Brian Carney provides a vital service to ORCTU (aside from his support as a member) in that he is very good at setting up fishing trips for the chapter members. A month or two ago he announced a trip to Brevard, North Carolina, since he has a friend with a house near town that can sleep around 10. The plan was for us to drive up on Friday (4-25) and fish in the area through Sunday. We had a few last minute adjustments, but in the end the roster consisted of Amy and I, John McGarity, Ken Calkin, Danny Jackson and Mac Rawson, and we’d be meeting Ron and Zee Nagao during the day, since they have a house in the area. The four traveled up together and fished the Davidson River on Friday, but Amy and I decided to fish the Chattooga on the way up, since Amy hadn’t seen it and I hadn’t fished it. I mistakenly assumed that since the DH section was upstream of the 28 bridge, then we could do even better by driving up the unpaved Forest Service road on the Georgia side before the bridge. Turns out that’s the (long!) Burrells Ford road, leading to the bridge of the same name, and although it’s a nice section (plenty of parking, nice pools, fairly easy wading) this section of the river is upstream of the DH section. After a long and bumpy drive in we found a parking area full of trucks, with about a dozen guys sitting around in a circle of folding chairs. When I greeted them I said “this looks like it could be a TU meeting” and they laughed. It turned out that most of them were spin fishermen using corn or salmon eggs, although I saw a few fly rods. I asked one guy walking to his truck if he’d had any luck, and he said there were plenty of fish, but all little, holding his fingers about 6 inches apart. I caught three rainbows and a brown by drifting nymphs right on the bottom with no indicator (not too hard once you get used to it) and all but one were in the 10-12″ range, I suspect he wasn’t getting down deep enough.
About 3:30 or four, as the fishing was starting to slow down, I got my feet crossed up and fell in face first. My shirt was soaked (including wallet and iphone), and I got a cup or two of water in my waders, which soaked my pants and worked its way down to my socks. Luckily my iphone was in my awesome new Lifeproof waterproof case (http://www.lifeproof.com) and it was unaffected.
The water in my waders dampened (heh!) my enthusiasm for fishing, so we decided to head on up to Brevard. We couldn’t find the house following Brian’s directions (a misunderstanding on my part), so we went to the Brevard Brewing Company for a pint while trying to get in touch with Ken and the others. The Bock and Dunkel were tasty–BBC is a bit unusual in that they brew a lot of specialty lagers instead of the ales usually offered by craft breweries.
After Ken gave us revised directions we were able to find the house, said hello to everyone and I changed into drier clothes, and then we went to the Sagebrush in Brevard for dinner. We talked for a while after dinner, but before long everyone was ready to head to bed.
Saturday morning John fried bacon and scrambled eggs while the rest of us set the table and browned toast in the oven. Ron and Zee joined us for breakfast, and then we made sandwiches and hit the road for the day. We split up into 2 vehicles and went to the the DH section of the E Fork of the French Broad in the morning. Most of us caught a few fish (nothing spectacular), and then we met up for lunch on the bank. After comparing notes and discussing options Ken, John, Mac and Danny decided to fish for native brookies along the Yellowstone Prong (Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway), while Zee and Ron decided they wanted to see the East Fork of the Pigeon, which Amy and I had fished after her women’s fly fishing class a few years ago. We agreed to meet at the Pisgah Inn for dinner.
I have a lousy memory, but save a lot of waypoints in our Garmin, so we found the stream without much trouble and fished for an hour or two. Much too soon it was time to hit the road for the Inn, where almost all of us ordered trout dishes and discussed the day’s activities.
Sunday we decided to fish the North Fork of the Mills, and then break about 2 to drive home. Amy and I fished the section near the campground, and I was surprised by how many fish I hooked in the shallow riffles near the campground. Again, nothing outstanding, but a great weekend fishing and exploring with friends.
Our group at home base (without photographer Ken):
Danny photographing one of Mac’s fish on the French Broad:
A newly hatched mayfly on the North Mills: