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Catch More Fish by the Moon

leah kirk


Anglers  are always looking for the best places and time to go fishing. Fishing is usually fun no matter what, but it’s always more fun when you have a successful catch, right?There are a variety of factors that affect fish activity and behavior, from the tides to the time of the day to the temperature to the weather conditions to the seasons.

But one more factor that many people believe play a role in how fish act and behave is the moon.  This is the result of solunar theory, which is basically the hypothesis that the moon can predict the movement of fish (as well as animals for hunting).

The idea was first written by John Alden Knight in 1926 in Florida.  Anglers there told Knight that they were able to catch more fish depending on the position of the moon. Knight dived into what he had been told and tried to explore it from a scientific perspective.  The result was solunar theory, and he argued that the moon (along with the tides and the sunrise and sunset) played the biggest role in fish behavior.

To be more specific, Knight argued that the two periods where the fish are the most active is when the moon sets and rises, as well as in two minor periods midway between the major periods.  He also claimed to have discovered that ninety percent of all catches would happen during a new moon, and he used tables to show the best times for each day of the year.

Many anglers to this day will use the solunar forecast to determine when the most productive times will be to fish, and hunters will use it for animals as well. With the introduction of smartphone apps that deliver a wide range of specific fishing features, many anglers are turning to solunar forecast as a way to help their users get on the fish faster. One of the best options out there is the FishAngler app. FishAngler’s feature rich Solunar Forcast section delivers the goods in an easy to navigate interface. The fishing forecast basically shows anglers when the fish are likely to be more active, therefore increasing your odds of getting more bites.

Here is an example screenshot of the solunar fishing forecast from FishAngler that shows a major activity period.

Anglers are always looking for the best places and time to go fishing. Fishing is usually fun no matter what, but it’s always more fun when you have a successful catch, right? There are a variety of factors that affect fish activity and behavior, from the tides to the time of the day to the temperature to the weather conditions to the seasons.

But one more factor that many people believe play a role in how fish act and behave is the moon.  This is the result of the solunar theory, which is basically the hypothesis that the moon can predict the movement of fish (as well as animals and people).


leah kirk

The 10th Annual WNC Fly Fishing Expo is set for Nov. 30th - Dec. 1st 2018 in the Expo Building at the WNC Agricultural Center in Asheville, NC. Over 60 booths of fly fishing industry businesses under one roof. Hours for the 10th Annual WNC Fly Fishing Expo will be Friday, Nov. 30th from 12pm to 7pm and Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9am to 4pm. Tickets are $15 at the door for adults and free for children 16 years of age and younger. Special promotion: Friday’s ticket purchase is good for Saturday too!

Reasons to come to the WNC Fly Fishing Expo, all included in the price of admission:

Regional Speakers to share their knowledge of fly fishing tactics.

Beginner Fly Fishing Classes and Instruction for every level: Learn the basics of fly fishing.

Fly Casting instruction: From learning how to cast a fly rod to improve upon your skill level, certified casting instructors will be available to talk with you and show you how free of charge.

Gear Demos: Dozens of fly rods and fly lines will be available for you to try out on the indoor casting pond at any time.

Learn fly fishing techniques to target Smallmouth bass, Carp, Musky, Stripers and saltwater species.

Fly Tying Clinics: From the Novice to Advanced, tyers will be available to help you sharpen your skills

Meet Fly shops from around the region: Every fly shop has a niche and this expo gives you the opportunity to meet all of them under one roof.

Gear Manufactures: Reps will be showing the latest innovations in fly fishing gear.

Find special deals on everything fly fishing!

Great food and beer

Inspiring fly fishing films

Meet the areas fly fishing organizations: Casting Carolinas, Project Healing Waters, Trout Unlimited and many more. Western North Carolina has one of the most diverse fly fishing communities in the country due to its abundance of angling opportunities. From trout to bass in rivers and lakes, there’s something for every style of fly fishing. Limited vendor and advertising opportunities are available. Contact Alan Kirkpatrick, Director - at or cell) 828-712-7774

Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival

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The 19th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival will be held at The Meadow Events Park, just a few miles outside of Richmond, Virginia, on January 12-13, 2019. #VAFlyFishingFestival

The Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival is the largest event of its kind in the country. Nowhere else can anglers learn about the quiet sport in such a beginner-friendly environment. Our unique event combines fine wine tasting, microbrewery beer, and everything you ever wanted to know about fly fishing but were afraid to ask.

