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NC’s Pechmann Center Fishing Workshops

leah kirk

NC’s Pechmann Center Fishing Workshops.jpg

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 9, 2018) – The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center is offering five free fishing workshops for people of all ages and skill levels throughout the month of February. Online registration is required for the workshops, which are open on a first-come, first-served basis.

Feb. 17 – Level II Fly-Fishing Course from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to ages 13 and up, but participants under 16 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. This program takes participants beyond the basics and introduces intermediate fly-fishing and casting techniques. Participants in this clinic must have completed the Level I Fly-Fishing or Fly-Casting Discovery course prior to registration.

Feb. 22 – Fly-Tying Forum from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Open to ages 10 and up, but participants under 16 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The forum provides attendees the opportunity to increase their fly-tying skills. Participants are encouraged to use their own equipment, but limited equipment and materials are available upon request. Fly-tying forums occur on the fourth Thursday of each month.

Feb. 23 – Introduction to Kayak Fishing Level I from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Open to ages 16 and older. This free clinic is designed to give anglers and paddlers the information required to safely and successfully fish in sheltered waters from a kayak. In this classroom seminar, participants will learn the basics of kayak fishing including choosing a boat, required equipment, outfitting, and rigging, tackle/gear selection, and safety.

The John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center is located at 7489 Raeford Road in Fayetteville, across from Lake Rim. Commission staff at the Pechmann Center conducts fishing workshops, events, and clinics throughout the year. Most programs are free and open to the public. For more information on the Commission’s four wildlife education centers and other activities and events, visit


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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) says trout may be harvested from Rotary Lake in Jackson, Giessing Lake in Farmington and Legion Lake in Perryville beginning Feb. 1.

According to Mike Reed, MDC fisheries management biologist, fishing has been variable this winter due to weather extremes.

“If the lakes aren't frozen, we should have an excellent opener to the trout harvest season,” Reed said.

Reed said MDC stocked trout in November at the start of the catch-and-release season.

“These fish provide a tremendous amount of fishing opportunity through the fall and winter months when warm water fishing is at a lull,” Reed said, adding that in addition to catchable-size fish, a few “lunker” trout were also stocked at each lake.

Reed reminds anglers they must release trout caught now through Jan. 31.  Starting Feb. 1, any bait may be used and four trout may be kept regardless of size.  All anglers between the ages of 16 and 64 must have a valid Missouri fishing permit and any angler harvesting trout must possess a trout permit.

Many anglers frequently catch limits of trout using lightweight or ultra-light fishing tackle or fly tackle.  Reed recommends anglers use 2-4 lb. test line, small hooks and little or no added weight to their line. Popular baits include almost any type of small spinner, small crankbaits, natural baits such as worms and cheese and commercially produced dough baits.

For more information, contact the MDC’s Southeast Regional Office at (573) 290-5730 or go online to

The Fly Fishing School at Habersham Mills

leah kirk

Fly Fishing School at Habersham Mills.png

There still some availability slots for one of the best fly fishing schools in the country. Over the course of two days, participants will gain an understanding of basic fly fishing knowledge to help them get out on the water and be successful. If you or a friend are interested in fly fishing, this is a great way to shorten the learning curve and gain some knowledge of the sport. This school consists of two days, with the second day as an all-on-the-water fishing experience.

Located on a stunningly beautiful 50′ waterfall on the Soque River in north Georgia, Habersham Mills provides an outstanding venue for fly-fishing. The river is perfect and the fish are trophy-size. The water varies in type, ranging from flat slow water to big fast water, with shoals and deep pools. It can be fished from the bank or by wading the shallower runs. Channels below the falls offer narrow mountain-type runs.

Lodging is available on site and the mill property is quite remarkable.

The Schedule

The class is on Saturday and Sunday and runs from 9 am until 5 pm. Lunch is provided. We spend a majority of our time on the water, with just enough roundtable discussion to answer your questions and give you a foundation in the basics.

Day 1 – Saturday – We’ll start the day in the old Habersham post office or, depending on the weather, the screen porch overlooking the river. We cover basics, then move to the grass to practice the cast. After lunch, we’ll learn to tie the essential knots and then finish the day on the water, putting new skills to work while fishing for the big beautiful Soque trout. 

The HM Fly Fishing Manual is provided for all students...

Day  2 – Sunday – We’ll be on the water gaining practical experience and catching fish. Depending on weather and water conditions, we’ll likely fish at Unicoi Outfitters private trophy water on the upper Chattahoochee.

