Watauga River Fly Fishing Guidebrown trout float trips north carolina

The Watauga River is one of Southern Appalachian Anglers top picks for wading and floating fly fishing trips. The Watauga River tailwater is located in Elizabethton, Tennesee and provides some of the most productive trout fishing in the southeast. The Watauga River begins in Boone, North Carolina. Its natural progression then curves through North Carolina’s mountains and flows into Watauga Lake. Beyond the Watauga Lake dam it then flows into Wilbur Lake, which is a recreational area for fisherman and sportsman alike. The dam at Wilbur Lake, marks the beginning of the tailwater section of the Watauga River. The regular release of water from the TVA controlled spill-under dam at Wilbur Lake provides the Watauga river with cold water year round. The cold water released from the dam creates an excellent ecosystem conducive for trout populations that vary in different sizes. The Watauga River tailwater has a history of holding thousands of trout per mile which offers anglers with an unforgettable experience.

Fly Fishing Watauga’s Tailwater

Fly fishing the Watauga River tailwater is an exciting experience. Spring through summer offers anglers with prime dry fly fishing. Insect hatches are daily on the Watauga River’s 16 mile stretch. From mayfly variations, sulphurs, caddis as well as giant stoneflies and everything in between, the river is a fly fishing heaven. Dry-fly fishing and nymphing are highly effective techniques used on the river. All of our guided fishing trips are equipped with top of the line equipment to allow for a successful day on the water.

Flies and Techniques

Dry Fly FIshing:
  • Four to five weight rods ranging from 9 – 10 feet are commonly used for tailwater dry fly fishing. Anglers can expect to use a range of dry flies ranging from small finesse dry flies to larger adult insect flies and terrestrial imitations.
  •  Nine to ten foot, 5 – 6 weight fly fishing outfits are commonly used for our guided trout fishing float trips for nymphing. Anglers can expect to use inline and drop shot indicator rigs with a vast range of nymph imitations.
Streamer Fishing:
  • Nine to ten foot 7 – 8 weight fly fishing outfits are used for anglers who love to streamer fish, the Watauga River which holds a healthy baitfish population.  The river stems from the Wilbur Dam where cold water is generated from Watauga Lake. This highly oxygenated water provides striper and trout alike, with plenty of forage.
Watauga Tailwater generation schedule: TVA Release Schedule

Book A Tailwater Trip

If you’re looking for an unforgettable fly fishing experience down the Watauga River with an experienced and certified Asheville fly fishing guide contact Southern Appalachian Anglers to learn more about our exciting fly fishing excursions!

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