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Yes! Winter Fly Fishing is Hot

| Posted in Fly Fishing |

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Fall Fly Fishing ff2

Winter fishing tips from our resident Fish Whisperer, Ken Kastorff

Winter is just around the corner but don’t hang up your fly rod yet.  Time to get the waders out and search around in the closet for the heavy rain jacket.  November starts some of the best fly fishing to be had in Western NC.  It is delayed harvest season.  There are so many options to choose from – angler will run out of time before they run out of rivers to fish.  Last month I talked about all the local delayed harvest streams.  This month I’d like to touch on some of the best flies to use when fishing them.

Starting in October and November, and then again in March, April and May, the  NC Wildlife Commission stock thousands of brook brown and rainbow trout.  The stocking schedule is available on their web site.  At the beginning of the month it is a fly anglers dream.  If you can’t catch trout then, you better check to make sure you have a hook on the line.  As the month progresses it is amazing how fast these stocked trout get smarter and smarter leading to more challenging fishing.
The rivers are stocked at the beginning of each month and your fly options are across the board.  It is a great time to work on that nymph fishing technique, using a prince nymph or a pats rubber leg. I will often use a dropper set up with a Y2K or an egg pattern just above it.  If you are fishing clear water your can oft times see the bright egg  pattern under the water and use it as an additional strike indicator.  If it all of a sudden disappears, set the hook.   I personally prefer to Czech Nymph with a sighted line rather than use a strike indicator.  Many of the streams here have deep holes where bigger fish like to lay.  Using a slighter line allows me to easily vary the depth that my nymph is at by just letting my slighter line go under the water.
Dead drifting woolly buggers and stone fly nymphs will almost always produce fish.  Remember you are dealing with stocked fish coming straight from the rearing ponds.  They are not leader shy!  Most of the stocked trout will be brook trout and just like their cousins, the brown trout, they will attack large flies.  I like to fish a double streamer set up using a black and a white wooley bugger or flashy streamer in tandem about a foot and a half apart.  Sinking line is a good way to go.  Get those streamers down on the bottom for the best results.  It is not unusual to hook into brook trout in the 18 to 20 inch range.  This is also a great time to be surprised by hooking into a big native brown trout, especially on a rainy day when the water color changes and gets a little dingy.
Dry flies are another option.  I have seen some of the biggest dry fly hatches ever in the fall and spring of the year.  Bring your fly box with a variety of caddis patterns.  If you happen upon one of these hatches you can land one fish after another.  I have seen caddis and mayfly hatches so big it looks like a snowstorm of flies on the water.
Here are just a few of my favorite patterns that seen to work well.
  • Wholly Buggers in black, white and olive.  Find some with rubber legs on them.
  • Any steamer pattern with some flash on it.
  • Conehead Bunny Leach in black, white or olive.
  • Pats Rubber Leg in brown, black or a combination of both colors with black, brown or yellow legs.
  • Y2K or Egg Patterns in yellow, orange, red or white.
  • Prince Nymphs.  Don’t be afraid to go big.  I will oft times use a number 8 with rubber legs.
  • Black Caddis and October Caddis
  • BWO
  • Light Cahill
The list goes on!  But if you show up with these flies you will catch fish.

Everyone’s a Winner: Paddling in Ecuador and Winning the Trip

| Posted in Endless River Adventures Newsroom |

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Dave McManness loving life in Ecuador.

Dave McManness loving life in Ecuador.

It’s almost Ecuador season!  And this year two “winners” are included on our rosters.  Dave McManness and Tracy Welch.  Dave will be in Ecuador compliments of bidding on our donated trip to Ecuadorian Rivers Institute and Tracy Welch is the winner of the trip donated to Girls At Play.  Both organizations have been working hard to help support the whitewater community and we could not be happier to have these two joining us!

Ecuadorian Rivers Institute (ERI): Protect Free Flowing Rivers in Ecuador
ERI works hard to increase global awareness of watershed issues in Ecuador, with the hope to minimize the exploitation of the environment and the people who depend upon it.  Currently one of their main priorities is saving the Jondachi and Piatua Rivers.

