|Alamo Motel & Cottages provides a central location to some of the best trout waters in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. Tiny, laurel-shrouded headwaters harboring native brook trout; freestone mountain streams populated with brook, brown and rainbow trout; major rivers with a mix of smallmouth and largemouth bass, bream and trout plus insect-rich tailwaters that rival some of the fabled spring creeks of the West. The fishing possibilities are numerous and seemingly unlimited. Equally important, any of these fishing situations can be found within an hour or less drive from the Alamo Motel & Cottages.
Types of Trout Fishing Waters
There are five major types of fishing waters to choose during your visit at Alamo Motel & Cottages: hatchery supported, delayed harvest, catch-and-release, wild trout and bass fishery. For detailed information concerning fishing regulations, licenses, stocking schedules and trout signs, visit www.ncwildlife.org or by calling 1-888-248-6834.
Hatchery Supported: These waters make up over half of all trout waters in North Carolina, covering approximately 1,100 miles of streams. The season is open from July 1, to February 28. No fishing allowed from March 1 to April 2. Then from 7:00 am April 3 to February 28. There is no bait, lure or size limit restriction and the daily creel limit is seven (7) fish.
Mountain Heritage Trout Waters: in Maggie Valley and Waynesville: & Richland Cr.
Some Designated Public Mountain Trout Waters running through or adjacent to certain cities or towns may be further classified as Mountain Heritage Trout Waters. In lieu of special trout fishing license requirements, resident or non-resident anglers may fish in these waters with a valid Mountain Heritage Trout Waters 3-day license. This license is $5 for both residents and non-residents. Jonathan Cr., which is located across the street from the Alamo Motel & Cottages, is designated as a Mountain Heritage Trout Water and it is stocked with rainbow, brown and brook trout for 12 miles.
Delayed Harvest Regulations: These stocked trout waters are open to fishing year-round, but trout caught between October 1 and the first Saturday in June must be immediately released. You cannot keep or have in your possession any trout while fishing these waters during this time. Single-hook artificial lures or flies are required during the October-June period. Beginning the first Saturday in June, harvest of trout from these waters is allowed. “Hatchery Supported” trout regulations apply during this time. Beginning October 1, these waters revert back to “Delayed Harvest” trout regulations. Harvest of trout is again prohibited and anglers must use single-hook artificial lures or flies.
Wild Trout: There is no closed season. You can only use a single hook artificial lure. The four fish must be at least seven (7) inches long. There are literally hundreds of miles of wild trout waters on the game lands, in the national forests and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of western North Carolina. While the rainbow and brown trout of our southern mountain streams are not native to the region, they are wild fish and are not an inexhaustible resource. As most anglers practice catch-and-release, it is vital to this resource to learn and practice proper playing and handling of fish. Respect for the resource and habitat means greater fishing success and enjoyment for everyone.
Catch and Release: You must release fish once caught and you can only use single-hook artificial flies in doing so. Season is open year-round.
Located in Haywood County, the Alamo Motel & Cottages is conveniently situated for quick and easy access to the surrounding counties of Swain, Jackson, Transylvania, Henderson, Buncombe and Madison. These counties also offer a variety of fishing opportunities.
In Haywood County, the Hatchery Supported Waters include Jonathan Cr., Cold Springs Cr. (on the WRC game lands), Richland Cr., Pigeon R. (in Canton) and West Fk. Pigeon R. The Wild Trout Waters include Dogwood Flats Cr. (on the WRC game land), Gilliland Cr. (on the WRC game land), Little East Fk. Pigeon R., Big Cr. (in the GSMNP) and Cataloochee Cr. (in the GSMNP). The Delayed Harvest Waters include the West Fk. Pigeon R. Bass Waters include the Pigeon R.
In Swain County, the Hatchery Supported Waters include the Alarka Cr., Deep Cr., Connelly Cr. and Connelly Cr. (on the WRC game land). The Wild Trout Waters include the Nantahala R. (on the WRC game land), Noland Cr. (in the GSMNP), Forney Cr. (in the GSMNP), Hazel Cr. (GSMNP), Eagle Cr. (in the GSMNP) and Twentymile Cr. (in the GSMNP). The Delayed Harvest Waters include the Nantahala R. The Bass Waters include the Little Tennessee R. and Tuckasegee R. The Hatchery Supported Trout Waters on Cherokee Indian Reservation include the Oconaluftee R., which requires a special one-day fishing permit.
In Jackson County, the Hatchery Supported Waters include the Tuckasegee R., Scott Cr., Dark Ridge Cr. and Savannah Cr. The Wild Trout Waters include the North Fk. Scott Cr., Wayehutta Cr. (on the WRC game land), Moses Cr. (on the WRC game land), Caney Fk. (on the WRC game land), Tennessee Cr. (on the WRC game land) and Whitewater R. (on the WRC game land). The Delayed Harvest Waters include the Tuckasegee R. The Catch and Release Trout Waters include Flat Cr. (on the WRC game land) and Panthertown Cr. (on the WRC game land). The Bass Waters include the Tuckasegee R.
