October Newletter

On The Fly South October 2021

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Fly Fishing the South

The season begins in mid-November!

Fly Fish Black Creek

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On The Fly South’s Top Southern Game Fish Series

Cool Water Fish In the Salt

Article and photo By Jimmy Jacobs

As with most areas, casting flies in saltwater is surging in popularity along the South Atlantic and Gulf Coasts from Maryland to Texas. With a shoreline that long running north to south and then east to west, the variety of fish to target is large. In this series we’ll take a look of the fish that garner the most favor. That’s because these gamesters are common in their areas and readily will hit a fly. In this first section, we take a look at the two that like cooler waters.

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UNI PRODUCTS

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Striped Bass

Striped bass, or stripers, area favorite target of fly casters in the brine on the northern fringes of the southern coast. The area around Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina is famed for producing these fish. Farther south they also turn up in brackish waters at the mouths of rivers as far south as the St. Johns in Florida. Forty-plus pound stripers turn up off beaches in North Carolina, while the fish in the deltas of the Savannah and St. Johns rivers are more likely to top out at 10 to 12 pounds.

Bluefish

This is another species that is most popular on the northern fringe of our coverage. Particularly in the fall, large schools of fish push along the shore making life miserable for baitfish. Blues weighing in the double-digit range are possible there. The fish, however, are found even as far south as Florida. That far down the coast a fish of 4 or 5 pounds is considered a big one.

This is another species that is most popular on the northern fringe of our coverage. Particularly in the fall large schools of fish push along the shore making life miserable for baitfish. Blues weighing in the double-digit range are possible there. The fish, however, are found even as far south as Florida. That far down the coast a fish of 4 or 5 pounds is considered a big one.

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The Fish Hawk

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Around The South:

Arkansas Gold – Trout That Is!

Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

By Randy Zellers, Assistant Chief of Communications

Photo by Jimmy Jacobs

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission worked with Crystal Lake Fisheries, Inc., to stock an additional 8,000 rainbow trout in the White River below Bull Shoals Dam and 2,000 rainbow trout in the Spring River. Some of the trout stocked were golden rainbow trout, which have proven popular with Arkansas anglers the last few years.

“The stockings are the result of funds from Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements from 2017, when the Jim Hinkle State Fish Hatchery experienced severe flooding,” Christy Graham, Trout Management Program coordinator for the AGFC, said. “We saw some reductions in production that year that continue to affect production now, so we are reinvesting those federal dollars into additional stockings for our anglers to enjoy.”

This is the third year of stockings using FEMA reimbursements from the flood event, and the third year the golden rainbows have been stocked.

“They’re not the same as golden trout you find out West, but rather a color phase that can occur in some rainbow trout,” Graham said. “We’ve heard from many excited anglers who have caught one of these ‘bonus’ fish and have heard anecdotal reports of anglers making a special trip to target a few of these fish.”

This particular color-variant of rainbow trout was developed at the Missouri commercial fish hatchery. The fish has the distinct pinkish stripe down the middle of its body like a regular rainbow trout, while the rest of the color varies from a pale white to a golden yellow. Otherwise, they are a rainbow trout in every way.

Graham says the stocking schedule from Crystal Lake will change this year from previous schedules.

“Crystal Lake will stock once per month in the Bull Shoals Tailwater and Spring River from now through December,” Graham said. “Previous stockings from Crystal Lake occurred from May through July.”

The limit for trout on the White River below Bull Shoals Dam and on Spring River, including golden rainbow trout, is five trout per day. Anglers may keep only one trout longer than 14 inches. Special regulations for each fishery can be found at www.agfc.com/trout and in the 2021 Arkansas Trout Fishing Guidebook.

Trade Show Postponed

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) Board of Directors announcesd that the 2021 International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show, scheduled for October 20th-22nd in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been postponed until 2022.

“I am beyond excited by the show AFFTA, and our Show Director Kenneth Andres, put together. There is a real buzz around the show, and we are proud of the almost 100 exhibitors we partnered with to join us in Salt Lake City this year. We were looking to strike a balance between safely gathering and providing an exciting, educational, and productive show. We had the latter, but safely gathering was getting harder and harder due to the spread of the unpredictable Delta variant,” said Lucas Bissett, Executive Director of AFFTA.

A follow up email will be going out within the week to exhibitors. Answers to questions regarding the logistics of this postponement will be included in that email along with the opening of a dialogue around next year’s gathering.

