In addition to the miles of freestone rivers and streams painting our mountainsides and valley floors, the region is also home to a number of tailwaters that are sometimes best fished from a drift boat. Freestones are those rivers that are dependent upon local rainfall whereas the tailwaters are the rivers controlled through dam releases. Tailwater, dam-controlled rivers tend to be a little more predictable in terms of water temperatures, insect activity and water levels because they are not controlled by Mother Nature but by US. Good or bad is up for debate but practically speaking, these tailwaters can offer big, open water with long, rhododendron-free casts and LOTS of fish with some of them heroically large but all this with sometimes limited access due to changing water levels – when a dam is not releasing water many of these rivers offer spectacular wading opportunities but when the dams open and the water starts to flow, wading is off and a drift boat is the only way to access the river safely. Also, it’s a drift boat! Depending on the river, you can stand or you can sit, your Guide is right there to help critique your cast and your drift and to help untangle the wind knots and your access to snacks and drinks is immediate.
Our Guides can float multiple sections of the Tuckaseegee, the French Broad (a freestone), the Catawba, the Watauga and even the South Holsten both in Tennessee. Because the fishing is so exception in some of these tailwaters the Angling pressure can be high resulting in very wary fish so sometimes the fishing can become very technical and can require near flawless presentation.
Some of these rivers are a bit a of a drive so we recommend that you commit to a full day to maximize your experience and be prepared for anything that the weather can throw at you because the Greystone may not be around the corner.
Float trips also can expand your quarry beyond monstrous Browns, Brookies and ‘Bows and allow you to target Smallmouth Bass as well as Musky depending on the time of year and the conditions so a Float Trip is an incredible way to experience the WNC mountains.