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  • Writer's pictureDavid Hulsey

North Carolina Delayed Harvest Streams Goodness

October is the time that our friends to the North “not Canada” but North Carolina bust open a brand new year of delayed harvest streams goodness! Yes, it has been a long time since the June closer when all the fun comes to an end and the trout get wasted in about two weeks of power bait glory.

If you are lucky enough to get to take a trip from North Georgia up to some of the North Carolina delayed harvest streams like Fires Creek, Nantahala River, or Tuckaseegee River for this fall be sure to soak it all up. The 40+ fish days do not always happen but when they do every angler should take advantage of them. Some folks would say there just a bunch of stockers, but by golly they are a bunch of eager stockers! They can give the experienced angler some good skill sharpening practice and the beginning angler a day he or she will never forget. These streams are a great place to try out that new fly pattern or those new skills.

North Carolina delayed harvest streams

Favorite rigs for these waters include dry-dropper, double nymph, and streamer chunking. In the dry-dropper category it is hard to beat a high riding Elk Hair Caddis with a Pheasant Tail or Prince Nymph dropped of the rear end on some 5x fluorocarbon tippet. Double Nymph rigs of a Rubber Legged Stone and a small Soft Hackle of some type is hard to beat in the deeper areas. Olive, Brown, or Black Wooly Buggers in size 8 or 10 moved with a steady strip will usually wear them out when the fish are in a chasing mood. I remember in the 2000s that Y2Ks used to be the go-to fly for these streams. We could not keep them in the fly shop.

In October with cooler temperatures, the trout will usually be active all day long. You need to plan to get to the stream early and get your fish fix in the morning. By lunch time every fish in the river will have probably seen a bunch of flies swung, dragged, and plopped on their heads. All three of these streams have very easy access so it is nearly impossible to not to fish over trout that have not been fished over by the afternoon. Be sure to look up and soak in your surroundings. Check out the awesome colors of fall in the Southern Appalachians. It is truly a wonderland. You can really get lost in the Nantahala blue sky in the gorge. We highly recommend dressing in layered clothing. It takes a few hours for the temperatures to warm up.

Most of these delayed harvest streams are only one to two hours from different parts of Blue Ridge and North Georgia. It is worth the ride to whack some fish while we are waiting for the Georgia Delayed Harvest streams to open in November. For more information about Fires Creek and Nantahala River, just click on the links or visit our website. Also visit the North Carolina WRC for a map and stocking dates of their delayed harvest streams.

Our Brook Trout Trek is a great way to learn about these delayed harvest streams. Or you can do a guided trip with us! Give us a call at 706-838-4252.


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