Our excitement grew as the truck rolled to a stop. The Nantahala River was just a few steps away. Jeff Samsel, his son Nathaniel and Brother Ron jumped out of the truck. We quickly made our way to separate river pools.
Samsel was our chief Indian guide and spiritual adviser for this trip. It would be hard to find a better trout expert. We all quickly bagged a trout at our first spot. However, this year was different. It seemed that once you caught a trout in a pool, you were done there and had to move to catch another. This pattern continued until the shadows grew long in the afternoon. Catching multiple fish in a pool began to happen again.
We all had caught far more rainbow trout than brook trout this year. Samsel suspected that the stocking by the North Carolina Wildlife Commission might have changed things up this season. “Perhaps poachers had taken some fish home in this delayed harvest section,” Samsel thought aloud. While the fishing was not as busy as last year, it certainly was not bad. In fact, we caught some brook trout that were easily twice as big as last years.
You could not ask for a better setting to catch trout. The Nantahala Gorge (Cherokee translation: “river of the noon day sun”) is a stunning background for a beautiful river. However, it is “full contact” fishing. While climbing down a steep bank, a foot slipped and I fell a good ways down. A boulder broke my fall, which prevented me from falling face-first into the river. Waders may keep you warm, but they sure are hard to climb in!
Location: Nantahala River Gorge, NC
Contact: Nantahala Outdoor Center
NC Trout info: North Carolina
Best lures: The 1/16th oz. Natural Science Road Runner for Trout Panfish in the Mayfly, Frog, and Le’ Skunk colors worked best. The Marabou Pro 2.0 1/16th oz. in the Coy’s Craw and Copper Minnow colors produced several brown trout as well.
Give trout fishing a try. Better yet, take some good friends trout fishing with you. Memories like this are meant to be shared. Blessings, -TJ