The Chattooga River

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?

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5 thoughts on “The Chattooga River

  1. Ashu, thanks for sharing your trout fishing trip down south. As time goes on I like my chances better having two nymphs on, or a dry and a dropper. I think the two flies does increase one’s chances to connect. That brook trout is a real chunk!

    1. Thank you Sam! I agree with you. I have personally done better once I started fishing with two flies. Occasionally I still fish one fly set ups, particularly when I break the dropper off on really cold days or if I’m nymphing really shallow water where a dropper is apt to snag bottom.

  2. Haha! Same for me. This time of year Ashu, I typically start off with a dropper pre-tied at the house, but once that dropper gets broken off or in the way (tangled), that is the end of it for me and I fish the duration with just the one fly. I am aiming to hit Bondsville this weekend despite predicted high wind. A weighted nymph or split shot usually lets me get the fly out there.

    1. Thanks Joe! You would have a ball at the Chattooga. The delayed harvest section is good and I’ve heard of good wild brown trout fishing above Burrell’s Ford. That would be a great place to use your streamer rig.

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