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Fly Fishing the Nantahala River Tailwater

The Nantahala River Tailwater is a North Carolina trout stream that probably gets
less attention than any stream in the state that has as many trout as it has. The
reason is the number of other good trout streams in the same general area. This
stream is located near Bryson City and Cherokee, North Carolina, where there are
a number of trout streams both in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and
outside the park.

This is also championship class water for kyaks. The lower section of this river,
about eight miles long located below the powerhouse, is the area where the water is
usually covered with kyaks and rafts. This activity drops off about this time of year
when the weather turns cold.

You can catch plenty of trout in the lower section of the river but by far the best
place to fish the stream is in the "delayed harvest" area which starts above the
powerhouse and extends upstream just short of four miles to White Oak Creek.
This area of the stream is small and very nice.  Catching a large trout from such a
small stream can be a lot of fun.

This is a
quick question and answer guide for those of you that are not familiar with
North Carolina's Delayed Harvest. From October 1 until June 5, 2009, no natural
bait fishing will be allowed. Only single hook artificials may be used.

This water is heavily stocked by the state. There is also some wild trout in the
stream above the powerhouse. You can fish it all the way to its headwaters were
brook trout are present. If you are not catching fish in the delayed harvest area of
this stream, you are doing something wrong.

Angie and I have only fished this stream a few times during the past several years
so I am not going to try to tell you what flies you should fish. I will say that I doubt it
would make a lot of difference at this time of year in the delayed harvest area. You
may try streamers for some of the larger trout. We have managed to catch several
fish that always included one or more large trout from this stream the few times we
have fished it.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh