‘Hot List’ Hatches

Dan Whitmire from Evans, GA, with a Chauga Brown.

By Karl Ekberg

We’ve had many great days of fishing with all of our guides hosting clients on the waters surrounding the Chattooga River Fly Shop. Both the big rivers and small streams have had great hatches so far this spring, and it looks to continue into the early summer. Our water levels have been a bit high at times from some tremendous storms thru the middle of April. This is actually great for our river systems with all of the foliage blossoms popping throughout the forest. The Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron will bless the riversides in May, which makes any day of fishing picturesque.

Fishing on the delayed harvest sections has been outstanding with large fish being caught with dry flies. We’ve been fishing the riffles to the heads of the pools with the most success. Dry fly fishing the slower water areas, when the hatch is happening, has also produced great numbers of fish as well. During early mornings and late afternoons, longer casts with long swinging dead-drifts of flashback nymphs and emergers have been the key to success. Crystal clear water equals the fish seeing movement from a further distance. Lengthening the leader, and a size smaller tippet, will make a difference with finicky and wary trout.

As the hatches progress with the warmer weather, we look forward to seeing many more May Flies and Caddis – Stop by the Fly Shop and check out the “Hot List” for hatch updates. Another large emergence is that of the Oak Worms. These fine little creatures are a tasty treat that even the largest of trout cannot pass up as they fall from the trees into the rivers. Casting imitations of these, under the over-hanging bushes, and dead drifting them with a twitching technique will be very beneficial for a large day on the river. Anywhere you find these worms dangling from their silk lines from the trees, do not hesitate to stop and watch the worm finally hit the water, and see what happens! The next step would be to work your way into a good vantage point to make your cast to the fish, which just ate the natural. Do not worry about a delicate cast, even splatting the worm on the water, will be just as effective, as they also fall out of the trees from far above. As the late spring temperatures rise, fishing the shady areas of the rivers will be essential, as the fish will move out of the high sun and warmer temperature waters.

Let’s all remember to “leave no trace”. Packing out with what you brought in with you is essential, and bringing something back out with you that someone else has left behind, does not hurt either, to keep our beautiful streams and rivers how they should be. Keeping them clean now, means future generations will still be able to enjoy what we are enjoying now! Check out our daily posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, giving you the daily water conditions on the Chattooga River, and please share your big fish pictures with us!! 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 www.chattoogariverflyshop.com.