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
11. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
Fly Fishing the Upper Watauga River North Carolina
I'm sure most all of you reading this article have heard of Tennessee's Watauga
River tailwater. This is the same Watauga River but it's the headwaters that lies
above Boone Lake rather than the Watauga tailwater below Wilbur Dam that's so
popular and well known. The problem with the uppermost parts of the Watauga
River in this area is access, or I should say the lack of it. Most of the stream runs
through private property; however, the parts that's on public land are worth fishing.
The stream holds brook, brown and rainbow trout.
The Watauga River starts out at the bottom of Grand Father Mountain in North
Carolina at Banner Elk North Carolina near Boone. From its beginning downstream
to North Carolina #1580, the stream is under the state's wild trout regulations. It's
very small and there's little water to fish because above the bridge at Highway
#1580, it flows mostly through private property. From the North Carolina #1580
bridge downstream to the mouth of Boone Fork Creel, a tributary stream, it flows
entirely on private property.
From the North Carolina Highway #1557 bridge to the Highway #105 bridge, and
from North Carolina #1114 bridge to the North Carolina #194 bridge at Valle Crucis,
the stream falls under the state's "Delayed Harvest" regulations. There's about two
miles of fishing in the "Delayed Harvest" section. North Carolina Highway #105 runs
along the stream for over a half mile just above the bridge in this section. Upstream
from that point, Shulls Mill Road follows along the river for almost a mile in the
"Delayed Harvest" section. Access is easy from the Shulls Mills Road with plenty of
parking areas and spaces.
The Watauga isn't exactly a small stream in the "Delayed Harvest" area. It's rather
large, averaging about forty feet wide and even wider in places. You could also fish
the river from the golf course that exist on the opposite side of the river from the
road in this area if you pay your green fees. I'm just joking about the fishing from the
course side, but is does flow along a golf course. The river flows on a low decline in
this area and is open enough that casting isn't a problem. It has plenty of large
boulders and rocks distributed throughout its waters creating many holding places
for the trout.
There are plenty of both wild and large holdover trout in the upper Watauga River in
the "Delayed Harvest" area and above there in the headwaters. It's a good place to
catch a large brown trout. It's by no means a great destination stream, but one well
worth fishing if you are in the area.
Copyright 2010 James Marsh