(Posted January 2016)

Tuckasegee Set to Receive 19,600 Trout

Sylva, NC - The delayed harvest section of the Tuckasegee River, a main stop on the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, will be stocked with 19,600 trout this fall.

The stocking will be conducted by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in two segments – 9,800 trout the first week of October, and 9,800 trout the first week of November.

Brook and rainbow trout account for 80 percent of the fish placed in the river, with brown trout making up the remaining 20 percent.

Anglers are allowed to fish the delayed harvest section of the Tuckasegee River year round. However, any fish caught between Oct. 1 and the first Saturday in June must be released immediately. The delayed harvest section of the Tuck runs from the N.C. Hwy 107 bridge in the Lovesfield community to Dillsboro.

“Your catch percentage goes up greatly when the delayed harvest waters of the Tuck are stocked in October and November,” said Alex Bell, a fly fishing guide in Sylva. “This provides a great chance to accomplish the ‘Tuckasegee Slam’ which is catching a brook, rainbow and brown all on the same day.”

Other good autumn places to fish along the WNC Fly Fishing Trail are: Scott Creek, Panthertown Creek, Savannah Creek and the Chattooga River.

Scott Creek, which flows through Sylva and Dillsboro, received a total of 3,000 brook, rainbow and brown trout in July and August.


(Posted 08-05-2013)

Cast Off Your Cares Fly Fishing
in Western North Carolina

Special to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Alex Bell’s cup of coffee is within reach, and life is good. It’s 6:30 a.m., the sun has yet to fully rise and the retired high school principal will soon be out the door for another day as a fly fishing guide.

With rods, tackle and waders in tow, Bell is set to lead a group to one of the 15 spots on the Western North Carolina (WNC) Fly Fishing Trail. The only one of its kind in the country, the trail lays claim to some of the more popular trout waters in the Great Smoky Mountains. It encompasses Jackson County, from Cashiers in the south up to Cherokee in the north.

“I can’t tell you how many people have told me they wish they would’ve known it was so nice out here,” said Bell, the owner and operator of A.B.’s Fly Fishing Guide Service. “If they had, they wouldn’t have been making all of those fly fishing trips out West.”
Read the full article by clicking here
 Josh Stephens
Josh Stephens
(Posted Jan. 28, 2013)

Trail Sponsors Fly Fishing Silver Medalist
BEND, Ore. — Fishing with sponsorship from the WNC Fly Fishing Trail, expert angler and Sylva native Josh Stephens earned a silver medal in team competition during the 2012 National Fly Fishing Championship in Bend, Oregon.

Stephens captured the medal as a member of one of three Team USA squads competing. He also placed eighth individually, winning the fourth round of the 5-round event in late October.

Stephens has now won a team medal in seven straight national championships, to go along with two individual medals during that span.

Stephens credits his dual sponsorship from the WNC Fly Fishing Trail and the Jackson County TDA for allowing him to arrive early and properly prepare.

"I was able to pre-fish different rivers and get a feel for what I was about to face. I cannot stress how important the sponsorship was and how much it helped," said Stephens, who qualified for the World Championships.

A total of 60 anglers on 12 teams competed at the 2012 National Championship, which was hosted by the U.S. Fly Fishing Team.

Stephens posted a personal best when he caught 63 regulation fish in three hours during the fourth round. That catapulted him into third overall, before a tough final round of lake fishing dropped him out of individual contention.
"It means a lot to say our local fly fishing trail here in North Carolina sponsored me. It's something I'm very, very proud of," said Stephens. "People were impressed and saying what a great idea it is. All you have to do is open the map and everything you need is right in front of you. It sparked a lot of interest."


(Posted 05-08-2012)
Weekly Fishing Report is Also
Available on Trail's Facebook Page

SYLVA, N.C. — In addition to accessing our weekly fishing report here at, anglers may also get the report on Facebook.

The report is posted each week on the Trail's Facebook page. Therefore, anglers who prefer to use Facebook for this key piece of information can do so by going to the WNC Fly Fishing Trail page on Facebook and "liking" us.

