July 12, 2020
Water is steady around 2100 cfs. Trout fishing has slowed down. Black zonkers are working okay but the best fly right now is a Perdigon fly - the Navy Diver. July 10, 2020Water dropped from 2900 to about 2100 cfs which is still high for wading and requires greater care and a wading staff. Used my TFO 13'0" 7/8 Deer Creek Spey rod. Tried a couple of different flies with no success. Switched to a small articulated black beastmaster at around 7:15 and picked up 3 small stripers in about 15 minutes. Then things slowed down for about 30 minutes, so I switched to a small articulated black slumpbuster and picked up 4 more stripers. Tonight's lesson: while stripping in the fly, several times fish struck at it on the surface. The natural reaction is to set the hook hard. Fortunately, I was able to resist doing that, and instead I just kept stripping the fly until I felt the weight of the fish and then I did a strip strike to set the hook. It worked on at least 3 of the fish. I am guessing that they come up and hit their target to stun it and then come back to finish the meal. Not sure why but worked for me.
June 30, 2020
Take the Saluda Summer Shore Slam Challenge. While wading on the Saluda, catch a rainbow trout, brown trout, and striped bass on a fly with a fly rod in a 12 hour period and send me the pictures. I will post them in the fishing pictures section of the website and salute you as a Slammer (or a better name if you can think of one). If you can't get pictures of all 3 that is okay, I trust you, so send me the pictures you were able to get.
June 29, 2020
Water has risen to between 2200-3000 cfs. Algae is a little better but still a problem, especially for double hook patterns. I have been able to fish close to shore with my spey rod, as I do not have to have much back cast room. Casting does not equal catching. The higher water level has seemed to put the fish down. Got skunked 2 nights but did catch a nice 18 inch striper on a small articulated purple and white beastmaster, which is fun in the strong current. While I was bringing him in, one of the thunderstorms struck , and there were white caps on the river. Landed him, beat a quick retreat, and got soaked.
June 23, 2020
Saluda holding at 760 cfs. Algae is still bad, making it harder to fish anything other than dries which are not all that effective right now. If you are fishing streamers or striper fishing, flies with dumbbell eyes or cones pick up more algae than other flies. Started later last night. Fished with my TFO 13'0" 7/8 weight spey rod. Tried a tutti fruitti clouser which picked up so much algae that I switched to a purple and white sz 4 beastmaster and caught a schoolie right away. After my purple and white beastmaster got hung up on a cursed tree and broke off, I put on a size 2 black articulated beastmaster at around 8:30 and caught 2 schoolies. About 9:00, that beastmaster lived up to its name, and I landed a fat 27 inch striper which according to the weight chart would be about 10.5 pounds. Quite a tussle on a 13 foot rod. Hard to take a picture while holding a 10 pound fish in your hand. Should have beached it and laid it on the shore for a picture, but after a long fight, a great picture is not worth the life of a great fish. Tonight's lesson - if you are fishing a hole where you know there are fish and not catching anything, move around and stand in a different place. Sometimes after being skunked, you can use the same fly with the same stripping action and move a few feet and catch fish. I guess a few feet make a difference in the drift or the presentation. If what you're doing isn't working, move around, even just a little bit. What harm can it do, it might help.
June 18, 2020
Saluda dropped to 795 cfs, so wading is much better. Algae is really bad, especially on top of rocks which have recently been exposed by the dropping water. Started around 70 pm using TFO BVK 10'0" 8 weight rod. The extra foot in length helps keep the line off the water for longer casts and makes mending the line for longer drifts easier. Started with a purple and white size 4 clouser. Missed one on the first cast, so just a reminder to have your drag set and be ready on the first cast. Caught 3 schoolies on the purple and white. Changed to a sz 2 articulated black beastmaster and after a nice cast and some more line out, hooked a nice fish about 100 feet downstream (catch that 100 feet) ; I spliced part of an old wf8f fly line to my present wf8f fly line to get a longer drift before stripping. It is hard to get a good hook set with that much line out, and after fighting the fish upstream for about 3 minutes, the hook pulled out when the fish was about 15 feet from me. Better to have loved and lost ....
