One Man's Trash Screening Events

We had our first showing at the 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3t) in Buckhead and a lot of great feedback.  There are two more chances to catch the film this month, with the possibility of a third. Friday April 7th @ Alpharetta Outfitters, Event starts at 6:30pm, film at 7:00pm and then a look at some behind the scenes footage, extras and some tips and tactics for fishing in the Okefenokee.  Hydration provided by Sweetwater Brewing!

Saturday April 8th, F3t @ Young Harris College Rolins Campus Center, Doors open at 5:30pm, Dinner served at 6:30pm with films starting at 7pm.  Come support the Young Harris TU 5Rivers Club, Project Healing Waters and the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition.

Stay Tuned For info on the third.  Hope to see you there!


PHW Follow Up & Thanks

Since we've put a bow on the second annual PHWFF gear drive, I wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all those who were instrumental in making the second annual gear drive go off without a hitch. While the final numbers aren't in yet, thanks to the many generous individuals and fly shops alike we were able to haul in some pretty sweet gear. Some of which has already been placed in the hands of service vets. This year, like last, we were able to outfit two deserving veterans at the social dinner and I have to say it's a pretty awesome feeling helping to outfit these guys from head to toe for an enjoyable day on the water.

I have to admit it's humbling to hear these guys speak about their experiences and the positive affect fly fishing has had on their lives. I think most of us take everyday life for granted and I know I'm as guilty as the next. These guys and girls sacrifice so much for the rest of us and being able to interact and discuss fishing with them, puts things in perspective and makes you realize how blessed we all are. I don't mean to brag on the Winged Reel and Pig Farm Ink crew, but Regional PHW representative Curt Boatman, has said many times "people approach me all the time with lots of talk and little, to no action. Winged Reel and Pig Farm Ink came to me with little talk and lots of action". I'm proud as hell to be a part of giving back to such a great cause, but I share the above message in hopes that more folks will reach out to worthy causes within the fly fishing community and give back.

Often times it has nothing to do with giving donations, but more about donating your time to a sport that has touched all of us at some point and time in a meaningful way. Fly fishing is often associated with elitism and while there is some of that I think it's deeper than that. The fly fishing community is like a small fraternity and elitism is often mistaken for our ability to quickly weed out the bullshit. I'm not sure if there's a more willing group in the fishing community, than fly fisherman to stand up for the places and causes we believe in. So take a day on the weekend and go help with a stream restoration project or visit the Project Healing Water's or Casting for Recovery site and ask how you can help. You can't put a price on the satisfaction you'll get from giving back!

Again I want to say thanks to all of those who donated and give a special thanks to Tin Lizzy's Cantina for hosting the social dinner. The service was superb and their willingness to donate 20% of each guests bill back to PHW is truly awesome! We're beyond grateful for PHW allowing us to make the gear drive an annual event and we look forward to raising the bar again next year!


Tin Lizzy's PHW Event

Hard to believe it's already time to start cutting off donations for the 2nd annual Winged Reel / Pig Farm Ink gear drive benefiting Project Healing Waters. It seems like there's never enough time for the the enjoyable things in life and this is definitely a cause we're very fond of and wish we could devote even more time to. With that being said we're giddy like school girls waiting to see how this years drive will turn out on the donation front. Like we mentioned in a previous post, last year's effort will be hard to top but early signs point toward a good haul again this year. More importantly this year we've been able to spread the word even farther across the land, with several Orvis stores coming on board, as well as reaching locations in Texas and Massachusetts. Aside from the donations, getting the message of Project Healing Waters out there is extremely important in order for them to reach those service veterans who may not have otherwise known an organization like Project Healing Waters existed. For that fact alone we're extremely excited about this years event! When planning for this year's social event, in which all gear will be turned over to Project Healing Water's, the stars aligned for the Atlanta metro area to finally host the Fly Fishing Show at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth Georgia. Saturday of the show proved to be the perfect day to host the social event with all of the like minded folks already in the area for the show. In searching for a location, Tin Lizzy's in Duluth (in close proximity to the Fly Fishing Show) stepped up and not only welcomed us with open arms but also pledged to donate 20% of each guests bill back to Project Healing Water's! This will provide the opportunity to socialize with members of the fly fishing community while simultaneously giving back to those who have made great sacrifices in the service of our nation. The event will commence at 6pm EST on February 4 and as previously mentioned the location is in close proximity to the Infinite Energy Center.

