Head west for hot trout action

March is one of the top months for catching trout and smallmouth in western NC.

Western NC is a spring hotspot for trout and smallmouth

In western North Carolina, March marks the beginning of what Dan Evans calls the best trout fishing of the year. Evans runs The Catawba Angler, and includes the Tuckaseegee, Toe, Linville, Catawba, French Broad, Nolichucky and Laurel rivers as his favorites throughout spring.

”Our water temperature during the spring corresponds to when trout most actively feed, which is 55 to 65 degrees,” said Evans.

Anglers will find success with a variey of techniques this month through the beginning of summer.

“Our guides will have dry fly, nymphing, and streamer rods on the boats, ready to go, since there is so much activity happening on the water,” he said.

And it’s not just a month for lots of activity. It’s also a great time to catch big fish, even for anglers without a boat.

“This time of year, anglers can catch both quantity and quality on our guided trout trips,” said Evans. “The delayed harvest creeks and rivers provide excellent wade and float fishing opportunities.”

The wild, off-the-beaten path streams, which are more difficult to access, also offer top-notch fishing right now.

All experience levels

“The wild trout streams fish excellent during this time, with the majority of fish caught on a dry fly. Catching a trout on a dry fly is the epitome of fly fishing in the southern Appalachian mountains. We have an abundance of mayflies and caddis during these months, which causes these streams to come alive,” he said.

Seasoned fly anglers have a field day this time of year. But it’s also a great time for less experienced fishermen to take part.

“We welcome seasoned anglers looking to learn new skills, or to learn some of the more secluded rivers we guide on. But it’s also a perfect time of year for the beginner who wants to learn the sport of fly fishing, since there are so many opportunities to catch,” Evans said.

And anglers seeking something a little different will also find action with the area’s smallmouth bass this month.

“March marks the beginning of prespawn river smallmouth fishing. From early this month to the third week of April, your chance at catching a trophy smallmouth on the French Broad, Catawba, or Nolichucky Rivers is best,” he said.

Evans said the numbers of smallmouth caught isn’t the highest of the year, but the size of fish caught is what keeps anglers coming back.

“During this time, we are focusing on catching trophy smallmouth instead of numbers,” he said.

As the hottest bites on streams and rivers for both trout and smallmouth can change frequently, Evans suggests anglers sign up for The Catawba Angler’s newsletter, where he provides in-depth fishing reports and updates throughout the year. Get more information at thecatawbaangler.com.

About Brian Cope 2745 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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