Saturday, August 29, 2009

Top Ten Trout Town? Asheville?

This could be a good thing or a horribly disastrous thing. My neighborhood has been tagged by Forbes Magazine as being close to one of the Top Trout Towns of North America, and I am tempted to write to the editors to complain.
I live in Transylvania County near the Blue Ridge Parkway. My backyard is the Pisgah National Forest. Walk 3 miles from my front porch, and you will find a nifty 50-foot waterfall. I can walk to four different creeks and catch wild trout. Across the road, fat rainbows splash and play. About a mile down the road, big browns lurk on the bottoms.
It’s never crowded.
Until now.
We are within a 45-minute drive from the city of Asheville, which now has been dubbed No. 10 in the TTT list.
That’s sorta like wearing a bullseye on your back. They’ll all be gunning for our trout.
Like we don’t have enough tourists driving their SUVs at 5 mph through our neighborhoods already.
Usually, magazines that come up with such lists ignore western North Carolina. All the great rivers are out west or up north in Sarah Palin land … you know, within sight of Russia. Nobody ever picks Asheville, which by the way is a city and not a town. A town is something like Rosman, with one grocery store and a community swimming pool.
But I guess Asheville is a good headquarters stop for visiting fly fishers. The article touts trout, but the French Broad River flows through the city and that big ole river is also full of smallmouth bass and muskie, so there is more to fish for than just salmonids. You can wade the river in some low spots and cast from a boat in others.
Within an hour or so drive, you can hit prime trout water in just about any direction. Go east, find Wilson Creek. Go west, find the Davidson. Go north into Tennessee, find the South Holston River, a tailrace that has wild brown trout as big as German shepherds, though they are not as easily caught.
I’m surrounded by waters full of all types of fish, but mostly I concentrate on the trout. In 20 years, I have barely scratched the surface and its doubtful I will ever fish them all.
So far, for the record I’ve slayed ‘em at the South and North Forks of the French Broad River, the Davidson, Avery Creek, Courthouse Creek, Hickey Fork, Beegum Creek, the Pigeon River, Kiesee, Big Creek, Whitewater, Laurel Creek, Reems Creek, Doe Creek, the Watauga and the South Holston.
And there are a host of others I never got a name for. I couldn’t fish all these creeks and rivers in WNC in two lifetimes.
So, upon serious reflection, I will venture the guess that I will always be able to find a creek or river to cast a fly that is not crowded.
Being tagged as a Top Tenner may not be so bad after all.
Bring ‘em on.
We got room.
Just try not to drive so slooooooooooowly. There’s trout waiting.

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