Cast a Line in the Waters of the High Country
By Arielle Patterson
There are a number of outdoor experiences to be had when you visit North Carolina’s High Country. From hiking the scenic trails of Grandfather Mountain and ziplining through the treetops to whitewater rafting, the opportunities – from land to sea – are ample. Fishing is another popular High Country activity.
Anglers from all over seek out the High Country’s waterways. These rivers and streams are home to a variety of fish, including several types of trout, that make for a great catch and tasty meal. For a different type of fishing experience, try your hand at fly fishing.
Fly fishing adds a bit more excitement to your typical fishing experience by taking place in moving water. Fly fishing is one of the best ways to catch North Carolina’s famed trout, which call the mountain waters home.
Fly fishing doesn’t require a ton of gear—just a fly rod, flies and landing net. Flies are used to imitate what trout feed on in their natural environment, just like baitfish and insets in traditional fishing. The type of flies used depend on the season and what the trout are feeding on during that time of year.
There are several techniques for casting out into the water. You’ll want the fly to land so that it can drift past the trout in a natural way. The roll casting technique is used when there is no room behind you. In contrast, the two stroke casting is a method for when you have plenty of space behind you. Other casting techniques include the tight loop and open loop, haul casting and wind casting. The type of technique you choose depends on the conditions of the water.
Where to Fly Fish in the High Country
There are a number of streams, creeks and rivers throughout the High Country that are perfect for fly fishing. Along the Blue Ridge Parkway are several popular fishing holes, such as: Basin Cove Creek, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Julian Price Memorial Park and the Linville River.
Wildcat Lake in Banner Elk, part of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Public Mountain Trout Waters program, is a hatchery-supported trout water. The lake is stocked with three different types of trout, blue gills and bass. Chinquapin Lake in Jefferson is maintained by the Ashe County Wildlife Club and stocked with fish by the state.
Other waterways for fly fishing include: Mayview Lake in Blowing Rock, Laurel Creek in Boone, Dutch Creek near Valle Crucis, the North and Middle Forks of the New River, and the Watauga River.
Be sure to visit one of the area’s professional outfitters, who can not only supply you with top-of-the-line fly fishing gear but also guided fly fishing trips, allowing you to have the best day on the water in the High Country.
North Carolina Inland Fishing License Information
There are a number of ways to purchase a North Carolina fishing license, including online, by phone or in person through the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
Fishing License Fees
10 Day Pass: $9 resident | $23 non-resident
Annual Pass: $25 resident | $45 non-resident
*Seniors are eligible for a discounted lifetime license
Kids under 16: No license required