The Staff

The best schools attract the best instructors, and Habersham has two of the most respected in the country. This joint effort between Jimmy Harris, Kent Edmonds, and Habersham Mills brings you two guides who are probably responsible for teaching the sport of fly fishing to more people than the rest of the guides in the state combined.

Jimmy Harris owns and operates Unicoi Outfitters in Helen, the oldest outfitter service in the state and one of its best fly shops. Unicoi is listed by Yellow Dog Fly Fishing travel company as a top destination. He was a contributing author to the recent book, “50 Best Tailwaters To Fly Fish.” Jimmy has fished all over the world, including Patagonia where he hosts annual trips for his customers.

Kent Edmonds is a fly fishing guide and instructor (FlyFishGA). A long-time trout angler, Kent now specializes in shoal bass and striped bass on the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers. His fly designs are licensed by two fly-tying companies and his flies are distributed worldwide. Kent has written for and been written about in numerous national and regional fishing magazines. He was the 2013 SE Federation of Fly Fishers Instructor of the Year.

Bob Cain had the inspiration for the fly fishing program at Habersham Mills. Bob is an award-winning architect (, He is also a fly angler. His vision for Habersham Mill included trout fishing in the beautiful Soque river, so he contacted the two best guides he knew from his years of fishing Georgia waters for help in designing the program. Bob is justly proud of his architectural accomplishments, but he has no pride when it comes to fish that will eat a fly.

2018 Georgia Fishing Regulations Now Available

leah kirk

2018 Georgia Fishing Regulations Now Available.jpg

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division has announced that all necessary information concerning 2018 fishing in Georgia is available in the new Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide.  Any angler that is looking for new places to fish, changes to laws and regulations or other information should begin with this publication. Our biologists and staff do their best to make sure this guide has the most current and accurate information, and anglers can easily access it online, from our Outdoors Georgia app or in the printed copy.

Helpful information provided by the 2018 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide includes color fish identification charts for both freshwater and saltwater fish; license purchasing information; contact information for Wildlife Resources Division and Coastal Resources Division fisheries management offices, as well as DNR law enforcement offices; trout stream listings; public fishing area information; state record fish listings; fishing regulations for Georgia; and more.

You can find the 2018 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide here or through the free Outdoors GA app (for iPhone or Android users). A printed copy can be picked up at any Georgia Wildlife Resources Division fisheries management office or DNR law enforcement office, or at fishing license vendors throughout Georgia.

Rapidan TU Fishing Show

leah kirk

Rapidan TU Fishing Show.jpg

The 30th Annual Rapidan TU Fishing Show will be held Feb. 17, 2018 9:00 M TO 4:00 PM at Highland School; 597 Broadview Ave; Warrenton, VA.  The event features vendors offering modern and antique fishing tackle, guided trips, flies, art, seminars, fishing equipment, and beginner and advanced fly tying,

Admission for adults is $5.00 with children under 12—Free (credit cards accepted). There will be hourly door prizes and a Montana/Yellowstone Trip Raffle. The 2018 Premium Rod Raffle prizes include a  Custom Cane Rod-Blue Ridge Classic--7', 4wt, 2pc, 2 tips (CBogart); a Phillipson Vintage Bamboo Peerless Rod--7' 6", 5wt, 2pc, 2 tips (MMcCaffrey); a Tenkara Iwana 12' Outfit (TenkaraUSA); an  Orvis Clearwater Rod--9', 5wt, 4pc (MossyCreekFF) and a box of 100 Custom Flies (AHolmaas)

GSMNP Announces Fee Increases

leah kirk

GSMNP Fee Increases.jpg

Fees for front-country campgrounds and picnic pavilions in the Smokies will increase beginning March 1.The increase, which ranges from 10 to 15 percent, has been determined over the past year, after examining public comments, operating costs and projected budget levels, Park officials said in a release Tuesday.

“Park visitors have long enjoyed camping and picnicking across the Park in spectacular settings that offer space for relaxation and renewal,” Superintendent Cassius Cash said. “Maintaining and servicing these facilities in the mountains presents a unique set of challenges and, with increasing costs, these fee increases are necessary to ensure the continual care and operation of these special places.”

In addition, the Park is adding three campgrounds, Abrams Creek, Balsam Mountain and Big Creek, to the national reservation system through This move is made in hopes of improving efficiency. Starting in March 2018, all sites will require registration ahead of time, including payment, prior to arrival in the park. You will be able to do this through online or by phone.

The Park has not increased fees since 2006, apart from the Cataloochee Campground, which was increased in 2011. All camping and pavilion fees are retained by the Park. The fees go toward “maintaining buildings, grounds, utilities and providing visitor services,” according to the release.

