Trip Reports

November 2019 Trip Report

Lake Logan (and vicinity)

St. John’s Fly Fishers ventured out to the Lake Logan Conference Center near Canton, North Carolina this past weekend. The trip had been on the calendar for most of the year, and was highly anticipated. It was to be a combination of a new location, and a chance for beginners as well as experienced fly fishers to easily access trout waters.

Larry Bennett, Dan Robertson and Craig Murden reflecting on an amazing and peaceful place.
“We had an amazing experience here. The combination of a beautiful lake with mountain backdrop, classic mountain cabins, great food and hospitality, with trout streams both on the property and very close by, made us not want to leave,” said Craig Murden.
Nice Brown Trout caught and released by Dan Robertson.
Lake Logan is in an Episcopal Conference Center that can be utilized for retreats, fishing trips like ours, or quality family trips. The cabins were built in the 1920s, as part of an executive retreat for the Champion Paper Company. The property is bordered by trees and mountains, and feels like a preserve. The lake is home to trout, bass, and walleye.  We later learned that there is a fish hatchery at the end of the lake, and provides rainbow trout to most of the restaurants in North Carolina, and in the region.
Lake view from one of the ‘classic’ cabins.
Greg and Julie Williams, Dan Robertson, Larry Bennett and Craig Murden were the St. John’s Fly Fishers who went on this trip. They fished delayed harvest and hatchery supported trout waters, on the West Fork of the Pigeon River which flows into and out of Lake Logan. They caught Brown, Brook, and Rainbow trout, mainly on nymphs near the bottom of the stream.
Dan Robertson with prized catch, photo from nearby fly fisher who could tell Dan was without a camera.
Craig and Larry fished the section of river near the lake on Sunday and would recommend it to new fly fishers as a good place to start.
“Honeymoon” cabin with brook running down hillside, peaceful, great spot.
“The meals were fantastic, and we had the opportunity for prayer and fellowship at the dining tables, as well as at the campfire,” said Greg Williams.
Leaves changing for us. Lake side was only trees and leaves.
Dan Robertson was the weekend fishing “guide”, and recommended fishing a tandem rig with the following flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs #10 for the top fly, and a basic nymph, size #16 for the bottom fly.
West Fork of the Pigeon River; delayed harvest section starts about 1/4 mile from Lake Logan.
Dan Robertson (top), and Greg Williams enjoying some great fishing conditions. Between them, 8 trout were caught and released in this run.
St. John’s Fly Fishers will discuss Lake Logan as a possible trip location for 2020, so stay tuned for future updates.
Great hang out space inside main lodge building.

March 2019 Trip Report

Scouting Mission: Cullowhee, NC

Day Trip: South Toe River


Rev. Brad Smith Tenkara fly fishing on South Toe River.

St. John’s Fly Fishers Trip Report

New River, NC near VA line, August 24-26, 2018

The St. John’s Fly Fishers (SJFF) had their second outing of the year over the weekend of August 24-26, 2018 just below the Virginia line on the New River.  This trip had beginning anglers in mind and was an extension of learning for many who attended the casting clinic in July. We used the buddy system and paired up experienced fly fishers with those just starting out. It had been raining much of the week, so upon arrival Friday, the water was a bit stained and a tad high for optimal fishing (at least that’s what we think).

Greg McAbee (closest), Craig Murden (left) and Tracy Murden (right) searching for Smallmouth.

The weekend that will be remembered for the the simple beauty of God’s creation, wonderful fellowship, great food, and most importantly, an enhanced connection with God and the people who were together on this trip. Participants included Brad Smith, Jeff Pruitt, Craig Murden, Matt Williams, Dan Robertson, Will Jetton, Ron Kohl, Virginia Kohl, Greg McAbee, Terrell Price, and Tracy Murden.

As late summer temperatures rise and trout activity declines, the SJFF shifted their fishing focus to warm water fish and headed to northwest North Carolina in search of smallmouth bass. Our destination was the New River in the Grassy Creek community of Ashe County, North Carolina, just below the Virginia/North Carolina state border. Our cabin was right on the river and is located about 1 mile from the confluence of the North and South Fork of the New River (we are told, the 2nd oldest river in the world).

Ron Kohl getting the hang of things fast as a beginning fly fisher.

Matt Williams did a great job in securing a beautiful and functional cabin in a picture perfect setting on the banks of the New River.  We could literally walk out the backdoor, cross the lawn, and step into the water.  A fire pit was conveniently located on the banks of the river which we put to good use on both Friday and Saturday nights.

