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Spring Fly Fishing

Spring Fly Fishing

Wednesday, 01 February 2023 22:55

It’s been a long, dark, and cold winter in western North Carolina. We’ve had multiple rounds of snow and ice, a lot of rain, and just the overall dreariness that accompanies the season. Whether you live here in the mountains, down east or south toward Charlotte or Atlanta, or west in Tennessee, you’ve probably been stuck inside wishing you could be out in nature.

But you can almost hear it, right? The birds are starting to chirp. The bees are starting to buzz. The days are getting a little bit longer. The valleys are springing to life, and soon the colors will crawl up the mountains to the ridges. Spring is on the way. 

What is the best way to celebrate the arrival of spring in the Great Smoky Mountains? We think it’s scheduling your spring fly fishing trip. Here’s what you need to know about fly fishing in spring. 

Spring Fly Fishing in Western North Carolina

Spring in western North Carolina is characterized by mild to warm temperatures, lush greenery, and blooming flowers. As the snow and ice melt, the streams and rivers begin to run, and the trees start to bud. The days become longer, and the air is filled with the sounds of nature, including birds singing and the gurgling of streams.

Spring is a time of renewal in western North Carolina, and the landscape transforms from winter's muted colors to a vibrant and lively place. The temperatures range from the mid-40s to mid-60s, making it comfortable for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and of course, fly fishing.

Fly fishing in western North Carolina during the spring months is hard to beat. One of the main attractions of fly fishing in western North Carolina is the beautiful scenery. The Appalachian Mountains offer a stunning backdrop for anglers, and the streams and rivers in the area are surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills. 

The peaceful surroundings and natural beauty provide a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Of course, it’s not just about the scenery; the fishing is great as well!

What Makes Spring a Great Time to Go Fly Fishing?

During this time, the warmer water temperatures make the trout more active, and they are more likely to rise to the surface to feed. This is an exciting time for fly fishing, as it allows anglers to observe the trout feeding and makes it easier to catch fish.

Nymphing is a popular technique in fly fishing that involves using an imitation of an underwater insect, called a nymph, to entice fish to bite. Unlike dry flies, which float on the surface of the water, nymphs are designed to sink and imitate the movements of insects that live and feed underwater. We wrote more in-depth about nymphing here:

The simple goal when tight line nymphing is to be able to control the depth and tempo of your nymphs, that alone is truly what makes the technique so very deadly. Simple adjustments with your arm moving up and down for depth control or faster left to right for tempo can make all the difference.

Nymphing is a versatile technique that can be effective in various types of water, including fast-moving streams, slow-moving pools, and large rivers. It is especially useful in areas where the water is too deep for dry flies to be effective or when the fish are not actively feeding on the surface.

Where to Fish During the Spring in WNC

There are several places to fish during spring in western North Carolina. A few of our favorites include:

Fly Fishing on The Tuckasegee River

The Tuckasegee River is commonly fished between the town of Dillsboro and Sylva in Jackson County, North Carolina. The Tuckasegee River is home to a variety of fish species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and smallmouth bass. The river's water levels and temperatures vary throughout the year, making it an ideal habitat for these species.

Spring and summer are popular times to fly fish on the Tuckasegee River, as the water levels are higher and the fish are more active. You are likely to catch some monsters on the Tuck during the spring!

Fly Fishing on The Raven Fork of the Oconaluftee River

The Raven Fork of the Oconaluftee River flows directly out of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and is on the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Spring and summer are the most popular times to fly fish on the Raven Fork of the Oconaluftee River, as the water levels are higher and the fish are more active. 

During these months, the river is known for its hatches of mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies, which provide food for the fish and opportunities for anglers to use dry flies. This river provides anglers with the opportunity to catch some big fish, and you might even see an elk from the only elk herd in North Carolina!

Fly Fishing on The Nantahala River

The Nantahala River is an excellent classroom for beginners. The river is known for its clear, cool water and scenic beauty, making it an ideal habitat for a variety of fish species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout.

The Nantahala River is a fast-moving river that runs through the Nantahala National Forest and is known for its rapids and calm pools, offering a range of fishing opportunities. The river's cool water and abundant food sources make it an ideal habitat for a variety of fish species, making it a popular destination for fly fishing enthusiasts.

Hire the Best Guides for Your Spring Fly Fishing Excursion

If you want to make the most of your spring fly fishing excursion, you need to hire the best guides. At Turning Stone’s, we help you have an amazing experience and make sure you get the lessons you need to level up your angling. Whether you’re a brand-new beginner or a seasoned angler, our guides have something for everyone. 

Are you ready to break free of the winter blues and reconnect with nature? Reach out to Turning Stone’s Fly Fishing today to book your spring fly fishing trip in western North Carolina!

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.