For most residents of North Carolina, the summer’s heat and humidity are givens. Fishing one of the state’s trout steams designed as “wild trout” is a great way to make an end run around the elements.
Jake Rash, a biologist at the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission’s hatchery at Marion, said that of the 5,300 miles of public trout waters within the state’s boundaries, around 4,300 are designated as wild-trout waters. For the most part, these streams are in high country, cooler than places most of us live.
Squeak Smith of Morganton, a veteran trout fisherman, said the best fishing for wild brown, rainbow and brook trout is in streams requiring some pushing through underbrush.
“Part of the attraction of the wild trout streams is the pristine landscape: solitude, clean water. You can find that in our mountains.”
Steve Banakas, a wild-trout devotee from Hayesville, agreed.
“When I’m getting people interested in wild trout, I emphasize if you go in a mile you’ve passed water where 80 to 90 percent of fishermen fish. Two miles, perhaps 95 percent. The further in, the less pressure has been placed on the fish.”
Most wild-trout streams are narrow and arched over by mountain laurel. Some fishermen advocate shorter rods, contending that the overhanging canopy argues against a rod, 81/2 feet or longer. Bob Martin of Fort Mill, S.C., is in the short rod camp.
“Many (fishermen) believe a 9-foot or longer rod gives them the edge to dap their fly without casting,” he said. “I am in the short-rod camp. I fish a 1960s-era Orvis Flea. I can load that short bamboo with very