ERI's Jondachi Fest

The Jondachi Festival is the product of the efforts of ERA, the local community in Ecuador and the paddling community.  Endless River Adventures has supported the Jondachi Fest through the donation of week-long trip.  This year, our good friend Dave McManness stepped up to the plate to support the rivers he has grown to love.  When asked why, Dave’s reasoning was:

“A buddy talked me into kayaking in Ecuador back in 2007. We spent a week with Endless River Adventures paddling in the Quijos valley and Tena area. It was a wonderful experience. Since then I have made many trips to Ecuador to paddle and vacation.   Several years ago I made a donation to the Ecuador River Institute (ERI) Jondachi Legal Defense Campaign to help fight a proposed dam and hydroelectric plant on the Jondachi. I am pleased that ERI has at least delayed the damming of the Rio Jondachi.  However, I recently learned of the proposed dam and hydroelectric project on the Rio Piatua that would eliminate all padding on the upper Piatua. I love the Piatua and Jondachi rivers. They are truly world class rivers. I am proudly making another donation to ERI to fight the damming of both the Piatua and the Jondachi. Plus, I am planning to attend Jondachi Fest this year to help draw attention to the plight of these wonderful rivers.”

 

Tracy Welch 2016 GAP Winner

Tracy Welch – 2016 GAP Winner

Winning a trip to Ecuador is icing on the cake after participating in the Girls At Play Ladies Southeast Paddling Series.  The GAP Series is made up of seven meet up style events that brought women together on different rivers. From beginner to intermediate rivers, the intention of the series was to build community among women boaters and raise money for the Shannon Christy Memorial Fund. The series raised $4375 for the fund and $670 for AW in 2016. Our sponsors donated some awesome prizes including a Dagger kayak of choice, Werner paddle and Kokatat drysuit. Endless River Adventures and Girls at Play also donated a spot on their trip to Ecuador with Juliet and Anna. The lucky winner, Tracy Welch, gets to experience the adventure of paddling in South America with two of the best whitewater kayak instructors in the industry. Paddling in the tropics, morning yoga and the beauty of the Andes – what more could you ask for?

Don’t let the winning of the trips stop your zeal for supporting these two great efforts.  Or from joining us for a trip this season to see why everyone is so enthusiastic about paddling in Ecuador.  And there’s always next year’s raffles!!

Check out this year’s trip dates and find the one that works for you!

 

Nantahala Racing Club Wins Stroke of Achievement Award

| Posted in Slalom |

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Nantahala Racing Club Wins American Canoe Association’s 2016 Stroke of Achievement Award

 Bryson City, N.C. (October, 2017)— Nantahala Racing Club, Western North Carolina’s incubator for aspiring paddlesports athletes, earned recognition by the American Canoe Association for “superior performance and program development” among ACA-affiliated clubs nationwide. The award will be presented to NRC’s special director Chris Hipgrave at the ACA Annual Banquet & Awards Ceremony on November 12 in Sausalito, CA.

Nantahala Racing Club specializes in the development of slalom, freestyle, and downriver paddlesports athletes. Founded in 1989 to support top-level canoe and kayak athletes training for the Olympics, NRC recently shifted its focus and now develops and supports athletes of all ages and ability levels through a variety of training resources and events. NRC’s commitment to competitive paddlesports is also balanced with a mission to engage youth and families in whitewater sport.

The club’s new direction has been recognized by The North Face, which awarded NRC a major $25,000 Explore Fund grant in 2014 for “outdoor education and outing programs for youth from underserved communities that provide exposure to outdoor activities and build skills for life success.” And in 2016 alone, NRC won five different grants: a Patagonia Environmental Grant, a Columbia Sportswear/Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Belay Grant, the Great Smokies Health Foundation Grant, a Cherokee Preservation Foundation grant and a Craig H. Nielson Foundation grant. These grants recognize NRC’s important work serving kids, minority populations, paddlers with spinal cord injuries and the river environments where club members paddle.

NRC Executive Director Sam Gaughan commented, “2016 has been the best year yet for the club. Our swelling membership and outreach efforts have been matched with strong recognition and support from partners and donors. We’re introducing more paddlers to the outdoors and serving more communities than we thought possible even a couple of years ago. The momentum behind the organization is palpable whenever we get together on the water.”