Smith River Update

leah kirk

smith river update.jpg

“Healthy looking brown trout, some well beyond the 20-inch mark, have shown up in Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ samplings of the Smith River below Martinsville Dam. Notes Bill Cochran. Outdoor writers for the Roanoke Times.

DGIF has been moving small fish from the upper river to the lower river, and many of these are showing significant growth. Several thousand triploid (sterile) brown trout fingerling have been stocked and are beginning to show up in the samples. All this is occurring at a time when water releases into the Smith River from Philpott Reservoir are not ideal for trout or trout anglers. One of the dam’s turbines was ruined by fire and this has resulted in longer periods of generation and water release, resulting in difficult wading and increased sedimentation.

The ruined turbine is beyond repair and eventually will be replaced with new technology, but that could take years, said Chris Powell, the Corps of Engineers operations manager at Philpott. There are no plans for a weekend generation.

DGIF crews have not been able to sample the upstream section of the river, above Koehler, because flows aren’t high enough to float the sampling raft, but too high for wading.

Breaking News: Winner Announced For Elk Springs Lodge Trip

leah kirk

elk winner brian pendergrass.jpg

“Holy cow, are you kidding?” is a direct quote from the winner of the Elk River Resort, in Monterville, WV.  The giveaway was conducted last year. The winner of the two-day stay at the famous Elk Springs Lodge fly fishing resort is Brian Pendergrass of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Congratulations Brian.

               Elk Springs Resort is a fly fishing destination resort located on the banks of The Elk River

near the Randolph, Pocahontas County lines in West Virginia. It offers a premier Elk River guided trip for rainbow and brown trout as well as backcountry brook trout, smallmouth bass, and muskie trips. They also offer private lessons, group lessons and schools from beginners to advanced fly fishermen. Lodging and food are on premises as well as the largest fly shop in West Virginia. Their professional guides have many years of experience on the waters in West Virginia. For more call 304-339-2999.

               Again, congratulation Brian Pendergrass.

New UNI-Products

leah kirk


            UNI-Products, a world leader in the supply of spooled fly-tying materials, announces the addition of Mahogany to their very popular UNI-Thread 8/0 line. Mahogany adds to the versatility of the existing lineup: Black, Camel, Chartreuse, Dark Brown, Doctor Blue, Fire Orange, Fluorescent Green, Fluorescent Orange, Gray, Green, and Iron Gray. Light Cahill, Light Olive, Olive, Olive Dun, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Rusty Brown, Rusty Dun, Tan, White, Wine, and Yellow. Tiers now have twenty-six colors at their disposal to match the hatch or achieve the effect they want. Available on spools of 50 yards and 200 yards, waxed and un-waxed. Tiers can also take advantage of our popular 20-spool combo pack.

         UNI-Products has also announced the release of two new colors of the Axxel 6: Orange and Salmon to their very popular Axxel flash line. Axxel 6 is six narrow strands of flash material braided together and available on 7 yds spools. The two new colors Orange and Salmon adds to the versatility of the existing lineup:  Black, Brown, Copper, Fuchsia, Fuchsia-Blue, Gold, Green, Holographic Gold, Holographic Silver, Light Blue, Peacock, Pearl, Pink, Purple, Rainbow Black, Rainbow White, Red, Royal Blue, Silver and Silver Black. Tiers now have twenty-two colors at their disposal for creating attractive bodies, wings, and tails. Tiers can also take advantage of our popular 20-spool Axxel 6 combo pack.


            Look to UNI-Products for the best in spooled fly-tying materials and accessories.

Visit their website ( for information on all our products.


Little Missouri Fly Fishing Festival

leah kirk

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            The "Sixteenth Ever" Little Mo' Fly Fishing Festival will be February 16-18, 2018 at Murfreeboro, Arkansas (at  the Murfreesboro Municipal Building located one block east of the Pike County Court House Square on Main Street. Circle around the Court House and turn right after Hawkins Variety Store.)

Last the festival folks listened to AGFC's Trout Program Director Christy Graham in the past - new Little Mo' Fisheries Biologist Kris Nault will be there this year.  The cards and letters are coming from the list of fly tiers and presenters, otherwise known as "The Usual Suspects":

Confirmed so far...

Dick Waldrep - New Boston, TX

Gordon Shaw - Shreveport, LA

Tom Bullock - Shreveport, LA

Johnny McJunkins - Mineral Springs, AR

Larry Offner - Baton Rouge, LA

Eddie Driskill - Shreveport, LA

Ashley Berry - Little Rock, AR

Don Lawler - Shreveport, LA

Paul Lawler - Shreveport, LA

Bob and Sue Spangler - TX

Scott Irwin - Shreveport, LA

Glen "Catch" Cormier - Alexandria, LA

Don Jackson (Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters) - Hot Springs, AR


Saturday - open around 8:30

10:00 AM - Tom Bullock - Fishing the White & Norfork Below the Dams

Noon - Kris Nault - AGFC Little Mo' Trout Biologist

Aquatic Critters and the Fantasy Fly Draft ...