June 17, 2020
Took a friend who wanted to try spey rod fishing. Water level was 1,200 cfs and water clarity is a little better. We used a TFO 12'8" 6/7 spey rod and a TFO 13'0" spey 7/8 rod. It was his first time with a spey rod; he did well. Picked up a small schoolie on the first cast and a 21 incher on the 12'8" 6/7 spey rod on a sz 6 navy and white clouser . He later caught a nice 27 incher on the 13'0" 7/8 spey rod and a sz 2 articulated black beastmaster. While doing a little demonstrating, I picked up 2 schoolies on a black beastmaster. The bite started around 7:15 and was good for about 30 minutes and then slowed down with only periodic action for the next hour or so with the 27 incher being taken around 9:10. See pic in photo gallery. While most were taken while stripping the line in, one was picked up using the line holding technique described below. The 27 incher was caught on the last cast using the reeling technique described below.
June 16, 2020
Saluda has dropped to 1,140 cfs, water is still not very clear. I was wondering if overcast skies would offset cold front which moved in as to striper bite; they like overcast weather but most fish are put off by a cold front moving in. Started earlier than the norm hoping overcast skies might start the bite earlier. It was not to be. Tried numerous flies without success. The bite started at 7:18, and I caught 3 schoolies in next 13 minutes on black size 2 non-articulated beastmaster. About 30 minutes later, I hooked a nice fish that ran straight upstream against the current. It has been a while since I hooked a decent striper, and I did not put it on the reel. The fish broke my 0x Rio Fluoroflex Plus (15 lb test). The lesson here - when you hook a striper put it on the reel as soon as you can. If it is a small one, you can then strip it in by hand. If it is a larger fish or you cannot tell what size it is at first, put in on the reel - no harm done as long as you set the drag before you started. If you did set the drag, put the fish on the reel. When the fish runs, take your hand off the reel handle and trust the drag. You actually pay more for a decent striper reel, because unlike a trout reel, you often use the drag on a striper reel.
June 9, 2020
Saluda still holding at 1800 cfs which is a little high for wading, water clarity is still not great, especially after the rain Tuesday and Wednesday. Be careful and use polarized glasses and a wading staff. If you are going to fish at night be prepared. See below.Caught a couple of small stripers on a sz 6 navy and white Ironside. Caught one of these by holding the line still and holding the rod high, letting the fly rise to the surface and swing. Had one strike and one fish doing this, sometimes it works. Caught a small striper and a 23 incher (around 6.5 pounds based on length/weight chart) on size 2 Black Beastmaster all while using my TFO BVK 12'8" 6-7 weight spey rod. I did not have much back cast room, so the spey rod was great. Stripers were active for a longer period probably due to the imminent bad weather. Right after I landed the 23 inch striper, a terrible storm hit very quickly without any preliminary light rain. The wind was blowing the rain sideways and visibility was terrible. My first headlamp did not work, but fortunately I had a backup. Without a headlamp, I do not believe I would have been able to see to wade safely through the storm. The lesson here is the weather can change quickly with popup thunder storms at night, so have two headlamps, a wading staff and your phone in a waterproof case (?) and waterproof bag (not a ziplock bag). I was soaked but safe.
June 5, 2020
Saluda is holding at 1800 cfs which is a little high for wading, water clarity is still not great. Be careful and use polarized glasses and a wading staff. Some nice fish are being caught at Saluda Shoals Park on a size 20 bead head pheasant tail.Caught a couple of small stripers and a nice rainbow on a sz 6 navy Gervais Gray using my TFO BVK 12'8" 6-7 weight spey rod. I did not have much back cast room, so the spey rod was great. As is the norm, the stripers were active for about 45 minutes from 7:20- 8:05. A couple of quick tips, when are you moving a short distance from one spot to another or doing something that takes a little time (ex. answering your phone if you must, looking for another fly, etc.) if you can, keep your fly in the water. I have picked up an odd fish here and there doing this; it seems like cheating but who cares. Also if you are streamer fishing and you are about to call it quits, while you are reeling in your fly, stop it a few times. I've had strikes several times while doing this, sometimes you lose the fish, because it is hard to set the hook properly, but sometimes you don't. Not sure what it is, but I have stripped the fly through the same water with no results, then I reel it in and a fish hits it. The reeling action gets a strike on the same fly when stripping did not.
