7 Best Places to Go Fly Fishing in the Carolina Mountains

Mountain Fly Fishing in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Mountain fly fishing is loved by many for the calming, yet exhilarating experience it offers those who participate in the sport. Often a time of bonding with family and friends, it requires patience and an ability to read the conditions to increase the chances of reeling in a catch that day. Yet, whether you catch a fish or not, the time spent in the untouched wilderness is rejuvenating, to say the least. Surrounded by native flora and the sound of the flowing water, you are sure to leave feeling more in touch with nature. 

If you are an avid angler looking for the best places to cast your line in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we’re here to help! Continue reading to discover seven of the region’s top locations to enjoy the sport.

1. Cherokee Trophy Water

Located on the Raven Fork in the Cherokee Indian Reservation, Trophy Water is a 2.2-mile portion of the waters dedicated to catch and release fishing. Each week, the rivers are stocked from the reservations hatchery. The area is home to the biggest trout in the Smokies, averaging more than 20 inches, with some reaching up to 30 inches. Here, anglers will find various types of trout including rainbow and brown trout. If you would like to enjoy mountain fly fishing here, a special tribal permit is required. Throughout the year, you can also partake in various tournaments including the popular Rumble in the Rhododendron fly fishing tournament held in the fall.

2. Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail

Spanning across Jackson County, the WNC Fly Fishing Trail offers some of the best fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains. From broad rivers to private mountain streams, the trail offers 15 fishing spots across more than 50 miles that are ideal for anglers of all skill levels. The clear waters are home to Brown, Rainbow, and Brook Trout, and are stocked annually with nearly 100,000 fish –– making it the North Carolina Trout Capital! 

3. Linville River

Commonly known for its hiking trails that lead to spectacular waterfalls, the Linville River is also a top spot for mountain fly fishing. Found in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this river has a moderately-flowing stream with many elevation changes making it great for Brown and Rainbow Trout. While mountain fly fishing is accessible here year-round, the best time is in the spring and fall seasons. 

4. East Fork of the Pigeon River

The next mountain fly fishing spot you will want to cast your line in is the East Fork of the Pigeon River. Starting in Asheville, NC flowing north into Tennessee, the cooler waters of this river’s tributary make it exceptional for Wild Rainbow and Brown Trout. While the best fishing is found in the six miles that run above highway 276, they do require a fairly accessible hike to get to –– so pack a picnic lunch and set off on a wonderful outdoor adventure! 

5. South Toe River

Also near Asheville is the South Toe River, which has a large population of wild rainbow and brook trout, including native Southern Appalachian Brook Trout, and Big Brown Trout as well. Since the river runs down Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain in the Southeast, the waters are cold, making them ideal for mountain fly fishing. Here, the lower part of the river is easily accessible from the side of the road, while the upper part requires hiking to access the best spots. Whichever you choose, you’ll be sure to have a great experience. 

6. Wilson Creek

A tributary of John’s river, Wilson Creek offers anglers an exciting challenge. For mountain fly fishing specifically, there are two main areas –– upper Wilson Creek headwaters and the Wilson Creek Gorge area. Both make for a great day wading in the water hoping for a bite from one of the many Wild Rainbow and Brown Trout, or Brook Trout that inhabit the waters.

7. Watauga River

With water suitable for trout, the Watauga River is every angler’s dream! Here, both wild Brown Trout and Wild Rainbow Trout swim between the large boulders and cobblestones. The river has consistent temperatures that allow for fishing all year round, and anglers can decide whether to wade in the waters or take a small boat out.

The Fishing Experience at The Cliffs

At The Cliffs, our proximity to the best mountain fly fishing locations only adds to the adventurous atmosphere we strive to create for our members. 

As a way to support members’ learning, Phillip Bowers, our Facilities Maintenance Director for Mountain Park, leads a “Fishing with Phil” at The Cliffs at Mountain Park community. During these community-organized day trips, he takes members into the heart of the region, teaching them everything they need to know about fishing in the local waters. Held at various times of the year, members of our community can use this opportunity to learn from his years of experience. Additionally, this is often when members who share a love of fishing connect and begin to plan their own outings throughout the region.

Yet, fishing is just one of the many programs offered to our club members. To learn more about the other luxury amenities our club membership at The Cliffs affords, click on the button below. 


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