Sunday - 10:30 - The "Can You Take It" Casting Clinic (Riverside Park - $5 per person please...)




See all the current lodging listings at Murfreesboro


For those wishing to camp out...

Dynamite Hill and Parker Creek Corps campgrounds near Narrows Dam - electricity and hot showers!

And The Crater of Diamonds State Park on the south side of M'boro - also electricity and hot showers!


American Heritage Inn - 870-285-2131 - 705 North Washington

Diamond John's Riverside Retreat - 870-285-4027 - 81 Roy Rd

Diamond Oaks Inn B&B - 870-285-1535 - 1701 South Washington

Diamonds Old West Cabins - 870-245-8433

Little Shamrock Motel - 870-285-2342 - 919 North Washington

Miner's Rock Shop and Camp - 870-285-2722 - 2235 HWY 301 South

Morning Star Retreat - 870-925-0983

Murfreesboro R.V. Park - 870-285-4058

Queen of Diamonds Inn - 870-285-3105 - 318 North Washington

SWAHA Lodge - 870-285-2272 - 205 Dynamite Hill Rd

The Old Factory Getaway Cabin - 972-529-2470 or 214-957-0454 - at the Factory Site

Mark Wiley's Little Missouri Fly Fishing Cottage - 870-904-0733 - Hwy 19 and Factory Site Rd

Neal Fletcher's Li'l Red Cabin near Riverside - (903) 826-5434

The White Oak Creek Cabin - near the Factory Site


See all the current lodging listings at Murfreesboro

We collect a very minimal registration fee of $5 per person or just $10 for the whole family. I want to keep that cost low but there are things I have to cover after all! There's also the $5 "Can You Take It" casting Clinic on Sunday morning - 10:00!

NAFF Intermediate Fly Tying Class 2/3

leah kirk

             NAFF is hosting an Intermediate Fly Tying Class, Tactical Tailwater Flies and How to Fish Them, on Saturday, February 3, presented by Dennis Galyardt. Most tailwaters require challenging presentations, proper fly selections, and rigging for specific situations.  In this intermediate class, we will tie patterns imitating midges, mayflies, and caddis.  Matching the life cycles of insects represents wonderful chances for success.  However, they must be fished correctly in order to take advantage of fish feeding on the various insects.

            You will not only tie the flies, but learn about special rigs for the flies, how to get drag free drifts, and where to fish.  Tailwater fish are not going to eat the first thing thrown at them when midges, mayflies, or caddis are hatching.  The angler needs imitative flies fished with skill in order to achieve consistent success.  This class can help you do that. Tyers taking the class need a vise, tools and a light source (if needed).  Materials will be provided.  The class is limited to 10 members.  The class will be held at the Van Matre Senior Center, 1000 N. Third Street in Mountain Home from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Sub sandwiches will be provided for lunch.

            Anyone interested in attending should contact Ceil Gasiecki at, or phone 219/776-9620.

Fee Increases Proposed For NC’s National Forest

leah kirk

            The USFS has proposed increasing fees at day-use areas from $2 to $3 per vehicle per day or $15 per annual pass for Whiteside Mountain and Whitewater Falls and in the Nantahala River Corridor from $1 to $2 per paddler per day or $15 for an annual pass to launch on the river.

            The Tsali Recreation Area, a vast network of hiking and mountain biking trails in the Nantahala National Forest, has had user-specific fees since the late 1990s. The USFS campground fee is $15 per night and the Tsali Trail Complex is $2 per day per mountain biker and equestrian. The trails are open to hikers, but they are not required to pay the fee. The trails have a schedule that split the mountain bike and equestrian use between different days.

            According to the Outdoor Industry Association Outdoor Recreation Economy Report released in the summer, outdoor recreation in North Carolina generates 260,000 direct jobs, $8.3 billion in wages and salaries and $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenue. A recent study cited paddling, climbing and mountain biking in the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests have an economic impact of $115 million for surrounding communities and support more than 1,000 full-time jobs.

            User fees do exist in some areas of the forest, such as Sliding Rock, the Cradle of Forestry and Brown Mountain OHV Area. Fishermen are required to purchase annual licenses to use the federal and state forests. Two of the other public land agencies in WNC include Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, neither of which charge fees except for camping.

