After a failed trip to the Davidson River in Pisgah National Forest me and my friend were ready to hang up our rods and let the dust collect. Though we only have 2-3 years experience between the two of us we thought we might catch one of the numerous trout we saw while in the Davidson. Later in the month while browsing around a local outfitters we were told by the owner that the Davidson is one of the most technical rivers in Western North Carolina. This might explain our amateurish failure the week before. I am still oblivious to what exactly makes a river technical though -- especially the Davidson since I would like to return and hopefully have more luck next time. Are there specific things I should be researching (hatches, etc.) that might allow me to adapt to the technicality of the river? And in general what makes a river technical?
I'm located in WY and know nothing about the Davidson, but around here when I hear the term technical its usually refering to a river that has lots of fishing pressure and as a result the fish get very educated and as a result you have to on your game to catch fish. That means getting into position without the fish seeing you and presenting flies that are naturally found in the river using a natural drift. This is easier said than done. Most people will just put on their waders and jump into the river. If you approach fly fishing more like hunting (try sneaking up on your prey) your success rate will go up.
Around here I find that most all of the tailwaters are very technical, mainly because they get a tremdous amount of fishing pressure. Another approach would be to hire a guide for a day to show you how to fish that river. Than armed with the knowledge learned from the guide, fish the river on your own. You will be amazed at how much knowledge a guide has that fishes a river day in and day out. Its money well spent (I'm not a guide, this is just offered from my own experience). Another approach I like to use is find a good book on the river of interest, you will pick up lots of tips and a list of flies to use and a hatch chart.
thats some great advise, from Mcnerney, when he talks about stlaking your trouthe is very right. I fish a tailwater that gets alot of presure, there are two pips that pump water out of a fish hatchery into the river I see lots of folks walk down to them wade out aways and throw like crazy, splashing the water with teir line and just makeing all kinds of bad cast an noise and standing up-right, now if they are standing there looking at the fish, the fish are looking at them, wich means they wont bite. When I get to one of these spots before they do, I walk in very softly, only wade out a foot or so and kneel down and make side cast with a soft landing. Make short cast to the fish up close then work my way out. Most folks just start throwing 50 foot cast and scareing teh hell out of all the fish in close, these trout stack up in front of the tubes feeding on what washes out, I have stayed on my knees for hours there hurting like hell but ctaching fish, a few mornings I have caught over 50 trout from like 7am to noon. One of them this year being a 16 lb hog.
Like mcerney said, be stealthy, know what they are feedin on and learning to cast and drift as naturaly as you can.
Another little tip, if you use things like ovlive woolybuggers down size to a 10 or 12, if every one else is throwing 8's to 4's and if everyone is throwing olive and brown, try white or black, switch it up a little to things the trout havent seen 1,000 times.
Don't let those rods collect dust man, get out there and give em' hell.
if every trip and every water wear easy it wouldnt be anyfun
I used to hit the Davidson 10-15 years ago while living in Charlotte at the time. I apologize if some of this info. is outdated. The river was always very selective in giving up fish as you experienced. Even at that time it saw a lot of fishing pressure (especially after it made what I call the "death list"- it was listed as a top 10 in a certain publication), and I would guess the fishing pressure has increased with the growth around Brevard these days. The more time you spend on the Davidson the more you will understand the river, hatches, and bottom structure. I remember early morning and evenings most productive. Afternoons were always slow. Try to stay out of the water if you can and out of sight from the fish while casting. The river used to have a great Green Drake hatch each year. If the hatch still comes off, and you are lucky enough to be on stream at the time you will be amazed at the feeding frenzy. Check with a local fly shop about that hatch. I have a question for you. I heard some of the water just outside the park is private now. Is that true? Best of luck and enjoy the beautiful area.
I've fished the Davidson every now and then for the last couple years since I live about an hour and a half from there.
You heard right, it's one of the most technical rivers you'll fish...ever!
The Davidson is one of Trout Unlimited's top 100 rivers to fish in the US.
Honestly, my friend and I don't like to go up there that much. It's bout as close as you can get to a pay-pond, and it gets fished HEAVILY all year round. That's what makes it technical, like the other guys have described.
Fisherman are CONSTANTLY coming on that river, and unfortunately a lot who don't know what they're doing. Yes there are some HUGE fish in that river, but especially with the waters in the Carolinas being so down the last few years, the fish can easily see you, your line, your tippet, EVERYTHING!
You have to be very stealthy, use very small fluorocarbon tippet, let the fly hit the water well above the fish you're fishing to, and keep your line out of site as best you can from the fish. Being such a thin river (mainly right around the park entrance around the hatchery), this is all very hard to do.
You also have to be able to cast very delicately so that you don't splash the water when you land your line.
So just imagine doing all this...THEN you have to make sure your fly is the right size, color and pattern because they will hone in on very fine details.
If you want to become a better fisherman, that's the place to go. Get there as early as you can, preferably weekdays, or else you're going to be battling a lot of people for position on the river.
If you want to catch trout that behave more like a normal trout, I'd recommend the North Mills or East Fork of the French Broad in that area. The Chattooga is a good one too, but if you feel like making the trip...the Holston river in Tennessee is the f'ing gold mine! 5-6,000 fish per mile they say, but bring your big rod and your double haul casting cuz it's wide!