Chattooga/Chauga/Eastatoe  Rivers

by Karl Ekberg

The winter roller coaster continues here on the rivers around Chattooga River Fly Shop. A little bit of rain here and there, but not enough to make the rivers unsafe to wade. Unfortunately, we still need a good amount of rain to bring the water table back up. All in all, the rivers are truly fishing very well.

The first of the hatches have started with the Quill Gordon’s and the small Tan Caddis. Soon to follow will be the first of the Mahogany and Hendrickson may flies and more caddis. Fishing the nymphs and emergers of these flies will be very productive in the riffles and into the heads of the pools and along the seams. Fishing the emergers, a cast upstream and a mend for a “dead drift” is key. After the flies have drifted past your stance on the river, let them “swing” downstream and let your line straighten, which allows the flies to rise to the surface as the naturals do.

Fishing flies on the “swing” is very productive and will reward you greatly.

Once seeing a few of these flies in the air and a few rises, switch to a dry fly and drift your fly to these rising fish. Flies of choice for these hatches will be for the caddis: CDC Caddis Emerger, Tan Caddis Pupa and Tan Caddis dry. For the May Flies using the Holo Pheasant Tail, Red Alert and Hendrickson nymphs work extremely well, and Hare’s Ear and Pheasant Tail soft-hackles for the emergers. All of these flies in the dry fly category for hatch time and rising fish will brighten your day on the river.

Let’s not forget that streamer fishing is still very productive as well. Lately with the colder water temperatures, sink tips or weight pinched onto the leader has been necessary to keep the streamers down in the water column. Streamers of choice have been the Brown Crystal, UV2 Rice Krispy, Sculpzilla, Carolina Peach, Wounded Sculpin and the UV2 Special K. Many large fish have been caught in the delayed harvest sections of both the Chattooga and Chauga rivers using these on the dead drift and twitch technique and by stripping the streamers back through the pools and seams. As the water temperatures rise, floating lines will be adequate.

This is a great time of year to be out on the waters as the hatches are occurring. As a fly tier, this time of year can be a great joy of tying your first dry fly, nymph or emerger, and going to the river to catch a fish with it. We offer hands-on, one-on-one fly tying classes to help you along in your journey of tying here at the Fly Shop. You will receive expert advice on what to tie, when to fish the bug you are tying, and other tips and techniques. We look forward to seeing everyone out on the rivers.