We fished the Chattooga River’s delayed-harvest zone after receiving a hot tip from one of Colby’s friends.
We stopped at the Chattooga River Fly Shop beforehand since neither of us knew that stretch. The owners, Karl and Karen, were very nice and more than willing to share spots, flies, etc. Karl is originally from New Hampshire and extensively fished the Upper Connecticut as well.
The Chattooga is big, remote water. It is heavily stocked by South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources with brook, rainbow, and brown trout. There is also a healthy population of wild ‘bows and browns, mostly at its upper reaches.
It wasn’t long before we got into some fish, mostly rainbows. Since the state stocks all sizes in this stretch, we tied into a diverse array of fish. All of them fought incredibly hard in the cold, clear water.
The real winners of the day were a 13″ bow I caught while nymphing and the 15″+ female brookie Colby caught on a dry (in December!).
For the most part, nymphing won the day. Streamers and dries also produced to a certain extent.
Fly selection was tough to narrow down. Stoneflies, zebra midges, scuds, prince nymphs, and jig-style pheasant tails all produced. However, all my fish took only when the stonefly was rigged on top regardless of the bottom fly. Any other combination failed to produce.
Maybe the larger stonefly attracted the fish?