Photo of the Month: Bycatch

Showing posts with label South Carolina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Carolina. Show all posts

Saturday, April 11, 2015

South Carolina Trout Fishing: Day Two

Now that we are a month removed from my South Carolina excursion, I'm finally getting around to day two of the adventure. Things got busy in a hurry once the weather turned nice so I'm a little behind. Other great stuff is on the way this week including a trip report from the Smokies last week in which I matched my second best all time day for numbers. The quality was good as well.

So, back to the headwater streams in the northwest corner of South Carolina, after our day one trip to explore the lower reaches of the stream, we were excited to hike in a bit and see how the stream fished higher up. The weather was again perfect and the only fly in the ointment so to speak was the necessity to get back home to help my cousin do some work around the house before it got too late. Seeing as how the stream was relatively close, that was actually not really a problem so we headed out early for a great day on the water.

We headed up the trail, completely unsure of what to expect from the fish. The stream was beautiful though and it was not too hard to imagine a trout or three in every pool and pocket.


Dry flies were still tied on from the day before so we were ready to fish! Heading slowly upstream, we had a few hits and even caught some smaller trout. The fish were obviously there but the action was not quite as fast and furious as the day before. Overcast conditions probably did not help since the sun was not warming the water as early in the day.  Eventually, however, the bugs did start to show up. Quill Gordons were hatching along with a few stoneflies and caddis.

By the time we were getting hungry, we had progressed on up the stream a ways and were needing some energy to fuel our last hours of fishing for this particular trip. Some delicious chili and chips on a cool spring day hit the spot.


Not long after lunch, we started finding some nicer fish. The pools were perfect and obviously provided habitat for quality trout.



While the fish were still not large, they were better than the tiny two to three inch fish we also were catching at times. These wild streams always provide a variety when it comes to the fish size. Most streams have large numbers of one and two year old fish and fewer of the three and four year old fish just because of the natural cycles. That means that any time you are on these streams you better expect to catch a few of the little guys also.

While stopping to catch pictures instead of fish, I had fun with my camera and my cousin took the opportunity to catch a nice rainbow.



What was particularly interesting to me about this rainbow is how golden it appeared and also how dense the spotting is. I'm quite curious about the genetics in this stream. Does anyone know how much coloration like this is a product of genetics versus the environment? The stream produced several of these golden colored rainbows with a lot more yellow compared to the fish I catch in the Smokies. Some of the rainbows looked a little more "normal," though still with a yellow tint.


Eventually, after having more fun with the camera along the way, we reached a good point where we could get out and hustle back down the trail. We were pushing our deadline to get back to my cousin's house and knew we better hurry. What a fantastic day though! I'll be looking forward to getting back down there. I went ahead and got an annual fishing license and am sure there will be more fishing adventures in South Carolina!




Monday, March 16, 2015

South Carolina Trout Fishing: Day One


Ever since my cousin moved to Greenville, SC, he has been trying to convince me to visit and experience some South Carolina trout fishing.


Not that I needed much arm twisting when fishing was involved, but you know how life gets in the way and things get busy. Last week, with the memory of the ice storm of 2015 still fresh in my memory, the thought of a warmer climate and spring hatches had me thinking about a road trip.

Most people probably don't even realize that South Carolina trout fishing even exists. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical about the quality of fishing that I would find, but then part of the charm of fishing new water is in the exploration as much as in the catching. After doing a fair amount of research, I discovered that, yes, South Carolina does have some trout fishing although it remained to be seen whether it would be worth a second trip.

A few weeks back, when the Cumberland Plateau was stuck in winter's icy grip, I called my cousin and made plans to visit during his spring break. When last week turned out to be one continuous rain shower here in Tennessee, I knew I had picked the right time to travel. While my local waters were all high and blown out, the streams in South Carolina were almost perfect or at least the ones we were experiencing were.


All of our fishing was on the same stream although on different sections. This particular stream had an interesting catch and release section that is apparently only open 3 days a week. At some point in the past it appears that the fish received supplemental feedings, but we could not find any current evidence of such taking place. The fish were your average mountain freestone stream trout with a heavy dose of fingerlings and small fish up to about 5 inches. The occasional nice trout kept things interesting though.


Photograph by Nathan Stanaway.


Photograph by Nathan Stanaway.

On our first day out fishing, we noticed little black caddis, little black winter stoneflies, and early brown stoneflies in addition to the usual collection of assorted midges. A stray mayfly or two was spotted as well but not in enough numbers to get the fish keyed in. the good thing about this stream is that the fish did not seem to be very selective and we caught them on a variety of both dry fly and nymph patterns.


By the end of the first day, it was clear that the stream had potential and we were excited to get back for round two fishing higher up the drainage. So far, South Carolina trout fishing was pretty good!