Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day in Atlanta

Hope everyone is having a safe and warm day.  We are at home in snowy Atlanta with all of the essentials.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Who is Walters Fly Rods?

by Matt Walters

Photo by David Cannon
I recently had a conversation with Kent Klewein about an article he had written for he and Louis Cahill's blog, Gink and Gasoline (  If you haven't already visited their site, you are missing out on some of the best fly fishing content out there.  I left our conversation with a ton of insight and also a realization that not everyone knows who I am and what this company is truly about.  So here goes.....

This story begins about 20 years ago  growing up North of Atlanta in a neighborhood with a creek and a farm pond.  I grew up in the same neighborhood as Kent.  I remember watching Kent and his buddies catching fish out of the pond and creeks.  My friends and I were slightly younger and tried to follow along and pick up any fishing advice these guys (that we looked up to) would be willing to give us.  I received a lot of information directly from them, but learning through osmosis of just watching them fish was an unforgettable lesson.  

Fast forward through countless bass, crappie, trout, bream, and too many late night cat fishing trips (oh the late night cat fishing....) and you arrive in the soccer fields at Brevard College in North Carolina.  I'm receiving my first fly casting lesson next to Kings's Creek from my college roommates, Peter Caye and Steven Marascalco.  It was quickly realized that this was not only a passion, but something I HAD to do and do VERY often.  My mountain bike, backpacking gear, and conventional fishing gear began to collect dust in the closet rather quickly.   My fly rod and fly tying vise were in constant use.  In between college courses and "occasionally" skipping a few I would hit the local rivers or hang out watching fishing videos and looking at new destinations and new flies with my good buddy, Guide Ken Hardwick, at the local fly shop, Davidson River Outfitters.  These were the days and I would fish as much as I humanly could.

The fishing didn't end in the mountains.  I soon discovered salt water fly fishing early on and have been chasing redfish and sea trout around the Charleston, SC area for years.  I typically kayak fish around the small creeks, but when another good friend, Capt. Elliott Hillock gives me the call to hop on the flats boat I'm all in.  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to fly fish for bonefish in the caribean a year back, an experience of a lifetime and I was able to share that excellent time with my wife. I love the diversity that is offered between saltwater and freshwater fishing.  To me life doesn't give you two better options. 

After college I moved back to Atlanta from Brevard, NC.  Wanting more information on fly fishing for trout in Georgia, I approached Kent to see what he was up to and to locate some good spots in Georgia.  We caught up and he offered up some great spots and fly patterns to get the job done.  I still made trips to the mountains regularly as I still had Ken's couch in Brevard to crash on which I utilized as much as possible.  We would have a few drinks, tie flies and then fish the next day from sun up to sun down only to do it all over again until the weekend reached it's expiration date and it was back to Atlanta again for a week of work.

I spoke with all of my buddies over the past year or so about my idea for starting a fly rod & reel company and there was an overwhelming support and excitement from all of them although everyone agreed it would not be an easy task.  I have always wanted to have some sort of stake and part in this great fly fishing community, no matter how great or small.  I like to have the thought that this will be something I can tell my grandchildren about, a tangible part of something you love to do, the ability to chase your dreams.  

I have bounced plenty of ideas off all of my buddies through the course of this start up and they have always remained honest and upfront through it all with their opinions and feedback.  Kent has been a great friend and mentor similar to when we were in our younger years and I am truly thankful for that.  

This year has been exciting and fun starting this new company.  The fly fishing world is full of some of the best and most interesting people one can meet.  I feel blessed and extremely fortunate with all of the people I have been able to meet and stay in contact with over the years and the new ones to come.  I can only imagine it getting better.  

I hope you learned a little more about me and where this company's heart is.  I'm sure I have accidently left some parts of the story out, but to simplify things, I love fly fishing, tying flies, building fly rods, and meeting the amazing people involved.

Feel free to drop me an email anytime at for any more information or if you ever want to go fishing.

Matt Walters
Walters Fly Rods, LLC
Atlanta, GA

Monday, January 13, 2014

Nymphing Depth

by Matt Walters
Photo by David Cannon
When I first began fly fishing one of the more difficult concepts was how deep to fish nymphs. Others may have had different struggles but for me it was this. I always questioned my fly fishing buddies as to why the flies needed to be so deep and have so much weight attached as they always snagged leaves, moss, trees, etc on the bottom and would cause me to have to re rig my whole set up when this occurred. The common response that I now have branded in my memory from those early days is "because that's where the fish are."

