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North Carolina River Report

NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL SYNOPSIS 04/16/2016

Fly fishing reports from the mountain region of Western North Carolina.

Quick Tips:Most of the Delayed Harvest Streams are fishing okay despite the crowds. NCWRC will restock once again at the beginning of May.

Fish a double nymph rig (pheasant tails, stripper midges, zebra midges, disco midges, Hise's hetero-genius nymphs, Mercer's micro mayflies, copper John's, Hise's sili skin caddis, rainbow warriors, squirmie wormy, and larger hare's ears, etc.) for the most consistent success. Nymphs and larvae fished deep is always a great way to go, day in and day out on any trout stream in the world. It is important to remember, most of the time, larger trout will move horizontally for their food as opposed to vertically. It comes down to conditions and the ratio between energy exertion and the food source being consumed.

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- CATAWBA RIVER TAILRACE- NC

Burke, County: Near Morganton, this section of river flows out of Duke Hydroelectric dam below Lake James. This stretch is best accessed by drift boat or raft. It is within easy access to anglers traveling from Charlotte, Morganton, Lenoir and Statesville. Trout Unlimited and various other organizations have been doing their best to make this a viable trout fishery. Unfortunately, there are a few factors that are making this difficult- consistent flows and sediment brought in from Muddy creek. The water discharge problem has been somewhat resolved but the sediment issue may never be resolved. Regardless of these issues, the fishing has been somewhat consistent as of late. Fish with large stonefly and woolly bugger patterns as well as caddis and general nymph patterns.

REDDIES RIVER AND ELK CREEK- NC

Wilkes County: These are 2 newly appointed Delayed Harvest sections. Elk Creek is close for those from Wilkes, Burke, Catawba and Caldwell counties. Give it a try. Call 1-800-POACHER or 919-707-0030 to report illegal activity on the rivers and streams, or in the woods. Get out on the water. Use the usual suspects that would be productive on any Delayed Harvest Stream.

WATAUGA RIVER- NC

Watauga County: Delayed Harvest Section of Watauga River. Call 1-800-POACHER or 919-707-0030 to report illegal activity on the rivers and streams, or in the woods. The Watauga River is a beautiful North Carolina mountain stream located in the vicinity of Boone, Blowing Rock and Foscoe. It is within easy access to anglers traveling from Charlotte, Morganton, Lenoir and Statesville. Use the usual suspects.

BOONE FORK CREEK- NC

Boone Fork Creek is a catch and release stream that starts at Price Lake dam off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This stream flows into the Watauga River near Foscoe, NC. Julian Price Park, which is located just outside of Boone, NC, offers the best access. Be aware of the POSTED signs because there are various private stretches on this stream. Use the usual suspects for the wily brown trout, brook char, and rainbow trout; black woolly buggers, prince nymphs, red hot midges, Hise's hetero-genius nymphs, copper John's, squirmy wormies, San Juan Worms, y2k's, rainbow warriors, etc..

CURTIS CREEK- NC

McDowell County: Delayed Harvest Section of Curtis Creek (the game land portion downstream of the U.S. Forest Service boundary at Deep Branch). Fish a variety of nymph, egg and worm patterns under an indicator for the best results; copper John's, Mercer's micro mayflies, pheasant tails, Y2K's, Hise's eggi juan kenobi's, squirmy wormies, Hise's gooey caddis larvae, sili skin caddis, bead head flashback hares ears, Czech nymphs, depth charge Czech nymphs, San Juan worms, Hise's hetero-genius nymphs, various midge larvae, Hise's ooey gooey grubs, Holy Grails, Duke's Prince John, and lightning bugs, to name a few. Also, dont forget black or white woolly buggers.

NORTH TOE RIVER- NC

Mitchell County: Delayed Harvest Section of North Toe River (U.S. 19E bridge to N.C. 226 bridge). The North Toe is within close proximity to Burnsville, Marion and Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Spruce Pine was recently deemed a Mountain Heritage Trout City for NC Fly Fishing. Use the usual suspects for the best success.

CANE CREEK- NC

Mitchell County: Delayed Harvest Section of Cane Creek (N.C. 226 bridge to N.C. 80 bridge). Cane Creek is also classified as Mountain Heritage Trout Waters, please refer to the NC Wildlife Commission's Regulations Digest for additional information.

