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This time of year is great. Starting with the first day of deer season here in North Carolina, I rush to the river eager to see wide open stretches of water without another fisherman in site. Like most places in the country, North Carolina is a hard place to fly fish during the summer. Even if you know some out of the way creek or some uncharted water, at some point you have a crowd to fight. Whether it is fighting traffic, tubers, swimmers, or other fishermen, there is some element involving people that is against you. After that first frost, it is a different story. The crowds are not quite as bad (albeit the leaf lookers) for it is now deer hunting season. This is my trigger to head up to the mountains again. It means the dregs of summer are over and I may have an easy trip to and on the water. This is not to say water conditions are good, temps are easy to be in, or the fish are biting, but I know the travel will be chill and there won’t be many people in the river. Many people have asked me if I hunt and I simply tell them “you mean during fishing season? No.” A couple of weeks ago, my wife arranged a “girls” trip and was going to take the kids off for a weekend. She asked if I wanted to come and fish during the day and hang out with her and her friends at night. No. The fishing around where she was going to be is incredible but I knew if I went, I would be on some sort of time table and after a long day have “responsibilities” that I wouldn’t have wanted. Now, I’m not the self centered type, I just saw a rare opportunity to fish for three days without commitments except to the fish. I made a couple of calls and before too long, I had the weekend set up. I was going to one stream on Friday with a buddy from Raleigh and on Saturday, I was going to another stream with president of our local TU group. On Friday, I hopped in the car and off we went. The day was beautiful, there wasn’t another fisherman on the water, and there were plenty of fish to catch. The one thing was that the water was low and clear. NC has been in a major drought for the last four or five months. We had to be “on our game” for the entire day. One wrong move and the fish were gone. I only ended up with a few small browns and brookies by the end of the day. It didn’t matter because I knew where I was going the next day. What I didn’t count on was the card game that started when I returned home. At 2 am and after few too many beers I went to sleep. Guess who woke up to the sound of a door bell? I threw on some clothes shoveled my still wet gear into Jack’s car and we split headache and all. When we arrived to the river, same story as the day before. Low and clear. I didn’t expect anything different, maybe just hoping. Second cast of the day brings in a 20″ rainbow. After a couple more fish, Jack and I set the game plan of the day. Fish the shady, fast holes for a few minutes and get to the next. With the conditions like they were, we knew we would only get a limited number of tries at fish we spotted. We fished fast but delicately, moving from hole to hole. The nice thing is that we consistently caught fish all day. Sometimes it may have been an egg, or midge, or a streamer, or a nymph but once we figured out the fly, we caught them. It was great. Not once did I have to walk around another fisherman. We heard plenty of rifle shots but nothing too close. It warmed up to 50 degrees by the middle of the day and winds were about 5mph. In my eyes, a perfect day for fishing.