Fly Fishing Your Home Waters, Wherever They Are

Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Beginners
brown trout
fiberglass fly rod
Fishing Report
fly fishing small streams
home waters
Added Date:
Tuesday, 30 Jun, 2009
The power of fly fishing lies not with its practitioners, writers, pundits, chest beaters, equipment manufacturers, or even its high modulus rods.
The power of fly fishing lies not with its practitioners, writers, pundits, chest beaters, equipment manufacturers, or even its high modulus rods.

Fly fishing is something we engage in for reasons of fun or sanity instead of revenue or food gathering, so in other words, it's an emotional thing, which allows us significant latitude when we talk about it.

Home waters are a state of mind - not GPS coordinates.

For example, the concept of "home water" clearly isn't geographic in nature, but a matter of the heart.

One fly fisherman can tell another his "home waters" are literally halfway around the globe, and the second fly fisherman won't bat an eye.

Find Top Fly Fishing Waters Near You

That's because his "home waters" are a five hour drive to the north (the last ten miles on dirt roads), and while humanity is generally poor at accepting alien perspectives, fly fishermen do sometimes make worthwhile exceptions.

That's why I tend to seek out smaller, wilder waters even though I live on a beautiful freestoner. It's not because blueline fishing is "easy" (for the record, nothing's easy when you're fishing from your knees or crawling through bushes).

It's because the fishing is - to leverage a pair of overused words - intimate and predatory at the same time, a combination I find irresistible.

Meet your quarry: a Brown Trout

The Latest Small Stream Experience
Which leads us to the actual small stream fishing report (not the fictional version posted here), where I invited Singlebarbed along to serve as bait for the hordes of mosquitoes while I fly fished.

It only partially worked.

In fact, it didn't work at all; the mosquitoes were on us like makeup on a politician the second we opened the truck doors, and I'm not even going to try and describe the horrific events that followed when I whizzed in the woods prior to throwing on my waders.

I'm having a flashback just writing about it.

Singlebarbed quickly doused himself in gallons of his vintage Muskol repellent - a product made from 100% Deet. A highly effective mosquito repellent, it's become clear that DEET works by altering your DNA to the point that mosquitoes no longer recognize you as a mammal.

That reduces the number of bites by a considerable portion, but your friends will wonder why you've got another hand growing out your elbow.

It's a trade off, but when the payoff is a small stream, a lot of trick casts, and a few willing brown trout, I'll take mutation any day.

Blah Blah Blah Small Stream.
The fishing itself wasn't dramatic, but it was - for want of a better term - pure. The casting was difficult, the fish gorgeous, and the setting unreally pretty.

Brown trout, post-mistake.

I rarely see photographs of myself fly fishing (I'm usually taking the pictures), but when most every picture shows you hunched behind a bush or casting from your knees, you realize you're reverting from "civilized behavior" (which isn't very civilized at all) into a predator - without really noticing it.

The result was a fishing trip where you stop your pursuit of trout every few minutes to appreciate what you've submerged yourself in, and even then you still can't quite grasp it.

Sometimes it's almost as if you're an actor in an unbelievably boring (to the world), wildly perfect movie, as if perfection can't be achieved in every day life.

Fish Parts
This fishing itself wasn't that dramatic, and rather than risk repeating my recent small stream reports, I'll simply say this:

The fishing was largely good, though like most small streams, it turned on and off suddenly.

A rare Underground fiberglass fly rod photo (we're human).

We arrived a little too early, and one run yielded exactly nothing. Two hours later we passed the same run, this time mining it for six pretty brown trout.

It's easy to fall for the hype (anti-hype?) that small stream fish are dumb and easy - eating everything that floats by - but the truth lies pretty far from that statement.

Like anything almost perfectly in tune with their environment, they dance to a tune that us clumsy, smelly humans have largely forgotten (or are simply ignoring).

Fish Parts 2
I can't explain it in explicit terms, but it's clear I've become fascinated with pictures of brown trout parts. Like most trout, they're more colorful than they'd seemingly need to be, and while I won't say I'm tired of rainbow trout, I can say the brightly colored brown trout offer a nice break from silver.

How would you describe that color with words?

Like buttah...


