August Newsletter

On The Fly South August 2022

August continues our brutal summer, featuring blazing temperartures and pop-up rain storms across the region.

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If you can handle the weather, there are plenty of options to still be on the water this month. When the August edition is published at mid month, we’ll look at saltwater action for our region’s other trout in the brine, the white or sand trout. We also head over to South Carolina to preview the fall’s delayed-harvest trout action on Choehee Creek, as well as checking out the tailwater fishing on Virginia’s Jackon River.

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Around The South:

Arkansas Smallmouth Bite

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission reports that the hot weather has not stopped the smallmouth bass in the northeast of the state on the Spring River from continuing to bite. In fact, according to Guide Mark Crawford, the heat  has made them a bit easier to find. The smallies are congregated in deep water areas. Tossing black or olive Wooly Buggers has been the ticket to hooking these fish.

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Snakehead Tagging in Maryland

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

In an effort to monitor invasive northern snakeheads in the Chesapeake Bay and Blackwater River, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced a new tagging program in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 

Both agencies are placing yellow or blue tags on up to 500 northern snakeheads. Each tagged northern snakehead caught and harvested from now until 2024 could be rewarded with a gift card of $10 or $200 depending on the tag.

In order to qualify, the harvester must report the tag number to USFWS at 800-448-8322, and is asked to take a picture of their harvested and tagged northern snakehead. Only harvested northern snakeheads with reported tags will qualify for gift cards.

By measuring the amount of northern snakehead harvested, the agencies will learn if population benchmarks are being reached and help control the spread of the species. 

The population of snakeheads has been increasing in the upper Chesapeake Bay and is likely the top fish species that eats other fish in the Blackwater River. Harvesting snakeheads helps reduce predation pressure on the state’s natural resources, and the fish is also considered a flavorful and nutritious food source.

It is illegal to transport a live northern snakehead in Maryland and surrounding states. More information on snakeheads is available on the DNR website

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A Florida Exotic: Mayan Cichlid

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Fish graphic by Diane Rome Peeples.

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Size: The current State Record is 2.37 pounds, and the minimum sizes for Big Catch are 1 pound or 11 inches for adults, and 0.75 pounds or 8 inches for youth.

Identification and similar species: The broken lateral line and turquoise ring on the tail are diagnostic; general coloration includes 6-8 bars that can be faint or dark; body color varies greatly in intensity sometimes with bright red on the chin, throat, and breast; has both spiny and soft dorsal fins and a rounded tail fin. These colorful fish are sometimes mistaken for another cichlid, the butterfly peacock bass which is more elongated and usually has a yellow ring on the tail. These fish have several nicknames including “reds” and “cichlids.”

Angling qualities: Sometimes referred to as the “atomic sunfish” for its bright colors and strong fight. The Mayan takes a variety of natural baits including live worms, grass shrimp, and crickets, as well as almost any small artificial, particularly jigs, fished on light tackle; wooly worms, small streamers, and popping bugs used by flyfishers also taken aggressively.

Edibility: Good; white to pink, flaky meat with mild flavor. No bag or size limits means anglers can catch and keep as many Mayan cichlids as they can catch.

Where to find them: First recorded in Florida Bay in 1983, now established and abundant in south Florida as far north as Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie Canal. Native to Atlantic slope of Central and South America. Very adaptable and lives well in variety of habitats including canals, rivers, lakes and marshes; tolerates a wide range of salinities.

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Hunting Fish in Georgia’s Marshes of Glynn

“We are in the summer time pattern of smaller schools of redfish,” Capt. David Edens reported. “They move around on the mudflats in singles, doubles and small schools. The bigger schools appear to be in the back of creeks.

“On good days you should have shots at a dozen or more fish. If you can put the fly in front of them, sometimes they eat and sometimes they don’t. This pattern will continue until the fall. I have one really good day of flood tides in the evening in August still available and a few in September and October. Call me or send me a note through my contact page to book them. There will be more days of flood tides as we move into the fall.

“Tarpon are here, tripletail are here and on good days, when the wind is not blowing, offer a unique sight fishery for free floating tripletail. This is exciting and challenging fishing. I do not want to take anyone on just a boat ride. I will be honest about your chance of catching a fish. With the team, we normally have availability at this time of the year.

“I have not had time to update my fishing reports. Fishing is excellent right now. For my weekly fishing reports, go to the Orvis Fishing Reports by clicking Fishing Reports here.

“I have started using a new fiddler crab fly: a felt crab fly.  I have used a Black Toad fly for years in the flooded grass, and when I need to get down deep, fast, this is still my go to fly.  What I like about the Felt Crab Fly is how softly it lands.  I just added a page with tying instructions.  Check it out and give it a try. The redfish are also crushing this fly on the low tide.”

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Cutthroat Trout in Tennessee

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Cutthroat Trout are native to the western United States. They were originally stocked in a few of Tennessee’s tailwaters in the 1950s through the early 1960s with little success due to poor water quality prior to the Clean Water Act.  

TWRA has recently partnered with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to begin stocking Cutthroat Trout in Tennessee to provide a unique fishing opportunity in some of Tennessee’s tailwater fisheries.  In 2021, Cutthroat Trout were added to the stocking list in the Tims Ford Tailwater (Elk River), Appalachia Tailwater (Hiwassee River), and Boone Tailwater (Holston River) to diversify the trout fishing experience below these dams.  Evaluations will be ongoing. 

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