The Tuckasegee River has been producing some nice smallmouth action as well as some fantastic trout action over the first couple of weeks of summer. We have been floating several sections from Cullowhee to Bryson City. The best conditions have been on zero release days or West Fork only releases when the water isn’t too cloudy.
Today, I floated with new client Jim K. from Florida. Jim started out the day by putting several nice rainbows in the net including a couple of 15-16″ bows. Jim went on to land well over 20 rainbows and several smallies and a few redeye bass. Jim even got the Tuckasegee Double pictured below. The trout were killing #10 Tungsten Brown Hot Head Marvins and the bass all came on a #4 Chart/White Clouser Minnow.
The Tuckasegee River is another amazing trout fishery. It was recently featured in American Angler Magazine. It begins life high in the mountains as many small tributaries that converge to form an East and West Fork, both which are dammed in their upper portions, finally converging to producing one very cold tailwater fishery that contains some of the most impressive fly fishing waters in the eastern half of the country. The Tuckasegee boasts a nice long Delayed Harvest section that is very popular among fly fishers for its high fish counts, willing and very large trout. Rainbow, Brown and Brook trout are all part of the stocking program, and it’s not uncommon to catch a Rainbow or Brook over 20 inches. This section makes the Tuckasegee River arguably the hottest river in the Southeast. The “Tuck” as it is referred to, has probably as many trout per mile as any of the western rivers of Montana and Idaho. The Tuck is very user friendly, access is great along the Delayed Harvest section with the water remaining wadeable most of the time. The Tuck is also a great river to fish from a drift boat. If you really want the ultimate experience in fly fishing this watershed, then a float trip is definitely the best bet.
We have also been doing plenty of small stream trips for trout over the past few weeks. Soco Creek, Oconalutee, Scotts Creek, Rough Butt Creek, Piney Mountain Creek and Bradley Fork have all be fishing really well for us.
The nearby Oconaluftee River flows out of the Smoky Mountains National Park through beautiful historic Cherokee N. C. home to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. The Oconaluftee River is a freestone river that begins life high up in the Smoky Mountains National Park. Many small feeder streams make up this beautiful river, to form one of the largest rivers that flows inside park boundaries.
There are dozens of streams in the Smokies and most of them are home to Rainbow, Brook and Brown trout. Some of the lower elevation streams even hold smallmouth bass. While a few of the streams have all three species of trout there are a few of the higher elevation streams that only have the Brook Trout or “Specks” as most of us locals like to call them. In fact, the brook trout that are found in these mountains are unique only to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. These fish tend to be much smaller than the more well known Northern Brook. This beautiful specimen is the only native trout to the area
Once outside the park, the “Luftee” as us locals refer to it, flows inside the Qualla Boundary where it’s waters are stocked with numerous healthy Rainbow, Brook, and Brown Trout. The Cherokee Indians are long know for taking care of their natural resources, and the Oconoluftee is no exception. The Tribe stocks the Oconoluftee River and other streams located on the Qualla Boundary twice a week, so there is no shortage on trout in the waters of the Oconoluftee. The Tribe does offer fishing permits, and the daily creel limit is 10 fish with no size restriction. The previous North Carolina State Record Brown Trout came from the waters of the Luftee weighing in at 15 lbs 9oz!
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