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.


Show Me Your Thing

Written By: Kyle Vaughan    

Many anglers go through a process of maturing or finding themselves within the recreation of fishing. Through this process of maturing and learning, it helps us figure out what type of fishing or water we identify as our favorite, or our "thing"- what we enjoy the most.

For me, a small, wild trout stream is what I would call my "thing". I typically get all Early Cuyler wild and rowdy thinking about these types of fisheries. If you were to give me three things, I would be set for a good day in the mountains fishing: my 3 wt Sage TXL, Abel Creek reel, and a stream no wider than the rod's length in width.

Several weekends ago Jamie and I headed north to one of our favorite small, wild trout streams. We met up with some friends and family stream-side to hangout and cook over the campfire. And, f0r Jamie and myself to inevitably chase our fishy friends: small stream wild Brown Trout.

Jamie and I got started fishing a little later in the day after hanging out with our friends and family for a few. Both of fished dries, a Stimulator and a Parachute Adams with good luck on each. One feisty little trout jumped straight out of the water with my dry in its mouth and he had some hang time! At one of the deeper drop pools, after a few dry fly drifts and no luck, I tied a Greenie Weenie off the hook-bend of the Stimulator. Two drifts later I was laying the wood to a trout that fell for the Greenie Weenie. We had to good time and got a few wild browns to hand before heading back to eat dinner with everyone at camp.

This stream does not promise big trout. There could be a big surprise waiting on us to fool it and I hope to be surprised one day. What this stream does offer is some of the most gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing brown trout you will ever see.

Enjoy a few photos from our trip!

Lots and lots of spots
Lots and lots of spots

Thanksgiving through C&R

The fly fishing community is a small world, and when you catch and release an incredible fish in a small stream you usually never know who will catch it next.  Thanks to the internet and social media, those dots are being connected a lot easier now a days and it sometimes allows you to see who benefited from your own catch and release practices.  A few weeks back a young local angler, Nathan Crowe (@nathan_crowe18 on IG), caught a fish of a lifetime and after some spot comparisons he sent us a message on IG saying he thought it might be the same fish that was shown in the Salmosearch video.  After comparing our own notes on the fish and where it was landed, we confirmed it was the same fish, almost a year after I had caught it. Here is Nathan's story:

"I had fished this stream a long time ago back and was glad to be back in these waters once again. I knew there were big fish here and I am acutely aware of the big browns that lurk in the deeper holes and slower stretches of water. After fishing my way downstream and not hooking up with or catching a glimpse of a nice sized fish, I found my confidence waning and for some reason, something felt wrong, I was throwing a big ol’ green squirmy worm due to the tinge in the water but unable to coax up.  I love throwing huge stuff in and after the rain. I settled into a nice hole with a deep, slow tailout and made about three drifts and my line just stopped dead.  I set the hook and instantly knew it was big, but I had no idea how big until the fish backed out of depths of the hole , I saw what it was and I about crapped myself.  She bulldogged me like crazy and refused to come up to the top.  Surprisingly, she never jumped but she did head-shake hard a couple of times.

Sure enough, that big broad kept trying to rap me around that rock at least five times.  At one point, she took off upstream went up to the hole just above where I hooked into her and then right back down,  Thank God the drag on my reel performed flawlessly.  Sometimes my drag doesn't want to cooperate on bigger fish, but it did for her and I was so grateful.

I finally got her into the net and saw where she was hooked and It was a big relief as I had a really solid hookset. I was fishing 5x mono that I had already landed two fish earlier in the day so I knew it was probably a little frayed which definitely had me nervous.

Once I netted her, I couldn't breathe.  Like everyone who has ever taken up fly fishing, a fish like that was on my bucket list since my first day on the water.

I remembered watching the #Salmosearch video months back and I had my sights set on a fish like that ever since.

Never once did I think that I would get a shot at that one…"


Nathan, Congrats on the catch of a lifetime and thanks for sharing your story with us!  It’s funny that you say you felt something was wrong all day because that is exactly what happened to me.  I hadn’t caught a thing all day up until I set into that brute.

For me personally, the picture of Nathan’s catch was an amazing thing to see.  It may sound ridiculous to some, but catching that fish last year meant everything to me.  I had just lost my mom to cancer a month earlier and simply being back on the water was all I was looking for that day.  Hooking into this fish was affirmation to me that no matter where my travels would take me, my mother’s spirit was with me.  Physically she is gone, but never once during this past year have I felt abandoned, lonely, or lost without her actually here.  I goes without saying the I miss her dearly, but I see things like Nathan’s catch happen and I can say that, without a doubt, she is here and speaks to me every day…all I have to do is look for her and to listen.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.