After a long cold winter in Vermont, Bob and Tina decided to head south to field test some of the new 2022 fishing gear. The adventure took them to North Carolina and Southwestern Appalachia, specifically the Pisgah National Forest. This was an easy DIY (do it yourself) fishing adventure. It goes without saying, if you have the right gear and a bit of local knowledge, the fishing can be both exciting and successful. They’ll share their tips and tactics in this article.
We chose to drive to North Carolina as it allowed the luxury of having our gear, packed in the Simms Taco Bag (which allowed for containment of wet gear while traveling) and our camping supplies handy. It also made moving to different locations a breeze. With that said, you can easily fly to Winston-Salem, NC or Knoxville, TN and rent a car for your adventure.
It’s important to note North Carolina has specific fishing regulations with regard to Delayed Harvest and Hatchery Supported trout waters. You can refer to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s website for clear guidance on fishing locations throughout the state. We found the rivers to be well marked wherever we went.
Wilson’s Creek in Mortimer, NC, was the first stop. It’s definitely off the beaten path but proved to be a worth the drive. With morning temperatures in the 30’s and afternoon temperatures in the 60’s, there was ample opportunity to experiment with Euro-Nymphing, Dry Flies, and Soft Hackles.
Tina spent a few mornings trying out the new Redington Strike Euro Nymph Rod and Redington Tilt Fly Reel featured in today’s letter. Pairing the Redington Strike, with its reduced weight and medium-fast action, and the Redington Tilt, with its quick retrieval capabilities, proved to be worth their weight in gold when she landed the giant Brook Trout shown in the photo. The Scientific Angler Absolute Euro Leader, constructed with a tippet ring attached, allowed for quick tippet and fly changes. The size 16 Pheasant Tail Nymph was the perfect fly to drift through the deeper runs in the Delayed Harvest Section of Wilson’s Creek in Mortimer!
A sunny and 60-degree mid-afternoon was the perfect opportunity for Bob to test the Douglas ERA 9ft 5wt Fly Rod. He was impressed with the fast action of this under $200 fly rod. With all the gear we needed for the day packed in his fully customizable Fishpond Switchback Pro Wading System we set out for the quiet hike down to the beautiful deep pool we’d found earlier in the day. The rising fish was an amazing sight of its own. Bob found both soft hackles and his late spring fly selection to be wildly effective when he landed eight beautiful rainbow trout in the first hour!
All in all, the visit to Wilson’s Creek in Mortimer was a total success. We would be remiss if we didn’t also mention Betsy’s Ole Country Store in Mortimer, NC. In addition to running the country store, Bruce and Erica also maintain a campground and cabin on the property. Check them out on Facebook and let them know “Bob from Vermont” recommended them!
The next stop on our North Carolina field trip was the Watauga River in Boone. There are several spots in the Boone area to fish but we checked out a stretch of the river adjacent to the Valle Crucis Park. This location provided very easy access for anglers and the park was great for taking a break and having lunch.
As we stated earlier, this was an easy DIY fishing adventure. The gear was exemplary, the fishing was amazing, and the weather a pleasant change of scenery.
If you decide to take the trip south, here are some recommendations we’d like to share. Martinsburg, West Virginia, was a great overnight stopping point. There were several hotels and restaurants right off Interstate 81 with all of the amenities you could want. In addition to Betsey’s Old Country Store, we also visited Foscoe Fishing/Orvis in Boone. If you venture into Asheville, be sure to check out Davidson River Outfitters.