Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail | Jackson County


Image Credit: Jackson County Chamber of Commerce

Sylva, Dillsboro, & Cullowhee NC | A trout fishing destination on the rise

Trout Fishing is on the rise in western North Carolina, and rightfully so.  The rise in popularity for the sport of fly fishing here can be largely attributed to Jackson County’s creation of the “first and only fly fishing trail in the United States,” the WNC Fly Fishing Trail.  The creation of the Trail helps cater to the one-third of all visitors that stop by the Jackson County visitor center with trout fishing already in their sights.

The Trail boasts a diverse selection of mountain trout waters including:  Hatchery Supported, Delayed-Harvest, Wild, Wild Natural Bait, Catch And Release – Flies Only, Catch And Release – Artificial Lures Only.  There is truly something for every level of experience.  Before heading out, please take some time to familiarize yourself with the NC Wildlife Regulations that are applied to each body of water along the Trail.

When trying to decide on which trout waters will better suit your experience level, here a few recommendations (for more detail about North Carolina Wildlife fishing regulations, visit our website here):

Hatchery Supported & Delayed Trout Waters:  Beginner to Experienced.  Expect to catch fish fairly easily.

Wild:  Experienced.  You must use artificial single-hook lures, making for a much more challenging day on the water.

Wild Natural Bait:  Intermediate to Experienced.  The use of natural bait such as worms makes it a little easier to attract a wild and cautious trout.

Catch & Release (Flies/Artificial Lures Only):  Experienced.  The lure restrictions make for a challenging day, and releasing the trout properly takes some knowledge.


Photo Credit: Jackson County Chamber of Commerce


The WNC Fly Fishing Trail takes you to 15 excellent spots to try your luck at Smoky Mountain trout.  You can catch Brook, Brown, and Rainbow trout.  Whether you desire quantity or size, small streams or large open water rivers, WNC Fly Fishing Trail has you covered.  The website www.FlyFishingTrail.com lists each creek or river, and gives you each of these tools to help plan your adventure:

The Stretch:  An overview of how long each body of water is.

Access Points:  Where to park

Type of Water:  Fishing Designations like “Hatchery Supported”

Available Fish:  What you can expect to reel in

Numbers or Size:  Will you catch a lot of small to medium sized fish, or will you catch a trophy?

Noteworthy:  The 411 or local knowledge about the area

Another feature of the WNC Fly Fishing Trail in Jackson County is their detailed, waterproof map of the trail.  The maps are complimentary and can be downloaded from the website, picked up at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, or you can contact the Jackson County Tourism Authority (800-962-1911).

The Trail even has a “Trail Pledge” that everyone is asked to make before heading out.

“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.”  I don’t know about you, but I can get on board with this!

See more articles and info like this via our On-Line version of Stay And Play In The Smokies the magazine here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s