            DuPont State Recreation Forest in Henderson and Transylvania counties floated the idea of fees earlier this year. The forest has seen exponential growth in the past decade, topping out at about 700,000, while having user fees for mountain biking or horseback riding. We’ll see…

Mean While On the Davidson

leah kirk

Davidson River.jpg

 Meanwhile down on the lazy Davidson River in North Carolina, life goes on in the cold, according to the Keven, Walter, Jeff, and JEB. Here are their fishing report and a word on their 21st trip to Montana.

Overview: Winter is in full effect in Western North Carolina. Bitter cold temperatures have made for dangerous wind chill and ice-choked streams. With water temperatures in most streams holding just above freezing, many are almost unfishable due to ice, and lethargic fish. A few exceptions to this are the tailwater streams below large dams, and those streams found at low elevations. Anglers should use caution and common sense when fishing in this type weather. If you're not sure of foot, this is no time to be wading. Warmer weather is in the forecast, and the weeks to come should see a swing back toward fish ability.

Davidson River: The Davidson is currently a mix of flowing riffles and frozen pools. A few fish are being caught in the areas where drifts can be achieved, but anglers should plan on hooking into some sizable ice chunks. Those anglers who plan on fishing anyway should keep flies small, tippets light, and the coffee easily accessible.

Wild Trout: Anglers looking to fish our higher elevation wild trout streams would be best served to trade in their wading staffs and felt soles for ice axes and crampons.

Delayed Harvest: Some of our DH streams are still fishable due to their elevation and aspect. That being said, fish are slow to feed during weather this cold, and scaling back fly size is the key to being successful. Anglers should focus their efforts on deeper runs where the water is moving and relatively free of ice.

Suggested fly patterns: Elk Hair Caddis (Black) 18-22, BWO 22-24Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail 18-22, Cream Midge 22-26, Don King Midge 22-26, Zebra Midge 20-24, Pure Midge 22-26, Slumpbuster 8-12Wooly Bugger 12-16


Davidson River Outfitters 21st Annual Montana Trip

Cost: $3,000 per person

 Dates: Week 1: September 15-22, 2018

            Week 2: September 22-29, 2018

 Includes 3 days guided float fishing, 3 days unguided wade fishing with DRO staff, all meals, 7 nights lodging and ground transportation* once in Montana. Not Included: Montana Fishing License, guide gratuity, personal fishing gear, flies, bar tabs, and incidentals.

Sample Itinerary*:

Saturday, Sept 15: Arrive at Rainbow Valley Lodge, Ennis Montana  

Sunday, September 16: Hosted fishing in Bear Trap Canyon  

Monday, Sept. 17: Float fishing the Madison with River Bourne Outfitters

Tuesday, Sept. 18: Hosted fishing on Ruby River

Wednesday, Sept. 19: Float Fishing on the Jefferson River with River Bourne Outfitters

Thursday, Sept. 20: Hosted fishing Willow Creek  

Friday, Sept. 21: Float Fishing on the Madison River with River Bourne Outfitters

Saturday, Sept 22: Depart for Home.

*Weather and Water conditions may dictate fishing different rivers.


DRO will make every effort to coordinate picking you up at the Bozeman airport (BZN) free of charge. However, if you have a super early or late arrival or departure, you may have to take a shuttle at your expense as we will we be assisting other clients.  For more information contact Kevin, Walker, Jeff, JEB or the staff at DR

7th Annual Master Nymph Casting for Hope Fly Fishing Tourney

leah kirk

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The flagship event of Casting for Hope’s Gold-Level Casting for Hope Fly-Fishing Competition, is a three-day, five-session, five-venue tournament that draws some of the best anglers in the world to western North Carolina.  This year’s event is April 13-15, 2018 and basecamps from our Casting for Hope Retreat Center in Bakersville.  While the event, often seen by many anglers as a practice tournament for the World Championships that run the same model, is populated by some of the best anglers in the world, the event always has some folks who just want a fun, long weekend of fishing enter.  They would love to see you with a rod in hand.

In addition to the fishermen, the weekend has a need for over 250 volunteer slots to be filled, so if you don’t like fishing but want to volunteer, they could definitely use your help. Check out the following entry forms to register to fish or volunteer.

We are very excited to introduce our presenting sponsor--Master Nymph.  Master Nymph makes the coveted Bellator fly rods.  Fly fishermen who demand the very best in equipment all over the world are talking about and fishing these rods.  Jason is donating 5 10'6" #3 Bellator to Casting for Hope to give to each member of the winning team this April.  That is a prize worth climbing every rock for!

