Wading Into Fall

By Karl Ekberg

Through mid-September summertime has had a strong hold upon us here!! Higher than average temperatures, and no rain to speak of has kept the water temperatures above normal. The Bass and Panfish on the rivers have been great to fish for, as the trout have been for the most part on the bottoms of the rivers, seeking thermal refuge. The outlook for the weather forecast is for much cooler temperatures, and much needed rain, we are all praying for both of those!! As the cooler air temperatures start to arrive, the water temperatures will start to cool down, and the trout fishing will just keep getting better.

Delayed Harvest season starts here on the South Carolina rivers, November 1st, and continues through May 14th.  October is a great time to get out on the rivers to stretch your line with some fish and enjoy the fall colors in the mountains. We’re looking forward to seeing trout as they move out of the depths of the rivers.

Along with the falling water temperatures, the emergence of the fall hatches blesses us again.  Swinging nymphs and soft-hackles, on a dead-drift are essential to a great day on the rivers. An upstream cast, a mend or two of your line, and letting these fine bugs drift freely, with no drag, all the way down stream, will produce fish. We have noticed, with the cooler than normal early Fall temperatures, that some of the Fall hatches are appearing on the rivers a little earlier than most years.

Streamer fishing will be great this fall season as well. There are a tremendous amount of shiners, minnows, and sculpins throughout the watersheds. Targeting fish in the seam lines, just off the big runs of the rivers, will be beneficial. Casting the streamers upstream, “dead-drifting and twitching” through the drift, and then a stripping and pausing retrieve, will be rewarding. For a full line of bugs and streamers, stop by and see us, and check out the new arrivals, to fulfill your fall fly fishing.

As the Delayed Harvest season arrives, now is a great time to see the Walhalla Fish Hatchery in full swing. If you have never been to the hatchery, you will be able to see the thousands of fish in many sizes, getting ready for their journey to the rivers. From fingerlings, to show fish, one will be amazed at the variety of sizes of the Brook, Brown, and Rainbow trout that the great folks at the hatchery have raised for us to enjoy out on the rivers. Bring along a couple of quarters when you visit, to enjoy feeding the large show fish that the hatchery has on display. After visiting the hatchery, try your hand at fishing the East Fork, a great small water fishery here in South Carolina.

As we travel from one water system to another, let’s remember to give our equipment a good cleaning to avoid any transfer of invasive species. Also, as we are enjoying the scenery and rivers we are fishing on, please “Leave No Trace”.  Just a couple of ways to help take care of the things we love. We hope to see everyone out on the rivers!!

Karl and Karen Ekberg are Co-Owners 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 chattoogariverflyshop.com