Our area, and parts of the Southeast, have been experiencing a recent drought. Some areas have not had significant precip for some time now. With these conditions, we are seeing the effects on our streams and rivers. I wanted to touch on this subject of what to expect in these low water conditions and how to approach your fishing tactics.
First of all, the fall fishing has been extremely good. The water temps are in great shape. The Delayed Harvest streams are doing their thing, and because the air temps have been a little higher than average, we will see an extended period of fishing for the higher elevations streams (National Park). Some of our streams and rivers don’t look that low to the passer by, but to us and some of you out there you will see a difference in the water levels. The water levels are allowing us to access areas that we typically can’t reach at high levels, so it almost feels like you are fishing a totally different river in some areas. I know that the Delayed Harvest Section of the Tuckasegee River that flows right through the heart of downtown Bryson City has fished better on some of our guided trips as of late, because we have so much area we can wade. This has made it easier for someone who may have a little trouble with wading. They will be able to find great water without feeling uneasy about it.
No rain for such an extended period also gives us very clear water for sight fishing. I know on several of my guided trips just last week, we sight fished and landed some sizable trout. This also brings into factor that you will need to be a little more stealthy in your approach, and possibly size down in your tippet. As the Delayed Harvest fish start to receive more pressure and become a little more acclimated to the rivers, they will start eating more natural patterns. As much as it pains me, I have found that going small, in size, on your flies starting out helps get a few more to net. This time of year, lends to all types of tactics. In one day of fishing you can throw dries, nymphs, and streamers and be productive on all of them. Remember if you give streamers a try, the water is shallow, so you may not need as heavy a sinking line or leader. You may not need any sinking line at all.
I hope this helps all of you out there know that low water has many positives, and can still be very productive. Give us a shout at the shop, if you have any questions, and we will point you in the right direction.