Head for the Mountains



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Big trout like this brown will often hit a spinner when nothing else works. Put a new spin on trout
134 Views - Posted: October 13 at 9:00 am

Spinner fishing is an effective alternative to fly fishing when trout aren’t rising to a dry-fly pattern or hitting nymphs. A spinner often will elicit a strike even when trout aren’t hitting live bait.


It doesn’t take a nice brown trout for a fisherman to call a fishing trip a success. A matter of perspective
297 Views - Posted: September 11 at 9:00 am

We follow the stream where we can, fishing deep pools and smooth runs in water so clear we can see every detail of the streambed. Brightly colored leaves swirl in the eddies and gather in thick carpet like clumps in the deepest sections of water. On almost every cast, the lure snags a leaf or two, and when the current grabs the leaf and tugs, it feels, for a brief moment, like a hooked trout.


Night crawlers and other large worms are great live baits for mountain trout in streams where live bait is legal. Live-bait options abound
569 Views - Posted: August 12 at 9:00 am

I grew up fishing with live bait, catching trout in the upper reaches of  Paddy Creek in western Burke County and bream in the large pools in the lower sections, using fat red worms collected from cow patties in the pastures near my home.


Popular terrestrials, left to right: San Juan Worm, Black Ant, Japanese Beetle, Inchworm, Letort Cricket,, Chernobyl Ant, Ladybug, Joe’s Hopper and Jack Cabe Hopper. Summer: terrestrial time
639 Views - Posted: July 14 at 9:00 am

In the summer, when insect hatches are sparse, trout depend more on what falls into the water than what hatches in it. Terrestrials, or land-based insects, make up the bulk of a trout’s diet from early summer until first frost. Terrestrials include various beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, worms, bees, ants, cicadas, fireflies, damselflies, crane flies and just about any other insect that flies crawls or hops. If it’s an insect that a trout will eat, fly shops will have dozens of different patterns that imitate them, both floating and sinking versions.


This building, which formerly housed a restaurant, will be the side of the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians in Cherokee. Fly-fishing gets a museum
2169 Views - Posted: June 12 at 9:00 am

The heritage, art, science, craft and sport of fly fishing will be featured in a museum dedicated solely to fly fishing on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.


Delayed-harvest sections of the Tuckasegee River offers fly anglers some great May opportunities. Don’t miss May’s offering
626 Views - Posted: May 15 at 9:00 am

May is an ideal time to be on a mountain trout stream. Wildflowers are in bloom, dogwoods and rhododendron are flowering and a multitude of mayfly, caddis and stonefly hatches are coming off — more hatches than any other time of the season.


Roger Lowe of Waynesville ties many of the traditional western North Carolina fly patterns. Patterns always changing
860 Views - Posted: April 14 at 9:00 am

Fly patterns constantly evolve as fly tiers originate new patterns and modify standard ones in an endless effort to find something that looks irresistible to a trout. 


Noland Creek is one of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park’s fine trout streams. Noland is a Smoky jewel
920 Views - Posted: March 14 at 9:00 am

Noland Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Swain County is typical of hundreds of prime trout streams that crisscross the park: remote, scenic and full of trout. 

The creek’s headwaters form high in the Smokies near Clingman’s Dome, and the creek flows south approximately 10 miles to the Tuckasegee River arm of Fontana Lake near Bryson City. As with most park streams, Noland has a mix of rainbow, brown and brook trout. Rainbows dominate the middle and upper sections, browns are limited mostly to the lower section, and brooks inhabit the headwaters.


Hazel Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of North Carolina’s best-known and best trout streams. Hazel Creek trout fishing
1088 Views - Posted: February 12 at 9:00 am

At some time or other, anyone who claims to be a mountain trout fisher makes his or her way to Hazel Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to pay homage to one of the South’s most celebrated trout streams.  

Call it a pilgrimage, if you will, for Hazel Creek is a sacred place — remote, beautiful, accessible only by boat or foot, a stream that truly lives up to its legend. Horace Kephart once lived on a fork of this stream, until the loggers and miners ran him out. Hazel was a favorite of Granville Calhoun and Mark Cathey, two of the most-celebrated trout fishers in the Great Smokies. 


Trout are a little slower to feed in cold, winter water, but they’ll often warm up enough to hit nymphs, streamers or dries. Don’t ignore January fish
629 Views - Posted: January 15 at 9:00 am

In terms of weather, January and February are the roughest months of the year, a time when we get the coldest weather, along with snow and ice. Just because the weather is frightful doesn’t mean you can’t do something delightful — like go fishing. Like all living creatures, fish have to eat, regardless of the weather. The key to successful winter trout fishing is adapting to the weather and to the fish.


The Tuckasegee River has four miles of water in the state’s delayed-harvest program, which allows trout to be creeled only during the summer. Don’t delay, fish today
760 Views - Posted: December 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

Winter fishing is often iffy in the mountains. Get out on a stream on one of those rare, warm sunny days, and you’ll likely hit a Blue-Winged Olive or midge hatch, and the trout will be hitting. But if it’s one of those too-often cold, dreary days, you’ll spend much of your time trying to get a nymph in front of a trout’s nose and getting very little response. Trout just aren’t very active in old weather. Most often, it’s a matter of getting a fly to the trout instead of the trout coming to a fly.


An angler fishes the delayed-harvest section of Graham County’s Big Snowbird Creek. Big Snowbird: No. 1?
2233 Views - Posted: November 11, 2013 at 3:00 am

Big Snowbird Creek in Graham County, considered by many veteran trout fishers as one of the best streams in the far western section of the state, now has four distinct fisheries. In July, a 2.8-mile section of hatchery-supported waters was re-designated as delayed-harvest waters.


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