There is a reason for this.  Trout tend to stay deeper in water especially in faster runs.  Deep in the water the current is not as strong and this helps the fish exert less energy in their pursuit for insects/food.  The natural drift of an acquatic insect is also near the deeper portions of the water as their tiny frames have very little control over the direction they take when facing moving water thus pushing them deeper in the water column.   
Use judgment when selecting flies from your box.  The size and weight of the nymphs you use will also alter the fishing depth. I tie my #8 Kevin's Stone Fly with a wrap of lead wire around the shank of the hook so I don't have to use as much split shot to compensate for water depth. Obviously size #18-20 midges will require more split shot than the #8 Kevin's Stone Fly described above. You want your flies to reach the bottom where the fish are located as quickly as possible so that every drift in the run you are fishing is as efficient in covering the deepest water for the longest time frame possible.   Mending the line will also play an important factor in the depth and speed your fly will travel. The fly will travel at a greater speed and higher in the water column out of the trout's consistent striking range if your line is not mended properly causing the fly line to drag the leader too quickly through the water.  You want to make sure a dead drift is accomplished by mending appropriately.

It is also important to keep adjusting your indicator and weights for different sections on the water throughout the day. Sticking with the same depth that you rigged at your vehicle that morning and fishing it the same way all day will typically yield fewer fish.  Your nymphs should be bouncing off the bottom as a natural aquatic insect will do in its larva & pupa state.  The other variable that needs to be accounted for is water speed. You will need much more weight (split shot) added to your line if you are fishing faster moving waters as the current will not allow the fly to drop to the strike zone of a trout.  I have always heard "if you are not snagging the bottom you are not fishing the right depth and you are not putting your fly in front of the fish.”  

Sometimes the depth and speed of the water is a guessing game. A good way I have always used is to cast a short amount of line in front of you (near your feet) where you may still be able to see the flies under water using polarized sunglasses. The depth they reach will be a good indication of where they will be when you cast further into the run holding fish (similar to a practice run before the big show).  If you can see the flies near the bottom of the water you are fishing the correct depth if not you need to adjust your rig.  Another option is to dip the flies into slack non moving water in a spot you approximate to be the same depth as the run you will be fishing to determine the correct depth.  These "practice runs" may be difficult in very deep water where visibility will lack below the water's surface or in smaller tighter rivers that don't offer much "practice" area.  A stick or other depth gauging device can be used in this process as well if all else fails.  With time and experience and trial and error, determining the correct depth will become much easier.
How deep is too deep? If there is too much line between your flies and the indicator you may encounter missing strikes when attempting to set the hook on a fish as well as foul hooking some fish. If this is the case, try fine tuning your line length by shortening the distance between the flies and the indicator by removing some weight.  Use your best judgement based on the information above according to the water depth and speed of the current. If you find yourself not catching fish it may be time to lengthen the line below your indicator and/ or add some more split shot to your line. It may just make a major difference in your success on the water.

This is a simple yet very effective basic fly fishing technique.  I'm sure there are other tricks and techniques everyone uses out there to determine nymph depth if you want to share below we'd love to hear your insight.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Southeastern Angler

by Matt Walters

Photo by David Cannon
There's a certain charm to the southeast. The slower pace of life, the backyard grill outs, the bourbon, and the natural beauty. The orange glow of a sunset on a marsh coastline and the morning fog rolling off of the Blue Ridge mountains are like priceless works of art when witnessed.

The bodies of water that make up the region are full of life and good times to be had. From the freestone streams that race out of the mountains to a flooded tidal creek during a spring tide.  The small ponds and the large lakes where bass and crappie thrive all contribute to the wide spanning blanket of fisheries here.  

The angler is given much water to work with in the southeast although at times it is not an easy destination to get to. Most of the times, the best spots are tucked back far off a single track trail or are only traveled to from a remote boat launch. These places in the southeast are my favorites to get to and to fish. Hidden back behind the rhododendron and spartina grass is a waiting fish ready for your next cast. An opportunity for the fish of a lifetime.

From our native strain of brook trout high in the mountains to the tailing redfish feeding on crabs in the mud the southeast is their home and home to a world of excellent fish species.  Often times you dont' even have to cross over state lines in order to reach the abundant varieties of fish.   

The southeast angler is an extremely dedicated and proud crew having much experience in both salt and fresh water given the close proximity of the mountains to the coast.  Our fisheries last all year long and the true die hards are found on the water during the slowest of times and through the worst of weather conditions. We find comradery in meeting other anglers in our region and sharing stories of places and fish caught.  We share the methods we have learned from our own experiences and pass these on to our family and friends. 

The diversity of stunning landscapes, species of fish, and the extremely close proximity of it all truly make the Southeast an unusual and exceptional angling environment.  It is a great time to be a part of the southeastern fly fishing culture and we are proud to help support it and the community.

Where is your home water in the southeast?