west fork french broad river
The West Fork is a sleeper stream that produces some of our biggest browns each year, yet it is overshadowed by its more heavily stocked cousin to the east. The state stocks only 1,500 trout upstream of the Silversteen Bridge, located on State Road 1312, which parallels the river for several miles. Access is difficult to the Forest Service portion of the river, which is located in a narrow, mostly trail-less gorge between Flat Creek and the bridge. Effluent from several trout farms in the West Fork’s headwaters make this a fecund stream with lots of bugs; sections of the river are known for their profuse, if unpredictable, hatches of burrowing mayflies. Hatchery supported regulations apply, which means the West Fork is closed to fishing in March.
how do i get there?
Google Maps will not only provide driving directions but will show you where to park. If you are going out with a Guide from Headwaters, they are located right on the river. If not, stop inside and ask and they will tell you exactly where to go. By January, print out this map and bring it with you and ask Headwaters to mark the best access points. And don't forget, they tie flies with local knowledge and variations that make them perfect for their backyard.
fishing the west fork of the french broad
Please explore below for more detailed information about fishing in the WNC region in general including the West Fork. Keep in mind that Headwaters Outfitters has a Private section of the North Fork just up stream from their shop so this is a perfect opportunity to spend half of the day targeting trophies with your group and then hitting the West Fork for an adventure with a Guide or on your own armed with a Guide's knowledge and tricks. Regardless, 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?
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.
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.
Also, mousing at night is an experience to be seized if the conditions are right.
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!