Protected mountains surround our natural rivers and streams, making Bryson City, North Carolina one of the greatest fly fishing destinations with cold trout-filled waters in pristine settings. Located in the midst of natural mountain streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala National Forest, Bryson City's fly fishing waters are some of the best in the country.
What Makes Bryson City and Swain County North Carolina the Fly Fishing Capital of the South?
An abundance of pristine streams, rivers and lakes that are in close proximity to each other. It’s rare to find such a variety of waterways in one location, including:
Freestone creeks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Tail waters flowing out of the bottom of dams that impound big deep fishing lakes, including Fontana Lake – the fourth deepest lake in the country.
Wild streams - including 2,910 miles of streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with the majority of the Park being in Swain County.
Due to the topographic flow of water through the Smoky Mountains, the terrain is loaded with freshwater creeks and watersheds.
A two-mile section of Bryson City’s Tuckasegee River is designated as a Delayed Harvest stocked trout stream by the state of North Carolina. From October 1 through the first Sunday in June, this Delayed Harvest section of the river is restricted to single-hook, artificial lure, catch and release fishing only. This is a fantastic opportunity for fly fishermen to fish these rivers without the risk of overcrowding and overfishing of the resource. The Tuckasegee River is stocked by the state five times during the year; March, April, May, for spring season and October, November for fall season. This is where most fly fisherman go to fly fish and catch trout during the spring, winter, and fall seasons. See the map.
The trophy waters of Raven's Fork flow out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and is a tributary of the Oconaluftee River. For 2 ½ miles of this pristine trout water it is fly-fishing catch-and-release only. The Oconaluftee continues through the town of Cherokee and down to the Tuckasegee River and Bryson City, North Carolina.
Explore the Fly Fishing Capital of the South
Bryson City, Swain County, North Carolina
As the Fly Fishing Capital of the South, Bryson City, Swain County is like no other fly fishing destination.
“If you go out west and want to change streams, you may have to drive an hour to go to another watershed or stream. But here in Swain County, you just go around the curve to the next little holler, and there will be another creek there. Because of our mountainous terrain with hollers, creeks, and streams, we have tons of trout in these waters. When people call me to book a trip and ask what type of fish they can catch here, I ask them, ‘What do you want to catch?’ We have wild trout, stocked trout, and the rare Appalachia native brook trout, which can only be found in certain places, including Bryson City. It’s one thing for a destination to have mountains, as we do, but Swain County has much more water coming out of these mountains, making it much more of a desirable fly fishing destination.” - Eugene Shuler, Fly Fishing the Smokies, Bryson City.
Eugene has caught 99 species on a fly and going after 100 for over seven years.