Hot on the trail

July mornings are still cool enough to get on some healthy trout, especially in the higher elevations. (Picture by Tuckaseegee Fly Shop)

The WNC Fly Fishing Trail is the key to summer trout

As the summertime heat takes hold in western NC, the weather takes a toll on the fish as well as on the anglers that pursue them. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to pack the fly fishing gear away.

The folks at the Tuckaseegee Fly Shop (828-488-3333) in Bryson City have some good tips for fishing in hot weather.

In summer, they say getting on the water as early as possible is more critical than at any other time of the year. Even in most of the mountain streams that have somewhat easy access, the water temperatures will climb several degrees higher than the 62-degree mark, which is the upper range of prime water temperature for trout.

Getting on the water at first light, which is around 6 a.m., will give you some quality time. By 10 a.m., the water has warmed up enough to drastically decrease your catch rate.

They also suggest fishing with heavy tippets, which allow you to land trout quickly. This keeps them from wearing out too much, and allows you to revive them in short order.

Fishing tailwaters is another good option. The water being released is relatively cool, and trout flock to those areas during hot weather. The Lower Nantahala and the Tuck are both good options, with the Lower Nantahala offering more shade and somewhat cooler water.

Bringing a stream thermometer is a good idea. This allows you to skip over water that is already too warm, and to know when to leave water that started off cool enough.

This is also a great time to hike the trails to higher elevation, where the water remains cooler, and the crowd of anglers dwindles significantly. This is an especially good tip if you’re committed to making a full day of it. Remember that rubber-soled wading boots are lighter and better for hiking than those with felt soles.

No matter what stream or river you’re fishing on, concentrate on fishing the fastest water. That fast water is the richest in oxygen, and that’s what trout crave during these warm summer days.

Big, bushy flies are great for casting in this swift water, especially in shaded stretches.

For more fishing tips and all the gear you need to fish WNC, visit

About Brian Cope 2708 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

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply