Post Stocking Behavior

By Karl Ekberg

Spectacular fall colors have blessed the Chattooga Valley once again. Remnants of a Gulf Coast hurricane brought well needed rains to the area in the middle of October, after eleven days of splendid cool temperatures and great fishing. Long-range forecast is for continued cool temperatures, which is vastly different from a year ago, being too warm. The water table being in great shape, water levels on the rivers here will remain good for wading and great fishing conditions.

November first brings the start of another Delayed Harvest season here on the Rivers of South Carolina. Great thanks to the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery, South Carolina DNR, and the U.S. Forestry Department, for their great work with the helicopter stocking program. Many tens of thousands of fish were brought from the hatchery, placed in the helicopter bucket, and flown to the rivers here. Great dedication from the folks of these agencies makes it all possible for the Delayed Harvest areas to receive fish up and down the river corridors. The chance of catching a beautifully colored Brook Trout should be on your agenda for November, in these waters. Year after year, the Walhalla Hatchery stocks the rivers with the most beautiful and large Brookies in the South. Also, along with the Brook Trout, let’s not forget the Rainbow and Brown Trout, which are stocked as well. The myth of fingerlings being stocked is just that, a myth. Large numbers of large fish are stocked every year, and will definitely stretch the fly line.

After their release from the helicopter stocking, usually within a couple of days, the large pods of fish start to disperse throughout the rivers. At times, it will take a few days for these fish to recover from the transportation arrangements and to start to feed again. More variety of flies and colors will be very useful. If the use of one color results in refusals to eat the fly, do not panic, just simply try another color. More times than not, this will put numbers in the net. Bright, flashy, and movement in the flies being fished are very helpful in a successful day out on the Delayed Harvest sections of the rivers.

Though these are truly different times for all of us, let us remember to have respect for each other, and for the wonderful outdoors we are able to enjoy. Please “Leave No Trace”, and we hope to see everyone out on the rivers. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Chattooga River Fly Shop!

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

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