The mountains of Western North Carolina that surround Asheville is well-known for their many fly fishing streams and creeks with diverse stream conditions, from tiny, plunge-pool headwater streams to broad, open-valley rivers. The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests areas around Asheville, Brevard, and Hendersonville are the first targets for quick access to wild, pristine trout fishing. Whether you're searching for Rainbow, Brown, or Brook Trout, you'll find that these scenic waters boast some of the best fly fishing around. Small and Large Mouth Bass, Crappie, Sunfish and more can also be found in abundance in the region.
Best for lake fishing is Lake Julian, south of Asheville, which is well stocked with bass and bream. Canoes and picnicking are available. Lake Powhatan, on N.C. 191 in the Pisgah National Forest, has a sand beach, swimming, camping, and picnicking in addition to fishing. Lake Julian has an abundance of bass, catfish, brim and crappie, as well as imported fish called "Tilapia". Because Lake Julian is a "thermal" lake (the lake is used as a cooling agent for CP&L), some of the best fishing occurs from October through March. No boats are available, however.From Asheville take 26 East and take Exit #37 - turn left on to Long Shoals Road and travel 1.1 mile - turn right on to Overlook Road and travel .1 mile - see park entrance on the left.
Lake Lure, on U.S. 74 about 40 minutes southeast of Asheville, has trout, bass, bream, and watersports; motorboats are available.
The Davidson River area is located in Transylvania County, and is close to Brevard and Hendersonville. The area is easily accessible by car. Rivers and streams within the Davidson River area support a variety of fishing opportunities including backcountry trout fishing on Cove Creek, more accessible stream fishing on Avery and Looking Glass Creeks, and trophy brown and rainbow trout fishing on the Davidson River proper. From Asheville, follow Interstate 26 East to exit 40 (Asheville Regional Airport). Go south on Highway 280, and follow to intersection with Highway 276. Turn right onto Highway 276. This road follows the Davidson River upstream to the intersection with FS 475. Look for signs to the Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery.
The lower French Broad River area supports a variety of fishing opportunities including large river fishing from bank or boat, and smaller river and stream fishing. This area is located in Madison County, is close to Hot Springs and the Appalachian Trail, and is easily accessible by car. From Asheville, follow Highway 19/23 North to Marshall, and exit right onto Highway 25/70. Follow Highway 25/70 to Hot Springs. To access the lower French Broad River proper, turn right onto SR 1304 and follow to the Murray Branch Recreation Area. To access Spring Creek, follow Highway 25/70 through Hot Springs and turn left onto Highway 209. Follow Highway 209 to the Rocky Bluff Campground on your left.
Sporting rebreast sunfish and smallmouth bass, the Pigeon River is small but beautiful river. One advantage of the Pigeon River is that it can be waded more easily than larger rivers in western North Carolina. From Asheville, Take I 40 untill you hit FS 288 (exit 7 Harmon Den). FS 288 will lead under the overpass to the river
Newberry Creek is managed under the NCWRC's Catch and Release, Artificial Lures Only regulations. This high-gradient stream is among the most pristine on the Pisgah National Forest. Deep pools and steep, but small falls, make chest-waders a must. The surrounding landscape is wild and beautiful. FS 482A follows the creek for a while, making foot access easy. From Interstate 40, take Exit 72 (Old Fort). Follow Highway 70 to intersection of SR 1227. Turn left onto SR 1227 and follow to FS 482 (same road). FS 482 follows Curtis Creek to the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 344 and Highway 80. From SR 1227, where it turns to FS 482, turn left onto FS 482A and follow to a small parking area at the end of the road to access Newberry Creek.
Featuring excellent trout fishing, North Mills River is easily accesable form Asheville. The area also offers some excellent back country Trout fishing on Big Creek and Fletcher Creek.
Take I 26 East out of Asheville to Exit 40, NC Highway 280 South, and follow the signs to North Mills Recreation Area.
Both the Upper and Lower Nantahala are gold medal trout streams, and NOC offers guided fly fishing trips near Asheville on the Nantahala and to the rest of the Smokies' classic trout streams.
Purchase a NC Fishing License Online Residents of North Carolina should select the Comprehensive License option, a $20 license which includes the necessary Trout Stamp and is good for 12 months from the date of purchase. Non-residents--a license including the Trout Stamp is $20 for one day, $25 for three days, and $40 for the annual license.
NC Wildlife Resources Website
Download PDF 16-page Guide to the National Forests in North Carolina
Asheville Fly Fishing Guides in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina
Brown Trout Fly Fishing
The Whitewater Sportsman (Smallmouth Bass)
Fishwater River Guides: Full service river guide company specializing in fly fishing and light tackle angling. They offer float trips and Eco-Tours on the French Broad and other area rivers for Smallmouth Bass and Trout. Ask about their special “honeymoon” package designed for couples who love the outdoors.
Fishwater Maps of Asheville: Dedicated to making high quality, finely crafted, accurate maps and fishing guides for fly fisherman and anglers that include all the information you need to get there and get fishing. Their full color maps measure 11" x 17" and are printed on waterproof, synthetic paper.
North Carolina Mountains Fly Fishing Trail
North Carolina’s mountains have long been a haven for fly fishing enthusiasts. Now they’re also home to the first officially-designated fly fishing trail in the U.S. The Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail in Jackson County features some of the best trout waters in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is located in Jackson County, about 45 miles west of Asheville. The trail encompasses 15 prime spots for catching brook, brown and rainbow trout, and includes portions of four rivers: Tuckasegee, Chattooga, Whitewater and Raven Fork. The trail is also highlighted by several smaller streams and remote waterways. Tanasee Creek and Greens Creek cut through scenic areas of the Nantahala National Forest, while Panthertown Creek bisects Panthertown Valley, which is known as the “Yosemite of the East.” A map has been created that shows the location of each stop along the trail, as well as detailed information such as: access points, waterway designations and regulations, species of fish available, and whether the stream produces fish of quantity or size. The map also provides interesting tidbits about the streams. A companion website, www.FlyFishingTrail.com, allows fly fishermen to access trail info online, and post pictures of their catches.
The Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail added an exciting new destination for anglers in 2010 - the Raven Fork trophy water on the Cherokee Indian Reservation. It's a 2.2-mile stretch of water northward from the Blue Ridge Parkway bridge outside Cherokee. The water is regularly stocked with large rainbow, brown and golden trout. It's common to catch fish 20 inches or longer, and there are a number of trout that exceed 30 inches in length. Anglers wishing to fish Raven Fork need to purchase a $20 special use permit and a $7 daily permit from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Raven Fork is designated by the Cherokee as catch & release fly fishing only. Read more about the Fly Fishing Trail.