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Great Memories

Trout fishing 2007 a year of great memories
Wednesday, Dec 12 2007, 11:02 pm
Hugh Koontz  Shelby News Article
It seems like just last week the mountains looked like big ole bowls of colorful jellybeans, but now they are more like piles of rusty ole cannonballs. Still, the fishing can be good. I took a little time to look back on the year, and 2007 doesn’t look so bad upon reflection.

It was the best of fishing times. It was the worst too.

Back in January, I was catching and losing trout in snow and rain. Mostly, I fished under bridges when the rain hammered the top of the car roof too hard. We had some notably warm, unseasonable weather back in mid-winter, too, and I caught a bunch of trout with an amazing variety of flies.

March turned cold, at least for the fishing time I had on weekends. During one three-day weekend, I nailed trout of all sizes and color from two different rivers and one little wild creek. I caught the most on the DH water of the East Fork of the French Broad and the largest on the North Fork; but the most memorable was the wild brown I caught with a little tan caddis on my favorite little water. It was one of those magical weekends where everything seems to go according to the script. And I wrote the script.

April, with its snowcapped mountains looming in the distance, should have been better since it traditionally is the opening of trout season. We now have trout season all year long, with special designations for six flavors of trout fishing, including Catch and Release, Delayed Harvest, Wild, and hatchery Supported. (There are two others, I think, but forget what they are called.)

May was a month that sparkles and tingles the memory bank. Friend Matt Champion of Kings Mountain caught a pig of a brown trout, fishing a pheasant tail nymph in the South Holston River in Tennessee, right after I had released what I thought was a fairly large brown myself. His could have swallowed my personal trophy trout.

On another soft May day, I caught trout everywhere I looked. I could have, for that one day I believe, caught trout in the kitchen sink. I stopped at a little bridge off the Blue Ridge Parkway, tied on a little tan caddis and nailed the wild rainbow with my first cast.

Later the same day, I caught a strange-looking fellow that was neither brown, rainbow or brook trout. I finally identified it as a Tiger Trout, a rare hybrid of brown and brook trout. It was the most memorable trout of the year, as far as astonishing beauty goes.

In June my border collie caught the biggest, and deadest, rainbow trout. As I was leaving to hit the stream one morning, Bo greeted me at the front porch with this pale, stiff trout, which he dropped at my feet. I think he wanted me to toss it for him to retrieve.

Later that same day while fishing the Davidson River near the state hatchery, I saw something I had never even heard of before - a large brown trout of 20 inches or better trying to swallow a 12-inch rainbow trout. I watch him try, and fail, to choke that meal for an hour.

In July I found the coolest spot near Looking Glass Falls, though with all the swimmers and splashers there was not much chance of catching anything. Upstream was a different, and more pleasant, story.

In September I hooked a huge thick-as-a-football rainbow trout on the Davidson River, floating dry flies on the mirror-smooth water downstream from the Wildlife Education Center. That was fun.

I fished some in Tennessee again, just so I could say I fished some deep water during the drought of 2007.

In the last week of November I found a pod of trout feeding and managed to break off four huge guys before finally landing one 2-footer,

And just last weekend near the cabin several huge fish surprised me by trying to yank the rod from my hands. One leaped and landed with a huge splash, then raced toward me with the line slicing a straight line through the smooth surface. I had to do a little dance move as the fish twirled me around, raced behind me and broke the line.

Whew. That one left me shaking.

It was one of the best of fishing times.

During the late fall the rainbows brighten up for spawning, like this gaudy 18-inch trout caught on light tippet and a No. 20 dry fly. This was one of the smallest fish hooked.
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