Winter Fishing in Cherokee | Cherokee, NC

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Winter Fishing in Cherokee

Winter is the perfect time for fly fishing in Cherokee, North Carolina. The warmer the winter, the better the fishing conditions, and 2016 is shaping up to be one of the best fishing seasons yet! 

All 30 miles of our enterprise streams are open and stocked, and there are plenty of wild fish waiting to be caught, including rainbow, brook, and brown trout. People come from far and wide to fish Cherokee, which has the longest stretch of privately owned and stocked fishing waters east of the Mississippi.

And it's not just visitors who get in on the action. Local fishermen are enjoying the sunny skies this winter and catching an abundance of fish, including Michael Bradley, who is one of the top ranked fly fishing competitors in the country.

"This is one of the best winters of the past five years. I can go out with a long sleeve on and sweatshirt and be comfortable most of the time. I don't go out and stand in one spot; I go out and walk as far as I can go fishing. I move around a lot," he says.

Click here to read all about Michael, who is native Cherokee and a Fly Fishing Team USA hopeful, and hear why he loves fishing Cherokee more than anywhere else in the country.

A few weeks ago, we heard about another local angler who fished a mile section by Harrah's casino and caught over 100 fish in a single day! (A permit lets you keep up to 10, and you have to have a permit to fish at all.) Was it luck or something more? You'll have to fish Cherokee yourself to decide!

Where to Fish in Cherokee

If you've never tried fishing in Cherokee before, here's a primer of what to expect:

Soco and Bunches Creek are smaller, wadeable waters where you can catch a lot of wild and stocked fish. Some of them are a little trickier to wade and traverse because they have more step pools, whiffles, and cascades.

Oconaluftee River offers the largest pools with the most wide open areas to cast. It's the largest system from its head waters down to the main stem that runs through Cherokee. Here you can find plenty of trout as well as some cool water fish like small mouth bass.

Raven Fork flows into the Oconaluftee river and its head waters are in the national park. It's a cold, clean stream, and very busy for fisherman in the Big Cove area with lots of stocked fish as well as wild fish.

Opening Day Fishing Tournament March 26-27

New for 2016, we're moving back to the opening day format on March 26- 27th with Cherokee's annual Opening Day Fishing Tournament. An $11 entry fee and $10 per day permit allows you to compete for $20,000 in tagged fish in the rivers on the Qualla Boundary, excluding the 2.2 miles of catch and release waters.

For more information on the tournament, and to buy your permit, visit our Fish Cherokee page.

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