Bountiful Fall Fishing

By Karl Ekberg

Cooler temperatures, changing beautiful colors of the forest, and great fishing decorates the October calendar. Anticipation of the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery performing their wonderful helicopter stocking in November, this is a great time to visit the rivers and knock off the summertime rust from your fly fishing skills. The summertime temperatures have dwindled to non-existent for another year and refreshing cool fall mornings have graced the Mountain Rest area of South Carolina again. Cooler overnight temperatures have the trout moving from their summertime river bottom dwellings, out and about feeding on aquatic bugs and small baitfish again.

Great, late summer storms have brought incredible amounts of rain to the area. Rivers and higher mountain creeks are now blessed with adequate water levels for the Fall fishing season. Along with the falling water temperatures and levels, the emergence of the Fall hatches bless us again. Swinging nymphs and soft-hackles, on a dead-drift, is essential to a great day on the rivers. An upstream cast, a mend or two of your line, and letting these fine bugs drift freely, with no drag, all the way down stream, will produce fish.

Streamer fishing will be great this fall season as well. There is a tremendous abundance of shiners, minnows, and sculpins throughout the watersheds. Targeting fish in the seam lines, just off the big runs of the rivers, will be beneficial. Casting the streamers up stream, “dead-drift and twitch” through the drift, and then a strip and pause retrieve, will be rewarding. For a full line of bugs and streamers, stop by and see us and check out the new arrivals to fulfill your fall fly fishing.

As the Delayed Harvest season arrives, now is a great time to see the Walhalla Fish Hatchery in full swing. If you have never been to the hatchery, you will be able to see the thousands of fish in many sizes, getting ready for their journey to the rivers. From fingerlings, to show fish, one will be amazed at the variety of sizes of the Brook, Brown, and Rainbow trout which the great folks at the hatchery have raised for us to enjoy out on the rivers. Bring along a couple of quarters when you visit, to enjoy feeding the large show fish which the hatchery has on display. After visiting the hatchery, try your hand at fishing the East Fork, a great small water fishery here in South Carolina.

As we travel from one water system to another, let’s remember to give our equipment a good cleaning to avoid any transfer of invasive species. Also, as we are enjoying the scenery and rivers we are fishing on, please “Leave No Trace”. Just a couple of ways to help take care of the things we love. We hope to see everyone out on the rivers!

Karl and Karen Ekberg are co-owners of Chattooga River Fly Shop, located at 6832-A Highlands Hwy, Mountain Rest, SC 29664. Give them a call at (864) 638-2806 and visit their website at