The Nantahala, or "the land of the noonday sun" as the Cherokee language translates is another popular river for both fly fisherman and whitewater rafters. The river is broken into two sections: the Upper Nantahala and the Lower Nantahala. The Upper River is a freestone stream in the medium size category. This section provides some of the prettiest trout water in NC, and is very accessible to wade fishing. The Upper Nantahala is home to lots of wild rainbows and brown trout, and also sees supplemental stockings from the Delayed Harvest program.
The Lower "Nanty" is dam controlled, and is one of the most popular whitewater rafting Rivers in the nation. Yes, that means during power generation that water is MOVING! Wade anglers take extreme caution around power generations. This section his home to some of the highest trout densities of anywhere in NC, and is also where the current NC State record brown trout was caught at 24 lbs 10 oz! Brookngs Anglers
how do i get there?
Google Maps will not only provide driving directions but will show you where to park at the upper boundary of the Delayed Harvest section at the Nantahals Boat Launch. The DH section ends at the junction of Whiteoak Creek just below the intersection of Wayah Rd. and Old River Rd.
fishing the nantahala
Please explore below for more detailed information about fishing in the WNC region in general including the Nantahala. The fishing is special in North Carolina's Delayed Harvest sections as the NC Wildlife Resources Commission stocks liberally and there are some special things to know so as mentioned down below, know your signs!!! Take advantage of this printable map of the Nantahala River region. Print this out, ask questions, mark it up and plan your day. A Guide will teach you everything you need to know about the nuances of various stretches of the 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.
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 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?
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.
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.
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.
Also, mousing at night is an experience to be seized if the conditions are right.
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!