In Transylvania County, the Hatchery Supported Waters include the Davidson R. (on the WRC game land), West Fk. French Broad R. (WRC game land) and Middle Fk. French Broad R. The Wild Trout Waters include Looking Glass Cr. (on the WRC game land), Avery Cr. (on the WRC game land), South Fk. Mills R. (on the WRC game land), Catheys Cr. (on the WRC game land), King Cr. (on the WRC game land), Toxaway R. (Gorges State Park), Horsepasture R. (on the WRC game land) and Bear Cr. (on the WRC game land). The Delayed Harvest Waters include the East Fk. French Broad R. and Little R. (DuPont State Forest). The Catch and Release Trout Waters include the Davidson R. (on the WRC game land). The Bass Waters include the French Broad R.
In Henderson County, the Wild Trout Waters include Big Cr. and South Fk. Mills R. The Delayed Harvest Waters include the North Fk. Mills R.
In Buncombe County, the Hatchery Supported Waters include Ivy Cr., Reems Cr., Dillingham Cr., Corner Rock Cr. (on the WRC game land), Mineral Cr. (on the WRC game land). The Wild Trout Waters include the French Broad R. The Catch and Release Trout Waters include Carter Cr. (on the WRC game land). The Bass Waters include the French Broad R.
In Madison County, the Hatchery Supported Waters: Shelton Laurel Cr., Mill Cr., Big Pine Cr., Roaring Fk. (on the WRC game land), Meadow Fk., Spring Cr., Little Cr. (on the WRC game land), Shutin Cr. and Big Laurel Cr. The Wild Trout Waters include the French Broad R. The Delayed Harvest Waters include Shelton Laurel Cr. The Bass Waters include the French Broad R.
Trout Fishing Seasons
Fall: A special time of the year when the foliage along the streams and rivers radiate with vibrant colors of reds, yellows and oranges. It is also a time with increasing fish activity, due partly to the increasing numbers of small nymphs and the cooling of water temperatures. Smaller fly patterns may be more effective because sometimes the size of the fly pattern is just as important as the pattern itself.
Winter: Fish feeding continues all winter, but at a slower rate. Because there are fewer insect hatches, most of the feeding is on nymphs. Winter is an excellent time for nymph fishing with a variety of mayfly, stonefly and caddisfly patterns. A slower presentation may be more effective. Trout gravitate toward the bigger pools and stay closer to the bottom. Most fish feed near the bottom throughout the winter and although nymphing is the primary method, midges and Blue-Winged Olives can hatch at any time.
Spring: The cool mornings and early evenings are a time of heavy insect hatches. This activity and the warming water temperatures result in active feeding throughout the late morning and again in the early evening. There is excellent fishing with dry flies that match the dominant mayfly, caddis and stonefly hatches.
Summer: Despite ideal conditions, summer can be a period for low numbers of hatching insects, particularly mayflies. As a result, terrestrials become a big part of a fish’s diet. Grasshopper, cricket, ant and inchworm fly patterns can be very productive during this time of the year. There are also good emergences of caddisflies and stoneflies.
Fly Fishing Tackle Recommendations
For the typical mountain trout streams, flyrods 6½ to 8 feet long, capable of handling 2- to 5-weight floating fly lines, are recommended. Flyrods 8½ to 9 feet long are advised for the rivers and tailwaters. Leaders 7½ to 9 feet in overall length with 4X, 5X and 6X tippet sections are suggested.
For bass waters, such as the Tuckasegee R., flyrods 8½ to 9 feet long, capable of handling 6- to 8-weight floating fly lines, are recommended. Leaders 7½ to 9 feet in overall length with 2X, 3X and 4X tippet sections are suggested. Typical fly patterns for bass and bream, such as streamers, Woolly Buggers, large nymphs and poppers, are popular choices.
Fly Patterns & Local Favorites for Trout
Some of the more popular and productive dry flies include the Yellow Palmer, Royal Wulff, Thunderhead, Tennessee Wulff, Light Cahill, Adams, Female Adams, Stimulator, Humpy and Elk Hair Caddis.
Some of the more popular and productive nymphs and streamers include the Tellico nymph, Pheasant Tail nymph, Zug Bug, Woolly Bugger, Muddler, Black Stonefly nymph, Hare’s Ear nymph and Prince nymph.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC): www.ncwildlife.org
North Carolina National Forests: www.cs.unca.edu/nfsnc/
If you have any questions, you can contact our resident expert, Dave Chermanski. You can email him from his website: www.chermanski.com. Dave has fished the waters of western North Carolina for more than 30 years. He is an internationally known flyfishing expert with 73 world records and a best selling author of the book Flyfishing Knots & Leader Systems.