Regional fly-fishing tournament taking place in western North Carolina

Fly Fishing
Added Date:
Tuesday, 9 Jan, 2018
Anglers to compete for spot on Fly Fishing Team USA
CHEROKEE, N.C. – Anglers from around the country will be fishing local waters to qualify for Fly-Fishing Team USA from Jan. 13th to the 14th. The Southeast regional tournament is the last regional event in which people will be able to prove their fish-catching skills are the best in the country. Volunteers from around the area will be helping to measure and score the fish caught, as well as make sure anglers are competing according to the rules. Those that qualify to travel with FFTUSA will represent the U.S. at the 2018 World Fly Fishing Championship in Comano Terme, Trentino, Italy.

The World Championship is effectively the Olympics of fly-fishing, with competitors from about 30 different countries participating. Regional tournaments, help anglers improve their skills, to catch more and bigger fish in all waters. The public is welcome to attend the Southeast qualifier and watch tense fly-fishing action. Viewers can learn new skills and improve their angling abilities by paying close attention to the techniques used in each 3-hour session. Michael Bradley, the tournament organizer, FFTUSA member and Cherokee resident says the public is invited to attend all Team USA events. “Usually, if a competitor has a crowd, he or she will ask people watching to not walk ahead (upstream) of where they are fishing, so no potential fish are spooked,” says Bradley. “The best way to learn from the event is to volunteer as a judge.”

Six competitors will be chosen to represent FFTUSA after scores are added from previous regional qualifiers, like the one in Cherokee, as well as the U.S. National Championships which will take place on May 31st through June 2nd near Bend, Ore. this year. It takes a lot of patience, planning, and timely decision-making to place at the top. Anglers fish randomly-assigned beats on rivers, and they do not always get the best section. The best anglers, however make the most of their assigned beat and will always catch fish. “Team USA members need to be effective at finding fish on any water they are assigned,” says Bret Bishop, Team Captain. “They need to be able to vary their techniques for different water types and conditions on both lakes and rivers. To compete at the World Championships, competitors need to be versatile. I look forward to seeing how everyone does at this regional tournament.”

The Raven Fork will be the river venue with two different locations, one in a section regulated as trophy water and another on water regulated by general fishing rules. The Happy Holiday Campground will host the lake fishing sessions on their private pond stocked with rainbow trout. “The water is crystal clear and requires very technical drifts to target wild rainbows, and browns and stocked rainbows and brookies,” says Bradley. “The trophy section has mostly nice pools in it while the general water has more pockets and fewer pools.”

The technical water may make fishing tricky but it is not the only aspect of competing for a spot on the team that can be stressful. “It is difficult to be competing at a high level in a consistent fashion,” says Ken Crane Team USA and leadership committee member. “You personally might be having a bad day, but every fish you catch matters. So, grinding it out for the benefit of the team is the most important. It’s an intense three hours of fishing. Mentally it can be draining on bad days, and euphoric on good days.
Many anglers hope to find euphoria while plying the waters near Cherokee this upcoming Sat. Those that manage to tie on the best flies, and present them tantalizingly to fish’s mouths will surely score well and make the team. More information on FFTUSA can be found online at, Facebook or Instagram.

For further information, contact Bret Bishop after 4 p.m. MST, weekdays by phone: (208) 867-8038, or email anytime:
Reading Time:
Culturally inclined and well preserved, Asheville is surrounded by majestic mountains, lush national forest lands and scores of fresh water rivers and streams. Long recognized for ... moreits art-deco architecture, performing arts and numerous music festivals, this mid-size city of about 84,000 has also become well known for its abundant trout fishing and is frequently referred to as the Trout Capital of the South.


And, you don’t have to go far to fish! The Davidson River, named after an early settler to the area and voted one of the top 100 trout streams in America by Trout Unlimited members, runs right alongside town. Less than an hour’s drive easily gets you to the Tuckasegee River. The South Fork Holston River (SoHo) considered one of the finest tailwater trout fisheries east of the Mississippi, and the Watuga River, also highly regarded, can be reached in 2 hours or less. By some estimates, there are over 4000 miles of public waters within driving distance of Asheville.

