WCO

About WCO

Full Service Fly Shop and Guide Service located in Morganton, NC Contact us info@wilsoncreekoutfitters.com

Delayed Harvest is here – stocking this week!

Delayed Harvest streams will be stocked this week!  Here’s a list of some of the local DH streams and their stocking dates.

COUNTY               STREAM               OCTOBER              NOVEMBER

Burke                   Jacob Fork                    3                                   2
Caldwell               Wilson Creek                2                                   2
McDowell             Curtis Creek                 3                                   5
McDowell             Mill Creek                      3                                   5
McDowell             Catawba River             4                                    6

If you are not familiar with Delayed Harvest regulations here’s what the NC Wildlife Resource Commission has to say…..

Brook, brown and rainbow trout require cold, clean water and are therefore generally restricted to mountain streams and lakes.  Those mountain waters that support trout and
are open to public fishing are designated as “Public Mountain Trout Waters” by the Wildlife
Resources Commission and are man aged for public trout fishing. A significant amount of
trout fishing opportunities in western North Carolina are located on private property. These
landowners have generously allowed for public access for fishing. Please respect their property. Your cooperation is needed to protect fishing opportunities for future generations.
The Commission conspicuously marks Public Mountain Trout Waters with regulation signs
that indicate locations for public access. When anglers encounter “posted against trespass” signs along these designated sections on private lands, they should respect the property owner’s rights and choose another location along that stream to fish. Maps of trout waters and their classifications may be viewed at ncwildlife.org under the link for Fishing at the top of the page.

August Happenings at WCO!

WOW it’s mid August and the local streams / rivers are FULL of water???? Call it El Nino or whatever you will but we’ll take it. While most of the country is battling drought conditions, our streams are full and we’re chasing everything that will eat a fly!  From trout to bass to catfish to carp many incredible opportunities are waiting for the fly.

With heavy rains of course sometimes the streams/river get cloudy or worse MUDDY!.  Part of the challenge is finding where the rains have fallen and just how much.  Thought we would share a few links that we keep a close eye on …. NOAA Automated Flood Warning System which is updated every fifteen minutes and local USGS River Gauges are also a big help.   These links should help you determine where the rain fell, just how much and what effect it has on the local streams.  Remember sometime you need to forget about hitting your favorite stream and fish the water that provides the best opportunity to get your rod bent.

“Trash” fish to many…  but carp eating dry flies are hard to resist.

Here in Morganton, NC we are very fortunate in that we always (well nearly always) have clear water to fish.  Of course sometime you must change the species you are going after but that is part of the challenge and that’s one of the reason many of us enjoy throwing the fly so much…. the Challenge!!  To many fly flingers the number of species on the fly is a major part of the challenge.  In fact Lefty’s newest book,  101 Fish – A Fly Fisher’s Life List is pretty much Lefty’s 101 fish stories about his most memorable fly caught fish.  So chasing other species on the fly is not a sin….  how many species have you caught on the fly?

Clear water after a big storm can be very rewarding!!

Found this beautiful rainbow in a gin clear stream the day after a huge front / rain storm moved through.  Of course if we told you where we would have to shoot you! :-)   Hope you understand.  Of course you can always head up higher in the hills to find clear water. But as we all know head water streams require a unique level of patience and not to mention the hard work to get from hole to hole.  “Bluelines” as they are commonly called very seldom get dirty but sure can get swift.

Sometime our only option to fish moving water is local tailraces below dams.  Typically tailraces stay clear unless something crazy is going on in the lake.  So next time the rain messes up your plans to go fishing, don’t give in to spouse pressure and stay home GO FISHING!!  We are not responsible for any harm this post may cause you! :-)

Top Water Smallmouth Bass and Trout Too On The Fly!!

The catch and release portion of Delayed Harvest over until October, which means it’s time to chase smallies with top water poppers!  The season is getting started with a BANG!  Here’s a nice “double” from last weekend…..

Lots of healthy 12″ fish crushing the popper and the occasional bigger fish also.  Here’s our guide Chad Stevens with a nice smallie from last weekend.  These hard fighting river smallies are a blast on the fly rod.

