11/11/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
3.    Slate Drakes
4.    Needle Stoneflies
5.    Little Yellow Quills
6.    Ants
7.    Inchworms
8.    Beetles
9.    Grasshoppers
10.  Craneflies
11.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)

Fly Fishing The Cullasaja River North Carolina
The very first time Angie and I ever laid eyes on the Cullasaja River, we had never
heard of it, yet we were on our way to another stream in North Carolina to fish for
trout. We didn't fish the stream at that time, but we thought it was a beautiful and
from its appearance, we thought it probably held trout. We made a point to
investigate it in the near future. The stream has several cascades and waterfalls.
Its Bridal Veil Falls is formed by a small tributary that enters the Cullasaja River on
the opposite side of the highway from the river. It's unique because you can drive
behind, underneath the falls. The next waterfall, Dry Falls, drops about seventy feet
into a deep gorge that runs along the highway for seven miles. The final waterfall,
which is actually a series of cascades, is over 250 feet high. Of course, as you may
well imagine, the stream flows through a very rugged area and is difficult to access
in some areas.

The thirteen-mile long Cullasaja River begins at Lake Sequoyah in Highlands North
Carolina and flows from there through the Cullasaja River Gorge and finally, into the
Little Tennessee River near Franklin. U.S. Highway #64 runs parallel with the river
its entire length. The gorge is located on National Forest Land but below the gorge,
the river flows through private property. The upper and lower ends of the gorge are
difficult to access but the middle area can be accessed from several points along
the highway. A Forest Service Campground is located near the middle of the gorge
where a bridge crosses the stream.

The two times we have fished this river, we have not seen another person fishing.
I'm sure that isn't the normal case because the stream is stocked by the state and
maintained as a hatchery supported stream. Both times we fished the stream was
during the Fall season. From the number of wild rainbow trout we caught, we have
to wonder why it's stocked. The state stocks the stream with brook trout, brown trout
and rainbow trout. My guess is that it's to make the campgrounds more attractive or
to satisfy the locals. I'm not sure if either is the case. It may be that it isn't capable of
supporting the required number of trout to satisfy the state. The elevation of
Highlands is over 4,000 feet. Much of the water that forms the Cullasaja River is
directly exposed to the sun and this may be the problem.

The Cullasaja River has its problems according to the locals we have talked to.  
Lake Sequoyah is fed with water from another lake and several small streams that
flow through areas that have been developed. This causes the water to muddy up
fast after a rain. It takes much longer to clear up than a normal forest stream. It has
three main tributary streams - Buck Creek, Ellijay Creek and Peek's Creek, which is
the creek that had the horrible flood and mudslide in 2004. This is a case where
poorly planned developments have created huge problems with what is a one of a
kind, beautiful mountain stream.

With all the other fine trout streams in this area of North Carolina, I couldn't say its
worth a lot of effort to go out of the way to fish, but for anyone visiting this part of
North Carolina, it's certainly worth fishing. Its a beautiful stream with plenty of wild
trout. In fact, we have yet to catch a stocked trout from its waters. It appears that
most of the trout that are stocked are placed in areas where they are easily and
quickly caught.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh