Seasons Change

By Ronnie Parris

As I write this it’s still in the high 80s and the leaves are mostly green, but you can start to see a tree here and there along the shoreline with a hint of color. The mornings are starting to cool down and a jacket is feeling good for the first hour or so. No other time of year sets my heart to pumping like fall. I don’t know if it’s because hunting season is around the corner or if it’s because I know the best fishing of the year is about to start. The lake has already turned over by this time, and the fish are putting on the winter feedbag. Delayed harvest waters are at the beginning of the catch and release rule change and a lot of hungry trout will be stocked in designated waters, with the Tuckaseegee and the Upper Nantahala being our closest. These fish are fresh stocked and usually eager to take any bright colored offering. The dry fly bite for wild trout will be at its best the first part of the month, then as the temps drop towards the end, you will have to change to nymphs and streamers. Also good to remember, whether dry or nymph fishing, the best bite will be the mid day pattern when the sun is directly overhead.

Lake fish will go through a drastic change and the bass are going to feed more in the shallows close to the bank with the early morning bite still being your best, but the bite will go through the day and not just stop at mid-day when the sun is overhead. If live bait is your favorite style of fishing, you should be happy as lots of smallmouth and chunky spotted bass will move right up on the rocky shorelines, and it always seems like the bigger fish, that have been missing during the long, hot summer, come out to play. This is an awesome time to take kids fishing as you are, about always, going to catch a good mess of fish. On Fontana, you’re also going to see a lot of wildlife, be it eagles or black bear, and white tailed deer. You may get to experience seeing a bear swim, which is one of the coolest sites you will ever see. Take good warm clothes for the morning, but you probably will be in short sleeves by midday, and you should be in for some great fishing. As always, take a kid fishing, and you will build a bond that can last a lifetime.

Ronnie Parris is the Owner and Head Guide of Smoky Mountain Outdoors Unlimited-Fontana Lake Fishing Guides, headquartered in Bryson City, North Carolina, heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. ( (828-488-9711).