Mountain Fly Fishing
Fly fish for Brown, Rainbow and Wild Brook Trout with local guides familiar with the area’s water. Explore rivers such as the Nantahala, Tuskasegee, Cullasaja, Chattooga, White Water and Panther Town Valley. Learn to read water, spot fish and choose the right fly pattern.
To book your guided tour with an experienced fly fisherman, contact local Highlands outfitters Highland Hiker at www.highlandhiker.com or Brookings Anglers at www.brookingsonline.com.
The upper Chattooga River above the Iron Bridge on Bull Pen Road is an easily accessible native
trout stream. The stream can be accessed by a trail beginning at the Iron Bridge and continuing
along the river for approximately 2 miles upstream. Caution should always be used in wading
this stream due to numerous deep holes and an abundance of boulders and shelf rocks. The
Chattooga holds a good population of both Brown and Rainbow trout. As a native trout stream,
regulations require single hook artificial lures only and four fish, seven-inch minimum limit.
Directions: To get to the Chattooga River at the Iron Bridge, you will pass through a beautiful hidden valley nestled between the mountains. The road is very windy, so care must be taken while driving. Take Main Street which becomes Horse Cove Road and drive approximately 4 miles. Here, the pavement ends and two gravel roads split. Take the right fork to get on Bull Pen Road. From here, it is approximately 3 miles to the parking area at the Iron Bridge.
The Cullasaja runs between Highlands and Franklin on highway 64 west. It is a beautiful
and scenic river full of waterfalls, deep pools, and slow glassy runs. The river is stocked with Brook, Brown, and Rainbow trout, but Browns and Rainbows seem to be the majority of the stream born population. The area between Turtle Pond Bridge (approximately 5 miles from Highlands) and Gold Mine Bridge (approximately 8 miles from Highlands) offers numerous pull-offs with easy access to the river. Across the road from Turtle Pond Bridge is Cliffside Lake. Stocked trout can be taken by bait, spinner, or fly for a small usage fee. The Cullasaja should be waded in extreme caution around waterfalls and during high water times.
Directions: From Highlands take Highway 64 west toward Franklin.
The Davidson River is located in the Pisgah National Forest north of Brevard. The fishing
along the Davidson River and its tributaries is excellent. From Cashiers, drive east on Highway
64 approximately 29 miles to Brevard. Continue through Brevard on Highway 64 to Highway
276 north, approximately 3.4 miles. Turn left onto Highway 276 and enter the Pisgah National
Forest. The Davidson River parallels the left side of the road for approximately 3 miles.
The Nantahala is a freestone river that is 52 miles from Highlands. It is stocked with Brook,
Brown, and Rainbow with Brown and Rainbows holding onto the stream born population. This
is classic trout water full of runs, pools, and pocket water, which is great for the beginning
fly angler to learn to read water. Nantahala also has wonderful hatches of both mayfly and caddis offering anglers great dry fly fishing in the Spring and Fall.
Directions: From Highlands take Highway 64 west to Franklin and turn left on Highway 441 south/64 west. Take Highway 64 west for 6 miles until you get to Old Murphy Road (across from Baptist Church) and turn right. Go down Old Murphy Road for 100 yards until you get to a small gas station then turn left on Wayah Road. Follow Wayah Road over the mountain
and down the other side past Nantahala Lake until the road comes in contact with the river. There is a delayed harvest section of the river from October 1st through June 1st, but it is on hatchery regulations the rest of the year.
REG’S - WILD TROUT
Trout-Brown, Rainbow, stocked and wild Access- Chattooga Loop Trail takes you toward the headwaters- downstream of bridge 2 spots. Steep drop on down streamside 1⁄2 mile down the road from bridge then steep drop to river. Caution- steep drop off going to the river can be covered with leaves (watch out with felt bottoms). Some areas are unfishable on this river. Caution should be used at all times due to potholes and shelf rock.
The Tuckaseegee or “Tuck” is the largest river in the Highlands-Cashiers area. This is a dam
controlled river with power generation dams located on the east and west forks of the river
upstream of the “delayed harvest” section. From October 1st until June1st, the 6-mile section from Western Carolina University to Highway 441 in Dillsboro is super stocked with large hatchery fish. During this period the regulations are catch and release only. During early Spring,
30 to 40 fish days are not unusual. From June 1st to October 1st normal general trout water
regulations prevail allowing anglers to keep seven fish any size and quantities of fish decline rather quickly. Use caution as water levels may change at any time. For flow schedules, call Nantahala Power Company-Tuckaseegee Flow at (866) 332-5253. From Highlands, take Highway 64 west toward Franklin 18 miles. Turn right on 441 north to bridge over Tuckaseegee at Dillsboro. Take 1st right past bridge on River Road.
The Whitewater River above the Highway 281 bridge is accessible by several fishermen paths.
The paths start out well defined but disappear quickly. From Cashiers take Highway 107 south, go past the South Carolina State border. Approximately 9 1⁄4 miles south of Cashiers, 1 mile past the state line, you will come to Wigington Road (SC 413). There are several signs at the intersection. They read “Whitewater Falls 3 Mi.”, To Salem”, To SC 103”. Turn left onto
Wigington Road and drive 2 1⁄4 miles to the stop sign at SC 130. Turn left and drive 2.0 miles to the bridge over the Whitewater River, approximately 0.8 miles past entrance to Whitewater Falls. Park your vehicle at the bridge, there are pull-offs on both sides of the bridge. From the bridge follow the fishermen trails down to the river. Once at the river pick your way up river until you find a spot that suits you.