Fall weather is invading the Raleigh area, but it hasn’t pushed anglers like EJ Stern completely out of the area’s rivers. Stern, of Raleigh Flyfishing Guide service, said it won’t last much longer, but that right now, wet-wading is the way to go, especially in the Neuse River.

Stern has been catching a variety of species, with largemouth bass and bream making up the bulk of his catches. While the recent rains will impact the fishing on the Neuse for several days, the water levels have been low, so this shouldn’t hurt the fishing. 

The Bedford section of the Neuse has been one of Stern’s hotspots, and he said longer casts are necessary here because these fish are sometimes easily spooked. Stern said this section gets the most fishing pressure in the river because of a nearby paddling operation, but he said that slows down this time of year, making it a great place to fish.

“The bass seem to be in groups instead of solitary, and I am finding them with two, three, or four other fish with them,” said Stern, adding that anglers should minimize false casting, make long casts, and try to avoid stirring up much silt which will disturb fish that are downriver. Using a longer leader is also helpful for anglers, he said.

“In some spots that you know consistently hold good-sized fish that spook easily, try staying out of the water and fish these areas from land,” said Stern, who added that many anglers in the Triangle-area have no idea just how good the local river fishing is.

“We’ve got so many fish per square mile in these rivers, and every logjam holds up to a dozen fish or more,” Stern said.

Foam hoppers have been working well for Stern, and he has also been using streamers at times. For wet-wading, Stern suggests anglers wear an old pair of tennis shoes with grippy soles. Water sandals like Keen’s Newport H2 are also good for wading, as they have good grip, fit securely, and provide toe protection.

With cooler days ahead, Stern said anglers will need to pull on the waders soon, but for now, he said wet-wading is still his pick. “The first step into the water is cool, but you get used to it really quickly,” he said.

For anglers who want to get on the water with Stern but have never tried flyfishing before, he said that’s not a problem. “Many people are intimidated by flyfishing, but I can teach them all they need to know to fish our local waters with a short lesson. People get the hang of it quickly, especially when wading, which gets you away from tree branches and other obstructions,” he said.

To book a trip with Stern or find out more about fishing the Raleigh area, visit Raleigh Flyfishing.

-For another take on flyfishing in North Carolina, visit here.