To register for the 7th Annual Casting for Hope Presented by Master Nymph, use any of the links below.  If you have a partial or full team ready to enter, use the Team link.  If you'll be entering as an individual who will be added on to a team later in the spring, use the Individuals link.

And, to the loyal volunteers:  They absolutely could not do this event without your help.  They will again have a need to fill 250 volunteer spots.  You are the lifeblood of Casting for Hope and their team is so appreciative of you and your willingness to serve with us. 

Proposed NC Trout Regs

leah kirk

Proposed NC Trout Regs.jpg

Here’s potential trout fishing regulation currently being considered for waters in North Carolina:

Designating all waters on the William H. Silvers Game Land in Haywood County and Headwaters Game Land in Transylvania County as Public Mountain Trout Waters and classifying them as Wild Trout Waters. The Wild Trout Waters classification is the default trout classification on game lands with trout resources.

Modifying the upper boundary of Delayed Harvest Trout Waters on the East Fork French Broad River in Transylvania County by removing 1 mile of Public Mountain Trout Waters between East Fork Baptist Church and the French Broad River. This upper reach has been posted against trespass, and the Wildlife Commission believes the change would more accurately reflect which portion of the stream is stocked and accessible to the public.

Removing the requirement that minnow traps be attended by the person operating them when used to take nongame fish for bait or personal consumption. Under this provision, the use of minnow traps would require only a license authorizing basic fishing privileges, and any nongame fish collected could not be sold. The change is suggested because minnow traps are traditionally fished by leaving them unattended overnight.

Allowing harvest of nongame fishes for bait or personal consumption from impounded waters of power supply reservoirs and municipally owned water supply reservoirs designated as Public Mountain Trout Waters. These include Cliffside Lake, Cheoah Reservoir, and Wolf Lake. The change is designed to allow additional opportunity for constituents.

Fly Fishing USA Team Qualifier in Cherokee NC

leah kirk

Fly Fishing USA Team Qualifier in Cherokee NC.jpg

CHEROKEE, N.C. – Anglers from around the country will be fishing local waters to qualify for Fly-Fishing Team USA from Jan. 13th to the 14th. The Southeast regional tournament is the last regional event in which people will be able to prove their fish-catching skills are the best in the country. Volunteers from around the area will be helping to measure and score the fish caught, as well as make sure anglers are competing according to the rules. Those that qualify to travel with FFTUSA will represent the U.S. at the 2018 World Fly Fishing Championship in Comano Terme, Trentino, Italy.

The World Championship is effectively the Olympics of fly-fishing, with competitors from about 30 different countries participating. Regional tournaments, help anglers improve their skills, to catch more and bigger fish in all waters. The public is welcome to attend the Southeast qualifier and watch the tense fly-fishing action. Viewers can learn new skills and improve their angling abilities by paying close attention to the techniques used in each 3-hour session. Michael Bradley, the tournament organizer, FFTUSA member and Cherokee resident says the public is invited to attend all Team USA events. “Usually, if a competitor has a crowd, he or she will ask people watching to not walk ahead (upstream) of where they are fishing, so no potential fish are spooked,” says Bradley. “The best way to learn from the event is to volunteer as a judge.”

Six competitors will be chosen to represent FFTUSA after scores are added from previous regional qualifiers, like the one in Cherokee, as well as the U.S. National Championships which will take place on May 31st through June 2nd near Bend, Ore. this year. It takes a lot of patience, planning, and timely decision-making to place at the top. Anglers fish randomly-assigned beats on rivers, and they do not always get the best section. The best anglers, however, make the most of their assigned beat and will always catch fish. “Team USA members need to be effective at finding fish on any water they are assigned,” says Bret Bishop, Team Captain. “They need to be able to vary their techniques for different water types and conditions on both lakes and rivers. To compete at the World Championships, competitors need to be versatile. I look forward to seeing how everyone does at this regional tournament.”

The Raven Fork will be the river venue with two different locations, one in a section regulated as trophy water and another on water regulated by general fishing rules. The Happy Holiday Campground will host the lake fishing sessions on their private pond stocked with rainbow trout. “The water is crystal clear and requires very technical drifts to target wild rainbows, and browns and stocked rainbows and brookies,” says Bradley. “The trophy section has mostly nice pools in it while the general water has more pockets and fewer pools.”

The technical water may make fishing tricky but it is not the only aspect of competing for a spot on the team that can be stressful. “It is difficult to be competing at a high level in a consistent fashion,” says Ken Crane Team USA and leadership committee member. “You personally might be having a bad day, but every fish you catch matters. So, grinding it out for the benefit of the team is the most important. It’s an intense three hours of fishing. Mentally it can be draining on bad days, and euphoric on good days.”