The page also contains other information about the trail, including photos, videos and links to stories about the Trail.

Click on this sentence to access the Trail's Facebook page. And remember to "like" us!


(Posted 04-18-2012)
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Goes on the Trail for Trout
(from the April 12, 2012, edition of  Chattanooga Times Free Press)

SYLVA, N.C. — Taking a cue from the world of golf is paying off for anglers as well as the tourism industry in North Carolina's Jackson County.

About a three-hour drive from Chattanooga, the county is known for good trout fishing almost year-round.

Seeking to expand their visibility, county business leaders began looking for an angle to promote their streams to anglers outside the area. Using the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama as their model and working with local fishermen and guides, the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail was created in 2009 ...

Read the full story by clicking here.



(Posted 6-17-2011)

Mich. Environmental Council Praises Trail

– Kudos for the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail continue to roll in, and sometimes from unlikely sources.

A recent article by the Michigan Environmental Council lauds the Trail for helping to steady Jackson County's economy during the Great Recession. It calls the trail "innovative" and even chides Field & Stream magazine for leaving North Carolina off its list of the top 10 fly fishing states.

The complete article is available by
clicking here.
(Posted 3-22-2011)
Media Catching On to WNC Fly Fishing Trail

SYLVA, N.C. – Media outlets, from television to national websites, are catching on to the great offerings along the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail.

Recently, an outdoors blogger from featured the trail. is the official travel & tourism website of the United States, developed by U.S. Travel in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

National blogger Matt Villano had this to say about the Trail: "those who've fished the waters say that Jackson County is one of the most serene places in the contiguous U.S."
Meanwhile, the popular television show "Life in the Carolinas" aired an in-depth story on the Fly Fishing Trail recently.


(Posted 3-24-2010)

Trail Now Includes Trophy Water Option

SYLVA, N.C. –  The WNC Fly Fishing Trail has added an exciting new destination for anglers - the Raven Fork trophy water on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.

Raven Fork is a 2.2-mile stretch of water northward from the Blue Ridge Parkway bridge outside Cherokee. The water is regularly stocked with large rainbow, brown and golden trout. It's common to catch fish 20 inches or longer, and there are a number of trout that exceed 30 inches.

The scenic Raven Fork replaces the Horsepasture River as spot No. 6 on the WNC Fly Fishing Trail. Public access to the Horsepasture River is becoming increasingly limited. Anglers wishing to fish Raven Fork need to purchase a $20 special use permit and a $7 daily permit from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.

Raven Fork is designated by the Cherokee as catch & release fly fishing only.

"The Raven Fork trophy water enhances the trail's overall experience because it provides a type of fishing not found anywhere else," said Julie Spiro of the Jackson Country Tourism Authority, which created the WNC Fly Fishing Trail. "It's thrilling to catch fish on that stream. There are a lot of large trout in there."

Local guide Alex Bell, who helped create the trail, has worked with several anglers who have eagerly requested a trip to Raven Fork.
"Cherokee wants to be a destination east of the Mississippi River that every fly fisherman knows," Bell said. "They have different strains of trout coming in and have great vision for their fishing program. I think it's going to keep getting better and better, which will help the trail." 
(Posted 2-11-2010)
 Trail Exhibits at Fly Fishing Show

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The WNC Fly Fishing Trail was one of more than 80 exhibitors at The Fly Fishing Show, held Jan. 29-30 at The Park, a merchandise mart in Charlotte.

A steady stream of visitors braved a winter blast to stop by the booth. Trail representatives distributed 250 maps, and several dozen anglers attended two presentations about the trail in the Destination Theater.

"We were surprised at the number of fly fisherman who already knew about the trail and wanted more info," said Alex Bell, a trail co-creator. "People like the concept. That was obvious."
The trail also drew attention from fellow exhibitors. "The trail is a great idea. I think Jackson County and Graham County have the best trout waters in Western North Carolina," said noted outdoors writer Jim Casada of Rock Hill, S.C.
For trail info or convenient lodging, call (800) 962-1911.