I finished up the year getting two new bucket list creeks, and my plans to get a couple more were blocked by a gated road.
On November 8, I hiked into Green River Game Land to fish Pulliam Creek. It has been on and off the NCWRC trout water lists over the years as wild trout water. According to Frederic Fish in A Catalog of the Inland Fishing Waters of North Carolina, it contained brook trout back in the 1960s. The trail down to the Green River Narrows crosses it, and I fished from the crossing up to a waterfall and caught four small rainbows on nymphs to make Pulliam Creek new creek #1048. I know of only three other people crazy enough to put a creek like this on a "bucket list" . . . you know who you are!
On the way home I swung by my favorite Polk County trout stream and fished long enough to catch a nice wild rainbow. Notice I'm wearing a different color shirt in the trout pic - the red one was soaking wet with sweat from hiking back out of Pulliam Creek!
On November 18, Ben Wilson and I planned on dropping off the Blue Ridge Parkway to fish some new creeks in Haywood County, but the spur road was gated due to road work. Instead, we took the parkway over to Jackson County, where Ben was able to get four new creeks (Wolf Creek, Tanasee Creek, Pinhook Creek and Sols Creek). I fished in Tanasee and caught specs farther downstream than ever, but they probably came down from Pinhook. I also caught a couple of specs in Sols Creek.
Finally, on November 24 I drove to Rosman to fish the main fork of the French Broad River. I grew up fishing the French Broad below Asheville for panfish, smallmouth bass, catfish and the occasional confused trout, but I was not fly fishing. In her book The French Broad, Wilma Dykeman called the French Broad's tributaries "the chattering children", and I have caught trout on a fly I tied in over 400 of those, but I had no record of catching a trout on a fly in the main stream. I fished about 100 yards above and then below the upper bridge in Rosman, catching stocked browns on streamers and stocked brookies on midges to make the French Broad River new creek #1049 - mark another one off the bucket list! I know there are wild browns in there, but it was a bright sunny day and they were in a mood. Just for fun, here's an old snapshot of me at 16 with a rainbow trout I caught in the French Broad below the Woodfin Dam in Asheville - on a night crawler! What can I say, I was fishing for channel cats.