The weekend weather was perfect with cool nights and warm (but not too warm) days.  August is typically the prime time to catch smallmouth bass, but unfortunately the fish were not very cooperative.  Fishing conditions were not ideal due to the recent heavy rains.  The river was swollen, swift, and dingy.  However, river conditions still provided a great opportunity for the group’s new fly fishers to test their newly acquired casting skills.  Most of the group’s fly fishers had very little experience with smallmouth, but we had some excellent tutorage from Craig Murden, Tracy Murden, and Matt Williams who are avid smallmouth fishermen.

Rev. Brad Smith giving the river his best “stuff”.

Jeff Pruitt, the SJFF official chef, again provided some hardy and delicious meals. In addition, Jeff provided some awesome entertainment around the campfire in the evenings as Jeff is a very talented and accomplished guitar player and vocalist. “We had no idea Jeff he had this talent and these entertainment qualities. It was awesome,” said Rev. Brad Smith.

“We had no idea Jeff he had this musical talent and these entertainment qualities. It was awesome,” said Rev. Brad Smith.

While our pursuit of smallmouth bass was not what we had hoped for, our pursuit of a deeper connection with God exceeded all our expectations. God revealed himself in so many unexpected ways.  He spoke to us in the roar of the river, the cool breezes in our faces, the singing of the birds in the morning, the faces and voices of our companions, and more importantly, the time spent in prayer, meditation, and celebrating Holy Eucharist along the river early Sunday morning. Surely our spirituality was enhanced as we encountered God on the banks of the New River.

Greg McAbee working a nice section with a Wooly Bugger.
Will Jetton enjoying the day in a great section of river.
Sunday Eucharist at river side.
First “catch’ of the weekend — a bit of truck-trouble on the way up to the river from Charlotte.
Matt Williams heading for a fresh section, new walkie-talkie on board for safety.

Click here for full photo gallery of this trip.

Submitted by: Dan Robertson

St. John’s Fly Fishers Steering Committee Retreat
April 20 – 22, 2018

The steering committee of the St. John’s Fly Fishers had a wonderful planning/fishing retreat to the Brevard, NC area on April 20-22. While the primary purpose of the retreat was to lay the groundwork for a new fly fishing ministry at Saint John’s, we did allow plenty of time for fishing, fellowship, and spiritual enrichment. The participants included: Brad Smith, Jeff Pruitt, Craig Murden, Dan Robertson, Greg Williams, and Matt Williams.

East Fork of the French Broad River

Jeff Pruitt did a great job of securing a cabin near Brevard in the Balsam Grove community that would accommodate our group and more importantly, had a fire pit that helped to stimulate thought and discussion on the cool mountain evenings. Jeff also served as head chef for some hearty and delicious meals. Prior to our trip we identified four promising streams that offered opportunities to catch the three primary trout species of rainbow, brook, and brown trout. The streams identified were:
– The Little River, in the DuPont State Forest
– The Davidson River
– The West Fork of the Pigeon, and
– The East Fork of the French Broad

(L to R) Matt Williams, Jeff Pruitt, Craig Murden, Brad Smith, Greg Williams, Dan Robertson

On Friday, April 20th, we got an early start, leaving St. John’s around 6:30am, with the intent of fishing The Little River in route. We arrived at The Little River around 9:30. This River proved to be very productive. After about four hours we had landed approximately 15 fish while enjoying some beautiful scenery which included several waterfalls. Later that day Dan and Greg ventured to the West Fork of the Pigeon River, while the rest of the group fished wild trout streams near the cabin.
On Saturday, the entire group headed to the East Fork of the French Broad River. Unfortunately, many other fishermen had the same idea. Although the prime fishing spots were not as plentiful, we still had another productive day, landing 18 fish which included rainbows, browns, and brookies.

One of the more enjoyable aspects of the weekend was sitting around the fire pit in the evenings, discussing our vision for this new ministry. Many great ideas
were shared that lead to a great start on a ministry description, a mission
statement, and reaching a consensus that this group would truly become “fishers
of men.” (Mark 1: 17)

Many great ideas were shared that lead to a great start on a ministry description, a mission statement, and reaching a consensus that this group would truly become “fishers of men.” (Mark 1: 17)

On Sunday morning we gathered together, gave thanks for the privilege of
enjoying the beauty of God’s creation and the direction he had given us. We
asked for his continued blessings on this new ministry, and then celebrated Holy
Eucharist. It was a wonderful conclusion to a great weekend.

Submitted by: Dan Robertson

Feisty Brown Trout caught on a Copper John nymph.
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