Spring Is In the Air

By Karl Ekberg

The beginning of spring has graced us here upon the waters surrounding Chattooga River Fly Shop. Warm southerly breezes bringing warmer temperatures for a few days, then we are blessed with some cooler temperatures and a few spring showers. May Fly and Caddis hatches are plentiful, and the trout are responding well to dry fly presentations, to the delight of every fly fisher folk. The water temperatures have now risen from the high 30’s of winter, to comfortable mid 40’s to low 50’s. Outdoor temperatures have moderated nicely from morning temperatures in the low 30’s and 40’s to the highs in the low 70’s. Hats, sunglasses, and even a little sunscreen will benefit your outing as the days grow longer.

Nymphs, emergers, dry flies…Oh, my! Where do you begin? Let’s break this down as easy as possible. Starting out the day, a tandem rig with a nymph and an emerger trailing behind, will be a good set up, as the bugs have yet to hatch, early in the day. Starting at the tops of the riffles, a slight upstream cast with a mend or two of the line, and swinging this tandem rig will work well. Slowly working the entire riffle area, a step at a time, with numerous casts along the same area to make sure you cover behind every rock or boulder in the riffle, will reward you with trout in hiding, awaiting a drifting morsel. Once the riffle is covered, swinging this tandem rig into the heads of the pools, and a pinch of weight may be necessary to get the flies down to the fish. Also, swinging these flies along the seams will be just as productive.

As the day progresses, the sun starts to warm the waters, and the temperature rises, the bugs emerge from the nymph shucks and emerge to break to the top of the water to fly away. This is when our day gets exciting! A glimpse of the first rising fish, then a few more to follow in the slower moving waters below, and now it’s time to tie on our dry fly. A little more precision in our cast and mending techniques will be tested, as you will want to cast well above these rising fish. After the cast, a mend or two of the line, and releasing some line so the fly will have a “drag-free” drift into the location of the rising fish, will be key. One word of caution, don’t set the hook too early, as it is very easy to do when you see the fish rising to the fly you have perfectly presented. Hook set too early, fish is gone, and we’re back to square one, and casting to another rising fish. If you are new at this, don’t worry, persistence pays off, we have all been too anxious to set the hook seeing the fish rising at our beautiful dry fly drifting toward the fish as it starts to open its jaws to inhale our fly. Once the hatch has subsided, the fish have stopped rising, and now it’s time to switch back to the tandem rig and swinging.

If wading, hiking, and rivers, are what you’re looking for, let us help you with our guided fly fishing trips. Not sure if you have the correct equipment? Don’t worry, we provide everything necessary on our trips, and here in the Fly Shop, to make sure you have a great day out on our local waters.

We hope to see everyone out on the rivers and lakes, and let’s remember, leave no trace!!

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.