When you think of North Carolina fishing, you might home in on fishing the Outer Banks.
But when it comes to fly fishing North Carolina, most think of western North Carolina for good reason- the region holds the best trout fishing in NC, and the Great Smoky Mountains region including Asheville, Highlands, and Cherokee, North Carolina is home to a variety of hefty rivers and quiet streams teeming with fish.
On a recent October trip to visit friends (shoutout to Eliza for hosting the ATX gang), we dedicated one morning to booking two North Carolina fly fishing guides for one of the best places to trout fish in NC, Pisgah National Forest, just west of Brevard, NC.
We met up with Josh and Austin, two great North Carolina fly fishing guides out of Asheville for a little Pigeon River fishing.
The Pigeon River fish and wildlife area is part of the French Broad River Basin which spans eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Our winding drive upriver was gorgeous and unoccupied aside from a few bear hunters.
We parked and marched down one of many quick and easy western North Carolina fly fishing trails to the river, setting up shop just downriver from an old bridge.
We didn't have much time to take in the scenery as our first North Carolina trout welcomed us to little Pigeon River fishing:
Ansley was next on the board with a perfect brook trout:
Ans followed it up with a rainbow trout for her second fish of the day:
Maggie and Laura also caught and we christened this fantastic fishing spot with a group shot:
From there, we headed back up the road to try a second spot. Thought I'd mention here that Josh and Austin provided Orvis and Simms waders and boots (and rods, reels, tackle, flies, etc.) and they were completely comfortable to walk and wade in.
We stalked down to our second spot, which Austin mentioned was known as the "Baptism Pool". The pool was a large eddy, flowing slightly slower than the upstream and downstream sections thanks to large boulders that protected it- the pool welcomed a small riverside church as a neighbor, hence the name.
This spot produced just as well as the first, and we caught more Rainbow Trout and Brook Trout, and also completed the trout grand slam with a brown trout. Tough to beat fishing in the NC mountains:
Shoutout to Doug for scheduling the last minute trip and obviously to Austin and Josh for showing us an unforgettable trip trout fishing NC.
Asheville NC is a fantastic spot well known for breweries, music, and more, but just 30 mins south lies under-the-radar Hendersonville NC.
There's plenty of things to do near Hendersonville NC, and we popped into a few great spots like Triskelion Brewing Company. Triskelion Brewing Company is the full package: a wide array of craft draft brews including juicy IPA's, drier IPA's, heavy malts, and middle-of-the-fairway lagers. We had a group of ~20 and everyone found something they liked.
Triskelion also has a full biergarten with a stage for live music and some great food trucks. You've been warned: they also have a tattoo and piercings studio upstairs, so don't have too many (or do...)
Lastly, can't touch down in NC without mentioning BBQ. While it can't hold a candle to TX mesquite-smoked brisket and sausage (and western nc bbq sauce, vinegar-based, isn't really my thing), they're completely locked in on pulled pork.
We hit up Hubba Hubba Smokehouse in Flat Rock, NC, just 10 mins from Hendersonville and 30 mins south of Asheville. The pulled pork was incredible, but my biggest takeaway were the sides: indescribable mac and cheese and perfect banana pudding. There's also not much I wouldn't do for their pimento cheese grits.
All in all, can't wait to get back to trout fishing nc and everything else that comes with the best fly fishing in North Carolina.