These waters are teeming with fish and history. Here, you’re likely to catch a lot of both.
Today is your day, proud angler–fishing thirty miles of streams, arguably the longest stretch of managed private waters in the eastern Unites States, stocked to the gills with trout: rainbow, brook, golden, and brown.
Three hundred thousand fish have been added to the already existing population (including the unusual sicklefin redhorse, a species that exists almost entirely in Western North Carolina), in emerald waters that sparkle and run through the heart of Cherokee.
You’ve been looking forward to today for weeks. The blood coursing through your veins ripples, like freestone streams, with anticipation.
You’ll be fishing the ancient waters the first Cherokees fished, but targeting freshly stocked fish–along with a few older ones wily enough to escape the anglers who have come before you.
Catch and release, catch and keep. Competitive cash-prize tournaments.
You’re told other annual fishing events are held here as well (look for the Talking Trees Children’s Trout Derby and the Rumble in the Rhododendron Fly-Fishing Tournament), ensuring your return.
Today, you’re fishing the Oconaluftee, host of the 2011 National Fly-Fishing Championships, and you’re feeling it.
No need to resort to old tricks from around here, like sprinkling a little walnut tree bark to stun the fish into submission.
Under secluded canopies of oak and sycamore, you sense fate is with you, because here is where you hook a 15 lb. brown with a 2 lb. leader and an egg-pattern fly. Soon thereafter you learn that the Cherokee word for fisherman is asunitobi. Your kids will later give you a T-shirt with that on it. From that point forward it’ll be your lucky shirt, to go with your lucky hat. You’ll test the duo’s power when you come back.