The mission of the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival is to introduce as many people to the sport of fly fishing as possible, and raise the level of awareness to the many pressing conservation issues facing Virginia. Bring your family, relax, take a casting class, and pick up a new sport that the entire family can enjoy. Festival attendees listen to lectures from various experts and practice hands-on skills at the two-day, family-friendly event. Several wineries from throughout the Old Dominion provide free wine tastings for those 21 and older.

Last year’s festival enjoyed record turnout, and the event was flooded with children. Be sure to check out our expanded kayak demonstration area. Yes, you can try before you buy on our kayak/SUPB demo pond. Those who have enjoyed the outdoor festival environment for years can rest easy: Although the new facility will enable all vendors to be under roof, the events center is surrounded by extensive grounds suitable for outdoor classes and wine tastings.

Move Growing to Make WV’s New River Gorge a National Park

leah kirk


In recent weeks, resolutions calling for changing the New River Gorge’s designation from national river to national park — while not changing the way it currently operates — have been approved by city and county governments, tourism agencies and development boards along the 53-mile-long stretch of parkland.

Entities signing on to the name-change idea, being advanced by a group of whitewater outfitters, so far include:Fayette, Raleigh, Summers and Nicholas county commissions, the cities of Beckley, Hinton, Summersville and Fayetteville, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, West Virginia Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, and the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association.

Since its creation in 1978, the New River Gorge National River has been managed by the National Park Service, which helped develop the Gorge into a major destination for whitewater riders, rock climbers, mountain bikers, hikers, hunters, anglers, birders, view seekers, and BASE jumpers.

“We see bringing national park status to the New River Gorge as an economic development tool,” said Dave Arnold of Adventures on the Gorge, among the outfitters seeking the name change. “It’s the best way we have to bring more people here and jump-start the next round of activity.”

According to a research paper done in May by Headwaters Economics for a proposal to make New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument a national park, eight national monuments that were re-designated national parks during the past five years experienced average visitor growth of 21 percent.

The number of overnight visits and the amount of visitor spending in the parks and in nearby communities also increased after being re-designated as national parks, producing a related increase in jobs. The study credited the national park brand for producing quality visitor experiences with the increased visitation.

“National Park designations are reserved for areas with truly remarkable qualities that signify to travelers that they are rewarding destinations,” said David Brown, vice president of government affairs for America Outdoors Association, a trade organization for outdoor adventure outfitters.

The brightly-colored copperhead, which is common everywhere (and responsible for the majority of bites). Some belief snakes only bite to defend themselves as a last resort. When threatened, they prefer to escape or to remain still, blending in with their surroundings. But if they decide to bite, they can move lightning-fast.

According to Dr. Christopher Holstege, medical director of the poison center, many snake bites happen when the victim is taunting or trying to catch or kill the snake.

“If you see a snake,” he advises, “back up. Stay away from it. Don’t jab at it with a stick or try to kill it. Just go around it.” The poison center recommends additional tips to avoid a bite: Wear boots when walking in tall grass, leafy forests, or other snake habitats. Sandals or bare feet put you at potential risk.

Also, snakes are attracted to areas that provide them with cover and shelter. Remove log or trash piles close to your house. Keep the grass or other vegetation near your house closely mowed or trimmed.

If someone is bitten by a venomous snake — stay calm. Deaths from copperhead or rattlesnake bites are extremely rare. The most important action is to get the victim to a healthcare facility as soon as possible so they can receive medical care for the pain, swelling, and other symptoms.

If possible, wash the bite wound with soap and water, and remove any tight clothing or jewelry to allow for swelling, which may be severe. Dr. Holstege advises: “Don’t believe what you see in the movies! There are many myths and folk remedies which have not been shown to have any beneficial effect on the victim’s outcome and in fact may cause more harm.”

In other words, do not apply a tourniquet; do not apply ice or use an ice bath; do not cut the wound; do not use any form of suction; do not give the victim alcohol or drugs; do not give the victim an electric shock.

“The doctor does not need to see the snake in order to treat you. All venomous snake bites in Virginia are treated with the same antivenom, if necessary,” the doctor adds.

