Life for most of us has returned to normal after dealing with the aftermath from winter storm Diego. Snow and wintry mix blanketed the region making for widespread power outages, dangerous driving conditions, and most trout streams void of human presence. It looks like another system will be moving in tonight and will bring significant rain over the next few days. Next week, however, it looks like we should have some warm temperatures and when the water levels come down, excellent winter fishing.
North Fork of the French Broad
Before the storm arrived, fishing on the North Fork was quite good. Little black stoneflies were out and about along with BWOs and some small caddis. Conditions for hiking in are still treacherous with the snow and abundance of downed trees and water levels will likely be too high for good fishing this weekend. Once it warms up and water levels drop next week, good fishing should return. A squirmy worm with a small Frenchie or pheasant tail would make for a good rig to start with. Just make sure to add plenty of weight.
East Fork of the French Broad
The East Fork was fishing great before Diego and great fishing should return next week. Small soft hackles along with baetis nymphs will be far more effective than classic DH junk flies. With easy roadside access, this would make for a great stream to fish as we wait for road and water conditions to improve on more off-the-beaten-path water. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by the shop to grab any necessary flies or tackle or to pick up a great gift for a fellow angler or paddler.
The Davidson is at a good level but access is currently tough because of snow and downed trees. Black ice is also a consideration on cold mornings because of the freeze, thaw, freeze cycle. When the next system clears out, most of the snow should be melted by rain and good streamer fishing could be found, as well as good nymph fishing. Little black stones, BWOs, and midges would make for a good starting point on your nymph selection.
Small stream fishing is very tough right now, largely due to snowy and/or icy access roads. When the road conditions improve, if you must fish a small stream, fish a lower elevation creek like Cathey’s or the South Mills. Make sure to put the flies right on their noses, fish in these very cold creeks aren’t going to move much to chase them.