Fly Fishing near Asheville with Curtis Wright Outfitters
Winter fishing is here and it is one of my favorite times of year to get out and fish. There are several reasons I enjoy fishing this time of year and the main reason is probably the lack of other fisherman. When is the last time you can say you had a whole DH river to yourself? Well this is the time when it can happen. Most people don’t like to go out on the colder days so you can fish and cover water at will.
Gear is always important no matter when you are fishing but it is crucial you have the right clothing in order to make the most of your opportunities on the water. Always layer up. A good wicking base layer, followed by a warm insulation layer, topped with the outer shell can ensure you to be comfortable on even some of the nastiest of days. Another article I use every trip is the chemical hand warmers. They can be put in a variety of pockets to warm any trouble areas. I always keep several in the car so that a whining friend will not cut the fishing trip short. Now dressed for the day where to go?
The fish are still in the DH waters but it can be sure tough to find them now and again. A couple of keys are to find the deeper pools and fish the bottom, or find the troughs in the river and cover every inch. The biggest and most important part of winter fishing is getting deep enough. Your flies should be hitting bottom every couple of casts and if not add more weight. It is said you should change the weight several times before changing flies. This makes sure the flies are where they need to be. The bottom of the river is a few degrees warmer typically, and the current is much more relaxed. This is where the fish can hang out and wait for dinner to come to them. This is going to be a key factor in most of your winter fishing situations. Nymphs will normally be what are on the menu but, streamers are an excellent way to cover water and also tempt some of the larger river dwelling residents. White’s and Olive’s are my favorite colors, but, having a wide variety of colors is definitely beneficial. Don’t be afraid to fish two at a time with different color combinations. I like to fish white at the top so I can see what the action of the fly is.
Most people assume that the Wild Trout Water is done for the season as soon as the first sub-freezing nights string together, but that can be the furthest from the truth. Just like stocked fish wild trout have to eat all winter as well. They just don’t eat quite as much. A two nymph rig, dead drifted, can be absolutely deadly. My favorite set up is a medium to large Stonefly followed 18″ by a size 16-18 green caddis pupa. On warmer days I will revert by to a dry dropper combo, but the majority of the days call for subsurface fishing.
Two of the rivers fishing the best this time of year are “The Davidson” and “The Ravens Fork” in Cherokee. Both are home to some enormous trout that will test your new Christmas toy. Neither is a walk in the park, but they are giving up some great cold weather fishing.
For those extended sets of cold weather that will eventually freeze over our rivers, with a short jaunt we can be on one of the two, class A tail waters. The South Holston or The Watauga offer year round fishing in 40-44 degree water. The fishing can be spectacular, and inspiring, when the TVA is not generating water.
All things considered we are extremely lucky to have our year round fishery. Proper planning and a sense of adventure can lead you to WNC Winter Wonderland. Visit our Guide Services page for more details about guided trips fly fishing near Asheville, North Carolina.