Jackson County, NC, is home to the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail®, the first and only fly-fishing trail in the county. With over 92,000 trout stocked annually, the rivers that flow through the mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, and Sylva, serve as a fly fisherman’s paradise year-round.
As the leaves change and the temperatures cool, changes are also taking place along our rivers. October and November are the optimal time of year to angle the Tuckasegee River, known affectionately by locals as ‘the Tuck’. Cooler waters mean more active fish, longer feeding periods, lengthier fly hatches, and plentiful stocking for your fly-fishing adventure.
Longer Nights = More Bites
Summer’s long warm days are pleasant and bright for many, but the warmer water can have an adverse effect on the fish population. Warmer weather can create stress for the fish, making them conserve energy and spend the majority of the day not actively feeding.
According to local guide shop Tuckasegee Fly Shop, autumn provides longer, cooler nights making the season a “sweet spot” for anglers. The benefit of long nights in the fall means more consistent water temperatures. The cooler the water, the more oxygenated it is, meaning more active fish and longer feeding periods throughout the day.
Longer Hatches = More Snatches
The fly hatches that fish feed on reap the benefit of the cool weather as well. Four main fly hatches can be found along the Fly Fishing Trail® in the fall: Midges, Stone Flies, May Flies, and Caddice Flies. Temperatures affect when the bugs mature and in fall there’s more predictability and a larger fly population.
Delayed Harvest, Ease of Access & Plentiful Fish
The Tuck has more than five miles of delayed harvest waters. Delayed harvest means anglers can fish only with artificial lures with one single hook. The benefit is a great fishing experience with lots of catches.
The Tuckasegee River is stocked four times during the fall throughout October and November, giving anglers ample opportunity to reel in the big one.
No matter if you’re looking to wade or float, the Tuck is also known for its accessibility. The river runs the length of Jackson County and has a number of public access points for anglers to begin their adventure.
To ensure the experience remains great for everyone, we ask that anglers coming to Jackson County take the Sportsmen’s Pledge: “As a true sportsman, I pledge to never litter and to avoid trespassing on private lands. I will respect the rights of property owners, and always leave the streams in better condition than I found them.”
Plan Your Fly-Fishing Getaway
Another benefit of angling our waters is our central location. Your fly-fishing adventure is closer than you think! Jackson County is only a half day’s drive from many of the Southeast’s largest cities. Trade your traffic for trout, and “tackle” the WNC Fly Fishing Trail®.
Our outfitters and guides have the gear and expertise you need to help you make the most out of your angling adventure. Make sure to check out our WNC Fly Fishing Trail Map® highlighting 15 prime spots to reel in brook, brown, and rainbow trout.
While in Jackson County, there’s another trail worth exploring; the Jackson County Ale Trail. With over 120 locally brewed beverages, our Ale Trail has the perfect brew to help you relax after a day on the water. As your fall fly fishing adventure winds down, you’ll want to get rested up for your next excursion. From cabins to vacation rentals, hotels, and more, we’ve got the perfect place to get a full night’s sleep. Plan your trip today.
Header Image Courtesy of Tuckaseegee Fly Shop