If you have never heard of such a thing as a fly fishing trail, do not feel like a dry fly snapped off in a tree. You are not alone.
There is one, and only one, in the nation and it is just over the county line from our cabin. The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce has published a nifty map — waterproof of course — that shows 15 different spots for fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains.
The map points out four major rivers — Tuckasegee, Chattooga, Whitewater and Horsepasture — where a wily trout fisherman stands a chance of catching a trout as big as the family dog. The last two state records came out of the Horsepasture, the Chamber claims.
There is an abundance of neat little streams too, some remote and others not so far off the beaten path.
The maps, free to all who want them, show a couple streams I have fished and a few I never heard of that are just up the road from the cabin. Panthertown Creek splits Panthertown Valley, which has been called “The Yosemite of the East,” and is home to exotic flora and gorgeous brook trout. I remember catching little brookies with a royal coachman dry, then walking up the trail encountering a coiled and docile black rattlesnake on the edge of the narrow path. It did not faze Mrs. Koontz.For the past two weeks since I got the map in the mail, I have tried to get to check out some of the streams that I had not fished, but I am surrounded by trout waters. I must run a gauntlet to get to any river or stream outside of home county. They seem to reach out as I drive along.I cannot even drive into town to run errands for Mrs. Koontz without stopping at a bridge or pulloff. I took most of the afternoon Monday just to pay the phone bill. Sometimes it takes all day.
My personal Fly Fishing Trail consists of a couple big waters and lots of little creeks. I have two routes from the cabin to Brevard — one follows the Davidson River, considered one of the top 50 in the nation by Trout Unlimited, and the North Fork of the French Broad.
Then there are Chestnut Creek, Courthouse Creek, Kiessee Creek, Wash Creek, Beegum Creek and a couple so small streams that may not have names. Down near Rosman is the East Fork of the French Broad, a Delayed Harvest section full of trout in the winter. A little down the road toward Asheville, you can fish the North Mills River, though generally you will have a lot of company there.
You can get one of the maps by calling 800-962-1911 or download a smaller verson via http://www.flyfishingtrail.com/.
I got my map but have no idea when I will ever get over the county line to test it out.
I have my own Fly Fishing Trail.