Learn more about NRC’s programs, including the Nantahala Kids Club, NRC Family Whitewater Weekends, After School Kayaking, Youth Training, Friday Night Adult Slalom and special events and open-to-the-public races at nantahalaracingclub.com

Media Contact: Gavin Young
828.545.8156

Adventure Travel: Don’t Leave without Your Astral Rosas

| Posted in Adventure Travel, Gear Reviews |

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Astral Rosas

Starting to think about what to pack for your winter travel?  Don’t leave without your Astral Rosas! It’s not just that they look good. They do!  Rosas feature granite grip outsoles, three separate strap options and four eye-catching colors – so they are there for you on a hike, day of biking, whitewater, or slipping into your LBD at the end of the day.  And boys – don’t pout, the Rosa has a brother: the Felipe.

So now you know the shoe to not leave home without, have you decided where you will be this winter? Check out our Costa Rica and Ecuador dates for whitewater kayaking, yoga, and just plain escaping south to enjoy the sunshine.

Late Summer Nantahala Fly Fishing

| Posted in Fly Fishing |

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Late Summer Nantahala TroutLate summer is no time to put away the fly rod!  The number of white water enthusiasts has dropped to nearly nonexistent number, but the trout have not!!

Boat Review: Big Dog Havoc and Force Kayaks

| Posted in Gear Reviews |

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I will say upfront: probably every boat review I do for the near future will inevitably start with “Compared to XX Wave Sport boat.” Can’t be helped – I paddled Wave Sport boats almost exclusively for 25 years.  But once I had a little time to process Wave Sport moving to Europe where everyone loves them like I did, I realized that I would now have an opportunity to see what else is out there.  And in bringing in Liquidlogic kayaks and Big Dog Kayaks, I felt confident that this new discovery of boats would be fun.

Let’s start with Dig Dog Kayaks, as they are not as well known here in the States since they come from across the pond.  I will put it out there right away “Compared to Wave Sport outfitting (yep – already doing it) Big Dog outfitting does not compare.  The Europeans are not as worried about paddling lounge chairs down the river. At least the Big Dog is not a German company or we would really be in trouble outfitting-wise!  But I got past the outfitting issue and realized I was actually not uncomfortable in the Big Dog Kayaks I have paddled.  And hey – I started paddling when outfitting a boat took more time to sculpt/fit/glue/shave than Michelangelo took to sculpt David, so I am okay with the outfitting.  The outfitting is ergonomic and you sit up well in the boat.  Thigh braces– my pet peeve; boats with crappy thigh braces make it so hard to paddle. I wish every company would steal Wave Sport’s…. so the fact that I did not notice any short comings from the thigh braces is a big plus.

Part of the sales appeal of bringing in Big Dog was that they had a deep line of boats. They even have canoes – canoes that real canoers enjoy paddling (that would be you, Red).   While I have to leave canoe reviews to Red,  I’ve now paddled two of Big Dog’s kayaks: the Havoc and the Force, and want to share of what I learned.

Big Dog Havoc

The Havoc.  For those of us who yearn for the return of the Wave Sport EZG (there I go again), the Havoc satisfies that yearning. It is a “river runner playboat” – with a slight leaning towards play boat.  When Wave Sport retired the EZG and came out with the Fuse, they skewed the boat to a bit more river runner than playboat because folks whined about edginess.  The Havoc  brings back some of that edginess. In Juliet speak it means it can stern squirt.  Stern squirting is my favorite party trick.  And what’s more fun than stern squirting on a hot summer day.  Anyways….. aside from that, the boat is stable, and its length assures that it will move faster than a slug, making it a river runner as well.   [Note: for specs on boats, see:  http://bigdogkayaks.com/ as I can barely remember the names of kayaks let alone their specs. And why remember specs when you can look them up!!]

Big Dog Kayak The Force

The Force.  Okay, I have a long-time love affair with the Wave Sport Diesel, still the most go-to boat out there in my opinion.  I consider it a go-to because it is rock solid, but feels frisky to paddle.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the Force fits that same description.  It has delightful hull speed (not too fast, but not too slow). It has great pick-up-and-go speed.  For a boat with little rocker, I was surprised at how easy it was to keep the nose up on boofs.  The chimes are not as sharp as a Wave Sport, so while it was not as responsive (by a smidgen) or loose surfing, it definitely might be more forgiving for someone who tended to trip over their chimes.

