Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
Wild Wanderings Blog – July 19, 2012
When people think of trout fishing in Western NC, rivers like the Davidson, Mills and Tuckasegee come to mind. Spring Creek isn’t even a remote thought for most. The state of North Carolina regularly stocks the river, which runs from Trust NC, all the way to Hot Springs. Highway 209 provides ample access. Rainbows and brown trout present anglers with numerous opportunities. As the water warms near the town of Hot Springs, smallmouth bass become the predominant species.
Yesterday I had the day off and decided to wet a line for a few minutes. As I grabbed my gear that familiar smirk came across my face. It happens every time I go. I’m instantly reconnected to the child within, remembering the excitement of catching my first fish as a young lad. I decided to start at one of my favorite roadside spots. Two deep holes with fast water provided the perfect starting point.
Many people think the best way to catch trout is with a fly rod…not so! I’ve caught hundreds of trout with my ultralight spinning outfit and, when casting in tight quarters, actually prefer it to my flyrod. More of us have spinning outfits than flyrods anyway. The biggest mistake that most people make is using line that is too heavy. Couple that with large hooks and sinkers and you have the recipe for a nice day at the stream with no fish! Trout prefer subtle presentations that drift at the speed of the current. They have great eyesight so anything too unnatural will be quickly dismissed.
I tied a small #8 thin wire hook to 4lb. test line and added a micro split shot 8 inches up from there. Sometimes I finish the rig with a very small float to serve as a strike indicator. A pinch-on foam float (fly-fisherman use these) works equally as well.
I threaded a small redworm on the hook and made a cast to the top of the hole. Numerous drifts produced only a few small stream chubs, though not of much interest to me, young children would love to have caught them. The stream is literally teeming with minnows; a good sign that indicates a healthy ecosystem.
After about 10 uneventful minutes, I quickly moved upstream to the next hole. My second drift produced my first good hook-up of the day. A nice trout came to the net after a good fight, which included several exciting jumps! Three minutes later a beautiful rainbow trout took my offering. Dinner for two…not bad for 15 minutes of fishing. Repetitive casts and adjusting the float and split shots is key for success; you want your worm to be ticking the bottom.
In addition to the trout I decided to keep a few four inch chubs. I’ve always wondered how they tasted…besides, I figured I could always feed them to my cat if I found them disagreeable. When I got home the trout were filleted, coated in seasoned cracker meal and fried in a little bit of olive oil. And yes, the chubs were quite delicious as well (my cat was very disappointed:)
Spring Creek is only a short drive from my house. Honestly, I hadn’t fished it in quite sometime. Isn’t it funny how we often don’t take the time to for simple pleasures? We always seem to be too busy or don’t believe that anything nearby could be very good. Subsequently, we often miss the beauty right before our eyes. This day was a good reminder. Fishing is a passion of mine. My friends might even add the word obsession in there somewhere. I once read that if people focused on what was important in life, we’d have a shortage of fishing poles…I couldn’t agree more.
Here are some tips to increase your fishing success.
*Use light or ultralight spinning tackle.
*Use light line; no more than 4lb. test. (This is critical!)
*Use size 8 or 10 thin wire hooks (10’s are smaller).
*Use small split shots to keep your bait down.
*The use of a small float (really small) will help you detect strikes.
*Pick up some plastic trout worms (Berkley trout worms work great).
*When in doubt, waxworms and small pieces of redworms will get the job done.
So pack up the family this weekend and spend the day at your local stream or fishing hole. Whether you cookout, swim, fish or all the above, you’re sure to have a great time!
As always, I welcome your thoughts and input. Please consider joining a group I started called “Traditional / Primitive Living Skills” and I do encourage you to ask questions and contribute.
Richard Cleveland lives in Asheville, NC. He is the founder and director of Earth School. A self-trained Naturalist, fishing and nature guide, he has taught traditional native skills to thousands of people, of all ages. For info about his programs visit www.LoveTheEarth.com
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