Of course, if someone had killed the snake before it bites you, none of the above applies. An ounce of lead used in prevention is worth more than money can buy.

Georgia Grand Slam Bass Update

leah kirk

While subspecies of black bass are not trout, the state of Georgia is doing a good job of promoting this resource the statewide Bass Slam. Many of the subspecies recognized by the program are stream dwellers, sorta like kissing cousins of trout. The following species qualify for the Grand Slam recognition.











Due to their similarities, largemouth bass and Florida largemouth bass will be considered the same species.
**Alabama bass and Kentucky bass will be considered the same species—these two are commonly known as spotted bass. These bass are similar in physical appearance and often hybridize, producing intergrades that can only be distinguished through genetic analysis.



Successful “Slam” Anglers

2018 Georgia Bass Slam Anglers:

David Hampton (5 species caught): Bartram's, Chattahoochee, Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted

Brandon Myers (5 species caught): Largemouth, Redeye, Shoal, Smallmouth, Spotted

Alex Weissman (6 species caught): Bartram's, Largemouth, Redeye, Shoal, Smallmouth, Spotted

John Eve (8 species caught): Altamaha, Bartram's, Chattahoochee, Largemouth, Redeye, Shoal, Smallmouth, Spotted

Carl Garofalo (5 species caught): Bartram's, Largemouth, Shoal, Smallmouth, Spotted

Sam Boswell (6 species caught): Bartram's, Chattahoochee, Largemouth, Shoal, Smallmouth, Spotted

Andrew Savage (5 species caught): Chattahoochee, Largemouth, Redeye, Shoal, Spotted

Rhonda Phillips (6 species caught): Altamaha, Chattahoochee, Largemouth, Redeye, Shoal, Smallmouth, Spotted, Tallapoosa

Mike Mooney (5 species caught): Bartram's, Largemouth, Redeye, Smallmouth, Spotted

Wesley Daniels (7 species caught): Altamaha, Bartram's, Chattahoochee, Largemouth, Shoal, Smallmouth, Spotted

Blake Smith (5 species caught): Bartram's, Chattahoochee, Largemouth, Shoal, Spotted

A plan to make New River Gorge National River a full-fledged national park is gaining momentum in communities surrounding the 72,808-acre tract of canyons, cliffs, whitewater rapids and wooded plateaus.

NC’s Delayed Harvest Trout Water Regulations Begin Oct. 1

leah kirk


RALEIGH, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2018) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will implement Delayed Harvest Trout Waters regulations on 36 trout waters in 20 western North Carolina counties on Oct. 1. Prior to Oct. 1, Hatchery Supported Trout Waters regulations apply to these waters.

Under Delayed Harvest Trout Waters regulations, no trout can be harvested or possessed from these waters between Oct. 1 and one half-hour after sunset on May 31, 2019. No natural bait may be possessed, and anglers can fish only with artificial lures with one single hook. An artificial lure is defined as a fishing lure that neither contains nor has been treated with any substance that attracts fish by the sense of taste or smell.

The Wildlife Commission stocks Delayed Harvest Trout Waters from fall through spring with high densities of trout to increase anglers’ chances of catching fish. Delayed Harvest Trout Waters, posted with diamond-shaped, black-and-white signs, are popular fishing destinations for anglers who enjoy catch-and-release trout fishing. The Commission reminds anglers fishing Delayed Harvest Trout Waters to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species, such as whirling disease, gill lice and didymo

For a complete list of Delayed Harvest Trout Waters, stocking dates, information on regulations and trout fishing maps, visit the Commission’s trout fishing page.

America’s Sporting Heritage Fuels Nation’s Economy

leah kirk


With countless places to roam and enjoy the great outdoors, Americans are taking advantage of these opportunities, and as they go, spending significant dollars, too. New economic reports by Southwick Associates reveal that more than 53 million Americans consider themselves sportsmen, spending over $93.5 billion in 2016 on gear, licenses, travel, clothing, gas and more.

A series of reports released yesterday by the American Sportfishing Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation show that expenditures made in 2016 for hunting, target shooting and sport fishing gear and services supported 1.6 million jobs and provided $72 billion in salaries and wages. These monies also generated nearly $20 billion in local, state and federal taxes. Much of this tax revenue benefits vital conservation and educational programs that improve our outdoor areas for all who enjoy them and make hunting and shooting safer activities.

“If hunting, fishing and target shooting were a corporation, it would rank #25 on the Fortune 500, ahead of Microsoft,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates. “While time spent outside may come across as something to do after the real work day is done, in reality, hunting, fishing and target shooting is a critical industry, generating jobs and income for thousands of communities across the country.”

Key highlights of the reports include:

Each year, 35.8 million people 16 years and older take to America’s waters to fish.

More than 28 million people over 16 years old took to our nation’s forests and gun ranges to hunt and target shoot in 2016.

The number of people who participate in sportfishing, hunting and target shooting represents 16.5 percent of the total U.S. population.

When factoring in multiplier effects, spending by sportsmen created economic activity in excess of $220 billion.

Hunting, fishing, and shooting adds $119 billion of overall value to our nation’s gross domestic product and generates $17.6 billion in federal taxes and $12.2 billion in state and local taxes.

Bloede Dam Removal Begins

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 “Water is life, and healthy rivers are absolutely vital to our health, economy, and communities,” said Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers. “Today, we’re celebrating a new chapter for the Patapsco and all of the people who depend on this river. This is one of the most significant dam removal and river restoration projects in the country. We applaud the exemplary leadership from the state of Maryland and the collaboration and dedication of many public and private partners.”

“Today marks a major milestone in the reclamation and restoration of the Patapsco River,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “With the removal of Bloede Dam from within Patapsco Valley State Park, we return a river to its natural flow and state, enhance fish migration and passage, improve water quality in its banks and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, and better protect and serve our guests and patrons. Many thanks to all of our partners and stakeholders, especially American Rivers.”

Bloede Dam has served no functional purpose for decades and has posed a serious public safety hazard in Patapsco Valley State Park. There have been a number of injuries and deaths, with at least nine dam-related deaths since the 1980s, the most recent of which occurred in June 2015. Keeping the dam in place also would have been costly to taxpayers — at least $1 million would have been needed for repairs to comply with Maryland dam safety requirements.

In addition to eliminating the public safety risk, dam removal will give a tremendous boost to the health of the river ecosystem, including fisheries critical to the food web of the Chesapeake Bay. Bloede Dam serves as the first barrier on the Patapsco River blocking migratory fish swimming to and from the bay. Its removal is the linchpin of a decades-long restoration effort that also included the removal of Simkins Dam (2010) and Union Dam (2011). Removal of Bloede Dam will restore more than 65 miles of spawning habitat for blueback herring, alewife, American shad, and hickory shad in the watershed, and more than 183 miles for American eel.

“The removal of Bloede Dam would not be possible without long-term partnerships among National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the State of Maryland, and American Rivers,” said Stuart Levenbach, Chief of Staff for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “This project exemplifies the multiple benefits of habitat restoration. Together, we will remove unnecessary and unsafe structures while enhancing the natural resiliency of the Patapsco River Valley to benefit local communities, and restore 65 miles of spawning habitat for species like herring, shad and eel.”

The benefits of the project extend beyond the river environment to coastal habitats, where sediment carried by the river will replenish marshes and beaches, making the coast more resilient to extreme storms.

“We’re proud to work with our partners to restore the natural flow of the Patapsco River,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber. “Free-flowing rivers create healthier coastal habitats for migratory fish and other wildlife and enhance recreational opportunities and public safety for nearby communities. What’s good for nature is good for people, too.”

Since Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast in 2012, the service has helped fund 30 coastal resilience projects in 11 states, using more than $100 million from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. Twelve dam removals have restored nearly 100 miles of river to their natural state.

Following the initial blast of explosives to breach the dam, crews will continue demolition work for the next three months. The site will remain closed to the public until July 2019. Removal of Bloede Dam was made possible through a partnership of American Rivers, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Friends of the Patapsco Valley State Park, as well as monitoring partners U.S. Geological Survey, Maryland Biological Stream Survey, Maryland Geological Survey and University of Maryland Baltimore County.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $17.3 million. Funding for the project has come from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, MDOT SHA, NOAA, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Coca-Cola Foundation and Keurig-Green Mountain

Fly Tyers Weekend 2018

leah kirk

Fly Tyers Weekend 2018.jpg

Fly Tyers Weekend 2018 will be held Saturday and Sunday, October 27 and 28. This year's event will be held at Little River Outfitters in Townsend. More than 40 of the southeast's best fly tyers will be on hand demonstrating everything from tiny midges to large saltwater patterns. This weekend to be held October 27 & 28, at our fly shop and fly fishing school in Townsend, Tennessee. This gathering of legendary fly tyers, their exhibits and demonstrations will delight both seasoned and novice tyers. With more than 40 tyers providing instruction, the LRO Fly Tyers Weekend is one of the largest gatherings of tyers in the Eastern United States… and it's FREE.

