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Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail – Fly Fishing the Tuckasegee River and Raven Fork Trophy Water

Posted by on February 19, 2012

Big Tuckasegee Rainbow Feb. 2012

Today, fellow Hookers Fly Shop guide Cris Weatherford (and recent guest blogger) and I decided to fish the Tuckasegee Delayed Harvest and the Cherokee Trophy Section on Raven Fork.  We absolutely love fishing overcast rainy days in the winter and today did not let us down.  We started the day out on the Tuck DH just above the Webster Bridge.  Both the East and West Fork were off until 11:30 today so the water was fairly low and clear.  I managed to land one big bow (20-21″), pictured above, on an Olive Leadeye Bugger and hooked another that looked to be 23-24″ only to have my line snapped.

Hookers Fly Shop Guide Cris Weatherford working a run on Raven Fork

Cris was further upstream having some luck with a dry fly dropper setup.  I worked my way upstream to meet up with Cris and soon switched my nymphing setup over to a dry dropper with a #14 Para Adams and a #18 Red Laniers Lucent Lightning Bug.  Over the next hour and a half I brought over 30 fish, mostly rainbows, to the net.  All but three were on the #18 Lucent Lightning so it was a pleasant surprise to pick up a few fish on dry flies in mid February.  We left the Tuck around noon due to the release of the East and West Forks.

Raven Fork Rainbow Feb. 2012

After a short drive over to Cherokee, Cris and I started out on a section of the river between the Blue Ridge Parkway bridge and the confluence of the Oconaluftee and Raven Fork.  I rigged up a #6 Tungsten Olive Bottom Roller with a #18 Soft Hackle Hares Ear Dropper and a #8 Hot Head Marvin  Dropper.  After a few casts I hooked and landed a 17-18″ Rainbow (Pictured to the Right) that put up quite a fight.  There was a large Blue Wing Olive hatch coming off and Cris landed a beautiful wild brown and several rainbows on a Purple Haze/BWO dry fly rig.  Today’s conditions, overcast and raining, are perfect conditions for large Blue Wing Olive hatches.

After an hour or so on this section we decided to work our way up to the confluence hole.  Cris still had the dry fly setup from before and noticed several fish rising near the top of the hole.  I work my way over to the opposite side of the stream to work the mouth of Oconaluftee with my Nymphing setup.  Cris pulled out several rainbows including one pig.  I only hooked one fish in the confluence hole but luckily it was a another large rainbow around 18-19″.

Big Tuckasegee Rainbow Feb. 2012

Even though it was a very wet cold day it turned to be a fantastic day to be on the water.  Hot flies of the day were:  #6 Olive Bottom Rollers, #8 Hot Head Marvins, #18 Lucent Lightning, #14 Para Adams and Para BWO and #12-14 Hares Ear.  You can find all of these patterns at Hookers Fly Shop.  If you would like to book a trip with Cris, myself or one of our other wonderful guides please call (828)587-4665 or email at  You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, check out our home page for the links.