Transitioning To Fall On The Chattooga

By Karl Ekberg

September on the rivers, here around Chattooga River Fly Shop, are in the best shape they’ve been for many years. This summer was very kind to us in the rain department, as river, streams, and creeks here are flowing beautifully down through the mountains and over the incredible waterfalls. Now that most of summer is behind us, the younger folks have all started school, and it seems we have the high summer heat behind us, it is time to look ahead to fall fishing. On a recent fishing trip on the East Fork of the Chattooga, we stopped in at the Walhalla Sate Fish Hatchery. While in a conversation with the great folks working at the Hatchery, they shared about the great amounts of rain, cooler temperatures this summer, and the vast amount of trout ready to go in the rivers for this fall. If you have never visited the Walhalla Hatchery, it is well worth the visit to see how the whole process of raising trout happens.

Higher water conditions throughout the summer, means that the trout have had plenty of thermal refuge from any heat we have had. On numerous guided trips this late summer, we have been catching plenty of trout, on a variety of techniques. Still, as it is late summer, the early mornings and late days, have produced the greatest amount of fish. During the middle of the day, fishing in the well shaded areas of the rivers and streams have also produced many fish, finding areas of water depths of two feet or more.

As we look forward to the cooler temperatures of the fall season, we will start to see the emergence of the first of the “fall bugs”. The rocks in the rivers are loaded with very small dark nymphs as well. Try swinging the larger emerger imitations or a heavy nymph with a smaller nymph dropper, through the riffle areas of the river and into the heads of the pools. As daytime temperatures heat up, the fish will move further into the depths of the rivers, so getting a bit deeper with a heavier front fly or a pinch of split shot will help greatly.

Streamers are equally productive, and will continue, as well, through the fall season. With the heat of the summer behind us, a good amount of water in the rivers, plus cooler temperatures arriving, the fall fishing here looks to be excellent for yet another fall season. There is still plenty of time to book a guided boat trip for Bass and Pan fish with our guide Zach Hart on the mountain lakes. Stop in and allow us to help you with the flies and equipment you need for a great day on the rivers. We hope to see everyone out on the rivers.

Karl Ekberg is the owner of Chattooga River Fly Shop, located at 6832A Highlands Hwy, in Mountain Rest, SC 29664. Give them a call at (864) 638-2806 or look them up on the web at