May jump starts fly fishing season with warmer weather and longer days. May is the month of change when it comes to fishing here in the mountains. This is the last month that delayed harvest streams will be stocked until next October. Delayed harvest streams will change from catch-and-release to catch-and-keep the first Saturday of June. But don’t put your trout rod away, there are lots of high altitude streams in the Smokies and surrounding areas that will still give the avid trout fisherman lots of opportunity to seek out all three species of trout. Check out the NC fishery website and you will see that there are still lots of hatchery supported streams that you can enjoy all season long.
Another advantage that we have here in the mountains of North Carolina are all the tail race streams. Rivers like the Nantahala provide cold water releases all summer long, offering outstanding trout fishing opportunities even during the hottest months of the summer. May through August are my favorite times to do float trips on the Nantahala, with fifty to hundred fish days not that unusual. As the summer progresses there are much better opportunities to catch healthy rainbows and browns on nymphs and drys. Late afternoon dry fly fishing just gets better and better as the season progresses. These cold water releases are what makes the Nantahala one of the top 100 trout rivers in the United States.
May through the end of summer is also a great time to fish warm water rivers like the Tuckaseegee River and Little Tennessee River for small mouth bass, spotted bass, brim and red eye bass. There are miles and miles of great fishing either by wading or floating on these two rivers. This is a great time to explore streams like the Cheoah River or the Lower Hiwassee Rivers. Water temperatures are warmer in these streams, so break out the wading shoes and leave the waders at home.
It is also an optimal time to fish the mouths of all the rivers that flow into Lake Fontana. The mouths of the Nantahala River, Forney Creek, Nolen Creek and the Little Tennessee River will have hold over trout from the spring runs. They are also gathering places for big bass and carp.
May is here and you will run out of time long before you run out of quality places to fish here in the mountains. Visit our website for all your options for Fly Fishing with us.