Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Tale of Two Streams, Part 2

At the end of part one of this blog post, my uncle Greg and I had just left a stream after exploring it for the first time and catching some native brook trout. We had one more stream on our agenda for the day and plenty of daylight left to go check it out. This second stream was one that Greg had fished for the first time about a week before our trip, and he said that he didn't have a whole lot of time to fish but it looked like a place worth coming back to.

Stream Number Two
 Getting to this stream took us around the ridge from the first stream of the morning, but was only a ten or fifteen minute ride away. As with the first stream we fished, this one required a little bit of a hike to get up into the national forest and away from the development along one side of the stream. However, this hike was a rare one for these mountains, in that it was almost a flat trail, especially compared to our first stop of the morning. After a quarter of a mile or so, we passed beyond the last houses and were surrounded by the national forest on both sides. We decided that this would be a good place to start, and so once again we split up to try different stretches of the stream.
Wild Rainbow
From Greg's description, I had an idea of what to expect with this stream. It was just as advertised, with an abundance of fishy looking plunge pools and deeper holes in between short stretches of riffles. If I was going to design the ideal North Carolina mountain trout stream, this particular stream would be a good one to use for a pattern. It seemed to have the type of habitat that would support a very healthy trout population. As with the first stream we fished, this one also had several small waterfalls that dropped into nice deep plunge pools.
Waterfall and Plunge Pool

As I worked my way upstream, I was blown away by the sheer number of places that I felt like I needed to fish. It seemed that there was a likely looking pool or lie every few feet, so I took my time and tried to fish slowly and carefully. Within the first few pools, I had a strike and brought a pretty little wild rainbow trout to hand. Once again, my rusty reflexes betrayed me as I missed a few strikes as I worked my way farther upstream. A few pools later, and another rainbow decided that my fly was what he wanted for lunch. 
Biggest Rainbow of the Day

There were some surprisingly deep holes in this stream, and it was good to see a healthy amount of water flow for this time of year. The last year or two have been pretty dry, and a lot of the streams had gotten almost too skinny to fish by this time last year. This year, everywhere that I've fished so far has been running clear and cold, with plenty of water in the streams. Hopefully we will have a few more summers like this one to make up for the drought years of the past. 
Rosebay Rhododendron 

We fished for a couple of hours, and I managed several pretty wild rainbow trout.  I was a little surprised that I didn't see evidence of more fish, but then again it was the middle of the day and I was fishing with a dry fly, so I understand that it wasn't necessarily ideal conditions for fish catching. After meeting up at the agreed upon time, Greg and I decided to call it a day. Overall, it was a wonderful day of fishing and exploring. I had the chance to fish with my uncle, and in the process discovered two new streams that I didn't know anything about.
Rhododendron Carpet

The rosebay rhododendron  were blooming all along the stream, and the hike out along the trail had us walking on a carpet of rhododendron petals. Both of these streams are definitely on my list to come back to soon, because I know that I've only just barely begun to explore the secrets that they may be hiding. There's still a few weeks of summer left, and I plan to try to make the most of it while it lasts. 

- Joseph

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