Rivers like the Davidson are most popular during the spring and fall months although year round fishing is permitted in tailwaters. During the hot summer months you may find yourself competing with tubers, kayakers, canoeists, swimmers and people just enjoying a waterside picnic.

Steeped in history and surrounded by natural wonders, Asheville offers a wide variety of options to those not choosing to fish. These include:

The Biltmore Estate, the largest single family home in the US

Asheville Art Museum

Black Mountain Golf Course

Beer City Bicycles

Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Appalachian Trail

There are several options for traveling to Asheville, including:

Fly into Charlotte’s Douglas International Airport and drive for about 2 hours

Fly into Piedmont Triad International Airport (serving Winston Salem, Greensboro and High Point) and drive for approximately 2 hours

Fly into Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport and drive for approximately 2 hours
Fishing Waters
Lower Neuse River is the widest river in North America at 7.5 miles wide at it's entry point to the Pamlico Sound. It is a brackish in nature and without lunar tides, but does have ... morewide tides. It is home to many salt and warm water species.
Game Fish Opportunities:
The headwaters of the 78.5 mile long Watauga, begin at Peak Mountain in North Carolina on the western slope of the Eastern Continental Divide, and end at its confluence with the South ... moreFork of the Holston River. This trout filled tributary of the Holston is a mere 1 hour, scenic drive from Asheville.

Managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) the Watauga, like most rivers in the watershed, is affected by dams, water releases and reservoirs. The Watauga Dam created the 6,430 acre Watauga Lake. Three miles further down river, are the much smaller Wilbur Dam and Lake, used during the summer to release water back into the river. The 20 mile tailwater from Wilbur Dam to Boone lake is the most prized trout fishing part of the river.

Like other tailwaters in the region, the temperature remains between 50 to 55 degrees most of the year, providing great habitat for trout. The Tennessee Valley Resource Authority (TVRA) stocks the tailwater with rainbows, brooks and browns alongside a small population of wild trout. Most fish are in the 12 inch range although much larger fish are there to be caught. Estimates range from 2,000 to 5,000 fish per mile.

Depending on water releases the river can be waded although it’s advisable to get a TVA discharge schedule before entering the water. Wading access can be limited since property holders own the riverbed and can deny entry. The water may be fished at any time from a small boat, although due to shallow pools, you may want to keep one generator running if you use a drift boat. The river is composed of a few fast runs and long sections of rifles but large, long pools can also be found.
Game Fish Opportunities:
A favorite among NC fishermen, the Davidson originates in the mountainous Pisgah National Forest, a scenic area surrounded by other national parks and preserved forest land. As the ... moreriver wends its way south and nears Asheville, it empties into the French Broad River. Since being included on the Trout Unlimited list of top 100 trout fishing streams in the nation, its popularity has grown, bringing an increasing number of out-of-state anglers.

Luckily the state works hard to keep the river healthy and the fish flourishing. The river is divided into sections based on the regulations that apply to each. From its headwaters to the confluence with Avery’s Creek, it’s wild fish only, fly fishing only and strictly catch and release. From Avery’s Creek to the national forest line, you’ll find hatchery supported brooks and rainbows.

The section between the Pisgah hatchery and Looking Glass Creek is what really draws fishermen to this river. Here you can expect to find clear, slow moving pools, few overhead obstructions and lots of hatches that support brooks, browns and rainbows, many over 18-inches long. Like other heavily fished waters, the fish can be cunning and despite their large numbers, hard to reel in.

Route 276, near the town of Pisgah, parallels the river, providing lots of public access. There are stretches of restricted private land, although there is a 3 mile section where you can purchase temporary fishing access. Much of the river can be waded and enjoyed with your feet in the water.
Game Fish Opportunities:
/ Angler
1 - 3 anglers
8 hours
Enjoy a private, guided fly fishing trip wading in one of the most beautiful rivers and streams in the backyard of Asheville's mountains. Our professional guides assist you as you ... morewade for trophy trout and wild trout on the Watauga River in North Carolina. Our trips include all fishing equipment, waders, boots and more.
/ Boat
1 - 2 anglers
4 hours - 1 day
The South Holston River is located near Johnson City Tennessee and is a short drive north from Asheville North Carolina. The South Holston is one of the finest fisheries in the Appalachians ... moreas well as the country. This tail water is a 15 mile section located between south Holston lake and Boone lake, and holds some of Tennessee’s largest trout.

