Find an Angler’s Paradise on a Fishing Trip to Brevard

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 Brevard area.

Q&A host: Gavin Griffin, Headwaters Outfitters fishing guide
Outdoor passion: Fly-fishing
Where in NC: Brevard area

Best places in the Brevard area to fly-fish? 

French Broad River Basin

Best season to spend in NC?  

When it comes to fishing in Western North Carolina, depending on species, the weather and water temperature play a big part in productive days. For trout, my favorite times to be on the water are spring and fall. For musky, winter’s cold can bring a lot of fish into our waters for productive bites. Late spring and summer’s warm waters are a favorite for anglers looking to catch smallmouth bass. 

What level of experience is needed for outdoor activities? 

One lucrative advantage to Western North Carolina fishing is the number of fish species available and how we can tailor experience levels to fishability. You can be an individual who has never touched a rod in your life and find success, you can also be a lifelong angler and challenge yourself to the max. As a guide, we’re able to fully customize the experience for you and your ability. 

How long should you plan on visiting the Brevard area?  

This is a great area for any length of travel and recreation. The proximity of productive fishing to the area allows a person to come for a day, fish for a day. On the reverse, it also has plenty of space to spend a week, month or year here to recreate!  

What attracted you to North Carolina or Brevard?  

There’s so much water here and honestly, you won’t fish it all even in a lifetime of adventure and exploration! This area is as comparable to any place in the United States for fishing, and that’s why I’m here: steady fishing, multiple species and 12-month productivity. There is no offseason here, just what kind of weather you’d like to recreate in: winter, spring, summer or fall! 

What is unique about the Brevard area?  

There are not many rivers in the United States that offer an angler the chance to catch three major game species in three days. On day one, you can fish the headwaters of the French Broad River and catch trout. On day two, chase musky through the mud section. By day three, you can keep on floating down and find smallmouth bass. It’s an angler’s paradise! 

How do you plan or prepare for your outdoor activities? 

For someone new to the area looking to catch fish, one of the best bets is to call a fly shop, like Headwaters Outfitters, and tell them your game plan. Don’t have one? Ask for one. You can discover and aggregate information that you may not find online. Ask to talk to a guide or find a body of water you’re thinking of fishing, and start digging in on where you can park, what you should be using to catch fish and more. The best information comes from a person, not the internet! 

What piece of gear is your must-have?   

An angler must have a great pair of sunglasses. Personally, I use SMITH ChromaPop Guide XL frames, matched with amber lens coloring for low-light conditions we often find in mountain rivers and streams. Besides that, a good (sometimes lucky) fishing hat goes a long way! 

How do you practice the Leave No Trace principles? 

I always make sure to pack out any trash, gear and food scraps that I bring out on the water. 

Best places for breakfast/lunch or dinner? 

As a guide, I’m on the go early morning, seven days a week, so I’ll let you in on a little gas station breakfast secret: Harmony Korner serves the best freshly made sandwiches in our neck of the woods. Ask for the biscuit, add your protein and stackables! For lunch and dinner, nothing better than Brevard’s El Ranchero Mexican restaurant. 

Where do you like to go after outdoor fun?  

Forks of the River Taproom for cold brews, wines and ciders! An oasis on the side of the river. 

Cool places to stay?  

Check out the Sunset Motel, a vintage but trendy motel in Brevard. 

Other sites to sea while near Brevard? 

If I had to choose one place to hang out besides the river, you would catch me hiking some of the trails in Pisgah National Forest, like John Rock or Looking Glass. 

What is your can’t-miss experience in the Brevard area?  

Tubing with Headwaters Outfitters during the summer months. Is there anything better than tubing a river with your friends and family? 

Insider tip!  

For fishing, be open to what the guide recommends you fish for. For example, summer heat isn’t friendly for trout, so if you come for summer vacation, let your guide take you out for smallmouth bass! They’re the hardest fighting fish pound-for-pound. Don’t be so dead set on fishing one species — let the river’s condition and your guide tell you what to fish! 

This article was produced in partnership with Explore Brevard. Visit Outdoor NC for additional tips on how to connect with nature and help preserve the natural beauty of our state. 

Updated February 2, 2024
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