River - upper sectionMedium-size freestone river
Location West of Bryson City on Wayah Road (State Road 1310, off US 19/74). Easy to moderate access. (see below regarding water levels)
Species Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout
License Requirements NC fishing license with a trout stamp
The Nantahala River is rated as one of Trout Unlimited Top 100 Trout Rivers in North America. The upper Nantahala River located directly upstream of the Duke Energy power plant is a fly anglers dream come true with miles of pocket water and pools full of rainbow, brown, and brook trout. The stream supports a natural population of trout, plus has the added benefits of being hatchery-supported by the State of North Carolina, and is designated Delayed Harvest with Catch and Release regulations from October until June each year. The Upper Nantahala offers great access, easy to moderate wading, and plenty of willing trout and miles of clean water.
At various times during the year, scheduled recreational water releases from the upstream Nantahala Lake affect this section of the Nantahala River. It is not advisable to fish during these events due to increased whitewater river traffic and river flow. Check with your fishing guide or local rafting outfitters for the most up-to-date information.