Chattooga River Fly Shop Fishing Report

By Karl Eckberg

A joyous holiday present would be sustained rain for the entire region, as all creeks, rivers, and streams have felt the full effect of the drought conditions across the Southeast. Although future forecasts seem to hedge towards a wetter than normal winter, the fall drought effect still has its grip upon the Chattooga and Chauga drainages.

We are past the first full month of Delayed Harvest season, and the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery has done a tremendous job truck stocking these areas without the flight of the helicopter stocking (as of the date of this article). The helicopter has many uses beyond stocking fish, one of which is fighting forest fires, which the region has been experiencing. Areas of the forest fires have been closed, for safety reasons, so we need to check for information prior to making fishing trip plans. There are plenty of river access points away from the fire zones, and with a little pre-trip planning a great day of fishing can be enjoyed. After the fires have been put out, the helicopter stocking should happen on both rivers here in Upstate South Carolina.

The delayed harvest areas of both the Chattooga and Chauga rivers are fishing extremely well, with many large fish being landed, on a wide variety of flies. The large brook trout have beautiful spawning colors; the Rainbows have been in the 12”-16” average, with a few larger ones landed as well. The larger browns have been a great pleasure to catch as well, with a great fight to land them. Our guides are putting people on large fish and taking great pictures to send them home with bragging rights.

As the water temperatures start to tumble downward as our Southern winter prepares to take hold, remember that the warmest area for the trout are along the depths of the river bottoms. Heavier tandem rigs along with heavily weighted streamers will be best suited for these conditions. Slower retrievals of streamers will help entice fish looking for a “one-bite meal,” and try jigging streamers throughout a drift on a tight line as well.

Happy Holidays from all our entire family here at Chattooga River Fly Shop! We look forward to seeing everyone out on the rivers. Stop by and see us Tuesday-Saturday 7:30am-4pm, and Sundays 7:30am-2pm.

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