It’s no secret that Jackson County is home to some of the best trout fishing this side of the Mississippi River, but did you know that this Western North Carolina county is also the birth place of the country’s first and only fly fishing trail?

That trail was established back in 2009 with the help of county officials and longtime local anglers. Alex Bell, who guides on the Tuckaseegee River and other Jackson County waterways, was one of several local fisherman instrumental in developing all fifteen points along the trail.

“It just sort of evolved,” Bell said of the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail. “We all sat around, got the maps out, showed places that we’d fished and been successful and came up with the fifteen spots that are currently on the map.”

These brain storming sessions by Bell and other local anglers have resulted in a rare cache of insider info that’s been aggregated, mapped, and is now available, free of charge, to anyone with an interest and a desire to fish Jackson County’s plethora of top-notch trout streams.

I had the opportunity to fish with Alex on the Tuckaseegee River last November, and the trip did not disappoint. I highly recommend his services if you’re ever looking for friendly, knowledgable guide in the area.

Check out the details on all 15 fly fishing hot spots below, visit flyfishingtrail.com to download your own  copy of the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail map, and start ticking these prime stretches of trout water off your to-do list this weekend!

1). Scott Creek

The Stretch: roughly 10 miles from the headwaters near Balsam, NC down to Sylva, NC

Access Point(s): Parking and access available via several pull-off areas along U.S. 23/74

Type of Water: Hatchery Supported

Available Fish: Brown, Rainbow

Numbers or Size: Numbers

Noteworthy: Stretch also includes North Fork Scott Creek and Buff Creek, which are very scenic

2). Small Streams

Moses Creek, Mull Creek, Rough Butt Creek, Chastine Creek, Piney Mountain Creek

The Stretch: Collection of small streams in eastern Jackson County, below Blue Ridge Parkway

Access Point(s): Via Moses Creek Rd (SR 1740) & Caney Fork Rd (SR 1737), avoid posted land

Type of Water: Wild Trout

Available Fish: Brook, Rainbow

Numbers or Size: Numbers

Noteworthy: Mountainous terrain, includes several large waterfalls

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Click this graphic for a downloadable version of the WNC Fly Fishing Trail map.

3). Caney Fork

The Stretch: Roughly 10 miles from East Laporte Park to headwaters at fork of Mull Creek and Piney Mountain Creek

Access Point(s): Access via Caney Fork Road (SR 1737), avoid posted land

Type of Water: Undesignated

Available Fish: Rainbow, Brown, occasional Brook

Numbers or Size: Numbers

Noteworthy: Respect private land owners

4). Tanasee Creek

The Stretch: Roughly 2-3 miles from Tanasee Creek bridge up to headwaters

Access Point(s): Parking and access available at bridge on Tanasee Creek Road (SR 1762)

Type of Water: Wild Trout

Available Fish: Brown

Numbers or Size: Both

Noteworthy: Very scenic stretch in the Nantahala National Forest

5). Panthertown Creek

The Stretch: Entire stream, roughly 3 miles

Access Point(s): Parking and access at end of Breedlove Rd (SR 1121), with 2-mile walk to creek

Type of Water: Catch & Release Single Hook Artificial Lure

Available Fish: Brook

Numbers or Size: Numbers

Noteworthy: Located in Panthertown Valley, which is known as the “Yosemite of the East” because of its bowl shape and rocky bluffs

6). Raven Fork (Cherokee Trophy Water)

The Stretch: Starts at Blue Ridge Parkway bridge near Cherokee and goes north for 2.2 miles

Access Point(s): Parking & access via several pull-off areas along Big Cove Road; paths run along stream

Type of Water: Catch & Release Fly Fishing Only

Available Fish: Golden, Rainbow, Brown, Brook & Donaldson trout

Numbers or Size: Both

Noteworthy: This stretch is also called Cherokee Trophy Water and fish of 20-30 inches are common; Cherokee annual permit and daily permit required

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7). Whitewater River

The Stretch: Roughly 2-3 miles from Hwy. 107 down to the South Carolina state line

Access Point(s): Parking and access along N.C. 107, a few miles south of Cashiers

Type of Water: Wild Trout

Available Fish: Brook, Brown and Rainbow

Numbers or Size: Numbers

Noteworthy: Flows into Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi

8). Scotsman and Fowlers Creek into Chattooga River

The Stretch: Roughly 2-3 miles of each stream flowing down into the Chattooga River

Access Point(s): Access available via Whiteside Cove Rd (SR 1107) or Bullpen Rd (SR 1100) in Nantahala National Forest

Type of Water: Wild Trout with Natural Bait

Available Fish: Brown, Rainbow

Numbers or Size: Numbers (creeks), Size (Chattooga)

Noteworthy: The movie Deliverance was filmed on the Chattooga River

9). West Fork Tuckaseegee River

The Stretch: From small reservoir at Thorpe Power House upstream several hundred yards

Access Point(s): Parking and access available both sides of N.C. 107 near Thorpe Power House

Type of Water: Hatchery Supported

Available Fish: Brown, Rainbow

Numbers or Size: Numbers

Noteworthy: Although hatchery supported, this has nice concentration of stream-raised fish

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10). Tuckaseegee River (East LaPorte Park to NC 107 Bridge)

The Stretch: Roughly 2-3 miles from park to bridge

Access Point(s): Parking and access available at East Laporte Park and pull-off areas along Old Cullowhee Road

Type of Water: Hatchery Supported

Available Fish: Rainbow, Brook and Brown

Numbers or Size: Numbers

Noteworthy: East Laporte Park has picnic tables and public restrooms

11). Savannah Creek

The Stretch: About 10 miles from headwaters in Pumpkintown into Tuckaseigee River

Access Point(s): Parking and access available via several pull-offs along U.S. 23/441

Type of Water: Hatchery Supported

Available Fish: Rainbow, Brown

Numbers or Size: Numbers

Noteworthy: Access limited the closer you get to the Tuckasegee River

12). Tuckaseegee River (NC 107 Bridge to Dillsboro park)

The Stretch: Roughly 4-5 mile stretch from bridge to the riverside park in Dillsboro

Access Point(s): Parking and access available via numerous pull-offs along North River Road

Type of Water: Delayed Harvest

Available Fish: Brook, Brown and Rainbow

Numbers or Size: Both

Noteworthy: Best place to achieve the Tuckaseigee Slam (catch all three species in one spot)

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13). Greens Creek

The Stretch: About 3-4 miles from Macon County line to Savannah Creek

Access Point(s): Various places along Greens Creek Road (SR 1370)

Types of Water: Wild Trout, Undesignated, Hatchery Supported

Available Fish: Rainbow, some Brown

Numbers or Size: Numbers

Noteworthy: Portion of the creek flows through the Nantahala National Forest

14). Tuckaseegee River (in Dillsboro)

The Stretch: About 1 mile from Dillsboro park through town

Access Point(s): Various places between park and Best Western River Escape Inn

Type of Water: Hatchery Supported

Available Fish: Rainbow, Brown

Numbers or Size: Size

Noteworthy: Includes two lodging options: Best Western River Escape Inn and Dillsboro Inn

15). Lowe Tuckaseegee River (Barker’s Creek Bridge to Whittier)

The Stretch: Roughly 8-10 miles from bridge to Whittier

Access Point(s): Parking and access via pull-offs and businesses along U.S. 19/74 freeway

Type of Water: Hatchery Supported, Undesignated

Available Fish: Rainbow, Brown

Numbers or Size: Size

Noteworthy: The stretch is also home to smallmouth bass\

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