The French Broad River
Was so named by European settlers because its wide waters flowed into what was then French territory to the west. It is the third oldest river on earth, behind only The Nile and The New. "Agiqua" or Long Man, as it was called by the Cherokee, has flowed through these ancient mountains and formed the backbone of the region since the dawn of time. It has watched the mountains rise, and then slowly carried them away in its turbulent wash. It has formed boundaries and divides, cradled settlers and civilizations and wrought devastating destruction. It has selflessly nourished the land, provided a path for trade and travel, habitat for wildlife and wonderful recreation for thousands of people in its stalwart flow. The French Broad is no lady, he is an old, old man, and he is full of wisdom, wonder and beauty.
George Vanderbilt originally purchased 125,000 acres of land on both sides of the FB in small bits and pieces after visiting the area in 1888. Today, both Pisgah Forest and the town of Biltmore Village occupy land once owned by Vanderbilt. He called his holdings "Biltmore" - combining Bilt, the name of the Dutch town where his ancestor's originated, and moor, the Old English word for open rolling land. This 7 mile stretch of river is our home water and where we do the majority of our fishing. It is home to an abundance of Smallmouth Bass and a few Musky and we float this section of river in either a canoe or our custom outfitted Creek Company fishing raft. A typical day will see an angler catch several Smallmouth bass up to 3 or 4 lbs, with fish in the 12"-14" range being the average. We throw top water flies and lures, jigs and streamers, as well as soft baits and a few hardbaits. This urban oasis is home to many species of birds, turtles, otter deer, beaver and wild turkey.
The Tuckasegee River
Is a wide-open tailwater river located about an hour's drive from Asheville. It is a great river to float for trout in the fall, winter and spring months. The prolific Caddis and Blue Winged Olive hatches provide days of nearly non-stop dry fly action when conditions are right, and days of catching close to 100 fish are not uncommon. In the summer the focus moves to the outstanding smallmouth bass fishing as all but the upper most reaches become too warm for most of the stocked trout. The Tuck offers close to 20 miles of outstanding Smallie fishing from Dillsboro to Bryson City and is perfect for drifting in our custom outfitted Creek Company fishing raft.
The Watauga River
The Watauga is rich in history both from the Cherokee, who’s word Watâ'gi means beautiful waters, as well as with early settlers such as Daniel Boone and John Sevier who spent much of their lives in the area. The approximately 19 miles of trout habitat on The Watauga can be broken up into three sections, the upper, middle and lower. The upper section is home to some very large holdover fish and there is strong evidence to suggest a good amount of natural reproduction is occurring, especially among the river’s brown trout. The middle section flows through Elizabethton where access can be difficult, but the insect life is very prolific. This is due in part to the nutrient boost the river receives from farmland in the upper section. The middle section of river has great hatches of Caddis, Sulfurs, BWO’s and the ever present Midges that keep the trout looking up and the fish counts high. The lower section, also referred to as the “Trophy Section,” unofficially begins at the Blevins Bend Public Access Area. From The Smalling Rd Bridge downstream to the Persinger Railroad Bridge near the town of Watauga is designated as a “Quality Zone” by the TWRC and has special regulations. The Lower Section fishes well all year and is home to some large wily fish. Because the water flowing out of Wilbur dam maintains a consistent temperature of about 52–53°F, the Watauga is indeed a year round fishery. The winter months produce nice hatches of BWO’s and midges and of course there are less fisherman. Early spring on the Watauga is the time when the large black caddis come off, and this is the hatch to catch. These bugs get the big ones looking up and thrashing strikes at skittering flies is really something to experience.