The South Holston river provides blue wing olive and midge hatches year round as well as great suphur hatches through the summer. Whether you want to dry fly fish the riffles and flats or fish indicator rigs through the deep limestone ledges you can be assured you are fishing in one of the premiere fisheries in the country. There are also lots of sight fishing opportunities on the south Holston river, which is most of our guides favorite tactics. If you see it you can catch it!

Let Asheville Anglers introduce you to the South Holston River and I’m sure you will fall in love with this great waterway as well. Prime Sulphur hatch on the south Holston river is June through august but any day you have the chance to fish the south Holston you take it.
/ Boat
1 - 3 anglers
5 hours - 1 day
We fish the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound for speckled seatrout, redfish, striper, flounder, giant red drum,bass, crappie, perch, bream and shad trips and the Crystal Coast for false ... morealbacore, bonito, bluefish, cobia, sharks and giant red drum on both fly or light tackle.

Spec Fever Guide Service fishes from a 22 ft. Frontier bay boat and can fish up to 3 comfortably, but for fly fisherman we recommend 2 anglers. Trips are priced per boat from 1 to 3 anglers. All your tackle, a blanket saltwater license, ice and bottled water is provided.

Capt. Gary Dubiel has over 40 years of fly fishing experience and an IGFA Fly Rod World Record holder. He is a fly designer and tier and a fly casting instructor. He and his fly patterns have been published in many books and magazines. Capt. Gary is a regional Advisory Staffer for TFO and Edge Rods and Pro Staff with Cortland Fly Line and has the boat packed with top notch gear.

Spec Fever Guide Service offers fishing trips out of Oriental and New Bern. Here's a guide to what we have going on;

January: Stripers, specks, panfish out New Bern

February: Stripers, shad and panfish out of New Bern

March: Stripers, shad, bass and panfish out of New Bern and spotted seatrout out of Oriental

April/May: Specks and redfish out of Oriental, top water stripers, redfish, bass and panfish in New Bern

June/July: Specks, redfish, flounder and the occasional giant redfish out of Oriental

August and September: Giant redfish out of Oriental

October-December: Specks, redfish, stripers and flounder out of Oriental and New Bern
Founded in 2012, SAA Guide Service is Asheville’s Premier Fly Fishing Guide Service and Asheville’s Original Bass Fishing Outfitter. Our fishing guides specialize in smallmouth bass, ... morerainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout and wild trout in WNC’s river systems. We are a licensed and insured fishing guide outfitter and all of our guides are CPR and First Aid certified.

Rivers We Fish:
Watauga River
South Holsten River
Nolichucky River
Tuckasegee River
French Broad River

Smallmouth Bass
Float & Wade Fly Fishing Trips for Trout and Small Mouth Bass. Brown Trout Fly Fishing LLC is The Only ORVIS Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Service in Asheville, North Carolina. We ... moreSpecialize in Guiding and Teaching Fly Fishing for Trout and Smallmouth Bass in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee.
Asheville Anglers Guide Service is owned and operated by Jay Dodd and Travis Honeycutt. Both Jay and Travis are locals of area, and take great pride in their home, and guide service. ... moreAsheville Anglers has been in operation since 2003 and will be for many years to come. There are many great fisherman in the world, but few great fishing guides. A great fishing guide has to not only enjoy fishing, but enjoy teaching and passing on their knowledge to others. “Our goal is to make each and every day on the water the best experience possible”.

Asheville Anglers provides all gear, tackle, and equipment on every guide trip. Each guide is outfitted with a comfortable hard bottom drift boat, sage and orvis rods and reels, and nothing but the best flies and lures available. Experience a first class guide operation with Asheville Anglers each and every trip!
I really hope they get these events going again. I can't wait to get back out on the water to compete!

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