Orange County

Here's where I live. Chapel Hill is in the lower right-hand corner of the county. You can see how far it is to the mountains. 220 miles to Asheville, 180 to Boone. There are some piedmont streams with warm water fish around; there's a nice one (the Eno River) in Orange and Durham counties. Go back to the map and click the county just to the east of this one, or follow the earlier link! The place I like to fish is actually in Orange County, but this way I get to populate two places on my map, and the same type of fishing is available all along several stretches of the river. Here's another interesting place, listed below.

New Hope Creek

New Hope Creek flows through Orange County on its way to Jordan Lake. On the way, it winds along some of the prettiest country left in Orange County, a research forest owned by Duke University. This is known as Duke Forest, and is open to hiking, biking, and fishing. The forest consists of managed pine and large hardwoods. The terrain is rolling, with sharp bluffs along the stream. The stream itself is a mix of placid pools and rapids. There are extensive trails along the streambank, making access to this waterway very simple.

I tend to hike and fish in the Koristan Division, located just west of Erwin Road. Access to several popular spots is from Whitfield Road, which runs from Erwin Road to NC 86 right at the I40 interchange.

This stream contains the usual mix of warmwater piedmont fish...sunfish, rock bass, and a largemouth or two...The fish are typically not big, though the occaisional big bream or rock bass will liven up an outing. This is a nice spot to wet a fly, and it's only about 9 miles from my house! I like to fish my usual warm-water assortment...Parachute adams, black ants (foam and dubbed), McGinty's, and so on. Wait until the water warms in late April or early May, wade wet, and enjoy.

Morgan Creek

My neighborhood backs up to a small creek, Morgan Creek, that flows into University Lake. Where it touches my development, it's about 15 feet wide and 6 to 12 inches deep. However, there are occasional pools with water 2 or 3 feet deep. I have spent several very enjoyable days catching robins and bream (a hand-sized fish is huge in this stream) while the kids played in the water building dams, etc. There's a lot to be said for flyfishing within walking distance of your house! For dry-fly fishing, I usually go with small flies (18's or 20's) like a Griffith's Gnat. Often, I'll use a Syl's Nymph...a deadly wet fly for panfish.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Fran dumped a bunch of huge trees into the creek, including in the best deep pool. I'm hoping that we can continue to clean up the stream, while improving access and fish habitat.

Update 13-December-1997: Spent several hours cleaning up the access trails and stream itself on Morgan Creek. We'll keep chipping away at things over time. Already, I've opened up a couple of spots that should hold some nice fish. My dog appreciates the clean trail for running as well.

Update 24-May-1999: Well, time passes, and the storm damage has been slowly cleared. It's not back to pre-Fran days, but the stream is very fishable. I spent an hour or so on the stream on Sunday, 23-May-1999 and had a great time. Landed 3 6-inch robins and hooked one great fish near a log. Wonder if it was "old one-eye" I caught in that spot a couple of years ago? Old one-eye was about 10 inches, a huge robin, especially for this creek. This time, the fish snagged my fly on the log and made good his escape...oh well, there's always next time!

Update, weekend of 20-May-2000: Snuck away for an hour or so on Saturday and Sunday...I've found a few new holes and runs that seem to be holding some nice fish. Pictured above is a nice run that's about 18" deep, with good cover on the right hand side. Landed a really nice robin (about 8") on a pretty 30' cast...not too many places for a clear cast, but when the water is clear (the picture above was taken just after a rainstorm and is very muddy) you've got to stretch out to avoid spooking the fish. Right below where that picture was taken is a nice hole where the stream makes a 90 degree bend; I've caught several nice fish there, including an 8" bluegill this weekend. Caught several other smaller bluegills and robins, all on a parachute adams. All in all, it's very theraputic to have a stream within walking distance of the house!

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Last updated 19-July-2002