As Spring rolls in, the fish are rising right along with the temperature.
I couldn’t have asked for better weather this past weekend and I took advantage of it by hitting the river and slinging some flies.
I decided to get after it early and left the house right around 6:30 am to get up on the river before many others had a chance to. It paid off, and I was able to hit some prime spots and pretty much have the whole place to myself. I hit the water right around 7:45 am and outside temps were already in the upper 60’s.
The Chauga River is one of my favorite rivers to fish. Narrow in many places, several nice runs and always full of great little trout that are ready to rumble. It’s one of several nice, healthy rivers that we have in the Sumter National Forest area that makes you appreciate just how amazing the great outdoors can be.
While there are some wild trout to be found in these areas, they are few and far between for the most part. The SC DNR has been stocking a healthy set of browns and rainbows the last few weeks and it’s pretty clear the moment you fish one of our local streams.
I started off slinging a customary dry fly that I always go to, The Yellow Humpy. A few casts in and I immediately hooked up on a small brown. I followed that up with 2 other small ones and then everything went quiet for a little while. After several other drifts to scout a few smaller runs, I knew it was time to break out something a little buggier from the arsenal.
I quickly pulled the hopper box from my backpack and proceeded to tie on one of my standard foam beetle patterns that I love so much.
When the weather is decently warm and the sun is on full blast, hopper patterns are 100% the cat’s meow on the Chauga River. Something about those buggy little rubber-legged creations that trout just simply can’t resist. I’ve found that black works well, but really seems to produce is lighter brown and lighter green colors.
I tie 90% of my hopper patterns in a size 12 and it always seems to be the perfect size for the typical hatchery trout found all along the Chauga River. With my beetle tied on, it didn’t take long to drift and hook up, pretty much as fast as you could get it back out there to them.
I fished that same simple beetle pattern for a good hour and caught 7 or 8 along that same run. While the majority of the trout stocked in these waters are small (8″-10″), they are super fun to catch and will provide a few hours of pure enjoyment on the water. As you can see in the image above, the Chauga River browns totally dig the hopper patterns.
Hoppers have become my absolute favorite flies to fish because I can easily see them on the water and so can the fish. On top of that, virtually any color combination works and these things are super fun to sit down at the vise and tie.
All in all, it was a great little trip out and a much needed escape away from everything. I’m always amazed and just how refreshing and revitalizing getting out on the river can be for the body and the soul. I hope this trip has spawned a rash of consecutive trips to follow, which means I’ll be at the vise tying up some new hopper creations.