetles in January?"

We then headed back to the trophy section and fished till dark, catching a few more fish.

What I nice day in January to be fly fishing for trout!