Our guiding calendar is filling quickly so if you want to experience the thrill of chasing river smallies on the fly book your trip today!

We recommend 9ft 6wt fly rods with a good stiff 7-1/2ft 2 or 3x leader to battle these fish.  Our recommendation for poppers is fairly simple…  size 4 and 6 poppers in white, black and chartreuse is a great start.  Here’s a link to our great popper selection.

We’re also booking trips on the Catawba River tailrace below Lake James for trout on the fly.  The recreational flows being released from the dam are perfect for a great mix of dry fly and nymph action.  From beginners to life time anglers the Catawba tailrace offers something for everyone.

Here’s a nice rainbow (mostly a brown trout fishery but the occasional bow mixed in) from a recent trip.  This bow was a nice surprise since 99% of the fish we catch on the Catawba tailrace are brown trout.  With the limited access to this river it’s very tough to wade fish.  This is where our oar frame rigged rafts come into play.  These rigs are the perfect vessel for navigating the shallow riffles along the way.  With swivel seats in the front and rear, loaded cooler on board and anchor system as well as dry bags for your extra gear these boats provide a very comfortable way to access the river.

Here’s a picture of one of our rafts at the put in….

So as you can see we have some great options.  From trout to smallies, from Morganton throughout the mountains of western North Carolina our guests are sure to have a great day of fishing.

 

Conditions are getting better and better….

With all the rain we have had over the past two weeks the streams and rivers are finally getting back into great shape.  Wilson Creek is getting gin clear and fishing incredibly!  Keep in mind the delayed harvest is about to change over to catch and keep but we have two more weeks of the stream being stacked and packed with trout.

Another nice DH fish

Another nice DH trout

It’s been a great DH season with several days of our guests catching over 50 trout.  Kind of sad to see it change over to catch and keep but this also marks the beginning of top water smallie action.

Catawba River tailrace below Lake James is finally getting back into shape after the multiple days of 2 plus inches of rain.  The browns are aggressively feeding on black stone flies and every minnow in sight.  Find pods of baitfish and you’ll find feeding trout within a few feet.  During low water (recreational flows) we’ve had some good days using Elk Hair Caddis dry flies and beadhead early black stones.  Once the generation starts it’s been all streamer action.  Here’s a link to Duke Energy’s site for generation info.

Smallmouth bass are starting to hammer top water poppers and this is just the beginning.  If you haven’t experienced top water river smallies you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Top Water Smallies!!!!

We are now booking trips for the 2012 smallie top water action.  Click here for booking info!

Discover Burke County

Of course local tourism means a lot to us here at WCO.  The local tourism office offers the visiting angler and their family an incredible wealth of info.  From hiking trails to art “trails” they are doing a great job helping tourist discover Burke county.  Swing by their site, take a look around, load up the family and come see us!

http://www.discoverburkecounty.com

For a PDF copy of their “Trail Map” click here.

 

From browns to whites!

With the dogwood trees in bloom along the river, the Catawba tailrace not only looks nice it’s been fishing very “nice” also. The upper stretch from the dam to Muddy creek is closed to fishing until April 7th since it’s Hatchery Supported but the rest of the river has been fishing well. From the dam at Lake James to nearly Lake Rhodhiss we have been getting great reports from our guides, clients and friends.

The browns in the Special Regulations section have been very active and growing fatter by the day. With all the new grass sprouting up in the riffles that use to be dry at no generation looks like the mighty Catawba tailrace is on a good path.

The caddis hatch is all but over from what we have seen but several March Browns beginning to appear. Wish the caddis hatch would have lasted longer this year but it was good while it was here.

Early black stones have been working well and trailing a smaller pheasant tail seems to be a very good combination. During generation and in the lower stretches throwing the Catawba bugger has been the most productive technique for us.

The white bass run is going strong right now and should continue for a few weeks. White and olive clousers as well as the Catawba bugger in olive have been doing well for us.

Have a great day and remember….. it’s spring, time to go fishin!!!!!!