Drive, hike, fish, hike, fish, fish again… Go fly fishing near Asheville while enjoying the spectacular mountain scenery. Local guide Paul Kisielewski from Southern Appalachain Anglers shares some insight with us...
With thousands of fishable streams and creeks in the western North Carolina mountains, being caught without a fly pole is a big mistake if you are a fly fishing enthusiast. Nature is kept at its basics in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Fly fishing in these misty hills can mean hiking into the forest to find a waterfall, driving to a more accessible location, or touring the beautiful mountains by boat. The great thing about fly fishing in Asheville is every stream, creek or river you can find beautiful scenery and vibrant colored trout.
Fly fishing Southern Appalachia is a history of its own. What made the Southern Appalachian Mountains a fly fishing heaven was the ability of wading the streams and creeks, as well as the famous Brook Trout or as locals coined it, the Brookie. In the 1920s, many rivers outside of Western North Carolina were hard to wade. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, wading was not even an option. If the river was too deep to wade, then the lush trees around the river prevented any fly fisherman from being able to cast properly. Many of the rivers in Tennessee and Kentucky proved this theory. Southern Appalachia was a different animal with rivers being thigh high to ankle deep. Anglers took to the rivers to catch brook trout, and native rainbows regularly.
Throughout the great depression with years catching up to the 50s, fly patterns began to emerge in the Southern Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Fly patterns were developed to catch supper, including the Tellico Nymph, Fred Hall’s Thunderhead, Yallar Hammer, Sheep Fly and many others .
Now a well-known fly fishing bucket list, Western North Carolina’s Southern Appalachian Mountains have finally proved their worth. With unmatched sunsets and picturesque mountain peaks, Asheville and the towns surrounding, offer visitors a true fly fishing vacation.
Fly fishing in the Southern Appalachian Mountains can be the most exciting adventure you may ever take. With Western North Carolina as well as Eastern Tennessee producing big trout, bass and even musky and high quantities of them, fly fishing can be a blast! Typical lighter weight fly rods are used for going after trout in WNC streams and creeks. Three, four and five weight rods are perfect for casting trout flies.
Fishing All Seasons
In the beginning of March, insects begin to make their move swimming with the current attaching to rocks or timber found in rivers. Trout begin to feed on any insects caught off guard for their daily meal. Wet flies in nymph patterns can provide vicious strikes if seen by the right trout. Tie on a wet nymph pattern and ride the current with a strike indicator or a free line, but be sure to watch your fly line closely. Insect hatches can occur suddenly, so be prepared, and keep an eye out for quick hatches.
As the air temperature begins to climb, so do the insects from the river with many types of mayflies and stoneflies. Cahill, hendricksons, caddis, midges, sulphurs, giant stone flies, and BWO's are a few of the ever-present insects that like to come out and play during the warming spring and summer months. Large stoneflies can be found on nearly every stream throughout the mountains as well as green and yellow mayflies early June to mid-August. Sulphur hatches are common in late afternoons and evenings, while terrestrials will keep trout biting all day long!
When the autumn leaves begin to turn, the colors of our favored insects change as well. Many popular patterns for fall time fishing are orange and brown caddis during the day and light Cahill usually at dusk. The valued mayfly or Mahogany Dun (Isonychia Bicolor) will emerge sporadically all day during early fall. Blue Winged Olives emerge from October to November typically during the afternoon and catch huge trout on the dry fly bite.
Written by Paul Kisielewski, owner of Southern Appalachian Anglers and head guide. He is always excited no matter what type of guided excursion he is taking clients on. Most trips are either one day or multiple days in a row. Raised in Western North Carolina, Paul has devoted his life to learning about our local river systems, high elevation reservoirs, and the fish that are present in these waters.