A member of the fishing club posted a trip for a new section of the Haw river I have never fished. There were promises of big bluegill a pound or bigger. I'm always skeptical of these types of claims especially with out seeing evidence. The place was a good distance away and I probably wouldn't have gone if a friend hadn't agreed to carpool with me. The section we were fishing ran right through a neat part of town. It was a mixture of other rivers closer to home but seemed to be more clean. The water was low and boulders stuck out like islands. We entered the river and kept walking upstream towards the dam.
There's always an eerie feeling when walking close to a dam. I always look for escape routes in case there's an all of a sudden release. This dam doesn't do scheduled generations and I'm sure if it did plan a release it would be highly publicized. I felt safe but not too safe. The pools near the damn were stagnant and filled with algae. I tried my luck where there was at least a little flow. I rock hopped and got in position to fish poppers under the shade. There were fish hitting the surface for what looked to be midges. I switched up and went to a crawfish pattern. While kind of just slowly stripping the fly in I felt resistance. The fish didn't fight that hard and I didn't quite recognize it at first.
I have never caught a crappie in the summer. I thought the water was too warm for them. I've always heard where you find one there will be more so I kept working the section this fish came from. I thought I had a few more hits but no more fish came to hand. I tried various other spots and met up with a friend. He told me about a mayfly hatch that was going off downstream. Apparently bluegill were stacking up against the bank and gorging themselves. He kept trying to talk to me about fishing in the mountains and other places and I tried to be polite while hiking fast but my main focus was getting to where this hatch was. I worked my way to the section he talked about and I did see bugs coming off the water. I have never heard of mayflies on the Haw. I didn't believe it when he first told me. The bugs did look like small sz14 rust colored mayflies. My first cast hooked a nice fish but it came off quickly. The next few other casts resulted the same. I decided to put on a bead head soft hackle. That was the ticket. I either had a fish or hit on every cast. The bluegill ranged in size from a small 4inch fish to the monsters that were rumored to be here.
My buddy caught a bluegill that was even longer. We spent the rest of the morning just working the bank and catching one gill after another. I couldn't have asked for more. It was a great trip and I'll definitely be back to check this place out again. When we got off the water we ate at a general store that had great sandwiches. We discussed what kind of mayflies those might have been. I started to talk about how I thought there weren't any mayflies around and maybe those were caddis. Then I glanced at the window.