By Karl Ekberg
Independence Day brings families together with cookouts, barbeques, fireworks celebrations over the evenings, and remembrance of the risks that our forefathers took to create a new nation. “Land of the free. home of the brave”, comes to mind as we seek cooler waters, in higher elevations, as the summertime descends upon us here in the Southeast. Longer hikes, early mornings, a small fly box with a selection of dry flies, nymphs, and a few small streamers, seems to be the order of operation for most days.
Finding cooler waters and leaving lower elevation trout alone is crucial for their survival during the heat of the summer. When it comes to trout, there are many ideas out there regarding temperature and their comforts; this will help in the grand picture: The optimal feeding temperature range for trout is between forty- four and sixty-eight degrees. If water temperatures continue to rise above the seventy plus degree range and reach the seventy-five and above for an extended time, this can be lethal. When the water temperature hits sixty-seven, trout start to decline in eating habits significantly. This is due to the trout conserving energy, as their stress levels increase with the higher temperatures. If the water temperature reaches eighty degrees, the trout can survive, although only if the temperature declines within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
The rivers have been in great shape with some significant rain in June, and some cooler nights dropping in the low fifties. Trout have been taking a good array of top water flies, although with the increase of water temperatures, this bite will subside. Nymph and streamer fishing will be good as well, early mornings, and in the early evening to sundown. As summer rolls, terrestrials are always a great choice. Smaller creek and higher elevation fish thrive upon these little flies and devour them flies as they hit the water. The beetles, ants, and inch worms should be in everyone’s arsenal of flies.
This is a great time of year to take the kids fishing! School is out for the summer break, water temperatures are great, and there are plenty of fish to be caught. We had the pleasure of participating, as sponsors, for the Kid’s Fishing Derby, at Burrell’s Ford Campground this past month, with the U.S. Forestry Department, Andrew Pickens District, South Carolina. Many thanks to the Walhalla Fish Hatchery for the awesome fish, and all the volunteers for making this great event come together. Introducing kids to the greater outdoors and nature is a wonderful time and catching a few fish will add to the experience for all. Remember to bring your camera along for your trip and share your photo, you might see your photo in the next edition on the “Brag Board”.
As we are all guests of the forest, let’s remember to “leave no trace”, and pack out what we bring in on our trips to the rivers. Keeping the forests clean, will add to the enjoyable experience for all. 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.