Come learn how to tie freshwater and saltwater flies alike. These experts will share their experiences as well as tips on how and where to get the best results from fishing their flies. Demonstrations will be held both days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Food will be available for purchase on site, provided by the local group of Casting For Recovery members.

While the main events are held under canopy outdoors, there will be the option to browse LRO’s more than 7,000 square feet of indoor retail space and see their abundant selection of tying materials, fly rods, reels, lines and accessories. Their knowledgeable staff will be on hand to answer any questions about equipment and/or fly fishing tactics.

Little River Outfitters is located near the entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which offers an ideal setting for this anglers’ event. Freestone trout streams, tailwaters warmwater lowland rivers and even lake fishing abound here and October is an excellent month to fish them. Early lodging reservations are suggested for this busy time of the year.

Breaking News: SOLAREZ UV Revolution World Tour Contest

leah kirk


On September 30, 2018, Solarez, in partnership with Southern Trout and Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing magazines, Dr. Slick Fly Tying Tools, and FlyTyer Magazine will launch The Solarez UV Revolution World Tour.   Rock Concerts?  NO.  Instead, an awareness program exploring all of the different types of flies that can be tied with Solarez UV Resins

So, just what is this Solarez UV Revolution World Tour?  It is a contest and social media tour directed at the fly tying and fly fishing world that will generate awareness and the unique application value of using Solarez in constructing flies.  This program will run from September 30, 2018 through April 1, 2019 and will create an opportunity for fly tiers from all over the world to showcase their fly tying abilities. 

REQUIREMENTS:  Tiers will be required to post a photo of their fly with an accompanying Solarez UV Product and pattern ingredients for the fly on one of the four Solarez Facebook pages: North America, Europe, Australia or New Zealand the entrant geographically belongs to. Posts that do not include the Solarez product with fly and pattern will be deleted immediately.  Only those posts meeting the requirements will remain.  

So, what happens next?  

The top 5 contributors with the most FB  ‘likes’ at the end of each month will receive a  t-shirt and an additional 5 t-shirts will be awarded via a random drawing from those who posted likes. Drawings will be held on last day of each month and winners will be announced during the first week of the following month.  (all t-shirts will be size XL to manage inventory)

.* On October 1, the first drawing will be from individuals who ‘like’ the Solarez Page from September 19-September 30. This contest will be announced ‘softly’ via Solarez FB pages, shares, and Pro Team Members and partner posts

The following month (October will set the stage for Nov. Dec. Jan, Feb and last one in Mar. for a total of 7 months in each geographical area) will start the process all over again until final drawing will be held on April 1.  TWO (2) GRAND PRIZES, will be randomly drawn from tyers who have submitted flies for the World Tour and all those who have provided likes.

Votes will only be collected for flies posted on Solarez FB pages.  Contributor flies will be shared with Partner FB pages. Partners will also be encouraged to offer monthly prizes from random drawings from monthly ‘likers’ of their own individual FB pages.  Winners will be shared/posted on all Solarez FB pages. 

Southern Trout and Southern Saltwater magazines will be featuring some Pro Team and consumer flies in each issue over the next 6 months. Or course, they will be respective of either trout or saltwater patterns. 

Dr. Slick will provide flytying tools monthly. 

Flytyer Magazine will be supporting this tour program by highlighting flies. 

We here at STM and SSFF magazines are honored to having been asked to participate in this unique challenge and look forward to our participation. The next covers of STM and SSFF reflect our commitment to making this contest a great success.  It is proof that we have had an impact on fly fishing beyond the south land. Thank you Solarez and good luck with making the contest a resounding success.

The Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Challenge

leah kirk

Now in its fifth year, The Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Challenge is an annual fly fishing tournament and banquet held to support Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and the thousands of injured and disabled veterans the organization serves annually.  It will be held October 5-6, 2018 at The Jackson Terminal in Knoxville, TN.

The weekend begins with the Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Banquet on Friday, October 5, 2018.  You don’t need to be a fly fisher to enjoy the banquet! The evening will feature presentations, silent auction items, a live auction, great food, and a cash bar.

Saturday, October 6th  will see fly fishing tournament action, as twelve injured and disabled veterans participants from around the Tennessee Valley will be paired for some of the areas best guides on the famed Clinch River for a great day fishing for brown trout, brook trout, and rainbow trout.

The veteran competitors will be joined by past years veteran alumni at the Banquet for an evening of great fun in support of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and the thousands of veterans the organization serves annually.

Overmountain TU’s First Annual Throwdown

leah kirk

Just for the fun of it, Overmountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited is hosting a fly casting competition—the Tennessee Throwdown, on Saturday, Oct. 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Winged Deer Park, 209 Carroll Creek Road, Johnson City.

Contestants are asked to take their own 9-foot 5-weight rods with typical 5-weight floating line, to be used in the accuracy part of the competition. For the distance contest, a designated rod will be provided.

Cost is $5; the Throwdown is open to anyone 17 or older, but advance registration is required. Two of the 30 contest spots are reserved for each of the eight TU chapters in Tennessee. To sign up, click here. The money will be collected later. For more information, click here.

After the competition, lunch will be provided and awards will be presented; the event will end at 3. If you have any questions, please contact Jeff Wright at or (636) 734-2055.

Meet Bill Freccia, NC’s Pechmann’s Fishing Education Center

leah kirk

Meet Bill Freccia, NC’s Pechmann’s Fishing Education Center.jpg

Bill Feccia is a longtime volunteer Fly-fishing instructor at the Pechmann Fishing Education Center who has donated nearly 600 hours during his more than 12 years of service in providing instruction to beginning fly anglers. When not fly-fishing or volunteering at the Pechmann Center, Bill also enjoys model railroading, kayaking, boating, and traveling. Bill’s favorite movie quote is attributed to Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca which he says, “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Volunteers are the backbone of the Pechmann Center's programs and we recognize Bill for his long-term commitment and dedication in sharing his passion for fishing with thousands of beginning fly-fishing enthusiasts. Also, we thank him for being such a valuable part of the Pechmann Center team who simply set out to make a difference for strangers and for our wild resources. The upcoming fly fishing event at the center:

Introduction to Fly Casting

10/9/2018 6PM-9PM

The Pechmann Fishing Education Center’s Introductory Fly-casting Course is designed as a fun and easy way for beginning fly anglers to give fly-casting a try.

Family Fishing Workshop

10/10/2018 6PM-8: 30 PM

If you have never gone fishing before, this workshop will help get everyone started on the path to creating an outdoor adventure and cherished fishing memories.

Kayak Fishing Workshop

10/13/2018 10AM-4PM

Participants will learn the basics of kayak fishing including choosing a boat, required equipment, outfitting, and rigging, tackle/gear selection and safety.

Fly-Tying Forum

10/25/2018 6:30PM-8: 30 PM

Open to fly-tiers of all skill levels, the fly patterns change each month as a way to encourage learning various new tying techniques and development of tying skills.

Virginia Trout Regulations Update

leah kirk

Virginia Trout Regulations Update.jpg

The printed version of the digest has incorrect information for the 2018 Trout Heritage Waters. The fee fishing areas are closed to angling from April 2-6. Heritage Waters are closed on Friday, April 6th. On April 7, fishing can begin at 9:00 a.m.

A trout license is not required to fish designated stocked trout waters during Free Fishing Days, June 1-3, 2018.

Waters announced for the 2018 Youth-only Stocked Trout Program.

Cook Lake (Alexandria), Hearthstone Lake (Augusta Co.) and Swift Run (Greene Co.) will not be stocked in 2018.

Big Tumbling Creek Seasonal Catch and Release Area. This section will be managed as a stocked catch and release area during the period that the Fee Area is not in operation. Catchable-sized trout will be stocked during this period and anglers may fish with artificial lures only. No trout or bait may be in possession while fishing this area.

