After a wet and wild finish to 2018 and beginning of ’19 we have finally had some relatively dry conditions. That coupled with way warmer than average temperatures last week made for favorable fishing conditions throughout the area. Streams are still higher than median flow but very fishable and these warm days have brought out good hatches of little black stones and BWO’s. Although we are expecting a return to more seasonal temperatures this weekend, spring hatches are just around the corner.
North Fork of the French Broad
The NF has finally settled down to a level in which it is hospitable to anglers more so than whitewater boaters. Even without the waves of stoked boaters floating through, water levels in the gorge are high enough to deserve caution. For confident waders, good fishing can be found on nymph rigs with a variety of soft hackles, hare’s ears, pheasant tails, and baetis nymphs as patterns.
East Fork of the French Broad
The East Fork is often overlooked this time of year because it just ain’t as easy as it once was. Don’t expect 40 fish days but this is a great time of year for avoiding the crowds. Up your game with lighter tippet, smaller flies, and stealthier approaches, and be satisfied even if you only catch a few.
The Davidson has dropped to a level that requires a lot of skill and patience for success. Midge, BWO, and little black stone hatches may have some fish looking up throughout the middle of the day but sometimes even the little guys require a great presentation. If you find yourself frustrated on the main Davidson, check out one of the feeder creeks like Looking Glass, Avery, or Daniel Ridge for more eager fish.
This last week has provided a little taste of great small stream days to come. Water temps have remained cold so fish are most active from around noon to 4. However, in a few short weeks, the little wild guys should be active all day.