Catawba Tailrace October 2019

22 inch Catawba Tailrace Brown Trout

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The Catawba Tailrace is a unique tailwater fishery below Bridgewater Dam in Morganton, North Carolina. The cold water discharges from the dam create a habitat for brown trout that the NCWRC stocks every year. The brown trout that are placed in this fishery grow at a very fast rate. It only takes a few years for the stocked fish to become classified as “trophy” fish. The Catawba Angler specializes in guiding on the catawba tailrace and offers full day float trips for $350.

The most effective way to fish the tailrace is from a raft or drift boat because access is limited on foot. We mainly nymph fish this section with an indicator using stonefly patterns, and smaller jig head nymphs as dropper flies. Streamer fishing can be very exciting on the tailrace because you can turn and catch some very large fish. The best colors to use are black and white. Our favorite streamer to fish is a black peanut envy designed by Kelly Galloup.

Our favorite time to fish the tailrace is from October to May. There is excellent dry fly fishing in the spring. We have a really good caddis hatch in early March which allows us to sight fish for some large brown trout.

19 inch Catawba Tailrace Brown Trout that ate a white streamer.

19 inch Catawba Tailrace Brown Trout that ate a white streamer.

This male brown trout was caught on October 19th. Fall brings beautiful color changes to the brown trout in the Catawba Tailrace.

This male brown trout was caught on October 19th. Fall brings beautiful color changes to the brown trout in the Catawba Tailrace.

Black stonefly nymphs are excellent flies to use on the Catawba Tailrace. This healthy brown trout took a stonefly during no generation.

Black stonefly nymphs are excellent flies to use on the Catawba Tailrace. This healthy brown trout took a stonefly during no generation.