Head Upstream: Summertime Blue Lines By: Sean Deines

Head Upstream: Summertime Blue Lines By: Sean Deines

As we transition from spring to summer, it's the perfect time to start focusing on our higher elevation “blue lines” that form the foundations of our renowned rivers in the area. These headwater streams tend to produce smaller fish, but double-digit catch days are common as these fish are hungry and alert. As you pull out your map and plan a visit to these hidden gems, here are a few thoughts to help cultivate success.

Finding Water:

Look upstream of where you typically fish. A good map of the area will provide the access information you need to find lesser-fished headwaters and tributaries. In NC, most of these streams are classified under the wild designation, but it's always good practice to check the resources provided by the NC Wildlife (https://www.ncpaws.org/PMTWS/TroutSearch.aspx). Most of these streams will require a bit more time and effort to get to but definitely worth the hike.

The Breakdown:

This type of fishing can become very ninja-like, requiring stealth and precision. Each run or pool offers a new challenge that requires a thoughtful approach as you work up a section of water. From reading a tough drift to a bow and arrow cast, these smaller waters require patience. Fly fishing is a lifelong learning experience, and using these moments to improve your overall technical skills is always a win.

Keep It Simple:

Anglers often stress too much about what to tie on. These small stream fish usually care more about presentation than a specific match of the fly. A simple stimulator pattern and dropper are my go-to, as they ensure visibility throughout the water column. These fish are opportunistic feeders and react quickly, giving themselves little time to inspect what's floating by. A well-delivered fly will almost guarantee success.

Blue lines provide a great opportunity to explore some of the more intimate areas of our region. They offer a place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the more popular areas and enjoy the serene beauty of our natural surroundings. Take the time this summer to venture further upstream, it’s always worth the effort.

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