We will be at the show as well as the social event and look forward to seeing some old faces as well as meeting some new ones. For more information about how you can help this great organization click here or drop us a line Thanks again to everyone who has shown support for this event!


Snow Days

I watched the weather carefully over the last week.  Promises of snow here in the Atlanta area are rare.  Growing up in Massachusetts I’m no stranger to snow.  As a child, snow had a way of bringing excitement, and drew me to the outdoors.  Some days it was sledding down snowy roads with friends, others we would just venture off into the snowy woods, crossing frozen creeks and charting new paths through areas we hadn’t explored.  When snow blankets the ground it’s like a new world.  Everything seems quiet, bright, and new, washed in white. Now that I’m grown, and partially conditioned by the local fear of snow covered roads, my default is usually to hide inside with the rest of the masses.  I’ve been taught to always think; “what’s the worst that can happen”, and plan from there to be safe.  But all too often enough, I don’t plan for “what’s the best that can happen”.  Because you just don’t know the limits of how good of a day it could be.

I rounded up a crew the evening before the snow started to fall, and planned a trip only knowing one thing; it was going to be a beautiful day in the snow covered mountains.  In my excitement I didn’t even check the highs for Saturday until I woke up an hour before I was to leave.  I then stepped outside to warm up the truck and was surprised to find there wasn’t much snow this far south of the mountains, mostly solid ice.  I ignored the temperatures (high of 24F) and my own nervousness of navigating icy roads, packed my rods and camera gear and headed north towards Blue Ridge and Noontootla Creek Farms (NCF).

To my surprise, everybody showed.   Even though what would normally be an hour and a half drive turned into a three hour white knuckled slip and slide, we all arrived unharmed.  Of course the day was filled with the standards woes of the season (frozen guides, hands, toes, etc.), but we enjoyed what makes winter one of my favorite seasons to fish.  No crowds, clear water, and the flow is beginning to return to some sense of normalcy after the summer drought.  Just as we were winding down the day, I was reminded that risk sometimes results in reward.  I set the hook on what felt like a log, and as he worked his way out of a frigid deep hole, I saw gold in a world of white.

An awesome day with friends surrounded by beauty and abundance.  NCF is an excellent fishery year round.  Book a winter trip, grab some hand warmers and pray for snow, you won't regret it.

Photos from Matt Bornhorst and Kyle Vaughan.


2nd Annual PHWFF Gear Drive

Last holiday season we were humbled and excited to be given the opportunity to help host a gear drive benefiting Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. In all honesty last years event was thrown together with minimal formal planning, sparked by a last minute idea and we were blown away by the generosity of the fly fishing community; which is why were even more excited to announce the PHWFF Gear Drive will officially become an annual event! And as hard as it will be to top last years event, our long term goal is to not only collect gear, but to also raise awareness for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and to ask everyone who enjoys the the sport of fly fishing to give, if not in the gift of gear, then to help promote the efforts of PHWFF so that others can give to those who sacrifice so much to defend our freedom. Before I dive into details about this years event, I would like to take a moment again to thank all of the Companies, Shops and Individuals that stepped up and made last years event an overwhelming success. Because of your efforts we were able to raise $50,000 in gear that was placed in the hands of veteran's across the United States. That's pretty amazing stuff!

Much like last year we will be partnering with Pig Farm Ink and enlisting the help of fly shops to serve as drop of points for your gently used fly fishing gear (This post will de updated with participating shops), as well as accepting donations by mail. The gear drive will end on January 15, 2017,  and like last year, PHWFF will be hosting a social event on February 4th 2017 after the completion of The Fly Fishing Show in Atlanta, in which all of the gear collected will be handed over to Project Healing Waters.  The event will be held at Tin Lizzy's Cantina, located just steps from the Fly Fishing Show venue. Tin Lizzy's has committed 20% of each person's check that is there for the event to be donated back to Project Healing Waters.

The following fly shops are participating drop of locations: (and please check back as we will continue to update this list as more shops come on board.)

