Fly Fishing Richardson Creek, Anson County
Today May 22, 2004 was another one of those beautiful late spring mornings that
had me out of the ole sack long before daylight which is typical for an off work
day. I wish there was some easy way one could reset that internal clock that
only fails on a workday. However, it could have been the anticipation of
wading Richardson Creek here in Anson County near Burnsville, N.C. with
fly rod in hand and casting a popping bug or nymph fly that
prompted that internal clock to go off at it’s normal time.
With my fishing gear all laid out last evening, it didn’t take long to load
Ole Blue, a 1973 GMC truck that does an excellent job of keeping the
mosquito population down, not to mention the oil wells running from the oil and
gasoline usage. Ole Blue isn’t much to look at with the rusted out fender
panels, rusted hood and the muffler system that has extra baffles rusted out
which helps alert deer and other animals of my arrival into the area. I am
sure they do appreciate all that noise pollution!
Ole Blue was again faithful getting me to the fishing hole although my lower
posterior area was in some pain from the steel springs that had lost most of the
cushion support and insulation over them but I somehow managed anyway.
Several years’ back, I did a Rube Goldberg, Cloverine Salve type of repair to
the driver’s side seat and a new seat would be in order now but the seat would
be worth more than ole Blue!
The type of pan fish I was mainly after today was
or commonly known
as “Robin”. Over the years, I have nicknamed this fish,
“Poor Man’s Trout” because the way they aggressively attack your
lure! To land one on light tackle or with a fly rod is a sport all it’s
own. I have fly fished for bass and pan fish since the early 1960’s, off
and on of course and to me this is the ultimate for a fly rod in this immediate
area. They try to take your tackle away from you, fight to the finish and
then some and are delicious and “beautimous” eating.
I had to walk about 150 yards to access Richardson Creek from where I parked
ole Blue and had my fly rod rigged up with a small popping bug called a “Spook”.
They were available last year from Wal-Mart, but the company that manufactured
them no longer had them in their catalog. I believe they renamed it “Miss
Prissy” this year because they look very similar although not identical. The
water was a little cool but not cold and I landed a small “keeper” red breast on
the first cast. After a few more casts and several more fish on the
stringer, I could visualize a fish fry in the making!
I fished for about 2 hours and kept twenty-seven (27), which was about 3 or 4
fingers width on my large hand. I released at least three to four times
that amount and found myself getting a little tired but it was a very pleasing
state of fatigue. The water was fairly clear with quite a bit of alga
clinging to the rocks and alga was floating down stream at a steady rate as
well. Several crayfish were spotted moving around on the alga covered rocks
indicating the water is not too polluted since the Red Breast will consume
crayfish as large as the diameter of their mouth. I will attach some pixs
later to prove my point and observation.
I did share the creek with a copperhead snake about 18 inches to
24 inches in length but he continued on his way down stream, which was fine by
me! It is amazing how easily snakes can swim and navigate across streams
and rivers and I do respect them and give them clear passage and yield the right
of way but when one violates my safety zone and I can’t retreat quick enough, my
fly rod will look like the rotor on a helicopter.
A few angry crows did not enjoy my presence on the stream but they soon
got over it. By their sounds, a nest was probably close by. The
shrill cries of a large Goshawk filled the early morning too since he
was probably hungry and had not found a meal for the day yet. All this was
going on while I kept sending that Spook popping bug under the low hanging limbs
and branches and ever so often, a fish would hit it with a smacking type sound
and my fly rod tip would bend and arc when I set the hook. The red breast
would attempt to find the stream bottom and hide under the rocks but the
pressure from the fly rod would be too great. The fish would zig zag back
and forth until I had taken enough line in to get a hand on it and remove the
hook and release it or place the fish on my stringer which was attached to my
belt allowing the fish to swim along beside me as I continued to fish.
This is a typical view of Richardson Creek here in Anson County, North
The vintage Fenwick graphite 8 1/2 ft. # 9 weight fly rod got a good work
out today. I recently replaced the 25 year old plus fly line on the
Scientific Anglers System 9 fly reel that was made in England by Hardy
Brothers. The fly lines normally don’t last that long, but it was
“State of the Art” when I purchased it and I kept it cleaned and silicone
applied to it, so it hung in there to the end. A small tripod makes it
very easy for self-portraits and the benefit of a self-timer on your camera.
Pix below of Bill Porter and his “catch of the day”.
It didn’t take long to scale and “dress” the above fish. They are
not too big, but the smaller ones are still an inch thick which have some very
This is a close up showing the beautiful reddish/orange belly color and some
bluish hues are below their eyes although the camera angle and light did not
reproduce that portion.
This is a crayfish removed from the stomach. The crayfish is about 1.5 to 2
inches in length and about the 1/2 inch in diameter.
Topo of Richardson Creek below:
Richardson Creek has many tributary streams that flow into it. You can access
Richardson Creek at many bridge crossings and on private land. The
private land access provides some of the best fishing that escapes over fishing.
There is a creel limit of ten (10) Red Breast in our State East of Interstate 95
and some counties have their own creel limits as well. It is good advice
to consult the latest fishing regulations of the North Carolina Wildlife
Resources Commission. The larger creeks and rivers that have the
Mississippi Flathead Catfish stocked in them are showing a rapid decline in the
Red Breast fish population. Apparently, the flathead catfish have a
craving for the delicious tasting Red Breast fish along with the Speckled
Channel Catfish and several other species of Catfish. However, the Blue
Catfish population is making a come back from the aggressive Flathead.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Check the size of the crayfish out in
relationship to the Red Breast. It is hard to believe it could have
consumed that large a crayfish!
This is a pix of the "Spook" popping bug used to harvest the Red Breast.
Fish cleaned and ready for the cooking. It want be too much longer before the
fish will be on the plate and Bill Porter and his bride “Tweet” will be enjoying
some deep fried Red Breast fish, hush puppies, slaw, fried tatters, Vidalia
onions and a cool drink!
It just doesn’t get any better than this. The Lord had a reason for
putting all the fish in the streams, creeks, rivers and oceans. Could this
be it? You got that right!
After that fine meal, I am as tight as a Georgia tick on the back of a coonhound
in the month of July. Now that is tight. Don’t think we eat all 27
of those fish at one sit-in. I have some left to “snack” on tomorrow.
By William McKnight Porter 05-22-04 and web published in 2008.
Later, Bill aka Mickey
I had to opportunity to fish Richardson Creek a couple more times in 2004 and
will insert pixs of Randy Steele, Edgar Terry and Don Edwards. We
all caught fish and had a tremendous amount of fun doing it as well. Randy
Steele even went "squirrel hunting" with his fly rod
a time or two and captured his "hunt" on digital.
Even the pros, do a little squirrel hunting every now and then!
Randy Steele squirrel hunting with his fly rod! I think the squirrel got
Edgar Terry, USN retired from LA (Lilesville Area) of Anson County, NC
not California about to release a small "red breast"
released about 10 for every one we kept due to their small size, but none the
less, the little ones put up a good fight on the light tackle.
Red Breast caught with a spook popping bug.
Don Edwards from the Hamlet, NC area with his unusual color pattern cricket
cage. We certainly did give Don a hard time about his pretty looking
cricket cage! Don "crashed" in our fishing hole unannounced
but that was ok too...we grinned a little too! When you send out emails
with a topo map of a fishing hole, savvy fisherman like Don aka "Big Daddy"
will bite the hook himself.
As I have said many times, "Two of the Greatest Ships that ever sailed:
Friendship and Fellowship."
Updated this page on 08-23-08