Go On a Fly-Fishing Adventure in National Forests Near Cashiers

Outdoor NC has partnered with local tourism organizations across the state to help promote the protection of North Carolina’s stunning and diverse outdoor spaces by practicing the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace. Here are some insider tips if you're visiting the Cashiers area.

Q&A host: Matt Canter of Brookings Anglers
Outdoor passion: Fly-Fishing
Where in NC: Cashiers

Best places in the area to spend outdoors? 

Any river or stream in Nantahala and Pisgah national forests.

Best season to spend in NC?

Spring, because typically our rivers and streams fish the best when they start to warm up after a cold winter. Dry fly-fishing is typically at its best then as well. 

What level of experience is needed to fly-fish near Cashiers?

Our local rivers and streams have something to offer for everyone. There are plenty of roadside opportunities as well as some really remote (adventure-style) fly-fishing opportunities.

How long should you plan on visiting?

At least a week or more. 

What attracted you to North Carolina or the Cashiers area?

I was born in NC, but I was attracted to the mountain region because of the abundance of public land and outdoor opportunities. 

What is unique about the Cashiers area?

Diversity for sure. Most of these two forests sit between 1,500 to almost 6,000 feet in elevation. Every layer of elevation change is almost its own little microclimate. We have great fly-fishing opportunities in every layer: big rivers down low, medium size streams in 2,000 – 3,000 range and small brook trout creeks way up high. 

How do you plan or prepare for your outdoor activities?

Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. If you're going fly-fishing, be sure to check waterflow conditions to ensure safety on the stream.

What piece of gear is your must-have? 

A good map or GPS unit, especially when fishing a new area.

How do you practice the Leave No Trace principles?  

I take everything I pack in out with me, and if I see other people's trash, I try and take it out as well. 

Favorite place for breakfast/lunch or dinner? 

Slab Town Pizza in Cashiers. 

Where do you like to go after you spend time outdoors? 

Somewhere to have a nice cold beer

Cool places to stay? 

Personally, I prefer to camp while exploring new areas in the region. There's no better way to experience it than to stay right there in it! There are quite a few primitive camping sites within Nantahala and Pisgah national forests, and a lot of them put you really close to some great rivers and streams. 

Other sites in the area to see while in town? 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

What is your can't-miss experience near Cashiers? 

Fly-fishing for trout in one of the area’s many beautiful streams. 

Insider tip! 

Plan WAY in advance, especially if you are visiting on a weekend or during peak season. If you want to try your hand at fly-fishing the area, an experienced fishing guide can cut the learning curve in half and make your experience much more enjoyable. Try to make bookings at least one month in advance. 

This article was produced in partnership with Jackson County TDA.

Visit Outdoor NC for additional tips on how to connect with nature and help preserve the natural beauty of our state, plus fishing information for keeping NC's waters pristine and wildlife safe.

Updated March 14, 2023
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