Tuckaseegee Float and We Finally See Some Bears

I was scheduled to do a float on Tuesday and the high water situation on our local TVA tailwaters just wasn’t negotiable. Fortunately we can be on the Tuckaseegee River in western North Carolina with a slightly longer drive and the drive across the Smokies is among the most scenic in the nation.

We’ve been a bit overdue for our first bear sighting this year. By the end of the first week of April we’ve usually seen at least one, but up until today we had yet to see one. Looks like the law of averages worked like a charm. Today we not only had our first look at a bear for 2011, but saw five of them!

Low light and an long lens add up to a less than sharp bear photo

I spotted a sow and three cubs ambling through a hollow as we started up Newfound Gap Road. They were some distance back in the forest but I was able to snap a few blurry photos in the low light with the lens out as far as it would go. We later saw a lone bear within a mile of this spot as we came home in the evening.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and the water was a little bit on the high side as we launched the drift boat. Fish rarely rise to dry flies under these conditions on the Tuck, but nymphs can be effective and streamers will move plenty of fish.

The streamers definitely moved more fish than the nymphs, but most of the fish flashed the fly of followed it instead of taking it. Nymphs were effective in the shallower sections of the river as we picked up a few fish on Prince Nymphs.

This 15″ brook trout crushed a streamer. We experimented with different sizes and colors, but everything seemed to have roughly the same results. We felt like we were moving more fish on rusty brown, but also had some success with olive. Floating fly lines did almost as well as a 15′ sink tip.

We landed more brown trout than anything, but also landed a few rainbows and brookies besides the one pictures.

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