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Subscriber Walter Kirklands has checked in with a brief report on a trip he took to the mountains of North Carolina recently with the Derby City Fly Fishers out of Louisville, Kentucky ( He says DCFF goes to North Carolina twice a year to fish the Delayed Harvest waters of western North Carolina. He writes:

“The vast majority of the fish we caught were hatchery fish, though on the Tuck and the West Fork of the Pigeon, there were holdover fish and some wild rainbows. The Tuck is a tailwater stream, so it is important to check water-release schedules with the local power company, Duke Power. Otherwise, you can get stranded in the middle of the river when it is rising. At higher water, the Tuck can be floated and fishes very well.

“We used 4-wt. and 5-wt. rods with weight-forward floating lines, 5x and 6x fluorocarbon tippet for nymphs and 5x and 6x mono tippet for dries. Our best results were with size 16 to 20 midge nymphs fished under a dry fly or egg pattern. Egg patterns fished under a strike indicator worked best, as several fish took the egg. In late afternoon and early evening, there were some nice caddis and small mayfly hatches. We caught several fish on dries during the hatches. Some small black caddis came off at different times during the day, too, but best results for taking fish on dries occurred late, just before dusk. Otherwise, the fish were feeding on nymphs. Larger fish took the smallest nymphs.

“The weather was spectacular during our visit, mostly bright and sunny. Fishing would have been a little better under cloudier conditions. The water was gin clear and easily waded with a wading staff.

“The biggest river we fished was the Tuck. Remarkably, even on Saturday, it was not crowded. We fished from 8 a.m. till noon, and there were never more than a dozen fishermen on the stretch of river we fished. As for the Davidson River, most of us came away feeling it is a fraud. The so-called fly fishing–only stretches were littered with discarded cans of Green Giant corn and Eagle Claw hook bags. There are several large campgrounds on the river and it is relentlessly poached. Don’t go there to fish.

“For East Coast fishermen, the North Carolina mountains are an excellent choice. The Smokies are not at all like the Rockies, but the scenery is unparalleled at almost any time, particularly in the fall. This fishery is only two-and-a-half hours from Atlanta, two hours from Charlotte. The only time to go to this area is during the Delayed Harvest season, which runs from October 1 to the first Saturday in June. Don’t bother any other time.

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