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Fall Fly Fishing

Fall Fly Fishing

Monday, 01 August 2022 17:40

As kids return to school and temperatures start to cool, if ever so slightly, it means one of the best times of year in western North Carolina is here. Fall is one of the busiest times of the year in Asheville and throughout the Great Smoky Mountains. Millions upon millions of tourists visit our area to experience the dazzling display of colors as the leaves change. 

With such vast differences in elevation, leaves begin changing color as early as mid to late September above 5,000-6,000 feet, but the valleys can remain colorful through Thanksgiving. The peak of fall color is usually in late October. 

You may already be planning your weekend excursion to the mountains, but what will you do? Drive on the Parkway? Hike the trails? The same things everyone else does? We think the best way to really enjoy the season in the mountains is fly fishing. 


Why You Should Go Fly Fishing During Fall in Western North Carolina

1. Fly Fishing Beats the Crowds

We’re not exaggerating about the number of tourists that visit western North Carolina during fall. However, there are definitely ways to avoid the crowds and still get the most out of your fall getaway. The key is to know where the crowds will be:

  • Downtown Asheville will be extra crowded.
  • The easiest hiking trails will be crowded. 
  • The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad will be crowded, especially on the weekends. 
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway will be crowded. 
  • Anything on popular lists of things to do during fall will attract crowds.

How can you avoid these popular areas? Fly fishing! 

It’s not that the sport doesn’t attract tourists. This is one of the best fly fishing regions in the United States. However, this sport plunges you into nature by putting you in the middle of the river. While everyone else is flocking to the Parkway, you can be in the midst of nature.

2. Fly Fishing Is Magical

It’s not just about avoiding the crowds; it’s about experiencing the best season in the best environment. Fly fishing is the perfect, most magical way to watch the leaves change and fall. It’s peaceful, tranquil, and lets you experience the wonder of nature. 

We lead guided trips amidst some of the most beautiful scenery on the East Coast. Many of our trout waters are situated in deep valleys and gorges, where colorful leaves might cling to the trees a little longer than on the ridges. Chilly morning fog rises from the rivers and creeks, often giving way to relatively comfortable afternoons with plenty of sunshine. 

Fall is the perfect time of year to spend a magical weekend on the water in western North Carolina and Georgia. Unlike fly fishing locations out west that get impossibly cold by October and November, it is possible to fish for trout in our part of the country year-round. It’s not uncommon to experience high temperatures in the 60s throughout the late fall and winter. 

3. Fly Fishing Is Educational

While fly fishing is relaxing, that does not mean you turn your brain off. It is an activity that involves research, expertise, and technique. That does not mean it’s inaccessible for beginners. In fact, our area is perfect for novice anglers to get their feet wet in the sport. Whether you’re a beginner or you have years of experience, a guided tour with expert guides is a great way to boost your knowledge and expertise.

The areas we fish vary from dense Rhododendron forests with small tributaries meandering about that are filled with tiny wild brook trout to large rivers that are rough and tumbling that hold enormous, wild brown trout. We also frequently fish areas that are stocked with massive fish that increase your odds of catching a monster.

Our guides would love to show you what makes fall fly fishing in north Georgia and western North Carolina special. 

4. Fly Fishing Makes for Great Stories

Do you like to come back to the office with a new cache of stories for the break room? Whether you’re a total beginner or an expert angler, you will amass a list of experiences that will be well-worth sharing with your family, friends, and coworkers. 

Assuming you have your license and follow all municipal regulations, to an extent, you can find trout anywhere in western North Carolina. However, knowing where and how to find the best trout waters is key to making the most of your fall fly fishing experience. 

Where You Should Go Fly Fishing During Fall

1. Fly Fishing on the Tuck

Typically fished between the western North Carolina towns of Sylva and Dillsboro, the Tuckasegee (often referred to as the Tuck) is one of the best places in the world to begin your fly fishing hobby. Read more in our article, Why the Tuckasegee River Is Perfect for Beginners

The Tuck is fun for beginners and experts alike. Why? It’s beautiful, accessible, and there are plenty of big trout in this river. With the right guide, you can have the fall fly fishing excursion of a lifetime at the Tuck. The Tuckaseegee is about an hour from Asheville and within a few hours from Charlotte, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Atlanta. 

2. Fly Fishing on the Oconaluftee 

The Cherokee Indian Reservation borders the Raven Fork of the Oconaluftee River, which originates in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This area is one of the few places on the East Coast where you can see Elk. Of course, for those searching for trout, there are a ton of fish in this section of the river. 

This is an absolute must for a fly fisherman who likes to have a chance at giant fish. You can stay in the charming and interesting towns of Cherokee, Maggie Valley, Sylva, or nearby Bryson City.

3. Fly Fishing in the Fly Fishing Capital of North Carolina

“Jackson County, NC, is home to the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail®, the first and only fly-fishing trail in the country. 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." - Discover Jackson County.

Throughout Jackson County, you will find hundreds of thousands of trout, in addition to mile-high mountains, beautiful mountain towns, and amazing fall colors. There is no shortage of activities in and around Jackson County. If you are bringing family and friends who aren’t as inclined to go fishing, they will enjoy all that there is to do in the area. 

4. Fly Fishing on the Soque River in Georgia

Located less than two hours from Atlanta, the Soque River is one of the premier fly fishing locations in all of Georgia. We love leading guided tours on the Soque

The Soque River flows in Habersham County in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia. If you want to have a chance at a true trophy trout, there is no place better in the southern United States than this river.

A shorter tributary of the Chattahoochee, the river's thirty miles are located entirely within Habersham County, Georgia. Its headwaters start on Tray Mountain, just north of Batesville, a few hundred feet below the Appalachian Trail. Before entering the Chattahoochee southwest of Demorest, it meanders through the scenic highlands and foothills of north Georgia.

The river has been stocked with huge trophy trout that rival those found around the nation. It also has a very high density population of wild rainbow trout on the upper properties. It just so happens that most of our guiding takes place in this region. There is no better site in the southern United States than the Soque River if you want to have a shot at catching a real trophy sized trout.

It is important to note, however, that much of the land around the Soque is private, so you have to make sure you’re following all the proper protocols before your excursion. 

The fly fishing guides here at Turning Stone's Fly Fishing have exclusive access to the Soque River. Our exclusive access makes this an awesome experience you won't soon forget. Imagine a whole stream full of huge trout just for you. When fishing on this river with one of our guides, we assure you that it will be a remote and peaceful experience.

In addition to finding some truly prized trout, this area of northern Georgia is breathtaking, especially during the fall. You can expect brilliant color throughout the fall months, with warm temperatures relative to some of the other popular fishing spots farther north. This is the perfect place to get your feet wet during the fall and winter months!

Fall Fly Fishing with Turning Stones Fly Fishing

The key to making the most of your fall fly fishing excursion is to fish with anglers who know exactly where to find the most fish. With fall in full swing, it is imperative to book your fly fishing excursion with the best guides in the area. 

We are a full-service, independent fly fishing guide operation in the town of Franklin, in western North Carolina. In addition to the Franklin area, we lead tours throughout the mountains, from Murphy to Bryson City to Cherokee to Highlands to north Georgia, such as Habersham County. 

Our guides have led fly fishing excursions all over the country and have chosen to call this area home because there is no place we would rather be. We know this area and have all the experience and expertise to make sure you have a great experience. Our trips are booking quickly, however, so make sure you reach out to us today!

Written by:

Gordon began fly fishing as a teenager in southwestern Pennsylvania, where he was raised. He has snagged great catches from as far away as Nevada, California, and Belize. However, he and his wife decided to settle in western North Carolina, where they started Turning Stones. Gordon is a Certified Casting Instructor for the Federation of Fly Fishers and the  Southeastern Coach of the USA Youth Fly Fishing Team.