Many anglers hope to find euphoria while plying the waters near Cherokee this upcoming Sat. Those that manage to tie on the best flies, and present them tantalizingly to fish’s mouths will surely score well and make the team. More information on FFTUSA can be found online at, Facebook or Instagram.

For further information, contact Bret Bishop after 4 p.m. MST, weekdays by phone: (208) 867-8038, or email anytime:

30th Rabun Rendezvous

leah kirk

raburn chapter renedevous.jpg

The Rabun Chapter of Trout Unlimited is gearing up for a great big celebration its 30th annual Rabun Rendezvous. The guest speaker at the event -- held in Dillard, Georgia -- will be Beverly Smith, vice president for Volunteer Operations, TU National. Beverly is responsible for the Volunteer Operations Department, which supports 36 state councils and 380 local chapters across the country by delivering a suite of applications, training, and resources aimed at helping volunteers more easily and effectively accomplish TU’s mission in their local communities. Her responsibilities also include managing TU’s youth education programs, veterans’ services partnership, and women/ diversity initiative.

Beverly joined TU as the Volunteer Operations Coordinator in 2007, was promoted in 2009 to the director and vice president in 2014. Prior to joining TU, Beverly worked for the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League. Beverly grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and received a B.A. from the University of Virginia. She lives in Jackson, Wyoming, with her husband, daughter, and springer spaniel, where she enjoys volunteering locally, fly fishing and bird hunting.

The fundraising event returns to its usual location at the Dillard House in Dillard, Georgia. The social mixer starts 5 pm when folks begin gathering to “pick the pig” and enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch of the Conference Center. There will be snack trays of cheeses, crackers, veggies with dips and fruits. Soft drinks and ice will be available. If you want something stronger, better bring it yourself (BYOB). Inside the center, you can enjoy a fire to warm your buns and enjoy the bluegrass music of The Foxfire Boys. 

Dinner is served about 6:30 pm. The layout includes fish, chicken, and pork -- with all the side dishes and desserts -- that have made the Dillard House famous. It is a serve yourself buffet, so you will not leave hungry. Cost is $33 for adults. $25 for those under the age of 15.  All tickets are bought at the door. Cash, checks, VISA or MasterCard.

The Dillard House has set special rates for guests of the Rendezvous. Rooms start at $69 (plus tax) for those that call and tell them you’re attending the Trout Unlimited Rabun Rendezvous. Call 706-746-5348 or  (toll-free) 1-800-541-0671. Also, Mountain Aire Cottages on North Main Street in Clayton is a good source for lodging. Call them at 706-782-9568.

Breaking News: State of the Trout Message

leah kirk

How things are done and get done here are different than in most other places. For better or worse, we are very open and consider our readers as stakeholders. We have always communicated openly with you, and know quite a few of you quite well.

                Our mission is two-fold; providing readers with valuable content that is unavailable elsewhere while providing advertisers with the best, most affordable platform for reaching our highly specialized readership. We bring a very loyal readership to the table and are very selective in the advertisers permitted access to them.  We currently provide all popular internet platforms that allow the accurate tracking of traffic.

                April marks the 7th anniversary of our flagship title, Southern Trout. However, this month marks its beginning. Currently, STM has just over 40,000 subscribers that were all organically acquired. For a number of reasons, we have never had internet subscriber campaigns. The ultimate goal is 150K and we may achieve that through traditional means in the future, but for now, it has been all organic. Over its course, STM has had over 100 contributors. It has remained true to its credo; All-South, All Trout, All the Time. It has remained free, something that will not change.

                In regards to milestones, believe me, every issue we get out feels like a milestone achievement. Just making a deadline is an event we celebrate. Three or four times over the last seven years we have received deadly wounds that should have decked us, but by the grace of God, we emerged each time a little wiser and stronger. We sincerely believe that the hand of the Almighty guides our efforts. My gruffness, quickness to anger and hold a grudge at time belies my conviction in purpose. It’s difficult to explain it beyond that, so enough said, eh?

                2018 is seen is the year we will “break out” so to speak. For the first time, we have sales and editorial teams in place for all four publications. I cannot tell you how proud I am of their efforts and commitment.  I am as “hands off” as I can stand. Each is the skipper of their own ship, and despite my weakness for vendettas, I stand back. The direction is in their hands. I do try to keep everyone on more or less the same page, but the least meddling on my part, the better. I can tell you that you may see a few unexpected zigs and zags over the coming months, but they are all for the good.