HELTON CREEK- NC

Ashe County: Delayed Harvest Section of Helton Creek (Virginia state line to the New River confluence). Fish a variety of nymph patterns under an indicator for the best results; copper John's, Mercer's micro mayflies, pheasant tails, Y2K's, Hise's eggi juan kenobi's, squirmy wormies, Hise's gooey caddis larvae, sili skin caddis, bead head flashback hares ears, Czech nymphs, depth charge Czech nymphs, San Juan worms, Hise's hetero-genius nymphs, various midge larvae, Hise's ooey gooey grubs, Holy Grails, Duke's Prince John, and lightning bugs, to name a few. Also, dont forget black or white woolly buggers.

DAVIDSON RIVER- NC

The catch and release regulated section of the Davidson River is known, to many anglers, as one of the top fly fishing rivers on the east coast. This is due, in part, to its excellent population of large trout and regularly occurring hatches. You'll want to fish with mostly tiny bugs and fine tippet (from the tubes upstream of the hatchery to just below the parking lot). Try BWO nymphs, midge larvae (size 22-30) and small worm patterns. Specific patterns include zebra midges, red hot midges, Hise's hetero-genius nymphs, pheasant tails, rainbow warriors, epoxy buzzers, disco midges, stripper midges, flash midges, Evenson's 2be midges, RS2's, WD40's, WD50's, Squirmy Wormies, Mercer's micro mayflies and brassies.

MITCHELL RIVER- NC

Surry County: Delayed Harvest Section of Mitchell River (0.6 mile upstream of the end of S.R. 1333 to the S.R. 1330 bridge below Kapps Mill Dam). Mitchell River is within close proximity to Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Elkin, and Greensboro. The Mitchell may be a bit crowded but its worth a try if youre close by.

SOUTH MOUNTAIN STATE PARK- NC

Burke County: Delayed Harvest Section of Jacob Fork Creek (from Shinny Creek to lower South Mountains State Park boundary). The Delayed Harvest section of Jacob Fork Creek in South Mountain State Park is in close proximity to Charlotte, Hickory, Morganton, Valdese, and Statesville. Use the usual suspects.

STONE MOUNTAIN STATE PARK- NC

Wilkes County: Delayed Harvest Sections of East Prong of the Roaring River (the mouth of Bullhead Creek downstream to Stone Mountain State Park boundary line), and Stone Mountain Creek (from falls at Alleghany County line to confluence with East Prong Roaring River and Bullhead Creek). There are more than 17 miles of trout streams in Stone Mountain State Park which is located near Elkin, North Carolina. There are numerous classifications of streams to fish, including a "trophy" section on Bullhead Creek. On Bullhead Creek, anglers pay $15 to fish one of eight beats (or sections) for the entire day. Check out the beautiful Wild Trout streams that can be hiked into and fished.

RAVEN FORK OF THE OCUNALUFTEE RIVER- NC

Roughly 2 miles of the Raven Fork within the Cherokee Indian Reservation (in Western North Carolina) is now open to FLY FISHING ONLY, CATCH AND RELEASE angling. This is an absolutely beautiful, crystal clear river which flows out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Anglers must possess a valid Cherokee Indian Reservation Enterprise Waters Fishing Permit ($7.00) and the additional Special Use Permit ($20.00 annually) associated with Cherokee Trophy Trout, Catch and Release Waters. Rumor has it that the annual license is going up to $75 and the daily permit will be $10 starting December 1st. You'll want to try zebra midges, stripper midges, copper John's, pheasant tails, Barr's emergers, Mercer's micro mayflies, squirmy wormies, white or black woolly buggers, prince nymphs, Hise's hetero-genius nymphs (orange or copper), Ian's brass asses, bionic brassies, and egg patterns, to name a few. When in doubt, go small but squirmies, hetero-genius nymphs and y2k's have been working best.

LINVILLE RIVER- NC

The Linville River originates near the Blue Ridge Parkway and a few miles later plunges 85 feet over Linville Falls into the extremely rugged Linville Gorge. The river flows through the Linville Gorge Wilderness for 17 miles, during which it drops 1,880 feet and offers one of the most difficult stretches of whitewater in the eastern United States. Be careful if you decide to go in; boulder hopping can be dangerous. Use the usual suspects; Hise's Eggi Juan Kenobis, San Juan worms, pheasant tails, Holy Grails, hare's ear nymphs, copper John's, heavyweight stones, Kaufmann's stones, and woolly buggers. Squirmy wormies are always the ticket, especially in the private sections of the Linville river.

