Continuing our look at North Carolinaís Delayed Harvest Trout Fishery this month, we come to Chinquapin Lake located in the mountains of Ashe County. This one acre man made impoundment is a one of a kind fishing spot in the North Carolina system. Sometimes referred to as Trout Lake or the Wildlife Club Pond, this privately owned piece of water is stocked by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission under Delayed Harvest regulations through a special arrangement between the commission and the Ashe County Wildlife Club, who owns the property. Under Delayed Harvest regulations fishermen are limited to using only artificial lures having one hook and no fish may be possessed from October first until the first Saturday in June. Between the first Saturday in June and September 30th there is no lure restriction and anglers are subject to a seven fish creel limit.
Chinquapin Lake is heavily stocked all season except for the month of August. Rainbow, Brook, and Brown Trout are stocked with the mix favoring the Bows and Brookies. Stocking reports indicate that over 5000 fish will be released in this fishery this year. The lake features ample parking and excellent access for adults and kids alike and also offers a fishing pier for disabled persons. Expect fishing pressure to be moderate to heavy at times. However, there is generally plenty of room for everyone.
When fishing Chinquapin Lake donít be afraid to fish from the wooded trail on the side of the lake opposite the parking area. Although casting can be difficult due to overhanging branches, you might be rewarded by catching a quality fish that is enjoying the shade and cover that they provide. Depending on the time of day / year that you visit trout often cruise just a few feet from the bank. Often a fisherman will find trout jumping at his feet when his fly is in deeper water. During the spawning season, a feeder stream at the north end of the pond can sometimes hold good populations of fish. Aquatic life is abundant here and there are good hatches of midges and may flies all through out the season. The best dry fly fishing coincides with these hatches at mid morning and dusk. There is also an ample supply of minnows and small frogs. While I have never seen them in the wild here, most all ponds contain the usual worms and leeches.
Take note that the Ashe County Wildlife Club property also holds a rifle range. Do not be surprised if you hear the sound of large caliber hunting rifles being fired. In my experience, these loud noises do not seem to bother the trout. It might be coincidence or my imagination but on a recent trip to the pond I seem to have noticed that the fish seemed to feed with much more vigor right after the loud report of a large rifle.
Chinquapin Lake is located in Ashe County near Jefferson North Carolina. From Jefferson take NC Highway 88 East approximately 10 miles. Take a left at the Upper Mountain Agricultural Research Station ( watch for the white Silos) onto State Road 1599 (Big Peak Creek Rd). Go four miles on the gravel until the road becomes paved again. As soon as you reach the pavement the entrance to Chinquapin Pond will be the first road on the right. Click here to view a map of the area provided by Google.
Flies to consider when fishing Chinquapin Lake:
Nymphs : Pheasant Tail (sizes 16-18)
Bead Head Gold Ribbed Hares Ear (sizes 16-18)
Copper John (sizes 14-16-18)
Anything else with yellow in it
Streamers: Woolly Buggers in Olive, Brown & Black
Dry Flies : Male and Female Adams (sizes 16-20)
Elk Hair Caddis
Blue Winged Olive (sizes 18-20)
Midges in Gray and Black
Donít be afraid to fish any combination of these as a dropper rig to double your chances.