“While I am disappointed we are not getting together as an industry this year, I am confident we are going to bring our membership together with an even better industry gathering in 2022. The Board unanimously made the difficult but correct decision to postpone IFTD 2021, as the safety of our members is paramount. Under our new Executive Director’s leadership and vision, the future looks bright, and we are excited to get everyone’s input on what gatherings look like moving forward”, said Jim Bartschi, Chair of the AFFTA Board.

A robust communication plan will be implemented over the next couple of months laying out the future of AFFTA’s industry gathering.


 

Tampa Bay Catch-And-Release Extended

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

The extension applies to snook, along with redfish and seatrout. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has extended measures making snook, redfish and spotted seatrout catch-and-release only in Tampa Bay through Oct. 11. These changes went into effect earlier this summer due to recent impacts from red tide The Commission decided to keep these measures in place until they can be reevaluated at the next Commission meeting in early October.

Under these measures, snook, redfish and spotted seatrout are catch and release in all waters in Manatee County north of State Road 64, Hillsborough County and in Pinellas County. The Braden River and all tributaries of the Manatee River are also included but not Palma Sola Bay and the Anclote River.

The FWC thanks Gov. Ron DeSantis for his leadership and proactive response during this time.

Regulations outside of those counties remain unchanged, including the measures south of State Road 64 in Manatee County (including Palma Sola Bay) through Gordon Pass in Collier County for snook, redfish and spotted seatrout.

Maryland Trout Stocking

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Maryland DNR photo.

Thousands of brown, golden, and rainbow trout will be released in several creeks, ponds, and lakes throughout Maryland. Anglers should consult the 2021 Maryland Guide to Fishing and Crabbing for all regulations and any seasonal restrictions for their favorite waters. 

As a reminder, new brook trout regulations are now in effect requiring catch-and-release fishing only in all put-and-take trout areas and all waters east of Interstate 81. Anglers should take time to properly identify brook trout — which are not stocked by DNR — when fishing in catch-and-release waters.

Fall stocking locations and times can change due to a variety of factors, including water temperature, water flow, and weather conditions. DNR publishes stocking information online, and through social media channels.

Anglers can sign up to receive stocking updates or can call a recorded hotline at 800-688-3467, which is updated every Friday. Anglers can also sign up for the weekly Maryland Fishing Report, which provides anglers an in-depth fishing forecast. 

North Carolina Delayed Harvest Opens

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

NCWRC photo.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will implement Delayed Harvest Trout Waters regulations on 36 trout waters on Oct. 1. Under Delayed Harvest Trout Waters regulations, no trout can be harvested or possessed from these waters between Oct. 1 and one half-hour after sunset on June 3, 2022. No natural bait may be possessed, and anglers can fish only with artificial lures with one single hook. An artificial lure is defined as a fishing lure that neither contains nor has been treated with any substance that attracts fish by the sense of taste or smell.

The Wildlife Commission stocks Delayed Harvest Trout Waters from fall through spring with high densities of trout to increase anglers’ chances of catching fish. Delayed Harvest Trout Waters, posted with diamond-shaped, black-and-white signs, are popular fishing destinations for anglers who enjoy catch-and-release trout fishing.

On Aug. 17, the Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery, which is the Commission’s largest trout hatchery, was severely impacted by flash flooding caused by Tropical Depression Fred.  Although the hatchery remains operational, approximately 67% of all trout at the hatchery were lost.  The agency is mitigating those losses by obtaining replacement trout from various sources.  Although Delayed Harvest stockings are slated to occur as planned this October, hatchery staff are still addressing impacts of the damage to the facility and future stockings could be disrupted. Flood-related impacts and any changes to trout stockings will be posted on the agency’s website at ncwildlife.org/TroutUpdate.

Some trout waters may be closed by local cooperators due to COVID-19. Visit the agency’s COVID-19 webpage for an updated list of trout waters that have been closed by local cooperators.

While fishing, anglers should consider these minimal steps to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species like gill licewhirling disease and didymo:

  • CLEAN equipment of all aquatic plants, animals and mud
  • DRAIN water from boats, live wells and equipment
  • DRY equipment thoroughly
  • NEVER MOVE fish, plants or other organisms from one body of water to another

Learn more about aquatic nuisance species by visiting the Commission’s Aquatic Nuisance Species webpage. For a complete list of Delayed Harvest Trout Waters, information on regulations and trout fishing maps, visit the Commission’s trout fishing page.

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