Fly Fishing the Davidson River
The Davidson River is one of North Carolina's better trout streams. From the
headwater section of the river down to Avery Creek the stream is managed as a
wild trout stream. Fly fishing only is allowed and it is all catch and release. Below
Avery Creek the stream is stocked by the state on a regular basis.
This stream is fairly close to Ashville, North Carolina, and is quite easy to reach
from the interstate. It is heavily fished, especially in the lower section from the fish
hatchery down to Avery Creek. The stocked area of the stream is also heavily
If there is any disadvantage to fishing this stream during the prime part of the
season, it is the fact that it is a popular fly fishing destination. Anytime you have a
crowded catch and release stream, it means only one thing. It means the fishing is
good, so don't let that fact steer you away from the Davidson.
The main tributary is Looking Glass Creek. The stream is very small above the falls
not far above its confluence with the Davidson, probably just over a mile or so. It
has some rather sizable fish up to the falls even though the stream is still rather
The Davidson is a typical larger size, eastern freestone trout stream with runs and
riffles leading into pools. It is very easy to access in the lower portion from a road
that closely follows along the water.
The slower or moderately moving water and the bottom composition in some areas
of the stream permit Green Drake mayflies to exist in rather plentiful quantities,
something that is not usually present in the Southeastern Appalachian trout
streams. This is one of the most popular hatches even though I doubt it is all that
productive of a hatch from a fishing standpoint. The large mayflies attract anglers
about as well as they attract the trout.
Like all the streams in Eastern North Carolina, the Davidson has had more than its
fair share of low water during the last two years but even more so this year.
Hopefully that has not had any adverse affects on the population of wild trout. It
normally has a very good population of wild brook trout in its headwaters along with
plenty of wild rainbows and browns in the wild trout section from its headwaters
down to the stocked portion of the stream.
It is not what most anglers would call an easy trout stream to fish. That just makes it
that much better as far as I am concerned. It does offer a challenge. You normally
have to do more than merely cast an attractor fly upstream a few feet to
consistently catch trout. On the other hand, it is not a difficult stream to fish. Angie
and I have always done fairly well and managed to catch some nice trout the few
times we have had the opportunity to fish the Davidson River. I recommend the
stream to anyone that it serious about fly fishing for trout.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh