Fantastic Fall Trout Fishing
Date: September 13, 2019
I like to promote Georgia in most of my articles, but it’s hard to deny the outstanding work of the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission when it comes to their delayed harvest (DH) trout fishing program. Our friends to the north have about seven times more streams and ponds set up for DH fishing. Their season basically opens October 1st but, bear in mind, that it will take the NCWRC about a week to get around to stock all these bodies of water. They will be stocking browns, rainbows and gorgeous brook trout. These DH waters will revert to general regulations on the first Saturday in June.
So, by the time you read this, these trout should have had enough time to hopefully get spread out before you arrive for a day of fantastic fall trout fishing. You may even want to look at getting their annual fishing and trout licenses. The cost is approximately $55, but you can get your money’s worth on just a few trips up to the high country! To boot, for the most of us, it’s really not that far away and it can be a beautiful drive. Heck, from Blue Ridge, it’s only an hour’s drive to Andrews and just another ten minutes to the Nantahala.
Let’s look at the three closest DH streams to our area:
First, we have Fires Creek just outside of Hayesville, NC. This is a mid-sized stream with plenty of casting room. From its beginning headwaters to the edge of the national forest it has roughly ten miles of fishable water. Keep in mind, the DH begins just inside of the national forest and is from the foot bridge at the picnic area upstream to where FS 340-A crosses. This DH section is over a mile in length.
Second, we have the Nantahala River, which is just northeast of Andrews, NC. This is another mid-sized stream with plenty of casting room. Although it is a marginal stream due to how the water is released, she receives some healthy doses of stocked trout several times during the DH season. There tends to be a lot of heavy usage on the Nanty. Go during the week to have more room and less anglers around you. The DH begins just above the power house off Wayah Rd and goes upstream to where Old River Rd goes off to the right. The DH section is over a mile in length.
Lastly, we have Big Snowbird Creek which is outside of Robbinsville, NC. Yet another mid-sized stream with plenty of casting room. This stream really came to fame being one of the best wild native brook trout streams in the Southeast! Problem is, from the Junction (old railhead junction) you must hike about 6 miles one way before finding these beautiful specs. Problem two, if you come in from the headwaters, you will pay the price climbing back out with an elevation difference at the trailhead to Big Falls of about 1800 feet! Big Snowbird is a little more out of the way, so to speak. She doesn’t seem to get anywhere near the pressure of the Nanty. During the fall season, you will run into several bear hunters. To find the DH area, look for the designated signs beside the stream as you drive in on Big Snowbird Rd then upstream to the end of the road at what is called the Junction. This is another DH section that is roughly one mile in length.
If fishing the early part of the DH season, use junk flies like eggs, Y2Ks, San Juan and Squirmy worms for fast hook ups. As the DH season drags on, begin switching back to naturals!
James Bradley is the only Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide in North Georgia’s Historic High-Country region. Reel Em In Guide Service has been offering their services to fly anglers since 2001. They have permits for guiding in North Georgia and North Carolina, offering over 6 miles of private trophy waters across Georgia, and operate drift boat trips on the Toccoa River in GA and the Tuckasegee River in NC.
Contributed By: James Bradley
Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide