Helton Creek washout…

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My UNCG colleague, Jorge, called me last week to see if I’d be interested in a trout fishing trip. He wanted to go to one of his favorite places in Ashe County, Helton Creek. This is one of NC’s delayed harvest streems (stocked from October through the spring, and catch & release until the first of June). I’d never been there before so I said sure! I set the clock for 4:45 to leave Chapel Hill at 5AM, in order to meet Jorge at his house in Winston-Salem at 6:30. I waved (virtually) to other UNCG colleagues as I rolled through Greensboro just before 6AM…

The weather forecast was for thunderstorms, but we were hoping for the best as we rolled west. Stopped in Wilkesboro to grab a biscuit (told the cashiers we weren’t heading to Merlefest 😉 ) and back on the road. As we went further north and west (we were heading near the corner of NC/Tenn/VA) we ran out from under the heavy clouds, and things looked promising. However, the weather was moving from the southwest to northeast, so the respite was short-lived. We got to Helton Creek and the water was a bit stained, but visibility was at least a couple of feet. We suited up and moved to the stream. After a few minutes, rain and thunder rolled in, so we retreated to the picnic shelter behind the church where we parked. When the storm passed, we went back to the stream. We worked things hard with a variety of nymphs, but the water was moving fast and the runs where Jorge liked to fish were not working for us. Ominously, we were seeing mud stain the stream from runoff from a nearby farm. We decided to move back downstream just a bit where there was a big, deep pool. I decided to try a big heavy fly, so I found a Bitch Creek in my box and tied that on. Bam! Caught a nice brook trout…caught another. Called to Jorge to let him know what was working. He tried the big pool, and I moved downstream from a small bridge. I picked up another fish. By now, the water was getting murkier. I moved back to the big pool and tried a number of things, and had a couple more strikes but didn’t connect. The rain picked back up, and before long the water was the color of coffee with cream. Hmmm…not good. Here’s a shot of Jorge casting into the pool…

Jorge casting

We hung out a while, and ate lunch. More rain. Darker water, now with floating debris 🙁 Oh well, Jorge wanted to stop at a nearby plant nursery and buy some things to take both home and to his cabin near Boone. We picked up some plants from Foggy Mountain nursery, and then headed back home. Stopped at Jorge’s cabin, propped up our feet and enjoyed the afternoon for a while, telling fishing stories ;-).

It was time to head back to the piedmont, so we loaded up and drove back. A great trip. The fishing was excellent, even if the catching was a bit mediocre…but, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Already looking forward to meeting up with Jorge for another trip!

0 thoughts on “Helton Creek washout…

  1. Joel

    Kev, it’s a long way…from my house (west side of Chapel Hill) to Winston-Salem is about an hour and 20 minutes. It’s about 2+ hours or so to Helton from Winston. In about the same time, you can be at Whitetop Lauel in the Mt. Rogers area…we were less than a mile from the VA line, and close to Tennessee.

    Reply

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