Alpharetta Outfitters – 79 S Main St, Alpharetta, GA 30009 – (678) 762-0027
Unicoi Outfitters – 7280 S Main St, Helen, GA 30545 –  (706) 878-3083
Southern Highroads Outfitters – 253 Georgia Hwy 515 East, Blairsville, GA 30512 – (706) 781-1414
Blue Ridge Fly Fishing – 490 E Main St, Blue Ridge, GA 30513 – (706) 258-4080
The Fish Hawk – 3095 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305 – (404) 237-3473
Orvis Atlanta (Buckhead) Store - 3275 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30305 - (404) 841-0093
Cohutta Fishing Company – 39 S Public Square, Cartersville, GA 30120 – (770) 606-1100

North Carolina:
Tuckaseegee Fly Shop – 3 Depot St, Bryson City, NC 28713 – (828) 488-3333
Rivers Edge Outfitters - 61 Big Cove Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719 - (828) 497-9300
OGRE Outdoors – 5750 Asheville Hwy, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768 – (828) 877-8622
Hunter Banks Asheville - 29 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 - (828) 252-3005
Hunter Banks Waynesville -  48 N Main St, Waynesville, NC 28786 - (828) 251-9721
Davidson River Outfitters - 49 Pisgah Hwy #6, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768 -(828) 877-4181

Orvis Plano Store - 2412 Preston Road, Preston Towne Crossing, Suite 200, Plano, TX 75093 - (972) 596-7529

Overwatch Outpost - 97 Main Street, Charlemont, MA 01339 - (413) 339-8800


If instead, you would like to mail your donations you can send them to: Pig Farm Ink, 1275 Castleberry Dr., Buford, GA 30518 or Alpharetta Outfitters, 79 S Main St, Alpharetta, GA 30009

If mailing your donations, please be sure to mark your package PHWFF Gear Drive and include a copy of the In-Kind donation form you can print by clicking here.

If you're interested in finding out more about the event please contact We will be using social media to spread the word and encourage all of you to share posts regarding this event on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. If you're not familiar with Project Healing Waters then I encourage you to visit their site and check out this amazing organization!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!

The Winged Reel Crew

Ode To The Brook Trout

Sweet Release
Sweet Release

We've had the opportunity to catch some pretty amazing Brook Trout lately and I think it's high time we southerners give the often small Brookie some love. Brown's and Rainbow's reign supreme in our neck of the woods but I'm not sure if there's a more impressive looking trout, than a Brook Trout. From the myriad array of spots, to the crisp white tipped fins, the Brookie is something to behold.

Small and Mighty
Small and Mighty
Boss Brookie
Boss Brookie

Stream Etiquette: To High Hole or Not...(seriously?!)

We've all been there; six years old racing your buddy to the best spot on the creek, lake, or local farm pond. What we didn't realize then, that came to light as we grew into adults is that there are enough fish to go around. Sure the honey hole may be your best bet, but as adult anglers we've all come to realize that the fish we chase will often hold in locations and behave in ways that defy six year old logic! Fast forward thirty years within my group and there are no more races. No more counting numbers. No gloating over big fish rights. Hell these days we're all pretty content scooping fish for the other guy. There's just as much pride in seeing someone new to the sport land their first trophy trout or seeing your buddy check a new species off the bucket list, as reaching those milestones yourself. I think its safe to say that the natural evolution anglers experience removes the six year old Ricky Bobby thought of "if you're not first, you're last" from your way of thinking. While this is true for most, some folks truly never grow up. Their Medulla Oblongata never full develops and it fails to send out rational signals. The one's that tell the angler not to jump in and fish asshole to elbow with a complete stranger. Maybe there's a cure for it. A pill you can take; I'm not sure. I'm no doctor, but I can tell you those folks are sending the wrong message to all future anglers. On three recent trips I experienced this moronic behavior in all of it's glory. One experience though, lead me to believe there is still hope. There are actually those who get it. Let me explain, and I'll begin with the bad.

On two separate occasions while fishing with my fiance, on two different stretches of DH water we had other anglers come down the bank and fish the same pool we were currently fishing. Not a "hello", not a "hey do you mind if I join you", nothing. I have to start by saying I don't get to fish with the better half often... mostly that's by choice, but nonetheless she has gotten pretty good at catching fish on a fly rod. I've used days on freshly stocked DH waters to have her work on her hook-sets, fish-fighting, and other skills that are easier to understand with actual field time. I think most will agree it's pretty stupid fishing. Don't get me wrong, there are times when a day of punching stockers in the face is exactly what I need, but you won't find it on any travel brochures. The thing that blows my mind is that during your typical DH stocking local hatcheries load the water with fish. Take a walk downstream and there are fish in almost every single pool, run, and riffle. The fish are by no means hard to locate. But because you see a dude and his future wife catching a few fish, that automatically makes you assume "that's as good as it gets"?! There are miles of stream void of anglers and the pool I'm fishing is the "promise land"? (Rolls eyes)

The good news is there are still anglers out there that get the code. On a separate trip last month to a popular DH stream known to be stocked with larger fish, we got an earlier start to beat the crowds. While rigging up right at sunrise, another passing angler stopped his truck and politely asked which way we were planning to head. Obviously we were the first to arrive that morning and he found it important enough to stop, say hello, and ask which way we planned to fish so that we could all have an enjoyable day on the water and not be fishing on top of each other. Was this guy going above the norm? Probably so, but our days on the water would be so much more enjoyable if we ran into that guy on each and every trip!