Bottom line, the boys across the pond coming up with Big Dog Kayaks are doing a good job.  I am happy that we made the call to bring them in to compliment our line-up of LiquidLogic kayaks.

LiquidLogic Mullet Kayak Review

| Posted in Gear Reviews |

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Mary Leatherbury Mills
June 22 at 8:45am
Mullet reviewAs most of you know I am a Wavesport gal and I still love my Recon and Diesel, but want something a bit more playful. My leg issues make it hard to sit in a boat comfortably due to nerve and other issues from the recovery and treatment. I am not fitting well in my beloved Axiom. So I decided to try the Mullet. I honestly didn’t think I would like it. I like edges and its just big to be a playboat, there is no way I can fit in a smaller boat at the moment. I paddled it yesterday with Jimmy Jones and Joane Farrrel on the Nanty. As we came through Pattons I couldn’t help but smile. It is just a fun boat. I was really expecting more of the stability of the Recon, but it was nimble, quick, and honestly encourages good posture. I leaned back and engaged the stern coming through there and up it went. It has very good stern balance and just squirted through. The ferry at Delabars went well and it was so fast, I almost made a straight across ferry from river left to river right. It surfed well in whirlpool and I got it in a stern squirt at the rock that is so easy to do them in. I had some issues with eddies at the start till I got used to the displacement hull. It appeared to boof well when I tried it. By the time we hit the Falls, I was non stop smiles. I missed the block rock ferry due to not enough edging, but ferried above the falls beautifully. I went for the left/right line and fell a bit short, so turned and punched bottom hole. One stroke and I was right through no problems,. So honestly the reason I am going to buy this boat is it is just fun. Not sure it has a specific place in my fleet of 4 boats, but it sure made the Nanty super fun. We got out at the ledges for a short break, but my foot and leg never had pain the whole way down the river, which was very nice. It appeared to roll easily and was pretty easy to get to set up even though it is a big boat. So I think I’m heading back to ERA to get the pretty blue mullet that I saw upstairs in their boat loft. If you find yourself on the Nanty, I would swing by ERA and give the Mullet a demo. Yes it is a big boat, but so fun to paddle and river play and still have the stability of a larger boat when river running.

Father-Daughter Fly Fishing

| Posted in Fly Fishing |

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FatherDaughter Day

A special day for a special father/daughter team learning to fly fish together.

 

Enjoying Fly Fishing in WNC

| Posted in Endless River Adventures Newsroom |

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Fly Fishing

Demoing New Designs: Liquid Logic and Big Dog

| Posted in Gear Reviews |

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Liquid Logic and Big Dog

Liquid Logic and Big Dog have a new Home

Shared by Mary Mills, whitewater kayak enthusiast

I  had an afternoon free and decided to demo some new boats. ERA now has all of the Liquid Logic Fleet for demo and sale and I wanted to check out the Remix. I liked the outfitting, but still up in the air about how much I like it. It handled well, but I think I was comparing it to the Diesel and I need to give it a shot as its own boat.  I will run it again next Sunday down the river. I would appreciate any info from people who have paddled the Remix and Diesel and the Remix and Recon. I would like some comparison from people who have paddled the boats I paddle.

Next up was the Big Dog fleet. Big Dog is fairly new to the US and I wanted to try some out. I tried the Flux which has a full planning hull. I liked it a lot , for those of you that like boats with edges, I would recommend trying it out. It performed like the Diesel, super easy to roll and handled nicely. I also really wanted to try the Force. It has a semi displacement hull. I have been looking for a boat that handles like the Diesel, but super stable. The Force did just that. It really carved well and had great secondary stability. My only complaint was I didn’t think the outfitting was a comfy as the Wavesport line, but I really didn’t have time to figure out how to adjust it and mess with the outfitting .

I am going to spend some time at the Nantahala Open on April 23rd running the different boats through the falls. If anyone wants to demo them ERA has them now and they will be available at the Falls for the Open on the 23rd. Always fun to try out new boats!