Saturday, April 10, 2010

Trout Safari 2010, Davidson River 4/5-6/10 "Missed opprotunities"

This year I decided that I would take a week off from work and hit some of the best trout fishing areas in Western North Carolina.  We started out on the Catch and Release section of the Davidson River in Brevard, NC.  The section of river runs through the Pisgah National Forest and is quite scenic as it runs below John Rock and past the fish hatchery and Wildlife Education Center.

We visited Davidson River Outfitters for some information and to stock up on some flies.  I was very impressed  by the shop.  A great selection of supplies and flies and the staff was very informative and enthusiastic.  If you go to fish the Davidson River be sure to stop by DRO!  Stocked up on flies and gear, we were ready to do some battle with the brutes that lurked in the waters of the Davidson River.

On our first day we decided to pick a pull off that looked suitable.  Unfortunately, we didn't get on the fish right away and decided to brave the crowds near the hatchery.  The best way I could describe this section of the river is "elbows and assholes".  There were anglers every 100 feet down the river into the woods.  Despite this pressure we managed to find a spot where the fish were rising and crashing the surface.  A tremendous number of bugs were swarming the river in a hatch but I never managed to nab one for closer inspection.  The day was hot and the water was cool, good conditions for a hatch.

The fishing was slow as I went through fly combinations trying to find one that they preferred.  Eventually I settled on an orange colored Stimulator pattern that got several strikes but no takers.  After a while I began to think that I was going to get a big fat skunk when a tremendous crash hit my Stimulator.  My rod immediately bent over with a weight I had not felt before, it was a big fish.  Immediately the inner novice in me took over and I played the fish like it was a race to see how fast I could drag it in.  I horsed the line and drug the trout closer to me as I fumbled with my net.  I couldn't seem to get my net close enough to the fish to get it in and figured that I would just grab the leader and drag the fish a little closer.  I looked down in the water and saw the biggest fish I had caught to this point.  Visions of my triumph were interrupted by a "PLICK" as my tippet departed the leader and my pig darted off into the distance.  If I wasn't standing near an elderly couple when this occurred I would have let forth a stream of obscenities that would make a Shanghai Sailor blush.  The sight of that fish haunted me for the rest of my trip.  It was an all time high for me and my stupidity cost me big.

I continued to fish and fume about my loss when, once again, a trout crashed my fly.  My rod bent over and I once again connected with a big fish.  I had learned from my previous experience and gingerly played the trout until I was able to control it..... or not.  I once again became panicked and played the fish like a dysfunctional idiot.  I horsed the fish within an arms reach when the Stimulator shot out of the fish's mouth and snagged itself in the branches of the tree above me.  I could have cried.  Not one, but two career high fish gone within my grasp.  Why can't I learn from my mistakes?!  The rest of the evening was a let down and we eventually left the river to find a hotel and a bite to eat.  I drifted off to sleep that night with nightmares of lost fish tormenting my soul.

We decided that we would get up at the crack of dawn and return to our hot spot for a second, or third, crack at those fish.  It was a slow morning that lacked the active fish of the previous day.  I fished my Stimulator again and did manage to connect with a nice brown trout that was colorful.  I had heard that the catch and release section of the Davidson held some big fish but I wasn't sure if it was true.  That is until I saw a HUGE brown trout lurking in the water only 20 feet in front of me.  This river holds BIG fish!  We gave up on the crowded section and headed up stream to see if we could find more fish.  After a short hike we failed to find any fish and the crowds only seemed to get bigger as the afternoon stretched on.  It was time to leave the Davidson and head for other fish on other waters.  On to the Tuckasegee...........


  1. Ahh, the ones that got away! Hard not to panic in the excitement, though! Sounds like a fun time.. Maybe by the time Liam is in college, I will come with you.

  2. Rookie! Hurts, doesn't it?

    Seriously, I'm sorry you had such self-inflicted "bad luck". As every fisherman knows, there's always next year...

  3. Oh, it's all a part of the experience. That's why they call it fishing and not catching. Bad luck would be not hooking the fish at all. I am just thrilled that i was able to fool a big fish like that into taking a fly. Fish in the catch and release sections get big because they are selective about what they eat. Well, and not being killed when they do get fooled also helps. Next time I will be patient and play that fish a little more.