french broad river

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The lower French Broad is the largest watershed in Western North Carolina, and it also happens to be home to one of our favorite gamefish....the smallmouth bass! The French Broad near Asheville is a big river — around 300 ft wide. Smallmouth can be caught year round, but the warmer months typically produce the best fishing. Good water clarity is extremely important and can be complicated to predict. Because of the size of the watershed, it can be sunny where you fish, but the water can be blown out by an upstream thunderstorm. A good rule of thumb is to look at the water flow graph. If the river is on the rise, it’s probably muddy. If it is falling or has been constant, clarity is probably good. Float fishing and covering lots of water is the most productive way to target these amazing fish, but wading is possible at some spots. - Brookings Anglers

how do i get there?

Google Maps will show you where the French Broad flows generally for the 218 miles between Rosman and Knoxville, TN but your best bet is for a Guide to introduce you to the River by way of a drift boat closer to Asheville and the Biltmore Estate.  

fishing the lower french broad

Please explore below for more detailed information about fishing in the WNC region in general including the French Broad.  A Guide will teach you everything you need to know about the nuances of various stretches of water but if you want to learn more about where you are going  before you arrive or if you want to plan your own day on the water for yourself or your group, you will find just about anything you could want plus a little more.  The French Broad is significantly larger that all of the other rivers in the region and requires longer casts in the neighborhood of 40 feet and sometimes further.  If this is going to be your first trip of the season, practice longer casts in your back yard and get in shape.  Much like that first day of skiing shreds your "in shape" quads and calves, hauling longs casts for a full day can wear out your casting arm if it's not ready.

fishing reports?

Current fishing reports are difficult to maintain but your best bet is to reach out to our Partners 

where should i fish?

Take advantage of this printable map of the region highlighting the different Managed Waters.  Ask questions and plan your day.

What trout will we be fishing for?

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what other waters are in the area?

The North Carolina Resources Commission maintains a highly detailed map of Managed trout water across the state.  This map can be a little unwieldy so here is a simpler version that also can be printed.

do i need a north carolina fishing license?

Probably, yes.  Learn about the regulations, requirements and costs and purchase your license.

what flies will i need?

Your Guides will have everything you need but if you want to plan your trip or be prepared with your own favorites, NC Wildlife and Trout Unlimited offer a Hatch Chart to help you with the insects that will be looking to imitate.  If your shop at home does not have the right flies, Brookings Anglers, Davidson River Outfitters and Headwaters Outfitters all have impressive selections of local patterns.

are these wild trout or stocked trout?

Yes. While there are hundreds of  miles of Wild Trout waters, NC generously stocks Hatchery Supported waters and Delayed Harvest waters.  These Stocking Charts are for 2020 and will updated as soon as 2021 is available.

trout regulations – know your signs!

There are some very specific rules about where and when trout are stocked and where and when you are permitted for fish for them.  A reminder, there are limited opportunities to harvest a fish but BlueLines Fly Fishing encourages Catch and Release.

what about water flows?

Western North Carolina has a number of Tailwaters and Freestone rivers.  The water levels on the Tailwaters are controlled by dam releases and the Freestones by Mother Nature herself.  The USGS measures and reports on many - not all - rivers across the state and there are independent groups that monitor water flows as well but knowing the amount of water currently flowing down your favorite river and if it is increasing or decreasing will make or break your day.  Imagine driving up to the East Outlet of the Kennebec River to fish a section that was shin deep last month to find that it is now over your head.  PAY ATTENTION because water levels can change quickly.

what fishing gear and clothing will i need?

Your Guides will have rods, reels and flies and, with some advanced planning, waders.  However, if you prefer your own equipment, please see What to Bring for suggestions.  They will not, however, provide you with clothing to keep warm though they would be happy to sell it to you and with more of that advanced planning, will even bring it to you when you meet for the day or will have it waiting for you at the Greystone.  Please explore Gear for specific recommendations for fishing and Clothing to make sure that you will be prepared for Winter in WNC.

moon schedules

Do I really care about venturing out under the full moon?  First, a full moon rising in the Western North Carolina mountains is not to be missed.  Yes, those are two trout rings in that reflection. 

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Also, mousing at night is an experience to be seized if the conditions are right.

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it will be winter here.  is it winter there?

Of course.  However, with an average January high of 47 degrees and average low of 29, it is nothing like a New England winter.  It DOES get cold and anchor ice DOES form on occasion so be prepared with your Gear and check the Brevard Weather Forecasts knowing that it is only 2,231 feet above sea level and it get colder the higher you climb.

sunrise and sunset

Why would I really care about the sunrise and sunset?  In winter, the days are deceptively short so be prepared.  During April and May, the nymphing might be strong in the morning but a hatch might occur in the evening.  Know when to be out there!