Walt and I spent the day floating the Catawba River tailrace below Lake James. One wheel generation at 1560 cfs (cubic feet per second), nice fast flow perfect for streamer fishing. Weather forecast called for clouds and rain moving in late and the clouds caught up with us at the take out. Jan 1 and we’re having to suffer through high temps in the high 50′s and low 60′s with very little wind. Ahhhh living in the south does have some advantages. Don’t let me fool you though, low temps tonight in the 20′s and wind up to 50 mph. Back to today’s fishin…
Few minutes into the float, pulled the oar frame raft into an eddy to allow Walt to add a split shot to help get his Catawba Bugger down into the zone. 2 casts later BAM, boated a nice brown and we had been on the river less than 10 minutes. Nice start to the day, to the trip, and to 2012!!
Managed a few more fish before our first tangle with the big nasty tree monster. This was one mean tree monster, not only got the fly but managed to rip the loop out of the end of a fly line. Found a nice eddy below an island to hold up in while we tied a new leader on. Of course being anchored in an eddy is a perfect time for me to make a cast. First cast missed fish, second cast brought me face to face with my first brown trout of 2012.
We managed to turn, hook and land several fish from the typical bank side eddy locations and as many or more out of mid river holding spots. Mid river structure upstream and downstream of riffles produced the most action. Many times today we had fish chasing and or eating our streamers within 10 feet of the raft. This just adds to the streamer excitement. Flashers, chasers and followers all part of why we were streamer fishing.
Very nice way to start off 2012!
Do keep in mind the Catawba tailrace is subject to changes in flow rates at any time. With so little public access areas for wade fishing and the amount of water discharged during generation the wade fisherman is at a huge disadvantage. Float fishing offers anglers access to the remote areas but this is NOT a place for inexperienced rowers or paddlers. Please be careful!
Here’s a few links from our Catawba River Info Page that we thought might be helpful to the visiting angler.
Duke Energy Information Line 800-829-5253 then select options 1, 1, 2, then 1 for Bridgewater