Western North Carolina has a wide variety of experiences to offer the fly fisher. It is simply amazing to pick up any regional map and look at all the "blue lines” (or creeks and rivers) found in our area. Even more exciting is knowing that the majority of those creeks and rivers are home to beautiful trout eager to take a well presented fly. The diversity is extreme. Within 30 minutes of Cashiers, NC you can fish a high altitude mountain stream for native brook trout (or specs as the locals know them), or spend an afternoon fishing Western NC’s premier tailwater river, the Tuckasegee. By venturing a little further, you can tango with what might be the hardest fighting freshwater fish species, the smallmouth bass, while floating down the French Broad River. The Cashiers/Highlands area is also a great base camp to fish some of the Southeast’s most famous trout streams, such as the Davidson, Watauga, South Holston, Oconaluftee, and Nantahala Rivers. There is an old saying that "trout don’t live in ugly places,” which is certainly true for Western North Carolina and more specifically the Highlands/Cashiers plateau. Once you get a streamside view of a high altitude gurgling creek flowing by thousands of pink mountain laurel flowers, this place will hold a special place in your heart. If you’re lucky enough to hold a wild "spec” in your hands and admire its natural colors and beauty with the backdrop of a wild freestone stream, you may be a little crazy not to become addicted.
HERE IS A LIST OF WHAT YOU NEED:
- Fishing License (with a trout stamp)
- Fly rod and reel (a 7 1/2 – 81/2 ft 4 or 5 weight rod is recommended)
- Waders and Wading Boots (waders aren’t always necessary in summer time, but never get in the stream without the boots or you may end up taking a swim)
- Polarized Sunglasses
- A good map of the area you will be fishing
- A box of flies that suitable for the time frame you are here (ask the local fly shop)
- Wading Staff (these streams can be tricky to wade and these serve as a third leg)
- Of course, local fly shops can provide the help of an experienced guide to assist not only those new to the sport but also those with more experience, but little local knowledge. Many of the shops also offer casting classes.
BEING LEGAL: To avoid any unpleasant run-ins with the game warden, you will need to have a current NC fishing license with a trout stamp (if you are fishing for trout). The licenses are sold in both short (10 days) and long term (1 year) periods. A short term license with a trout stamp for out of state visitors is $20, and long term is $40. The easiest way to acquire a fishing license is to stop in at your local fly shop. It only takes a minute to get a license, and the experienced staff will also fill you in on the rules and regulations for where you plan to fish. Rules and Regulations often change by season, and can be a little confusing just by looking at the book, so the best thing to do is talk to a professional.