by Karl Ekberg
The weather over the past month has sure been very interesting here on the waters around Chattooga River Fly Shop. We have had days near 70 degrees, then a major cold front with snow and temperatures below freezing at night, and then back to warm temperatures. We have had little to no winter at all, yet here in March we receive snow and a few days of colder weather, like late winter. The fish move out of the deeper waters into the riffles, then back to the depths to find warmer water during the colder days. Wait a day or two, and it will be in the mid 60’s again, and the fish will be rising to dry flies. We will all happy again, watching fish taking our dry flies from the surface.
Caddis hatches have been occurring late morning to mid-day and again late in the afternoon to sundown. Prior to these bugs hatching and seeing surface activity from the fish, you will have success swinging nymph and emerger patterns in the riffles and into the heads of the pools. Also, swing flies towards the tail-outs of the pools as well. Dead-drifting tandem nymph rigs has produced many large fish using a Skipper Stone, Twenty Incher or a Gummy Stone as a lead fly, and trailing a Holographic PT, Psycho Prince or March Brown nymph.
As the water temperatures have risen, the fish have moved from the depths of the river into the shallower water to feed on these bugs. Flies of choice will be Maycad, CDC Caddis, March Brown Wet, Never Bug and dry flies of the aforementioned as surface activity occurs. Dry fly fishing has highlighted many fishing trips. Be sure to cast well above rising fish, dead-drift your dry fly toward your targeted area and give the dry fly a twitch or two to entice these fish. The outcome will highlight your day out on the river as well!
Let’s make sure we still fish streamers as well. We are still catching many large fish on streamers, especially in the early morning and the last couple of hours of daylight. The dead-drift and the strip and pause technique has proved to be the best.
Full and half-day guided wading trips are available through us here at the Chattooga River Fly Shop, along with one-on-one fly tying classes. What better way to enjoy your trip out on the river than tying your own flies. We hope to see everyone out on the rivers!