THE SOQUE COMES TO THE CHATTOOGA (BUT NOT NASCAR)

Bob “NASCAR” Chambliss called Ed Chamberlain and I and asked us to go fishing this past Friday (3/23). The phone conversation with NASCAR went about the same with both Ed and I.

NASCAR (excited)-Hello, lets go fishing on Friday.
ED-That sounds good, how about we go to the Chattooga? I have heard that the dry fly action has been picking up on the
Chattooga!
NASCAR (a bit petulant)-Chattooga? But that is so far away.
Ed-NASCAR, it is not that far.
NASCAR (a bit whiny)-But the Soque has bigger fish.
Ed-Yes, but you can get wild fish on the Chattooga.
NASCAR (a bit whiny)-But the Soque has bigger fish.
Ed-But NASCAR, I hear the March Browns and Quill Gordons are coming off on the Chattooga.
NASCAR (a bit whiny)-But the Soque has bigger fish.

Needless to say, the conversation continued the same way and it resulted with Ed Chamberlain, Mike “Copperhead” Williams, Phil “Seahunt” Seheuk, and I traveling to the Chattooga while NASCAR went to the Soque-I think.

Mike Williams Brown Trout on the Chatooga River

We walked into the Chattooga hoping for a warming, nice day to encourage dry fly activity but no-it felt pretty raw and cold and even had some rain. I was discouraged especially since I was focused on dry fly fishing. My interest peaked when I saw Copperhead fishing the Railroad Hole and I saw him hook what looked like a big one. As I watched it really was a big one and I stopped to see him fight and land it. I was not disappointed (nor was Copperhead) when he landed a 20 inch bow big boy on a Sawyer PT. It was an impressive fish and was worth Ed taking several pictures of it.

I headed up to the Camping Hole and found Seahunt fishing it. He was having a good day with 10 or more fish on including a 15-16 inch fish. He was having most of his success on a y2k. I was struggling at this time due to the fact I was being stubborn and fishing dries, even though I was freezing-it is Spring doggone it!

I headed up the the Bank and all of a sudden, they started hitting the dry and it was sweet. Got some nice fish in the 14 to 15 inch range. It had me laughing to myself. After having a great day catching fish on a dry (I guess 22-24 fish) I headed back downstream and met Ed and Copperhead and got some more big fish stories.

Ed was fishing this hole (you will understand why I will not name it) when a huge rainbow hit his Sawyer PT. Ed estimated it as around 25 inches and he knew the size of the fish because it jumped. But due to the size of the fish, 6x tippet, not bowing when it jumped, or it broke the tippet on rock, Ed lost the fish. But it was a wonderful experience and the biggest trout Ed has ever hooked. Ed’s feeling were not too hurt by the big fish because he had a good day with several fish in the 14-16 inch range. And the big fish stories do not end there. Copperhead was fishing above Ed when he hooked a brown that was the equal or bigger to the 20 inch bow he landed. Unfortunately the big boy got away. But Copperhead was walking upstream he saw a true monster making a wake in the water. If you have ever seen a big brown chasing a fish to eat it, you will not forget it, and this is what Copperhead saw.

All in all, it was a magical day, the kind of day you remember and chuckle about for no particular reason other that it was one of those “one of the best days ever”. Maybe not as big a fish on the Soque, but pretty close!

Fly recommendation-As for nymphs, the y2k and Sawyer PT were great. As Ed put it-I got the smaller stockers on the y2k and the bigger wild or hold-over fish on the Sawyer PT. As for dries-the March Brown was great and I also would try a Quill Gordon and tan caddis. I must mention a new fly that I am extremely impressed with-the low rider nymph. This is a Jason Borger fly that is fished like a dry. Have you seen rises but no matter what you put on, you can’t get a hit? The low rider is an imitation of a nymph, but a nymph that is on surface about to transform. This fly has become a go-to fly for me, especially when I want to use dries to fish.

JD

You guys REALLY know how to hurt a guy! Glad you had a great trip. I have been promising for two years I would take this guy in my church to the Soque and when he called to say he was free Friday I couldn’t say no. I really owed him as he was the one who, as a former Delta guy, contacted a Delta VP who finally (it took a week!) got my luggage to me in Nova Scotia last year. Before JD’s report I was thinking I am getting too old for a one day trip to the Chattooga. I am definitely rethinking that!!!! Attached is a brief video of Cody on the Soque. I’M READY FOR THE CHATTOOGA!!!!!
NASCAR

Mike Williams Brown Trout on the Chatooga River

Mike Williams Brown Trout on the Chatooga River