Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall Fishing in the High Country

I could really say my favorite season is all of them...I mean I really love fishing no matter what time of the year it happens to be. But I must say of all the seasons Fall holds a special place with me. Maybe its the beautiful leaves and a landscape rich and ripe with color; perhaps its the refreshing "crispness" of the air; maybe its the low, clear water and small fly fishing, especially the blue winged olive hatches on the Tennessee tailwaters; I am certain of one thing, all of these reasons make the fall one of my favorite times to be outdoors.

Most of you are aware of my love for photography. It goes without saying that fall is a great time for taking pictures (photo: upper Helton Creek in Ashe County, NC). Combine some red, yellow, and orange leaves as a backdrop for a spawning brown or brookie and you have the necessary elements of a great photo coming together.

Most folks are aware of the leaf change and when it occurs. Here in North Carolina, the High Country will see this transformation begin in late September and continue through October. For the most part, from 2500' to 5000' the peak time is sometime between the first and third weeks of October. Weather can change this: a wet spring followed by a dry summer makes for the most striking display of color. Late Season rains can make for more "brown" leaves as in this year. A prolonged mild summer/early fall can push the peak later to late October and early November. So the weather plays a big part.

And the last part......ever have the joy of fishing during the peak leaf drop? I mean like when you snag a leaf on every drift. It seems like you snag the on a low backcast, during a presentation as the fly is drifting, at the end of the drift when the fly swings, while stripping line or making a pickup- - - -in each case the fly snags a wind resistant leaf and you get to witness the end of your leader/tippet become a twisted up, balled up mess that would make Don King's hairdo look tame.

But then again, just like all fishing---we take what we find and make the best of it. And the fall season is one of the best...