I keep thinking, “I wonder when I’m going to get tired of this?” But then, I slide down the bank, wade out into the water, and have yet another, nothing-short-of-magical, day.
North Carolina trout waters got stocked March 1st and my oh my what an exciting couple weeks it’s been. When I caught that first trout in November, I also caught the flyfishing bug.
My husband (and instructor) Tim and I have spent many Saturdays and Sundays over the winter months wading and casting in toe-numbing waters at Mitchell River, Roaring Gap and Wilson Creek.
But a couple weeks ago, on Saturday, March 5, I accompanied Tim to the Mitchell River for the start of “the season.” I caught three, he caught 18. New record for me (and I only count those that I net, unhook, and release – not those that jump off the hook or wiggle loose before I can shake hands with them.)
We got off to a rocky start when Tim realized I had threaded both rods wrong (my job – he ties the flies on) and they had to be redone. However, the mood changed when he caught two rainbows at ONE time, using tandem flies! That was the highlight of the day. The temperature was 37 degrees starting out that morning, and there was a crowd. Most of our catches were 14-16 inches, a couple were smaller.
And then, I took off work on Monday, March 7, and we went to Roaring Gap and fished in the shadow of Stone Mountain. I caught three again, but these guys were bigger, including a big ol’ stubborn brook trout that tried his best to ignore my fly, but couldn’t resist Tim’s olive Woolly Bugger. Tim caught five.
The March 7th highlights were significant: (1) catching the big ‘ol stubborn brook trout on my strong little 4-weight rod; (2) Tim and I both caught rainbows at the SAME TIME! That was a first, and very exciting! (3) A little later I caught a stunning rainbow, special for three reasons: I caught it completely solo, Tim was downstream, out of sight, and I caught it with a “hot red midge” fly that I saw Tim make a couple days earlier – it was a perfect set, and I got a photo. (4) We forgot to fill up the car and almost ran out of gas in an area with no cell service. (5) At the gas station, Tim mistakenly smeared what he thought was chapstick – but was actually “hot red” lip gloss – all over his lips before going into the gas station. And no one said a word. 39 degrees starting out, but up to 62 degrees by mid day. We had the whole place almost completely to ourselves.
On Wednesday, March 9, “Hot Lips” got up early and drove to the Mitchell River by himself. I had to work, but Tim is really good at sharing and making sure I don’t get left out, to wit:
At 9:46 a.m., sitting in my office in Greensboro, I received the first photo from Tim in Dobson – a beautiful little brook trout with the message, “Caught 3 others too big to pull camera. What a day.”
Me: “You were supposed to text me as soon as you got there. But have fun and be careful!”
Him, about an hour later: “So crowded I had to run 2 spot. Caught 2 more”
At 12:06 p.m., him: “A jumper. No. 9. Wish you were here.”
Then, a little while later, a great photo of a brown and a rainbow, together, in his net, landed on my iphone in the middle of my desk, with the message: “2atonce” Second time in a week that he caught two trout on one line!
Me: “All right!!!! Beauties!!”
At 2:48, a photo of a big beautiful rainbow, with the message: “No. 19 leaving soon.”
Me: “I’m jealous”
He actually stayed a bit longer, caught more fish, and lost count.
We went back to the Mitchell River Saturday, March 12, and I didn’t catch a darn thing. Tim caught six. The flies were hatching and swarming on the surface (“why would the fish want our fake flies, when they have all THESE??”), and there were a lot of anglers. It was a beautiful day, though, and God is a Tarheel because the sky was Carolina Blue and we won the ACC Championship that night. #goheels
I took off work again on Monday, March 14, and we returned to the Mitchell River. The local meteorologists predicted a rainy afternoon in Dobson, but they were wrong. It was a gorgeous spring day: the trees were budding, the daffodils were blooming, wild turkeys were strutting, birds and butterflies were flying, and the fish were biting. I caught eight, starting with a beautiful little brookie, followed by some of the most beautiful rainbows I’ve seen yet. We were exhausted when we got home.
It’s been quite a run, but work and duties call, so it will likely be a few weeks before I get to fish again. Hope I can make it.