Local Waters of North Carolina
The mountains of North Carolina are home to some of the best trout fishing waters in the entire United States. From rainbow trout's, brooks and browns, the opportunity to catch one of these beautiful fish is waiting for you. One of the best parts about flyfishing in our beautiful rivers is that they are very accessible, and not too far off the beaten path. However, if you do want to get a little lost and find some solitude, there are plenty of areas in which you will find what you are seeking. Flyfishing in the North Carolina mountains is something that you can do year-round if you don't mind a little bit of cold and maybe some snow; it's very easy to fish all the way through winter. I find myself flyfishing throughout fall, mostly on the Watauga River where the weather is amazing. The river has finally started to cool off from the warm summer months, and the changing leaves on the trees are breathtaking and vibrant. The level of experience needed to fish these waters can be anyone from an expert-level to a novice angler who is just starting out on their flyfishing journey.
Having the right gear for this region is something that you will want to take into consideration. This does not mean you have to go out and buy the most expensive kits or the most expensive flies, you just want to have the gear that's going to get the job done. Fishing in these waters in the autumn months calls for a good pair of waders and a light jacket. My go-to flies that I love using in this season are brown and white belly sculpin flies, along with blue winged olive flies. I gained knowledge of these by checking out some of the local shops in the area and asking the expert anglers what would be the best to use during certain times of the year. It doesn't matter where I'm fishing in the world, I always stop by the local shops to ask questions and gain more knowledge about the local waters.
When people ask me about my flyfishing experiences in North Carolina, there's always one story that stands out. It was late November, and I had just picked up my brand new four weight flyrod that had the most beautiful chestnut colored cork grip I had been eyeballing in the shop for months. I grabbed some tippet, a few white belly sculpin flies, loaded up my Land Cruiser and headed down to the river. I had about a 45-minute drive to the location on the river that I wanted to check. One thing I forgot to do before heading out on this adventure was to check the weather. The temperature had been dropping, and I had noticed thick snow clouds starting to slowly roll in over the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was not going to stop me from trying out the new flyrod. I arrived at my favorite little hideout on the Watauga River, pulled my land cruiser off to the side of the road, got my gear ready, put my waders on and, of course, snow began to fall. Instead of letting that stop me, I trekked on down the river until I found some slower moving water and got my white belly sculpin tied to my tippet. At this point the snow was really starting to fall. I gently waded into the river; I took a minute to just embrace being in that moment doing something that I love watching snowflakes begin to cover the dirt on the riverbanks. I start making my casts, and within about five minutes of being in this location I noticed a solid brown trout starting to take interest in the lunch that I’m throwing his way. The rush of adrenalin ran through my body as I watched this beautiful fish stalk the fly thrown its way. I did one more back cast and let it rip. It was a perfect cast- the fly fell right in front of this trout- and within a few seconds of hitting the water, it was on. I lifted the tip of my rod up to set the hook, and just like that we were hooked up with a beautiful fourteen-inch North Carolina brown trout. As I kept my rod tip pointing up ensuring that I keep the hook set, I began to bring this fish closer to my net. It put up a solid fight but began to tire itself out, and as I brought it into my net I could not help but notice the electrifying color patterns that this fish carried with it. I was ecstatic, my first brown trout on my new fly rod. As I pulled this trout gently from the net, I really took in that moment and appreciated where I was at right then. The snow falling, the vibrant color of the fall trees still intact, and me holding a fish that I had always dreamed of catching on a flyrod was right there in front of me. After I released this fish, I felt accomplished and ready to get back to my warm cabin. I packed up my gear and headed back to my Land Cruiser to start making my way back home with a great adventure in the books and a memory that will last a lifetime.