April Fishing On The Catawba

The Catawba River has been absolutely on fire! I have had nothing but spectacular fishing for the month of April and there’s no sign of it slowing down.

Caddis have been coming off regularly with a few mayflies mixed in. Most of the bugs have been hatching in low water. The flies of choice have been caddis pupae tied behind a big Mega Prince Nymph or Pats Rubber Legs or a caddis pupae below an Elk Hair Caddis or Stimulator. We have also had some pretty good success on assorted streamers. Catching Smallmouth and Largemouth has become very consistent with the occasional Striper hook-up.

Due to consistent hatches, plentiful fish and good weather the Catawba is fishing better than I’ve ever seen it. Do yourself a favor and book a trip with Dryfly within the next couple months, you’ll be happy you did.

3/22/15 Catawba Float

Spring is finally here and the fishing is heating up with the weather. The Catawba is known for its great trout fishing and we have had plenty of that. The surprise so far this spring has been the diversity of the fish we have been catching. A typical trip down the Catawba will produce Brown trout and maybe a few Rainbow or Brook trout. The last trip alone my clients caught Smallmouth, Largemouth, Perch, Brown trout, Rainbow trout AND Striper, all in good numbers! We caught all of these fish within the first mile of the float and were then treated to a nice Caddis hatch that made the dry fly fishing excellent.

Now is the time to fish this river!

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Winter fishing

Fishing in the winter can be just plain tough. Freezing weather, ice forming on your guides and snow falling from the sky can give most fisherman an excuse to stay home. Some anglers however, like myself, love this time of year. There is something so peaceful about fishing by yourself in the cold months of winter. For me the quietness is what draws me to the river. It seems like all noise is cancelled out with the exception of the sound of the water as it flows over shallow riffles. Generally Winter is my time to tie flies and prepare for the upcoming fishing seasons but this year I have been fortunate to find a few clients that like myself, love winter fishing.

The Mitchell has been fishing fair. The cool water temperatures have been forcing the sluggish trout to school up. While you can sometimes find fish in the more obvious runs the majority are found grouped up in slow water. The last trip I guided we struggled to find fish early in the morning until we came across what we first thought was a mass of algae but after staring intently for a minute or two we found it was a group of 30 to 40 fish. We caught most of our fish on Zebra Midges and Hares Ears.

The Catawba has also been fishing fair. Not great but not terrible either. The fish are in the river but again because of the cool water temperatures they are more prone to staying in their feeding lanes then to swim after your fly. We have still had success due to the sheer number of fish in the Catawba. The trick is to put the fly right in front of the fish so it wont have to move very far to eat. That can be easier said than done in a river that can be wider than a football field in places. Most of our success has been on big flies like the Mega Prince Nymph and the Pats Rubber Legs.

Most trout rivers in North Carolina including these two will drastically improve in the next month. The rising water temperatures will produce more insect hatches and more responsive fish. As much as I love the crisp cold Winter mornings on the trout stream I will be just as excited to see the green landscape make a return as Spring is right around the corner!



Summer and Fall in review

What a great year for fishing! The Catawba fished great up to about June and has just now picked back up as the water below lake James has started to cool. We have caught multiple holdover Brown trout over 20″ this year. The New River fished off and on all summer, some days we would get the best the New had to offer and others we would have trouble bringing anything other than pan fish to the boat.

The Catawba took about a month longer to cool than normal which pushed stocking back to late November. The Hatchery stocked another 10 thousand Brown trout in the “upper” stretch and most of the fish have started moving around and spreading out along the river. Now’s the time to book a trip! The fishing has been great and we are still blessed with 60-70 degree sunny days which makes for a perfect day of fly fishing.

I was excited that I was able to take my annual 2 week trip to Montana and Wyoming. We fished the Madison mostly with a couple trips to smaller creeks and streams scattered throughout our trip.

Catawba River February 2014

The Catawba has been on fire the past few weeks. Here are some pictures taken so far over the month of February.


Winter Trout Fishing 2/3/14

The Delayed Harvest rivers in NC have been fishing pretty well over the past few months. The wade fishing has been off and on. If you can find a day that the water temperatures are mild you’ll be in good shape. The Catawba has been fishing great as usual. We’re averaging 20-40 fish every float and we’re catching wild and holdover trout regularly. The past summer was pretty tough on the Catawba River. The water temperatures were dangerously high however the river still has plenty of trout stocked in previous years. The Catawba was stocked November 2013 with 10,000 Brown Trout between the Bridgewater dam and the Watermill rd. access.

Catawba River Float Trip 5/4/13

We just beat the rain on the Catawba River yesterday. This week I had the privilege of guiding Ray Clarke and Brad Smith, fishing was on with about 30 fish caught and probably another 20 long distance releases. As usual it was almost all Brown Trout but we did catch 3 or 4 Rainbows and a Brookie. The Catawba River below Lake James amazes everybody that fishes it with me. It has no resemblance with the river that most people know. Between the beauty of the river and the fishing quality I would rather fish the Catawba than drive another 2 hrs. from Charlotte to any other tailwater. The river has developed tremendously in the past year. One of our fish was this 17″ Wild Brown taken on our favorite, the Mega Prince Nymph.

Brad with his big brown.

Catawba float 3/10

The Catawba was on fire the other day. I took a couple clients on Sunday and it paid off for us. We brought around 30 fish to the boat and had plenty of ldr’s. The fish averaged 12″ but we did hook into a nice wild brown close to the takeout that measured in at 17″. The “hot flies” were mega prince nymphs with olive soft hackle tailors. We tried a caddis on top during a thick hatch with no luck. On a separate note the Charlotte Fly Fishing Film Tour was great. If you want to read up on it go to JesseBrown.com. I am giving away a float trip down the Catawba to promote this great river we have in our backyard. It’s free to sign up and you can do so at Jesse Brown’s or on Jesse Brown’s Facebook page. -Wilson

Mitchell River 2/6/13

Jesse Brown’s guide Don and I have a fishing trip this weekend which raised a good question, are there any fish left in the river after all that flooding in the mountains? We both thought on this for awhile and decided we’d go check it out for ourselves. It was 32 degrees this morning when we got to the river but it warmed up pretty fast. The fishing was good for the three hours we were there, most fish wanted either an 8 Golden Stone or an 18 Olive Flashback Hares Ear. Around 11 o’clock Don noticed a few BWO’s flying around so I tied on an 18 soft hackle Pheasant Tail and caught a few fish in a shallow riffle. Trout tend to move up into the faster, skinny water to eat emerger’s right before a hatch so next time you see a couple bugs flying around and a hatch looks promising try this out. We caught a dozen fish or so including an 18 and another 20in. Rainbow both caught on the Golden Stone. Trout typically find refuge behind rocks and smaller tributaries during flooding but in this scenario the river went from 2ft to 6ft in a matter of a few hours. In summary there seems to be less fish than usual but find some good holding water and it should pay off with a couple fish.