skip to main content

If you are, then look no further than Turning Stone's fly fishing for your Nantahala National Forest excursion. We have expert guides to help you navigate all the backwood streams and easily accessed rivers in the forest.

Hiwassee River Turning Stones Fly Fishing

What Happens When You Fish Without a Guide?

The Nantahala National Forest contains hundreds of miles of trout water. The terrain varies in elevation from 5,800 feet in Jackson County to 1,200 feet in Cherokee County along the Hiwassee River. These extreme elevations make it both ideal for high-altitude trout streams. However, without a guide, you can find yourself lost, in dangerous, fast-moving water, on top of cascades, waterfalls, in deep pools, or searching for fish with no luck.

Nantahala River Turning Stones Fly Fishing

Should I Hire a Fly Fishing Guide?

Regardless of your level of experience, hiring a fly fishing guide to take you into the Nantahala National Forest will be safer and will make your experience more enjoyable. The best fly fishing trips begin with a guide who understands where to look for stunning rainbow, brown trout, and brook trout. 

The right fly fishing guide will know where the fish are hitting, the fastest way to get there, and how to keep you and you safe. Hiring a fly fishing guide is one of the best things you can do if you want to land lots of fish.

Nantahala River Happy

Is Turning Stone's Fly Fishing Right for Me?

You won't find any better guides than the folks at Turning Stone's Fly Fishing. Gordon Vanderpool is well known in the Nantahala National Forest and Nantahala River to the point he is known as the Nantahala Saskwatch. If you want guides with tons of knowledge about the waters in and around the Nantahala National Forest, choose Turning Stone Fly Fishing.

smoky mountains

I'm Booking With Turning Stone's - When Should I Reach Out?

You need to book your trip as soon as possible. We are humbled by the outpouring of support we receive from our clients. Turning Stone's guided fishing trips are popular, and our Nantahala National Forest and Nantahala River fishing excursions are filling up quickly. 

Book Your Fly Fishing Trip Today

about nantahala

About the Nantahala National Forest

The Nantahala National Forest was established in 1920 by President Woodrow Wilson and is located in the most southern portion of the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Interestingly, the Nantahala is second to the Pacific Northwest for the wettest region in the country.

"Nantahala" is derived from the Cherokee word meaning "Land of the Noonday Sun." It is a very fitting name as in the Nantahala Gorge, and the sun only reaches the valley floor at midday.

Other notable facts about the Nantahala National Forest are:

  • The Nantahala Lake sits at 3,013 feet and was created when a dam was built across the Nantahala River. It is also the highest elevation of any lake in North Carolina.
  • The river itself is found in the Nantahala Gorge and flows northeast, where it drops 900 feet into Fontana Lake.
  • The terrain varies in elevation from 5,800 feet at Lone Bald to 1,200 feet along the Hiwassee River.

Things to Do and Places to Explore

The Nantahala National Forest offers plenty of adventure other than fly fishing. Make the most of your visit to the Nantahala National Forest by checking out some of the other exciting and beautiful forest features.

Hiking Trails

The Nantahala National Forest has hundreds of miles of hiking trails, such as the Whiteside Mountain Hike. This hike happens to be the site of the highest sheer cliffs in the eastern United States. You can also enjoy part of The Appalachian Trail or take a stroll through the Panthertown Valley.


Nantahala has several options for overnight camping:

Where to Stay Nearby

If not staying inside the park, the closest hotels are in nearby towns like Bryson City, Franklin, and Highlands. There are also numerous Airbnbs, vacation rentals, and yurts located in the area.