WNC Fly Fishing Trail
Fish aren’t the only ones captured here.
Jackson County, located in the southwestern corner of North Carolina, is filled with cascading waterfalls under the rugged canopy of the Nantahala National Forest and hundreds of trout streams that weave their way through the Smoky Mountains. This county and these mountains have long been a haven for fly fishing enthusiasts. The Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail was created for just those people. It is the first and only fly fishing trail in the United States.
The Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail is the first of its kind in the nation
WNC Fly Fishing Trail Proximity Map
Serious fly fishers will like the smaller, lesser-known spots such as Panthertown Creek in Panthertown Valley. This spot is on a high mountain valley which, due to its bowl shape and craggy bluffs, is known as the “Yosemite of the East” and requires a two-mile hike to access it. Other popular spots for experts include Chattooga River, Whitewater River and Tanasee Creek.
Beginners will enjoy the five spots along the Tuckasegee River. These open areas and well-stocked catch and release waters can be fished year-round. Catch all three species of trout (rainbow, brown and brook) and you’ve achieved something worth bragging about to your friends –the Tuckasegee Slam. Try the spot along the North Carolina 107 Bridge to Dillsboro Park for your best chance.
The more remote spots, such as the Panthertown Creek location, allow for a more solitary, serene experience. The trail’s small streams (Moses Creek, Mull Creek, Rough Butt Creek, Chastine Creek and Piney Mountain Creek) offer mountainous terrain and several large waterfalls. If you just want to squeeze in a quick trip during a busy weekend, the trail offers plenty of locations that allow for convenient drive-up access.
Raven Fork, also known as Cherokee Trophy Water, was added to the trail in 2010 and is known for big catches. It’s not unusual to find fish 20-30 inches long at the end of your line here.
If you want to introduce kids to fly fishing, Tuckasegee River along East Laporte Park is a good location. With easy parking, plentiful stock, public restrooms and picnic tables, the experience should be nothing but calm waters.
The Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail website offers information on lodging and other activities in the area which makes it easy to build a getaway around fly fishing. A free, water-resistant map of the trail is available by request on the website or by visiting the Jackson County Travel & Tourism Authority. The map provides detailed information such as access points, waterway designations and regulations as well as the species of fish available, whether a stream produces fish of quantity or size, interesting information about the site and how far you have to walk to get there.
added: August 5, 2010
updated: September 4, 2012