trout

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.

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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

Nice Pack Co

So I’ve been in possession of a Midge Pack from Nice Pack Co for a little over a year now.  I’ll be honest that I’m generally guilty of carrying too much and have never been a lanyard user.  I carry enough gear to easily switch between nymph, streamer and dry rigs and of course, I can’t forget the other essentials like (in order of importance): A beverage, vittles, camera gear and the occasional rain jacket.  Most places I fish are far from where I park and even if I am close, I like to make the most of my time on the water and not waste a single minute.  So there you have it; my excuse. This year’s hot summer has pushed me to the hills and I’ve been much more focused on photography, and carrying less fishing gear in an attempt to keep things simple.  And that’s exactly what the Midge Pack is, simple.  I was able to carry my photo gear in a traditional backpack while having an arsenal of dry flies and supplies right there under my chin.

I don’t think a lanyard fits every occasion on the water, however if you find they work for you or you are considering using them, the Nice Pack Midge might be a solid alternative to the traditional “fly fishing necklace”. There’s no fancy pukka shells, beads or hemp here; just solid, durable, thick materials and buckles that you know will last.  Getting this pack also forced me to purchase my first Tacky box, which the pack was designed to hold.  I have to say, I’m also a fan of these box's slim, lightweight design and quality materials.  What also makes the Nice Pack Co Midge Pack attractive is they are made here in my home state of Georgia by a couple of "fishy" dudes who had a vision of how they could "loose the lanyard" and make a better micro pack.

Overall I’m glad I gave the Nice Pack Co Midge Pack a shot this year.  It’s found a home in my go-to-gear for small stream, simplistic fishing.

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Photos by Matt Bornhorst

To Seine or Not To Seine

Hands Free Seine
Hands Free Seine

One of the oldest debates within the fly fishing community is "proper drift vs proper fly pattern", and which one holds the most weight. Ask this question around a group of half boozed up fly anglers and you're likely to get a split between the two with various reasoning's behind their argument. Personally I feel like there are times when any properly presented fly will suffice and other times when having the proper pattern will be the only way to put fish in the bag. There are of course numerous factors that play a role in this, such as stream fertility, conditions, and fishing pressure, to name a few. In all reality though if you want to take your trout fishing to the next level, ultimately putting more fish in the bag, becoming efficient at making a proper drift and matching it with the proper fly pattern will be key. All anglers should make a habit of observing the water, turning over rocks and seining the water, and observing fish behavior before jumping right into fishing. While turning over rocks and observing fish behavior requires minimal effort, seining the water for aquatic insects is not as simple. Typically, a majority of anglers will carry a paint strainer that affectively slips over the net basket to search for underwater trout snacks. While these strainers are relatively cheap, they work best on larger guide/boat nets and require a little effort to set up. The other day while cruising the web I came across the Hands Free Seine site. The Hands Free Seine uses a weighted net attached to a retractor which allows the seine to be used at different depths, while also being used hands free via the attached belt clip. The compact size of the Hands Free Seine also allows it to be stored easily inside of your vest or pack. For $30 this seems like a great deal for a quality seine, that can be deployed easily without the use of a net. While I have no experience with this product, I can tell you having a way to seine the water has saved numerous days on the water for me when I couldn't decipher exactly what the fish were eating that day.

I love seeing new and innovative products hit the market because like most I'm always trying to improve my fishing game and get a leg up on my quarry. Drop us a line if you have used the Hands Free Seine or have additional unique ways to seine the water for bugs!

Trout Snacks
Trout Snacks
Trout Snacks
Trout Snacks

2015 FCA at Mountain Town

Photo Gallery By: Matt Bornhorst

We had an excellent time taking photos and helping to shoot some film of this top shelf event benefiting a great cause. Click the button below to view more photos from the event.