June 2, 2020
Just a quick reminder, if the rivers ever drop and you want to fish for striped bass in the Santee River System (Below Lake Moultrie to the coast, up to the Lake Murray Dam on the Saluda, up to the Canal Dam on the Broad River, and up to the Wateree Dam on the Wateree River), the regulations are as follows: "June 16-Sept. 30 closed except for Lower Saluda River where catch and release is allowed." In other words, around here, the only place you can fish for striped bass after June 15 is on the Lower Saluda River. To make it even simpler, if you are fishing the Saluda in the catch and release section (Lower Saluda River from the east bound I-20 bridge downstream to Stacey’s Ledge) and you catch a trout any time, let it go. If you are fishing the Lower Saluda after June 15 and catch a striper, let it go.
May 27, 2020
Saluda dropped from 12,200 to 7,500 but no fishing any time soon. When you start wading, be careful, as all this high water has undercut banks which you have walked on in the past . While we are waiting, it is a good time to check your gear and make sure you put new leaders on or at least new tippet. Check your split shot and strike indicators. If you want to buy or tie flies which worked before the deluge, here they are: For trout: size 6 black slumpbuster, size 10 pat's rubberlegs, size 14-16 bh flashback pheasant tail, size 16 HIga's SOS, and size 8 rainbow rubberleg euro. nymph. For stripers: white articulated fishskull shad fly, size 2 articulated black beastmaster, size 6 black slumpbuster and sz 2 tutti fruitti clouser.
May 15, 2020
Saluda still holding at 1520. Water is a little high,but water clarity is improving. Did a little night time fishing with my 10 foot 8 weight BVK rod. I like the extra foot in length as it helps keep the line up high and off the water when you are wading and helps you pick up more line when you are trying to mend a lot of line to keep the current from dragging your fly where you do not want it to go. Picked up 2 small stripers and a small rainbow on size 6 black slumpbuster.
May 12, 2020
Saluda still at 1520. Water is a little high and is still murky green and difficult to wade in. Had some action on size 16 bh flashback pheasant tail and size 6 black slumpbuster
May 9, 2020
Saluda has dropped to 1520 and holding steady. Water is a little high and is still murky green and difficult to wade in. BUY A WADING STAFF! Some nice trout are being caught on a pheasant tail nymph. First Saluda stripers of the year being caught on my TFO 13 foot 7-8 weight spey rod. First one was a whopping 10 incher caught on a 3 inch white articulated fishskull shad fly- gotta admire its courage or feel sorry for its desperation. Later caught a decent 20 inch striper on a size 2 articulated black beastmaster.
April 28, 2020
Saluda holding at 1,400 cfs but is still green and murky. Productive flies have been size 6 black slumpbuster, size 10 pat's rubberlegs, sz 10 girdle bug and size 18 Higa's SOS . We have the SOS and Slumpbuster in stock! Wading is treacherous due to poor visibility. If you have a wading staff, use it; if you don't have a collapsible wading staff, then buy one. Who wants to see an orthopaedist?
April 26, 2020
Saluda holding at 1,400 cfs but is still green and murky. A nice Blue Quill hatch came off this afternoon. I seined some duns and nymphs sizes 18-20, but the fish did not appear to be keying on them yet, as they do later on. Productive flies have been size 6 black slumpbuster, size 10 pat's rubberlegs and size 8 rainbow rubberleg euro nymph. Wading is still more difficult than water level would indicate due to poor visibility especially with respect to moss covered rocks, some rocks are also covered with slick slime.
April 21, 2020
Saluda dropped to 1,400 cfs but is still green and murky. Some light mayfly activity. Fish being caught on size 16 Higas SOS and size 8 rainbow rubberleg euro nymph. Wading is still more difficult than water level would indicate due to poor visibility especially with respect to moss covered rocks, some rocks are also covered with slick slime.
