Monthly Archives: March 2011

Hickory shad on the Roanoke River

I try to get to Weldon, NC, once each spring when the hickory shad are running. I’d go more often, but it’s about an hour & 45 minutes, and there a lot of variables (temperature, water clarity, water level, plus fish karma)…I try to pick one day that will work, and today was that day. Any day fishing is better than a day at work, so I was eagerly anticipating this excursion 😉

Jan left about 7:10 to go to work and I started loading up. Here’s where it gets interesting! I decided to take my ODC816 pontoon, as it’s a hassle to haul my boat to Weldon, and besides it’s at Emerald Isle right now. Started to inflate the pontoons. Where’s the pump? In the boat at EI (to inflate towables!). OK, found another pump. Where’s my favorite Shad rod? In the boat at EI! No worries, I’ve got plenty. Where are my Shad flies? You guessed it, in the boat at EI. Headed upstairs to the tying bench to whip out a quick half-dozen flies. Where’s my fishing license? In the boat at EI. Print off proof of license! On the road finally, and pulled in to Weldon at 10:30, really only a half-hour after I planned to be there. Was it worth it? You bet!

Shad, Weldon, 3-18-11

When I got there, I rowed across the river, and anchored the ODC816 in an eddy near the big island. Water was fairly high, about 9000cfs and cold…not much more than 50F, but also clearer than I think I’ve ever seen it there (the Roanoke at Weldon is about 6 miles below the last of a series of 3 large back-to-back reservoirs). Flailed the water for about 30 minutes and it was looking like a big old skunk. However, I decided to look around the corner and check out the “little river.” I beached the ODC and walked where I could look around the bend. Glad I did. There were 3 boats with flyfishers catching fish! I carried my boat over the rocks and made my way to a rock about 25 feet off the island. I had some strikes and started catching fish. Several pictures here. I fished until about 2pm when my casting arm was getting tired. Caught about 20 nice hickories, and let me tell you, these guys will put a bend in your rod. I’ve had days when I caught 100, but this was very satisfying, as the fish I caught were big and strong.

Went back to the island, toted the ODC to the main channel, and fought the current (very fast!) to the ramp area. Chewed the fat with some other fishermen, and headed home to pack up and drive to the beach (where your intrepid correspondent is sitting now). A great day!

iOS 4.3

A quick shout out for iOS 4.3. I’ve upgraded my iPad now (my Verizon iPhone doesn’t yet have 4.3 available. One of the best features for me will be the speed improvement in the browser. So far, it does seem noticeably snappier. I’m a big fan of AirPlay, and there are several improvements there I’m looking forward to trying. Personal hotspot doesn’t excite me, but I’m sure it will be very useful to some folks. For a good summary, see this link from Network World.

Orange County (NC) trout

Today was my 2nd day of the season to fish for winter trout in Clearwater Lake. Sam and I fished there on December 4th and had a nice day, albeit a bit cold. Well, it was much warmer today, but the forecast all week had been for rain today and that was the case! The old Seattle Sombrero came in handy. Got there about 9:45 am (nice to have a leisurely breakfast and still go trout fishing!). I caught several, almost all on a Tellico dropper under a white bugger. Nice, fat fish like this one.


After lunch, we decided to try our luck on the risers, using tiny black midges (#20) that were coming off regularly. Fish were breaking everywhere, including many large trout completely clearing the water. Sam did very well, landing about 5. I hooked 2 or 3, but not well enough to land…that part of my mojo wasn’t working, but it was great fun casting to the riseforms and watching the fish take the fly.

I decided to leave about 4PM, and just in time. While the rain had been steady through lunch, it had stopped about 1PM and often the wind was not blowing. That’s helpful for fishing tiny dry flies. I noticed the sky getting darker, and packed up the truck. A couple of minutes later I was driving home through pouring rain. A great day, tho!

Looking forward to getting out and catching some hickory shad in a couple weeks. Stay tuned for that.