Cool Wisps of Fall

By Karl Ekberg

Cool wisps of air from the North embrace the mountain, the leaves of the foliage start to turn into a magical sea of color across the mountaintops, and it is fall on the Southern Appalachian streams and rivers. October brings excitement of cooler water temperatures, some dry fly fishing, and the need to check your waders for the upcoming season of cold-water fishing.

Water temperatures have significantly dropped from the summertime heat, and now the trout have arisen from the depths of thermal refuge into shallower areas of the rivers. The emergence of some fall hatches has the trout moving as well and, to the delight of most of us, dry fly fishing is the game. Dry-dropper rigs are doing well throughout the day. If casting dry-droppers is not in the game, try swinging nymphs and soft-hackles; 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. A full arsenal of fall bugs is available here at the shop, along with full and half-day guided trips.

Streamer fishing will be great this fall season as well. There are a tremendous number 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. Cast 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.

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