The trip began with a quick stop to pick up my friends, Jeff and Nathaniel Samsel. Despite their many adventures to these waters, I could tell they were anxious to get started. As we motored up one mountain to another; it seemed we literally drove from the spring season, back into winter. Such is life in western NC.
I was multi-tasking; I needed to learn as much about Trout fishing as I could, study their habitat, test some possible new products and bag some photos. Jeff and Nathaniel shared so much Trout information during the drive, I wished I could have taken notes.
Our gear was simple; waders, 1/32nd ounce sized Marabou Road Runners and ultra-light combos rigged with four-pound mono. The techniques were simple too. Cast slightly upstream and “drive” your Road Runner into eddies where the Trout like to wait for meals. They’ll transition to deeper waters during the day to escape the sunlight or heat though.
We pulled over next to a pool where the creek widened slightly. The waters roared below as we pulled on our waders. I joked that it would be quicker to fall down to the creek than to climb. I began my descent down the bank and grabbed a fairly large limb to steady myself. The limb felt like a rubber band and it slowed my fall onto the rocks below, a little. I stood back up with one bruise on my arm and a black-eye on my ego.
Laughing at myself as I made the first cast; I planted my Road Runner right into a limb wedged between some rocks. At this moment, I was beginning to wonder if I was going like Trout fishing. Somewhere after a dozen casts, I bagged my first Trout. Memories of my earlier troubles quickly faded. Both of my friends bagged several Trout too.
Our second stop was even more productive. Jeff caught a huge Brown Trout and I quickly bagged some photos. Moving down the creek, I tapped a Banded Water Snake on the tail with my rod tip. He quickly took the hint and slithered into the grass as I waded into another pool. Nathaniel and Jeff caught more Brook Trout while I went fishless.
As we made our way to the third and final stop of the day, my friends shared their in-depth knowledge of the fishery and the geology of the area. They bagged more fish while I “donated” a couple of Road Runners to the tree limbs hanging over a fishy looking spot.
After a long day of driving, climbing and fishing my motel bed felt heavenly. My only wish was to be able to hear the creek’s waters as I fell asleep.
Day two I found my stride by dock-shooting the short targets instead of casting to them. I planted myself on a rock out-cropping that made the perfect seat. This spot revealed several downstream eddies as well. I quickly bagged two more Brook Trout and my first Brown Trout. But that bite didn’t last, the sun cleared the mountain above and lit my waters up. Just like a switch, the light was “on” and the Trout turned “off”. I made the nearly vertical climb back up the bank and we continued to our next spot.
Jeff said something I must share; “The fish aren’t huge in comparison to many other fisheries…but I sure like where they live.” I agree.
Somewhere after lunch time we began to make our way back out of the mountains. 10 minutes into the ride, we were discussing plans for our return to this great escape.