Sunday, October 16, 2016

Nantahala Play Day

It had been far too long since Nathanial, Asher and I had spent a full day together trout fishing, so our recent day of work and play on North Carolina's Nantahala River was extra fun. We left home dark and early, got to the river just about the time daylight was finding the gorge, and spent the day hopping from spot to spot to catch fish and take photos. Photos were the work objective, so we each kept a camera handy all the time.

We caught a bunch, and all three of us got a slam of rainbows, browns and brook trout during the day. Beyond the catching, it was just a fun day spent together by the river.

The catch-and-release season on North Carolina's delayed-harvest streams just opened a couple of weeks ago. What that means is that these stream sections are well stocked and the trout haven't gotten too educated. Fooling fish isn't an amazing accomplishment, but it's a barrel of fun. We like the Nantahala a lot because it's a beautiful stretch of river with a lot of variety in types of water, and it's just big enough that at any given pull-off, it is practical for two or three people to spread out a bit or even to fish side-by-side. It's also nice because a road parallels the river, so you can fish an area for a while and then move to another pull-off.

We're far from alone in liking the Nantahala, and it can get kind of crowded. However, the many pull-offs and the configuration of the river make it pretty easy to find a spot where you aren't fishing in a crowd. Arriving early also helps. We had the river to ourselves when we arrived, and we got to hit a few spots first. Fishing on a weekday helps a little. Maybe the best thing that can happen for the sake of less company is to have horrible weather (not the case last week), and in truth, wet, nasty days sometimes offer the best fishing action.

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