WILSON CREEK- NC

Caldwell County: Delayed Harvest Section of Wilson Creek (the game lands boundary downstream of Lost Cove Creek to Phillips Branch). The Wilson Creek area is part of the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest. The area is just south of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain (just north of Morganton). Wilson Creek was added to the National Wild and Scenic River System in 2000. The headwaters are below Calloway Peak and the creek stretches over 23 miles before emptying into the John's River. Andrews Creek, Lost Cove Creek, and Wilson Creek (upper) are all managed under the NCWRC's Catch and Release, Artificial Lures Only regulations. Other notable streams in the area include North Harper and South Harper Creeks which are managed under the NCWRC's Wild Trout regulations. Fish a variety of nymph, egg and worm patterns under an indicator for the best results- copper John's, Mercer's micro mayflies, pheasant tails, Y2K's, Hise's eggi juan kenobi's, squirmy wormies, Hise's gooey caddis larvae, sili skin caddis, bead head flashback hares ears, Czech nymphs, depth charge Czech nymphs, San Juan worms, Hise's hetero-genius nymphs, various midge larvae, Hise's ooey gooey grubs, Holy Grails, Duke's Prince John, and lightning bugs, to name a few. Also, dont forget black or white woolly buggers.

NANTAHALA RIVER- NC

Macon County: Delayed Harvest Section of the Nantahala River (Whiteoak Creek to Nantahala hydropower discharge canal). Below the powerhouse is an excellent Tailrace for roughly 8 miles. Both sections offer great angling opportunities on a year-round basis. In fact, the Nantahala is listed in Trout Unlimited's Top 100 Trout Streams, and it has been featured in numerous major magazines. The Nantahala is a premier white water destination in Western North Carolina so be prepared for a flotilla of kayaks and rubber rafts in the summer. Dont be discouraged however; the wily trout are used to this floating traffic. In the upper section you'll want to fish small dries and nymphs under the overhanging bushes, especially rhododendrons. Utilize nymphs and larvae that represent BWO's, golden and yellow stones and midges. Standard nymphs and worms will also be productive.

TUCKASEEGEE RIVER- NC

Jackson County: Delayed Harvest Section of Tuckasegee River (N.C. 107 bridge at Love Field to the Dillsboro dam). The Tuckaseegee River flows through the towns of Sylva, Webster, and Dillsboro North Carolina. The Tuck is fishing well. Use the same patterns as that on the Nantahalla.

NEW RIVER- NC

Despite its name, the New River is considered to be possibly one of the oldest rivers in the world, between 10 million and 360 million years old. It flows in a south to north course, which is against the southwest to northeast topology of the Appalachian Mountains and the west to east flow of most other nearby major rivers; especially in Virginia and North Carolina. It is formed by the confluence of the South Fork and the North Fork of the New. The New River is home to many species of freshwater game fish including bass, trout, walleye, muskellunge, crappie, bluegill, carp, or flathead and channel catfish. It is considered, by many, as one of the finest smallmouth rivers in the country. It is a extremely large and often ominous stream to fish. Anglers will find sections of fast riffle water, pools, deep pockets, and glassy flat water. It is best fished within a watercraft but can also be waded in various sections throughout; especially near the State Park accesses and along the North and South Forks. The smallies are plentiful and fairly forgiving to catch. They average 10 to 16 inches and it is not uncommon for anglers to find smallies that range in size from 18 to 24 inches. Streamers and nymphs work throughout the season and poppers rule from the summer through the fall.

SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK- HAZEL CREEK, FORNEY CREEK, EAGLE CREEK, etc. NC

The fishing has been decent in the Park. Use a bushy dry (stimulator, elk hair caddis, etc.) and a small nymph (hetero-genius nymph, pheasant tail, lightning bug, hare's ear) trailing below it.

MOUNTAIN WILD TROUT STREAMS- NC

See you in the spring.

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Useful Links:

Link to the Duke Energy generation schedule----Duke Energy Generation Schedule

Link to the NCWRC stocking reports, river maps by county and other information----North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Link to the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission Home Page----North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Link to the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission Interactive Maps----North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Interactive Mapbook

Link to the USGS stream and river levels for North Carolina and beyond----United States Geological Survey Flow Data Map

Link to the USGS stream and river levels for North Carolina and beyond----United States Geological Survey Flow Data By Drainage

Link to weather conditions in North Carolina from Weather Underground----North Carolina Weather Report

Link to professional fly fishing reports which are updated weekly by Orvis Endorsed Operations throughout the world. They include information like flows and tides, conditions, recommended flies and equipment, and special fishing tips for the most important fly-fishing destinations in North America. Plan your next fishing trip knowing you'll arrive without any surprises or discover some new fishing destinations in your area. Check it out, it was created by Tom Rosenbauer. Orvis Endorsed Fishing Reports

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