Thoughts On Summertime Hatches

By Karl Ekberg

Rolling past the first of the summer holidays, and now on to Father’s Day and heat arrives with June. A definite deficit of rain from April and May raises concern of what the remainder of the summer will have in store for us here, around the Chattooga and Chauga Rivers. Fishing has been very good with great hatches towards dusk. Cooler temperatures have had fish looking up, and rising to dry flies, to the delight of all. Let us all hope that the cooler temperatures stay around for the summer and Mother Nature will bless us with rain.

The morning hatches have been subtle, but the use of emergers and nymphs has worked the best. We have seen the first of the Golden Stone flies hatching, and there is nothing finer than seeing fish rise to the large dry flies. The drake hatches are upon us as well, along with Yellow Sallies. Fishing the drake nymphs from the riffles into the seams has been successful throughout the daytime hours. For the Slate Drake nymphs, casting upstream and using a dead drift and strip technique is very successful, as the larger nymphs pulse through the water looking for a safe haven. The Sallie hatch should continue for some time now, and throughout the summer on higher elevation creeks. Swinging these nymphs into pools and calmer water, and then slow stripping them back is another useful technique as well.

As a rule of thumb, as the summer heat starts to inundate the southern lower elevation trout streams and the water temperatures rise, start looking for higher elevation streams. The stress of catching the trout in warm water can kill them, and finding cooler waters is not tough to do. As the water temperatures stay above the mid 60’s, start to head a little further north, or higher, into the headwaters of your favorite river, to find cooler waters. A day of hiking, exploring new waters, and dry fly fishing, can definitely beat the summer heat.

Bass and Panfish season is heating up, as the June weather graces us here. Great days of top water fishing are upon us with many fish coming to the surface. A great day on the river starts with trout fishing in the early morning then heading down river mid-day and turning on the Bass and Panfish.

Let’s take the kids fishing! Please join us on Saturday June 11, on the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River, at Burrell’s Ford Campground, for the annual Kids Fishing Derby. There will be a registration hour starting at 8:00AM, and then the kids start fishing around 9:00AM. Adults will need to have a valid Georgia or South Carolina fishing license, gear, flies, lures/bait for the kids. As always, let’s take practice in “Leave No Trace” as we all enjoy the greater outdoors this summer.

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