01/02/10

Destinations: Tuckasegee River, North Carolina

The first time I heard of this stream was several years ago when I was talking to an
angler from Bryson City, North Carolina, who ordered one of our DVD. He was
telling me that the fishing in the park was very tough at the time. Angie and I were
living in Panama City Beach, Florida at that time, and only fished the Smokies when
we visited my brother in Townsend, Tennessee. I had just finished a telephone
conversation with a local guide who had described some of the trips he had taken
clients on to fish the Tuckasegee River. He reported the fishing was fantastic and
that lots of large trout were being caught. I stupidly, almost automatically mentioned
this to the gentleman from Bryson City. I couldn't remember or even pronounce the
name of the river, but I described the location of it to the gentleman. I just told him
something like "I just finished talking to a guide up there who said he was catching
some great trout from a river near Bryson City call the Tuck something". The man
paused, and then said, those are stocked fish James. I'm not interested in catching
stocked trout. I was embarrassed I had mentioned it to him.

Stocked trout or not, the Tuckasegee River Delayed Harvest section is a very
popular destination during the delayed harvest season. We didn't fish the river until
a couple of years after that for the first time. We found the water high on the first
trip and I managed to blank. On our second trip, the delayed harvest season had
just ended and the river was crowded with fishermen wanting to catch and keep the
trout.

The water was high and impossible to wade again but I managed to catch several
trout in about an hour. A local man and his wife couldn't believe we released the
trout we caught. They stopped along the road to tell us we could keep the trout.
They had no idea, we didn't want them.

We didn't return until the next year during the delayed harvest season. The water
was low and the stream had been recently stocked. We caught several trout and
was leaving when we noticed trout rising just upstream from where we were parked.
I walked up there and couldn't believe what I saw. There must have been about a
hundred trout in one area the size of small house. Both she and I caught
one on just about every cast for a few minutes, until Angie began to laugh at me
and refuse to run the camera. They obviously had just been put in the river by the
stocking truck.

The next trip we made to the Tuckasegee River was later that next year. We had a
friend from Pensacola Florida visiting who wanted to learn to fly fish for trout. Randy
had caught plenty of bass and bream on a fly rod, but had never been trout fishing.
By the way, I wrote about this sometimes ago.
" I rigged him up the typical “guide’s rig” which is a two fly rig with a dry fly on top.
That gives the client a float to watch. I tied on a hares ear nymph below a big foam
hopper (float) and waded out with him to show him how to cast and drift the fly.
When I demonstrated the procedure and started wading back to get my rod, he
caught a nineteen-inch rainbow trout
the very first cast he ever made for trout.
I tried to explain to him that was very unusual but then in a few minute another guy
watching him hooked one just below him that looked just as big as Randy’s fish. I
don't think Randy believed me after seeing that. I think he thought I was just
pumping him up.
This probably makes fishing the Tuckasegee River look far too simple and easy. I
don't want to imply the trout will just jump on your fly and catching them doesn't
require any skill at all, because it does. They don't exactly jump in the landing net.

The river's fishing is best rated by the number of anglers that fish it. It is a
very popular destination. I have talked to anglers from several adjoining states that
have traveled there to experience its fishing. I'll put it this way. That many anglers
can't be all wrong about anything. The
Tuckasegee River is a fun place to visit
and fish.