The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians

Learn about the evolution of rods and reels, basic knots, fly-tying, types of…

Learn about the evolution of rods and reels, basic knots, fly-tying, types of gear, types of gamefish, and regional fishing waters

Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians

Explore the History of Fly Fishing

Have you ever seen a fly tied using polar bear hair? Or a bamboo fly rod that is older than generations of your family? The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians has a little bit for every person that comes through its doors. Stories and facts about the history of this fascinating and unique form of outdoor activity, intricate and skillfully hand-tied flies, centuries worth of fly rods and reels to study and gawk at, and all sorts of gadgets and tools in between. For both the budding fisherman, or the long time angler, or for the family that knows nothing about fishing, there is history and art to be found within it's many displays. 

Located at the Aquarium Park in downtown Bryson City, the museum is self-guided, but friendly and knowledgeable staff are available to answer questions about the history, the exhibits, or to help you lean more about the fishing regulations in the area. There is no admission fee to enter the facility, but donations are accepted and greatly appreciated! Visit the Appalachian Rivers Aquarium next door to explore our native freshwater fish species. And the Smoky Mountain Farmers Market on campus is open on Fridays and Saturdays from May through October.

Museum Hours:

Thursday through Saturday, from 10 AM to 4 PM

Hours may vary depending on time of year. You can stay up to date on changes and closures by following us on social media:

Fly Fishing Museum Exhibits

The Exhibits

The many exhibits of the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians will walk you through the history and formation of the sport as well as introduce you to many "greats" in the industry. Displays about current fishermen and women can be found intermingled with displays about the "Stream Blazers", those who came before us in the field and left a lasting impression on fly fishing as a sport. Profiles of legendary fly fishermen, influential reel makers, rod makers, guides, fly tyers, fly creators, artists, authors, conservationists, and cold water resource leaders can be found throughout the museum, interspersed with movies, items, and stream maps. To name just a few, the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians honors Phil C. Bracewell, Tommy Reese, Cato Holler, Benny Joe Craig, and Mark Cathey. Don't know who these influential people are? Then you really must visit the museum and find out!

A few of the other exhibits you may find on display in the museum include:

  • A hand-built McKenzie-style drift boat - The first built in the southeast and used for commercial guiding with a story about the original guides that used it!
  • "Evolution of the Fly Rod" and the "Evolution of the Fly Reel": showcasing 30 rods and 27 reels from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • -Timeline of the evolution of fly fishing from 8000 BC with hooks carved from bone to present day.
  • -Flies tied according to specifications from a book that was printed in the 1490s. (The "Treatyse of Fysshynge Wyth an Angle", from the Book of St. Albans).

Local Fly Fishing Guides