NC’s Headwaters State Forest Opens

leah kirk

NC’s Headwaters State Forest Opens.jpg

The official unveiling Thursday of Headwaters State Forest, North Carolina’s newest swath of conservation land. The forest sprawls across 6,730 acres through mixed hardwood forest surrounding the French Broad River headwaters.

It’s not every day such a large parcel of undeveloped property is added to public conservation lands. Headwaters is now the 10th forest managed by the North Carolina Forest Service, a division of N.C. Department of Agriculture. The last established was DuPont State Recreational Forest in 2000.

Headwaters range from about 2,000 to 3,600 feet in elevation and are crisscrossed with streams, waterfalls, and hiking trails near the South Carolina border. It will help preserve and maintain water quality in the headwaters of the French Broad River, which flows 218 miles from Transylvania County into Tennessee.

The newly established Headwaters State Forest covers 6,730 acres in Transylvania County. The land deal leading to Headwaters creation has been nearly a decade in the making. Efforts to protect the area began in 2009 when The Conservation Fund worked with N.C. Forest Service and Conserving Carolina, a Hendersonville-based land trust, to negotiate a contract to purchase up to 8,000 acres for the state in a sale from former Congressman Charles Taylor and his family.

N.C. Forest Service partnered with Conserving Carolina and The Conservation Fund to acquire the land. Funding for the acquisitions came through N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, former N.C. Natural Heritage Trust Fund and the U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program, which is funded by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“Headwaters State Forest is a classic example of the importance of the 50-year-old fund, and how local economies can benefit,” said Jay Leutze, president of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in Asheville, a member of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition.

The parcel includes a driving tour through the new forest. It includes the now-under-construction Sassafras Mountain Observation Platform, on the 3,553-foot-high summit just off the Foothills Trail, with views sweeping across the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway, as far as Mount Pisgah, as well as into South Carolina and Lake Jocassee.

 “It’s the headwaters of the French Broad River, a drinking water source, and a recreation source,” Cheek said. “There are 60 miles of streams that all flow into the French Broad. Protecting the headwaters is the most important aspect of protecting the forest.”

In addition to filtering water to keep it clean for drinking, tubing or floating, the streams on the property are now open to trout fishing, and form at least 25 waterfalls, three of which are named – Gravely Mill, East Fork Falls and Reese Place Falls.

There are some 25 miles of old roads and trails, including 9 miles of the Foothills Trail. The forest is not open to mountain bikes or horseback riders. Camping is not allowed. One of the main access points is the White Oak Bridge Access off Glady Fork Road, about 10 miles south of Brevard, which leads to the 40-foot-high Gravely Mill Falls.

This is a no-frills forest. It will remain pretty much in its current state. While some parking areas are planned, there will not be any structures such as visitor centers or bathrooms that can be found in DuPont or Holmes State Educational Forest, Cheek said and will be managed differently than those forests. The mission of Headwaters State Forest is to manage the lands to provide high-quality water, natural resources, forest products, dispersed recreation opportunities, and education.

MD Fall Trout Stocking Begins in September

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`The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will stock thousands of brown, golden and rainbow trout in select creeks, lakes, and rivers from mid-September through the end of October. Depending on location, anglers can expect this year’s trout to range in size from one to 2 pounds.

This year, anglers can also claim bragging rights if they catch some of the larger trophy-sized trout – about 3 pounds – that will also be stocked.

“We really want the fall trout season to be a memorable one,” Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer said. “Whether you’re fishing alone or with friends or family, your fishing trip shouldn’t be just about the size of your catch, but about the experience.”

Some stocked streams have seasonal restrictions so anglers should consult the 2018-2019 Maryland Guide to Fishing and Crabbing for all regulations and restrictions.

Stocking dates, times and locations are chosen based on temperatures, water flow, and weather conditions, and are subject to change.

Breaking news: North Georgia Soque River Update

leah kirk

blackhawk update.jpg

I called my old friend Abby Jackson at Blackhawk Fly Fishing to book a trout trip for Lou West, Claude Preston, and myself. I’ve known and liked Abby since before Southern Trout launched a-half-a-dozen years ago, Yet, I wasn’t afforded the pleasure of fishing Blackhawk’s portion of the Soque River. The Soque River, a small winding river that runs down from the Blue Ridge Mountains  past the northern Georgia town of Clarkesville, is perhaps one of the best-kept secrets in the angling world today. If tangling with trout in the 3 lb. to 12 lb. class appeals to you, you'll love the action at Blackhawk,--a stretch of the lovely Soque that runs through private land.