April 9, 2020
Saluda dropped to 1,000 cfs but is still green and murky. Fishing has been a little better. Fish being caught on size 22 black zebra midge with silver bead, size 16 Higas SOS Size 14 San Juan Worm, and size 14 frenchie tied on jig hook. Wading is still more difficult than water level would indicate due to poor visibility especially with respect to moss covered rocks.
April 7, 2020
Saluda has finally dropped and remained at 1370 cfs which is a little high for wading but still possible. The water is green and murky, so visibility is very poor, especially for seeing moss covered rocks. The rocks are also very slick, since they have been underwater for a while and the sun has not had an opportunity to dry out the slime, so be careful. Spin fishermen have been catching some nice stripers at the Gervais Street Bridge. As far as trout go in the Saluda, czech nymping, indicator nymphing and streamer fishing have been working okay. Higas SOS and a black articulated beastmaster have been working on occasion.
March 28, 2020
Saluda at 12,000 cfs for a while now, so no fishing. Now is a good time to learn fly tying, to pick it up again or continue what you have been doing. If you are new to fly tying or have been away for a while, please read my Dec. 6, 2018, entry about getting started. I have fly tying kits, vises, materials, hooks, etc in stock. If you can't fish, you can't work and you have time on your hands, you might as well tie flies. There are simple flies I taught boy scouts how to tie that catch fish. Fly tying is also a great relaxer that gets your mind off other things. With so many great videos on youtube, there is no reason not to get started. If you don't tie, you can still come by to buy flies, fly lines, leaders, tippet, strike indicators, boxes. If you have not changed your leader, bought new tippet, put on a new line,or rearranged your fly boxes, now is the time. I change my tippet out every year, who wants to lose a great fish over $4?
March 19, 2020
Saluda still lingering at 2020 cfs. Water clarity is still poor. Combination of higher water level and poor water clarity make wading difficult. If you have a wading staff, now is definitely the time to use it. If you do not have a collapsible wading staff, now is a good time to buy one; it can't hurt, and it can really help (cheaper than knee surgery). For those hardy enough to wade out from the shore, fish are being caught nymphing and fishing streamers. I had a little action on a black beastmaster and an olive slumpbuster with my 6/7 spey rod and 2x fluoro leader. Fish are also being caught on tan nymphs and green caddis pupae. Also keep in mind that unlike spin fishing with a friend, the required distance between fly fishermen makes it a good socially distancing activity, even if you do it with a friend. Please remember TU parking passes are no longer valid and unless you have property owner permission, you cannot access the river via the traditional access point. March 11, 2020Water is still high and off color. Some brave, younger fishermen are fishing the saluda and picking up some fish along the shore using black or olive streamers. Based on past records, stripers should be in the Congaree below Amazon if the muddy water has not put them off.
February 5, 2020
River is up again and muddy. Even when it drops to a wadeable level, it will take a while for water clarity to come back. All the mud and water on the rocks make even normally good wading spots more treacherous, so be careful if you get a chance to fish in the near future.
January 25, 2020
Well after weeks of high water, Saluda is finally below 1,000 cfs and wadeable. The water is muddy, and visibility is limited so be careful wading as the limited visibility makes it more treacherous. While there is some surface activity and some Light Cahills have been seen, streamers are the way to go. Darker colored streamers show up better in the off color water. If you streamer fish, it's a good time to use a 6-7 weight rod, also remember to use a shorter leader with heavier tippet 1x-3x. Articulated streamers have more motion and are more easily seen by the fish. We have a large selection of Galloup streamers in stock, expensive but effective. Small fish and a few larger rainbows are being caught but not in great numbers.
