As spring time arrives here in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, many people are dusting off their fly rods and waders for a day on the river. With fish being stocked monthly, some of my favorite winter time fishing spots are greeted with crowds of enthusiastic anglers looking to hook into that stocked fish of a lifetime. Not me. I turn to the smallest trickles and streams deep in the mountains in search of untouched beauty, tranquility, and feisty wild fish.
Those of you in Western North Carolina who don’t want to fight the crowds along the river should consider seeking out the state’s native and wild populations of Brook, Rainbow, and Brown trout. You won’t need much to catch these mountain gems, but you will need a map and a sense of adventure to get to your destination.
Be sure to brush up on your “bow and arrow” casting before heading off into the thick jungles of rhododendron. Pack plenty of dry flies and light tippet. I prefer using as small as 6 or 7x, though it is not necessarily needed.
A short, light weight rod, such as a 7’6″ 2 weight is best suited for these treks in my opinion. Sometimes a short rod can make the difference between hooking up and going home with a tale of the one that got away.
One final thing to remember: always tell someone where you’re going. In my experience, most of these streams are found far beyond the reaches of cell phone reception.
The next time you head out to chase trout, don’t rule out wild fish. You might just find a new love and appreciation for the tight line.
Evan Norris is an avid fly fisherman, a guide at Brookings’ Anglers, and our first contributor for “Fridays on the Fly”. When he’s not out discovering new wild trout waters all over the mountains of Western North Carolina, he can often be found on his Chattooga River home waters near the town of Cashiers, NC.