I'm sure I will come off as an asshole to some but to me it's common sense. If you run into another angler fishing a particular spot, give him or her space. Whether or not you had that specific spot in mind to fish, makes no difference. He/she was there first. "The early bird gets the worm" or "you snooze you lose" may be appropriately used here. If you have a specific spot in mind, get up an hour earlier and then this whole article may be a moot point. The bottom line is that it's honestly hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that some anglers find it ok to drop in and fish a spot where someone else is currently fishing. The thing is, if you go about it the correct way, strike up a conversation and be polite, odds are you may very well be invited to fish with said person. Let's all make it a point to do the right thing and set a positive example for all future generations!

Traffic Jam On The River?
Traffic Jam On The River?


Chris recently sent us this note on Facebook:

Facebook Question
Facebook Question

I began to reply via Facebook and quickly realized how ridiculous it would be to type this on my smartphone.  I also thought it’s a topic interesting enough to post and share here on our blog.

So let me begin with this statement; I’m in no way a fisheries biologist and my opinions are only based on what I think is most logical, but not ruling out the possibility for something unusual.  My opinion has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

The oddly colored and sparsely spotted trout in question came from a section of river that lie in Georgia’s largest Wilderness Area, the Cohutta Wilderness.  I totally agree with the comments Chris left on our Flickr page; they almost look like a “cutbow”, without of course the one distinguishing feature that gave the cutthroat species its name. And most likely it’s not likely they have any relation to the cutthroat species since I can find no record on the ole’ Google machine of any hatcheries in the southeast raising cutthroat.  I've caught more than one of these unusual looking rainbows on this wild section of river, so I know it's not a fluke or “one off”. I also know that I've only caught them in a certain section of the river.

Here’s some thoughts to consider: If you’ve spent enough time in the forest of the Cohutta Wilderness, you quickly realize it’s a place like no other.  I don’t just say that because of its size alone.  I say that because it’s like its own little planet.  From about 1999 until 2002, I volunteered for the Forestry Service in Chatsworth, GA doing trail maintenance and trail improvements inside the Wilderness Area.  After a friend introduced me to the area, I quickly became fascinated.  The rivers are fairly wide to be spring fed from the mountains in which they run through (large enough we call them rivers and not creeks).  The water is crystal clear and because of the areas geology, the river is loaded with giant boulders and unusual barren viens of white quartz that traverse the river bottom reminiscent of something from "Middle Earth".  When you explore out there, you start to find things you’ve never seen before, or in unusual abundance.  I’ve seen unusually large hatches of flying insects (Mays and Caddis) as well as some large and/or unusual bugs I haven’t found in the same numbers anywhere else in the North Georgia Mountains (Beetles, Millipedes and Dobsonflies).  In a way, the Cohutta Wilderness area lives up to my expectations of what a Wilderness area should be, mysterious and filled with possibility.  So mysterious that the area is host to cryptozoology stories; including that of monster Brown Trout over 20 inches and of course let’s not forget Bigfoot (as well as a few unexplained creepy and paranormal experiences of my own while camping) yet there are no hard evidence of either.

All that being said, the trout along this section of river probably have a very unique diet that may not be common or as prevalent elsewhere in the state.  That diet may have allowed these fish to grow in a completely natural state in this very unique area, creating these unusual looking rainbows. That would be my best logical guess.  However, if waterfowl can transport fertilized fish eggs to remote ponds on their feathers and webbed feet, I suppose Bigfoot may have carried in cutthroat eggs from out West between his hairy toes.  Like I said when i started this post; logical, but not ruling out the possibility for something unusual.

Now after all this discussion and reminiscing on past trips, I’ve got the itch to get out there and torture my leg muscles.  Chris, keep us posted if your trout research reveals any other answers or interesting facts.