Once again April is here and with it the most versatile fishing of the year. There are not enough days in the month to take advantage of all the different fishing opportunities here in western North Carolina.
– All of the delayed harvest streams are stocked through April and May, so anglers can still plan to enjoy floating or wade fishing the Tuckaseege River.
-The Upper Nantahala, Snowbird Creek and Fires Creek will still be full of trout waiting for anglers that prefer to wade fish.
-Trout season will open the first Saturday of April. At that time the Nantahala, as well as hundreds of miles of hatchery supported streams will open up for trout fishing.
-All of the native streams in the Smoky Mountain Park will remain open as well. So get your hiking shoes out and you will find miles of secluded streams to fish.
If you have been trout fishing all winter and are looking for something different to throw flies to, you are in luck. April is a prime month to check out the mouths of all of the streams that flow into Fontana lake. Walleye, white bass, small mouth and lake run steelhead will be migrating up out of the lake into the mouths of streams like the Little Tennessee, Tuckaseege and Nantahala Rivers. If you have boat access you can find great fishing at the mouths of Forny, Nolan, Hazel and Eagle Creeks as well.
If you are OK roughing it a bit, then check out the Cheoah River in Graham county for some early spring small mouth fishing. This is one of the most challenging wet wading streams in the area. By April if the weather cooperates, the water will be warm enough to start wet wading this stream. It’s water is usually crystal clear, even when other streams in the area get muddy after a spring rain. It is full of small mouth, some getting into the 4-5 lb range. This is not the place to wade with waders. The Cheoah is a very difficult river to wade and I would not recommend doing it alone. Misery likes company, but it is still worth checking it out.
April also is when the tail water of the Nantahala River will open back up for fishing. This is one of the top 100 trout streams in the United States. I love trout fishing and guiding on the Nantahala. While the Nantahala does get stocked some, the river also has one of the healthiest populations of native brown and rainbow trout in the southeast. It is real trout fishing at its best. It is a challenging wading stream when there is no power generation. Anglers need to be careful not to spook fish and can oft times have a fun late afternoon dry fly fishing. During periods of generation, the Nantahala is hands down one of the most fun and challenging Nymph fishing rivers around. There is nothing better than floating the Nantahala during a generation release. You never know what its fast waters will give up. Several state record brown trout have come out of its cold deep runs.