Western North Carolina has some of the best fly fishing in the southeast, and the rivers near Brevard are no exception. March is often an unpredictable time of year due to the weather, but things are looking good for fishing the French Broad River and the Davidson, according to head fishing guide Ryan Kaufman of Headwaters Outfitters in Rosman, N.C.
Kaufman said the weather has been all over the place since the start of the year, but it's finally settled down, and he expects seasonably appropriate weather for the next several weeks, with highs in the 50s, lows in the 30s, and some rain expected, which keeps water levels at good ranges for anglers.
The North Fork of the French Broad is a great place for exploring new fishing waters for wild trout, and Kaufman said fish here have been rising to midges and blue-winged olives during morning hours, and blue quills and bigger mayflies during mid-day.
“Look for risers in the tail outs of runs or soft seams. As water levels come down a bit in the next few days, the potential for great dry fly fishing will be there. Fishing a dry/dropper in the riffles should also produce. Set your pheasant tail dropper fairly deep and look for most of the action there, but don’t be surprised if you get a fish or two to blow up on a quick moving bushy dry fly,” Kaufman said.
The East Fork is more easily accessible and stocked by the state, so this area has been more crowded, but the fishing has been great. Kaufman said taking trips later in the day, and during the middle of the week will help you avoid the biggest crowds. Pink squirmy worms on 4X with a Y2K dropper are good bets here, and the plentiful fish offer beginners a great chance to work on their skills.
“Opportunities should be aplenty. If things begin to slow down, try lighter tippets and some less obscene flies, like a size 14 flashback pheasant tail. Moving to another spot is also a good option,” he said.
The Davidson River is also producing good results for anglers that are willing to put in the time, and Kaufman said it should get even better in the coming weeks.
“In the morning, look for risers in soft water sipping midges or eating blue wings. Blue quills should start popping around the middle of the day. We’ve also had some windows of good streamer fishing on rainy days,” he said.
Kaufman cautions anglers that even when the Davidson is giving up plenty of fish, it takes more than slogging through the water and making haphazard casts to hook these fish.
“It’s no walk in the park. Use light tippet, make good casts, get great drifts, and if everything comes together for a few fish, consider it a successful day. Also, even in perfect streamer fishing conditions, to find success takes a lot of commitment and patience. It may take all day, but when a big fish comes out from under a cut bank and inhales your streamer, all the hard work will pay off,” he said.
Kaufman said anglers shouldn’t overlook the smaller streams in the area either, which have been holding great water levels and having some good hatches.
“Even mid-elevation streams like Courthouse Creek have been having some good hatches, so expect fish to be looking up. Dust off that 2 or 3 weight rod and go find some wild gems on the little creeks,” he said.
If you’d like to book a guided trip, or need to purchase clothing, a kayak, or fishing gear, check out the family owned Headwaters Outfitters at http://www.headwatersoutfitters.com/.