Fly Fishing In The High Country

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The North Carolina Mountains are a preferred destination for fly fishing enthusiasts from all over the region. The pristine waterways, unsurpassed scenery and streams teeming with trout provide a powerful ‘lure’ for fishermen. The High Country area provides the opportunity to go for brook, brown and rainbow trout in a wide variety of wonderful locations.

For beginners or those who would like to be absolutely guaranteed to snag a trout, a great destination is Grandfather Trout Farm. Owner Bill Wilkerson likes to say that, “Even if you’ve never fished a day in your life, don’t worry, you’ll catch a trout!” Bill provides free equipment, free tackle and free bait. The three on site ponds are stocked with Rainbow trout and each pond contains differing sizes of trout. For less than you would pay in a supermarket ($4.25 per pound) you also get the thrill of catching your own fish. Bill and his staff will even clean them for you. No reservations are needed unless you have groups of ten or more people. It’s a great destination for families, church groups, grade school field trips and even company retreats. In addition, there is an onsite gem mine where you can pan for precious stones!

Grandfather Trout Farm is located at the foot of Grandfather Mountain on Highway 105.

For those who prefer the more traditional form of the sport, here are some useful tips on where to go and how to get there including, in most cases, GPS coordinates.

During the months of October and November, local experts note that the Deptera Midge and the Blue Winged Olive emerge in the afternoon. The local fishermen recommend an 18-24 Gray Midge, an 18-24 Blue Winged Olive or an 18-24 Adams fly.

Many private land owners in the High Country allow fishing in the streams on their property, so be considerate. As the old adage goes, ‘if you bring it in, take it with you when you leave’. Obey all “no trespassing” signs and be respectful of private property.

The following is a guide to a few of the best places to go in the High Country and the surrounding foothills. Click on a county for specific area fishing information:

  •  Alleghany County
  • Ashe County
  • Avery County
  • Henderson County
  • Mitchell County
  • Swain County
  • Transylvania County
  • Watauga County
  • Wilkes County