               Our band of three is cocked and locked for the overnight trip there. Unlike most summers when dry summers shut down the Soque to trophy fishing, 2018 has been quite wet. The additional water has the big brown and rainbow trout in robust condition. Although it is strictly “catch and release,” these wild trout are brawlers, and they can be tough to stick. The trip is just the medicine we three amigos need before frost sets in.



Zebra Mussels in AR’s White River

leah kirk

        “This week, while working on Bull Shoals Tailwater, Arkansas Fisheries Biologist Christy Graham says “We confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in the river.  Zebra mussels are an invasive species that have been present in Bull Shoals Lake since at least 2008, so their spread to the river is not a complete surprise. “

       “The number of zebra mussels appears highest directly below the dam, but we have already found them up to 8 miles below the dam.  As we continue to do work this fall, we will look in additional areas further downstream. Zebra mussels are small and hatchet-shaped with alternating light and dark bands (see attached picture).  They can attach to any hard surface, including boats, motors, and docks.  On the lake, some boat owners have found them inside their lower units, which may be of concern to your resort and dock owners who leave your boats in the water.  

         “Since zebra mussels were found on the lake, the district biologists have not documented any negative effects on the fish populations and we do not expect to see a negative effect on the trout populations either. However, due to the negatives from an aesthetic and maintenance standpoint, I would like to encourage you all to be vigilant in your efforts to prevent further spread of this invasive species to other waterbodies (such as Norfork Tailwater)” says Graham.

          They can be transported from one body of water to another through boats, trailers and other fishing equipment (i.e., waders, nets, etc.) and can stay alive for days in moist, dark live-wells and bilge areas.  Although the adults are obvious to the naked eye, the larval form of zebra mussels, called veligers, are virtually impossible to see without a microscope. Therefore, it is important to follow these tips in order to prevent the spread of both adult and larval zebra mussels (as well as other invasive species):

Clean boats, trailers, and other equipment thoroughly between fishing trips with 1) hot soapy water; 2) a high-pressure washer; or 3) or a light bleach solution (1 cup bleach to 10 gallons water);

Let boats, trailers and other equipment fully dry for 4 to 6 hours, preferably in the sun; be sure to remove all vegetation attached to your boat or trailer;

Never move water, fish, or fish parts from one body of water to another;


leah kirk

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites veterans to fish for free Saturday, Sept. 8 at Montauk State Park’s Veterans’ Fishing Day event, 7:30 7:15 p.m. On this day, there will be no permit or daily tag fee required for veterans. Veterans can pick up their free daily trout tag at the tent in front of the Dorman L. Steelman Lodge on the evening of Sept. 7 (Friday) or any time on Saturday during the event.

Throughout this special day, veterans will be able to fish anywhere in the park. Adjacent to the fishing area, volunteers will be hosting a hospitality tent featuring fly-tying demos, lessons, casting instruction and the latest adaptive fishing equipment.

This event is sponsored by MDC and Montauk State Park. To get more information about the event, call the Montauk Hatchery at 573-548-2585 or e-mail Hatchery Manager Tom Whelan at (link sends e-mail).


leah kirk


Donavan Clary of Purcell has won two carp fly fishing tournaments in the past month in Texas. A carp fishing class and tournament will be held this month in Purcell to bring attention to Project Healing Waters.  Carp is called the poor man's bonefish. Many consider it a worthy target for a fly fisherman and will put up a fight equal to the tropical saltwater species.

Through social media, city officials in Purcell noticed he was catching carp on a fly rod and contacted him for advice on removing the overpopulated carp in the city lake. As a result, Clary is helping organize a carp fishing tournament on Sept. 22 at Purcell City Lake. In advance of the event, Clary and Nate Satterelli, president of the OKC Project Healing Waters chapter, are teaching a carp fishing class beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday in Purcell at the city lake's main pavilion.

Carp fishing is very popular in Europe, and many fly anglers in Texas have begun chasing carp, Clary said. "As far as fly fishing, there isn't a bigger challenge for a fly angler. Carp are smart, selective, and fight harder than any other freshwater fish."