The picturesque Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail in Jackson County, North Carolina, features three Mountain Heritage Trout Streams, offering some of the best trout waters to fish in the state and the Southeast. The trail boasts more than 4,600 miles of water and is the first and only fly fishing trail in the country. Whether this is your first time fly fishing or you are a seasoned angler, here is a list of some of the favorite spots to cast a line in Jackson County.
Scott Creek – #1 on the WNC Fly Fishing Trail
Scott Creek is a 10 mile stretch of hatchery supported waters, populated with brown and rainbow trout. Buff Creek and Scott Creek are very scenic. “When helping to create the trail, we wanted to make sure that we had water appealing to all fly fishers,” says Alex Bell, co-creator of the trail and owner of AB’s Fly Fishing Guide Service. “This is an example of a small stream easy to wade in.” Note: part of Scott Creek is in designated Mountain Heritage water, which allows a $5.00 three-day license.
Panthertown Creek and Greenwood Creek – #5
Pathertown Creek and Greenwood Creek, located in Panthertown Valley, is one of the more hidden spots on the trail, and proves a great spot to catch brook trout. As one of Canter’s favorite places, he says, “It’s off-the-beaten-path and requires some hiking to get to the creek, so it weeds out the crowds. Panthertown Valley is known as the Yosemite of the East, so the scenery combined with the fishing makes it a top-notch location.”
Raven Fork – #6
This 2.2 mile stretch of water is touted as the Cherokee Trophy Water, where fish of 20-30 inches are common. Among the 2.2 mile stretch of waters, catch golden, brown, rainbow, brook and Donaldson (“Super”) trout. Ravens Fork requires a special ‘trophy fly fishing only’ permit plus a daily permit.
Scotsman and Fowler Creeks into the Chattooga River – #8
Both Scotsman Creek and Fowler Creek flow 2-3 miles into the Chattooga River. Wild brown and rainbow trout are the species to catch here with natural bait. A fun fact- the Chattooga River is a significant location in the movie Deliverance. As much of the surrounding banks are on private property, Bell says “I always like to remind people to respect locals and don’t go past posted ‘no trespassing’ signs.”
The Tuckasegee River- #12
The Tuckasegee River participates in a delayed harvest program, where a total of about 92,000 trout are stocked in the river five times a year. Fly fishing is at its prime from October through May. “The delayed harvest is purely about sport fishing, and is meant for success,” says Matt Canter of Brookings Anglers, a fishing outfitter and guide service located in Cashiers. “This is where fishermen can achieve the Tuckasegee Slam, catch all three species of brook, brown and rainbow trout.”
Be sure to step into one of our Visitor’s Centers to get a waterproof WNC Fly Fishing Trail map and get tips on guide services for float and wade trips. A downloadable map is available here.