The Fly Fishing Itself
The fishing itself was alternately too hard, too easy, too frustrating and too overwhelming to write about.

Befitting our shared status as geezers, Singlebarbed fished an old Fenwick HMG fly rod (8.5' 5wt), while I dragged out my old-style Diamondglass 8' 5wt - a rod so sweet you could descend into a diabetic coma just by waving it.

Geezer Gear (I'm starting a fly fishing clothing line)

And I won't even bore you with fly selection (though Humpies are our friends).

The bite was damned slow in the morning, but picked up midday. In truth, you don't need high-end gear or boxes of flies to fish a small stream, but you'd better come equipped with a good roll cast and a great deal of accuracy.

See you on your home waters, Tom Chandler.

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
Only an hour outside of Asheville, all four sections of the Tuckasegee River are included on the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, five if you count the West Tuck - and there ... moreare only 15 spots on the trail list! In other words, this river has a lot to offer. Beginning at the confluence of the Panthertown and Greenland Creeks, the river flows for 60 miles until it joins the Little Tennessee. Its basin is sizeable, draining an estimated 655 miles.

The river is well stocked with brooks, browns and rainbows, although there are still wild fish throughout. State support for the river is generous with an estimated 50,000 fish added each season. Not surprisingly, the river boasts one of the highest fish counts in North Carolina, purportedly 9,000 fish per mile. Large numbers of rainbows and browns reach trophy proportion, both in weight and length.

Delayed harvest has been successfully employed through the 5 mile section between 107 Bridge and the riverside park in Dillsboro. As a result, this section is catch and release only, from October to June. That said, experts consider this the best place to achieve a “Tuckasegee Slam” where you reel in all three species in one spot.

One of the more inviting aspects of this river is its accessibility. Highway access is ample and parking is well marked and available for most of the river. The East Laporte Park to the 107 Bridge offers picnic tables and public restrooms. The river can be waded and floated in the middle and lower sections.
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:
/ Boat
1 - 2 anglers
1 day
Our float trips are for smallmouth bass and trout on the Holston, Watauga and French Broad Rivers. Floating these rivers allows you to cover more productive water, and water that is ... morenot accessible to wade fishing. During these trips you may have opportunities to get out of the raft and wade fish “back cuts” and special riffle areas that are known to hold better than average fish.

For these trips we recommend 5 weight or larger rods from 8 to 9 foot in length.

On float trips NO STUDDED wading boots are allowed and waders are recommended year round due to the constant cool water temperature.

This trip includes lunch and non-alcoholic beverages. Lodging and fishing licenses are not included.
/ Boat
1 - 2 anglers
4 hours - 1 day
/ Boat
1 - 2 anglers
4 hours - 1 day
The Watauga river is located in east Tennessee near Johnson City and is just a hour north out of Asheville North Carolina. The Watauga river starts in Boone NC and flows west into ... moreeast Tennessee into Watauga lake. After it comes out of Wilbur dam it flows and winds for 22 miles of blue ribbon trout fishing water.

The Watauga river is a tail water, which is dam released off of the bottom of the lake providing cold water and great trout fishing year round. There are large numbers of wild and stocked brown and rainbow trout. There are consistent blue wing olive and midge hatches year round and huge caddis hatches in the spring and sulphurs through the summer months. The Watauga river has a wide deep river bed providing great float fishing trips for all anglers and skill levels.

Let Asheville Anglers float you down river for a Watauga river fly fishing trip of a lifetime. Whether you are in western North Carolina or east Tennessee the Watauga river is a great choice for any fisherman.
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!
[...] me think of Singlebarbed, who I need to lure up here to babysit while I fish for a repeat of our small stream adventure of a few years ago (though this time sans the hyper-aggressive [...]
[...] population definitely hadn’t suffered the last couple years, and while it wasn’t as horrifying as last year’s trip with Singlebarbed, it did force a few [...]
[...] Stream Y, in fact. [...]
[...] And yes, a couple bazillion metric tons of cow flop decorated the place, which meant we were visited by a lot of flies, and I was properly thankful the buggers didn’t bite (unlike the mosquitoes from my earlier trip to Stream Y). [...]
I enjoyed that - thanks Tom!

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