by Ken Kastorff

Fall is right around the corner and so is the delayed harvest trout fishing season.

We are fortunate to have a wide variety of delayed harvest streams to choose from here in western North

Where to go for the best delayed harvest trout fishing

If you are looking for small remote streams to wade fish, where you don’t have to worry about scheduled releases, then Big Snowbird Creek or Fires Creek is a perfect destination. If you are looking for easier access wading, then the Upper Nantahala River would be a good option.

One of the more popular rivers to wade fish is the Upper Tuckasegee. Be aware that flows can change rapidly on this river. It is not a good place to find yourself caught mid stream in waders with the water rising. It is also oft times very crowded and is one of the rivers I avoid on weekends. The Lower Tuckaseege can be much more of a challenge to wade fish because of higher flows but is generally not as crowded.

If wading is not your cup of tea then some of the best winter delayed harvest float fishing trips can be enjoyed on both the Upper and Lower Tuckaseege River.

When to go to take advantage of the delayed harvest releases

Here is a list of the up coming delayed harvest stocking schedules for the streams in western North Carolina.

Big Snowbird Creek. Graham County: Oct 10 & Nov 16
Fires Creek. Clay County: Oct 5 & Nov 13
Upper Nantahala. Macon County: Oct 9 & Nov 2
Upper Tuckasegee. Jackson County: Oct 3 & 4, Nov 8 & 15
Lower Tuckasegee Swain County: Oct 5 & Nov 6

Obviously, the closer you can schedule your fishing trip to the stocking dates the easier it is to put lots of fish in the net. The next stocking will occur in March, April and May.

What flies will work best for trout fishing:

Egg patterns, Y2K patterns and streamers work well close to the stocking dates. Trout will hit just about anything right after being stocked in the river. As it gets later in the month, they become more challenging to catch. Good fall back flies include black, olive and white Wooly Buggers, Pats Rubber Legs and a variety of Nymphs including Prince Nymphs and Pheasant Tails. Watch for dry fly hatches of October Caddis, Blue Wing Olives and Cahills.

Ready to book your Fall Delayed Harvest Float Trip? Check out our fly fishing website, and call us at 828-488-6199.