Amy and I enjoy celtic music, and since discovering the Diana Wortham celtic concert series in Asheville we’ve made several trips over the years to hear bands like Lunasa, Solas, Comas and the Teetotallers. The Teetotallers were playing April 18, and since we hadn’t been fishing in a while we packed our gear and planned to fish the Shelton Laurel Creek on Saturday. We’d been introduced to that river by Rick Weddell of Brookside Guides–highly recommended!
I can’t say enough about the Teetotallers–Martin Hayes, Kevin Crawford and John Doyle are well known in celtic circles, but anyone who appreciates music in any form will be astounded by their individual talent and the group dynamics. Kevin takes the lead as band spokesman and stage clown, but John and Martin contribute the occasional droll comments, and their arrangements and instrumental abilities are breathtaking. And John Doyle has become quite a vocalist–he sang several tunes, and we were happy to discover that he also sang several with Karan Casey on “Exiles Return”, a CD we bought after the concert. The Teetotallers put on an amazing performance–if you ever get the chance to see them don’t pass it up. We drove 3hrs, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
We had a good day of fly fishing and exploring on Saturday, although it was drizzling in the morning and raining solidly by afternoon. We started the day by driving up to Madison County to fish the delayed harvest (DH) section of Shelton Laurel Creek. Shelton Laurel runs along Highway 212 north of Marshall NC, and is heavily stocked with Brook, Brown and Rainbow trout. The portion from the junction of 208 and 212 down to the junction of 212 and 25/70 is under DH regulations, which means that only single hook artificial lures may be used, and fish must be released immediately. Outside of the DH season (currently October 1 to the first Saturday in June) hatchery supported regulations apply (ie you can use bait and keep fish).
Delayed Harvest (DH) is an interesting management strategy that balances the desires of diverse angling populations. Waters designated DH provide high quality catch-and-release fishing during the regulated seasons (typically fall through spring), while also providing for fish harvest the rest of the year. The catch and release season means that fish can be caught more than once, which provides high catch rates, and on streams where the fish hold over from year to year it can result in a sub population of highly selective fish and challenging angling. Periodic restocking replaces fish lost to harvest and natural mortality, and provides a pool of less selective fish which keeps beginning anglers happy as well.
We had a good time on the Shelton Laurel, but had made the mistake of neglecting to pack lunch. On the way back down 25/70 we spotted the French Broad Deli and Cafe, and stopped in for a tasty meal. I was studying the NCWRC Fishing Atlas (as usual), and we decided to back track a bit and drive back to Asheville on 209 from Hot Springs, checking out the hatchery supported Spring Creek which parallels the road. It’s got some nice spots, but it was raining heavily enough that neither of us was very motivated to fish. I realized when I got back home and checked it out online that there’s a section of Spring Creek that’s also DH (see http://www.visitmadisoncounty.com/activities/outdoor-adventures/fish-the-secluded-streams/spring-creek/).
It was a nice weekend in the mountains: good food, great music, and enjoyable fishing.