August 25, 2019
Used TFO BVK 12'8" 6/7 spey rod with 0X Fluoro leader and 1x Rio fluroflex plus tippet. Started with sz 4 white iron sides with sz 6 blue and white gervais gray as a dropper (you can do that with a spey rod without worrying about sticking a stainless steel hook in f your head). Caught one on the gervais gray around 7:50 p.m.. Switched to circus peanut but no hits. Switched to black beastmaster (the go to fly this year just like other years) around 8:10 pm and caught 4 more stripers, all schoolies except one 22 incher. The pattern remains the same - fish are smaller, fewer and farther in between, there are still some big fish, but it is more rare now. Fishing may be slow for a while, but often there is a 45-60 minute window where the activity picks up noticeably; you have to be there when that happens. The hits are often more subtle, so you have to be ready to set the hook and set it hard if you have a lot line out, like I often do. Broke one off on the 1x fluoro, so I have started adding a 18 inch 0x fluoro section to my leader and then a 20-24 inch 1x fluoro tippet (13lb test). When I change to a black beastmaster around dark, I cut off the 1x tippet and tie the beastmaster to the 0x which keeps me from having to retie my leader and gives me 16 lb test for the bigger fish that often come out to play at night!
August 7, 2019
Used TFO Deer Creek 13'0" 7/8 wt. with fluoro leader and 1x fluro tippet. Started with sz 4 white iron sides with sz 6 gray and white gervais gray as a dropper (you can do that with a spey rod without worrying about sticking a stainless steel hook in your head). No hits on those flies which worked earlier in the week. Around 8:15 switched to sz 4 non-articulated black beastmaster. Caught 1st striper around 8:30 p.m. and last at 9:06 p.m. All 4 were caught on the black beastmaster and were small -18 inches and smaller. This is typical for the Saluda this time of year, the fish are smaller, fewer and farther in between. There are still some big fish, caught a 27 incher last week, but it is more rare now. The fishing may be slow for a while, but often there is a 45-60 minute window where the activity picks up noticeably; you have to be there when that happens, sometimes it does not happen at all, then you get skunked! A few more observations: Fish with whatever you wish until there is just enough light to tie on one more fly, then tie on a black fly. I have learned the hard way recently that you need to be ready when you make your first cast. Have the drag set and don't be fiddling around with your equipment when you are letting your line out or making the first cast. I have lost two nice fish recently by not being ready and alert when I was letting the line out or making the first cast. You will not get a fish on every first cast, but you will get a disproportionate number of strikes on the first presentation to a "fresh fish."I made a friend of mine (a novice fly fisherman) use my lycra stripping guard when we were fishing last week. I told him the line would glide over his finger smoother when he was stripping the line in, and he would feel the strike much easier. He did, and he caught 3 stripers and missed 2 or 3 more. I always use a stripping guard when I am fishing streamers for trout, bass, bream, stripers, smallmouth or salt water fish. I have a few in stock at $4.99 for 2 guards.
July 21, 2019
Despite the heat, water quality has improved. Nice trout are being taken. Striper bite is still good and can last well into the evening. Circus pnut is still the hot fly. Mostly schoolies with bigger fish mixed in, but still fun. In certain areas of the Saluda, you can't keep trout or stripersJuly 14, 2019Fishing at what was hopefully the end of the unsafe water advisory (thanks Congaree Riverkeeper for all you do). Water was off color, so I thought I would try something white. Tried a white articulated circus peanut and had good success. As I said there are now larger fish in the Saluda and 0x Rio Fluoroflex Plus gives you a little margin for error and is still about the same visibility of lighter monofilament. Even schoolies are fun on my TFO Deer Creek 13'0" 7/8 spey rod; the longer lever favors the fish making for a good fight especially in the current.
