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4 Tips From A Fly Fishing Champ: Get Hooked

There are 500 miles of fishable trout waters within a one-hour drive of Brevard. No wonder avid anglers come from every point on the compass to test their skills here. We sought out Kevin Howell, past National Fly Fishing Masters Champion, to offer some tips on the best places to test your fly fishing prowess. A Transylvania County native, Kevin knows most of the fish on a first name basis.

1.) 

“To fly fish in North Carolina, purchase a North Carolina State Fishing license and a Trout Stamp. Both can be bought here. For more detailed advice, instruction and gear, check out Headwaters Outfitters and Davidson River Outfitters.”

2.) 

“If you’re a beginner, I would recommend heading over to the East Fork of the French Broad just outside of Rosman or to the Little River in DuPont State Recreational Forest. Both of these are delayed harvest streams. From October to June, the state of North Carolina stocks these waters, so if you can get a good drift, you’re gonna catch a fish. Both streams are catch and release, artificial lure only.”

Directions to East Fork: From downtown Brevard, go 7.8 miles on US-64 West and take a left on US-178 South/Pickens Highway. Go approximately 2 miles, then take a left on East Fork Road. After less than a mile, the road and the stream will converge and run roughly parallel for several miles, with several pull-offs along the way. A prime spot to look for is a small waterfall where Grady Creek comes in.

Directions to the Little River: From downtown Brevard, go south 10.9 miles on US-276. Turn left on Cascade Lake Road and go 2.5 miles. Turn right on Staton Road at the DuPont State Recreational Forest sign. The road descends to a bridge that crosses the Little River. The Hooker Falls parking lot is on the left just after the bridge. From the parking lot, take a walking trail downstream to the top of Hooker Falls. You can also try your luck upstream on the Little River by crossing the road and taking the trail that parallels the river.

3.) 

“If you’ve developed some skills, I would recommend the wild streams of Looking Glass Creek, Avery’s Creek, and the South Fork of the Mills River. All three require artificial lures, single hook only.

“Looking Glass Creek, part of the Davidson River drainage in Pisgah National Forest, can be fished from just above Looking Glass Falls all the way upstream until it gets too narrow. You can use a combination of dry flies or nymphs. The fishing here is good year round.

“The South Fork of the Mills River is one of the most remote and scenic rivers in these parts. And that’s saying a lot. It’s got big, nice open water and you’ll find great dry fly or dry dropper fishing here. Your average fish is going to be in the 8 – 12 inch range, but it’s not uncommon to find fish over 20 inches in length.

“Avery’s Creek comes into the Davidson River by the horse riding stables in Pisgah National Forest. It’s got the same wild designation as Looking Glass Creek and the Mills River. It’s smaller water so you’ll have to be a better caster. And it fishes great in just about every month except August. The fishing is good from US-276 all the way to Avery’s Creek Falls. ”

Directions to Looking Glass Creek: From intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, enter Pisgah National Forest and go north 5.6 miles on US-276. The falls (and parking) are on your right. Alternatively, if you’re coming from the Blue Ridge Parkway, proceed south on US-276 for 9.2 miles and the falls will be on your left. You will fiind good fishing above the falls.

Directions to South Fork, Mills River: From downtown Brevard, take US-276/US-64 south for  3.4 miles until it becomes NC-280. Continue 5.1 miles. Take a left on Turkey Pen Gap Road. This is a rough gravel road. Go to the parking lot at the end of the road. From the Turkey Pen trailhead, it’s less than a ½ mile hike to to the river.

Directions to Avery’s Creek: From intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, enter Pisgah National Forest and go north 2.2 miles on US-276. Take a right on FR-477 (also known as Avery’s Creek Road). Use any pull offs along the road for access.

4.) 

“The Davidson River is one of Trout Unlimited’s Top 100 Streams in America and it’s got the best insect life of any free stone stream in the southeast. There’s good fishing from the confluence of Avery’s Creek (at the top of the Davidson River Campground) all the way up to where the river comes out of the ground, about seven miles above the Fish Hatchery at Daniels Ridge. The river is catch and release and fly fishing only. Fishing the Davidson requires a delicate presentation and very light tippets. The area around the Fish Hatchery provides easy access (parking, restrooms and light snacks) and is a favorite starting point for many anglers.

Directions: From intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, enter Pisgah National Forest. Go 5.3 miles on US-276. Turn left onto FR-475 and go 1.4 miles. Turn left into parking lot for the Pisgah Fish Hatchery Parking Lot.