Spring Outlook

By Karl Ekberg

Springtime arriving to the mountains of South Carolina brings a wilderness song of rejoicing among the forest creatures. The warmer wisps of southern breezes start to whisk away the colder morning air, and the sun starts to peak over the mountaintops a little sooner each morning, and settle down over the western sky a touch later every evening. These warmer breezes raising the temperatures with ease each day, bring the subtle warming of the mountain creeks, streams, and rivers. The winter grip is not always willing give way easily to spring each year, as we have seen an occasional snowfall accumulation, although this is a rarity rather than a normal occurrence, and as for this year, no snow has fallen at the time of the writing of this article. As far as winters go, this winter has been quite warm, although blessed with plenty of rain precipitation to keep all the waterways in great shape for fishing. Long term outlook has the temperatures a bit warmer than normal and the continued slightly above average, precipitation gauge.

As the warmer spring weather graces the mountains following the drab color of winter, the waterways start to awake with the emergence of bug life again bringing many midge, mayfly, caddis, and stonefly hatches. Hatches for mayflies occur after the nymph has reached maturity, and the bug breaks out of the nymphal shuck and emerges to the top of the water, where the fly awaits for its wings to dry, and fly off the water. At the start of the day of fishing, use the nymph and a soft-hackle pattern for an emerger, each of appropriate color and size, and mayfly will be essential. Great hatch days start with the weather temperatures starting in a range of thirties to forties, and then a warming trend of the highs being anywhere in the fifties and upward. Sunlight beaming down will encourage the hatches to come to life on the river. Take time to stand on a high enough point, riverside on a slick calm pool (polarized sunglasses are a must) and watch the fish start to react as the bugs start their emergence to the surface. Observe also the subtle and acrobatic eating habits of the trout as the bugs helplessly slide down the river awaiting take-off.

Caddis fly emergers are also of great importance at this time of year. Small pupa and the emergers in the mornings up until the hatch happens and fishing on the swing technique will aid in catching fish. Watch the water as double winged bugs start to skitter along the river surface and trout swipe to eat them. Having a dry caddis on at this time, with a dead drift, and as the fly quarters down stream, slowly lifting the rod so the fly will gently bounce across the top of the water, will entice even wary trout.

Exact size and color of flies are important and we take care of making sure we are fully stocked on all hatches of the south here at Chattooga River Fly Shop. Guided trips are always a great outing, try our new three-quarter day trip with a great lunch provided by our in-house chef. We hope to see everyone out on the water and let us all remember to bring out a little more than you walked in with and “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.