July 6, 2019
Striper fishing with TFO BVK 10'0" 8 weight rod which is a perfect rod for wading for stripers. The extra foot helps keep the line off the water on those long backcasts, and it has enough backbone to throw larger flies and fight something other than schoolies. Started off about 6:15 p.m. but nothing at that location. Switched places and got first fish at about 7:20 on size 4 navy and white Gervais Gray. No more activity until 7:45 and then it was slow. Tried an old fly (the white ironsides - at least that is my name for it) I had tied a few years back on a regular ss hook; had a large fish on for about 40 seconds until he went downstream and the hook pulled out. That is why I am now tying my striper flies in smaller sizes on Kona super strong stinger hooks for extra hooking power and strength. Sz 2 and above, I am using Gamakatsu B10S stinger hooks or Kona super strong stinger hooks. Not sure how it would have turned out if the fly had been tied on the Kona hook, but it could not have hurt. I then did what I always do when I miss a fish, I sharpened the hook Caught a few more on the white ironsides. Then I dropped a gray and white size 6 Gervais Gray in gray and white behind the lead fly and had some nice fishing for about 45 minutes. Caught a total of 10 on white ironsides, navy and white Gervais Gray, gray and white Gervais Gray and sz 2 black beastmaster. Only one being 24 inches and the rest being schoolies. Don't forget to make sure your fishing license is current! June 19, 2019After weeks of low water on the Saluda, the river level jumped up to 10,000 cfs due to the rain. It is finally back down to wadeable levels and cleared out. Stripers are in the Saluda, and it is a good thing since it is illegal to fish for them in the Congaree. A size 4 or 6 navy and white Gervais Gray, preferably tied on a Kona super strong stinger hook for extra hooking power and strength, has been my best fly . There are some larger fish in the Saluda now so don't just try to strip them in by hand until you know how big it is, when in doubt put it on the reel. Thursday June 21, 2018. A longtime friend from Greenville who happens to be an expert fly tier, rod builder, multi species fisherman and student of fly fishing history and entomology was in town. I took him fishing. The water was low (740 cfs) and clear and the rocks were slick. Started about 8, I persuaded him to try a small articulated black beastmaser tied on a Gamakatsu sz 2 B10S hook. He immediately had several strikes and proceeded to land 6 stripers ranging from 10 inches to 22 inches over the next 2 hours all on the same fly and had several other strikes. I was using my TFO BVK 12'8" spey rod, the BVK Spey is lighter than the Deer Creek rods I have but can still throw lots of line and big flies. I was standing 14 feet in front of a tree so my friend could have the spot with backcast room for his traditional fly rod. I tried several flies and ended up catching a 20 incher and a 22 incher on a medium sized black beastmaster. Quit about 10:35. I asked my friend why he thought big predatory fish liked to hang in deep water below fast water shelfs. His answer can be summarized as follows: LGS. Lazy, greedy and scared.Lazy: do not want to swim against the current or waste energy getting food unless absolutely necessary. Greedy: They want the best spot where the fast current funnels the most food to them. Scared: Left over instincts from when they were small and deeper water provided cover from aerial predators. Tips: Even if you aren't wading far, carry a wading staff; the rocks are slippery and even with a good headlamp it is hard to see
Tuesday June 19, 2018.
Water level around 940, so still a little hard wading. Did not start until about 8:15. Tried several flies and missed one on small clouser. About 8:45 switched to small black articulated beastmaster. On 2d cast landed 24 inch striper pictured above, then 12 inch schoolie. Action slowed down, so switched to small tan and brown beastmaster and landed 20 inch striper and missed another. Lightning ran me out at about 9:40. BTW I was using a 10'0" 8 weight Temple Fork BVK rod. I think the extra foot helps me keep the fly line up higher on the backcast when I am waist deep in the river and has enough backbone to cast larger flies and pull stripers upstream to land them. I paired the rod with an old teton tioga 8 Sunday June 17, 2018. Water dropped a little, tried several different flies but had best success with small black articulated beastmaster which was good enough for a few schoolies. Once again 8:15-9:15 seems to be prime time.
Tuesday June 12, 2018.
Well, I have finally recovered enough from rotator cuff surgery to start fishing again, but not with a spey rod. The stripers are all up and down the Saluda. The best fly for me so far has been a black size 2 beastmaster tied on a Gamakatsu B10S stinger hook. Prime time has been between 8:15 and 9:15 p.m. Watch out for the thunderstorms and make sure to carry your headlamp(s) and wading staff. Remember after June 15, 2018, you cannot attempt to catch stripers in the Congaree and catch and release only in the Saluda. Send your striper pics, your trout pics, your bass pics and any other fish pics for the photo gallery