                We had planned on launching a daily blog in December. As with every single projected launch here, we underestimated the time needed to accomplish it. Right now it is pushed up until mid-February. Likewise, we planned to launch Southern Spirit, in March. Our first venture in lifestyle publishing, its focus will be spirits of the South (craft breweries, moonshine making, microdistilleries and wine/vineyards). We are still shooting for March, but in reality, it is going to be more like June.

                Our lone major setback for last years was North American Bear Hunter. Since last summer it has been on life support. Editor Bill Vaznis has patiently waited while we straightened out the fishing titles. He has the patience of Job as his new book, “The Man with Seventeen Lives” reveals. The now is the right time for us to hitch the magazine partnered with a new television show on bear hunting that out of Canada. It is filming this spring/summer/fall for a release in January 2019. The plan is for the magazine to proceed it in early fall of this year.  I know that most of you don’t give a hoot in hell about bear hunting, but the bear is the number two NA big game animal. The time is right for us to move. Besides, as you probably know, my dear old grannie fell victim to a bear in the Smokies, so…

                Lastly, in three weeks we’ll be in Atlanta, Georgia at The Fly Fishing Show at the ST “Legends of the Fly” Hall of Hall induction ceremony. We will honor six outstanding, very deserving individuals will be recognized. Very nice to be able to do this.

                All this is shared one because we are proud of making something out of nothing with the good Lord to guide us. Also too, for better or worse we feel like many of you feel a part of it. To be perfectly honest about it, you have been. We’re completely committed to the task at hand, which is entertaining and informing better than anyone else.

                We’d love to hear what you think about it.

Reauthorize Blue Ridge National Heritage Area

leah kirk

A bill to extend authorization of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area by four years has been filed in the U.S. Senate under the name “Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Reauthorization Act of 2017.”

Introduced by N.C. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, S. 2225 has been read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

“This program has boosted the tourism economy in our state by billions with only a fraction of that coming from federal coffers,” Burr said. “By extending this authorization for an additional four years, millions more will be able to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and culture of Western North Carolina for a long time to come.”

“The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area plays a vital role in the Western North Carolina tourism industry, creating thousands of jobs and contributing billions of dollars to the local economy,” Tillis added.

The BRNHA was established in 2003 by legislation stating that it would end 15 years after enactment, putting its sunset at 2018. The bill Tillis and Burr introduced would extend that sunset date to 19 years after the original enactment.

The BRNHA spans 25 counties in Western North Carolina, aiming preserve and develop the region’s distinctive culture. Since its inception, it has provided more than 154 grants totaling $2.1 million, supporting more than 30,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $2.39 billion.


WV & MD 2018 Trout stocking season begins

leah kirk

West Virginia Trout stocking.jpg

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will start the 2018 trout stocking season Jan. 02, 2018, according to Paul Johansen, chief of DNR Wildlife Resources Section. The 2018 stocking schedule contains several changes. The Greenbrier River in Pocahontas County at Marlinton and Howards Creek in Greenbrier County at White Sulphur Springs have been added to this year’s stocking schedule. DNR personnel will stock these two waters once a month January through April. Dunkard Fork Lake in Marshall County has been removed from the 2018 trout stocking schedule due to large amounts of debris on the shoreline and boat ramp.

“Debris not only makes shoreline fishing difficult, but also prevents stocking trucks from safely accessing the water to stock trout,” Johansen said. “Dunkard Fork Lake will continue to receive warm water fish stockings as needed.”

The North and South forks of Fishing Creek in Wetzel County will be stocked once a month February through May. These streams were inadvertently omitted from the 2018 fishing regulations. Anglers can call the Fishing Hotline at 304-558-3399 or visit the website at to find out which streams and lakes have been stocked each day.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will begin preseason stocking for the spring 2018 trout season as early as the end of December.The early trout stocking will now include several impoundments that will receive their annual allotments in a single stocking, which will provide greater fishing opportunities for anglers throughout the winter season.

“Preseason and spring stocking is an exciting time for anglers across the state,” Fishing and Boating Services Director Dave Blazer said. “With hundreds of thousands of trout being released, this provides a unique angling experience for anyone at any level.”

Department staff at the Albert Powell, Bear Creek and Mettiki hatcheries are raising about 308,000 brown, golden and rainbow trout for the upcoming spring season. More than 130 sites are scheduled to be stocked. Among them, weekly stocking will occur at Antietam Creek, Bear Creek, Lake Artemesia and South Branch Patapsco River at River Road. The stocking schedule and daily updates are available online. Printed versions of the schedule are available at the department’s regional service centers and license agents. Anglers can also receive stocking notifications and updates via email or by calling 800-688-3467.