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Give N.C. trout fishing a try

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11/8/2011 - Give N.C. trout fishing a try
by Brad Harvey - Lake Wiley Pilot

Each summer, many of our local fly-fishermen make at least one trip up into the mountains to trout fish, and escape from the heat and humidity that smothers our area.

They all come home saying how nice it was to get away to a cooler climate. But, more often than not, they'll also say they didn't find much luck while plying the waters of the mountain country.

Part of the problem is most of them aren't well versed in the art of fly-fishing. Because there's not a lot of opportunity to utilize the long rod at home, they don't get enough practice at casting.

There's nothing that's going to solve this dilemma for these anglers other than more time on the stream and, believe it or not, right now is really the prime time for doing so.

Now, I understand the mere thought of traipsing through the bitterly cold waters of the North Carolina mountains during the month of November must seem completely nuts, but there are several things you'll have to keep in mind.

First, the water isn't going to feel any colder to you now than it does in June. It's absolutely frigid 12 months out of the year. The secret is in preparing for the cooler air temperatures.

During the summer, I'll jump into a pair of breathable waders while wearing a pair of shorts. This time of year, you're better off opting for a pair of fleece wader pants with stirrups, which run under your feet to keep the pants from sliding up when you pull the waders on. Fishermen and duck hunters have been using them for years.

The best choice for taking care of your upper body is to start with a compression base layer made for colder weather. Brands such as Under Armour and Nike are easy to find but can come with a hefty price tag.

There are many store brands from companies such as Bass Pro Shop, Cabela's and Dick's Sporting Goods that do the job just as well for about a third of the price. Just make sure you're picking one made for the cold. They look like the models designed to be worn in the heat, and if you happen to grab the wrong one, it'll do you no good.

Cover that with a long sleeve T-shirt and a flannel button-up. I top it off with a fleece pullover instead of a traditional coat or jacket. The pullover is less restricting to the motions of fly-fishing, and it easily tucks into the top of your waders.

There are many treatments available and easily applied to make your fleece shed water as well any duck, should the weather turn nasty.

A good cover for your head and a pair of wool gloves with the fingertips cut out will be the last items you might need, but even those aren't always a necessity. You might even find yourself yanking some of those other layers off.

The best place to attempt a little fly-fishing for Novem ber trout is along the Western North Carolina Fly-Fishing Trail in the Jackson County area of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Much of the trail is located around the 2,000-foot elevation mark.

That's barely more than 1,000 feet higher than we sit here, and the weather conditions are generally favorable for fishing during the entire month.

The Western North Carolina Fly-Fishing Trail gives anglers access to 15 stretches of open water and small streams teeming with rainbow, brown and brook trout. And, various sections of it are stocked with nearly 13,000 hungry trout at the start of this month.

If you need a little arm twisting, area innkeepers and hotel owners are willing to do it. This month, 10 of them are offering discounted rates to fishermen who give the trail a try.

You can gather more information about fishing there online at flyfishingtrail.com, which includes a detailed map and descriptions of fishing spots, GPS coordinates, lodging info, fishing reports and contact numbers for local guides.

Good weather, comfortable temperatures, tons of fish, easy access from here, cheap rooms and all of the pre-trip information you could ever ask for - sounds like a winner to me.

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