fly fishing seasons in asheville

Asheville Fishing Season Overview

The fishing seasons from year to year follow a similar pattern, although every year is slightly different. Water levels, fish activity, and insect hatches will sometime vary a week apart from year to year, but fishing techniques, fish movements, patterns and seasons will follow the same pattern every year. Southern Appalachian Anglers is a year-round fly fishing guide service providing high-quality guided trips during every month of the year.


Rivers: This time of month is for the die-hard fisherman. Asheville fishing trips in February can offer some rewarding catches with little to no boat or foot traffic on the river. This time of year is good for drifting small midges, and stripping dark colored streamers for big browns and rainbows. On cloudy days the blue winged olives will sporadically hatch throughout the day, which offer trout a reason to feed on dry flies.

Reservoirs: If you are seeking out a trophy smallmouth bass, February is the time to book your trip! With little to no competition, anglers will be taught to use extra light spinning gear, with fast tapered rods to pull big smallmouth from clear water depths. Common techniques used in February include the float n’ fly, drop shot and hair jigs.

March – April

Rivers: Get out your 5wt and hold on! This time of year can offer some of the most rewarding fly fishing in Western North Carolina. With black stone flies, caddis and hendricksons hatching all at once, the big trout begin to feed. With mayflies taunting big trout, our guides will show you how to pinpoint big trout and present a dry fly for the taking!

This is the time of the year for trophy smallmouth bass. Spinning tackle is primarily used and reaction strikes are the goal. With bass over 4 pounds, and smallmouth getting into the 6-7 range, this time of year is epic. Don’t miss out – book your trophy smallmouth trip early.


Rivers: With a consistent rainfall, our rivers in Asheville will stay at normal levels. May offers a number of different caddis, and sulphur hatches providing big brown and rainbow trout with plenty to eat. Dry flies will dominate this time of year with green drakes and other mayfly patterns providing anglers with fish catching action. The smallmouth come out to play during this time of year too!

Reservoirs: During the month of May bass will feed and chase shad. Common techniques that will be used are swimbaits, swim jigs, and fast moving baits that imitate baitfish. Bass from 2 to 7 pound range are commonly caught with an average weight of 4 pounds per trip.

June – July

Rivers: This time of year is a prime time for all species of trout and smallmouth alike! With endless action on the river, the fishing never slows down. Cast poppers to big smallmouth with 6wts and streamers with 8wts for an explosive bite! Floating the river is our most popular fly fishing trip this time of year.

Reservoirs: Fish for smallmouth and largemouth by ledge fishing with hair jigs and finesse type baits that are native to Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. The morning provide anglers with a good topwater bite, slowly moving into the afternoon with big bites coming from deeper waters. Spend a day with your professional fishing guide for big smallmouth.

August – September

Rivers: Though a hotter season than the rest, August fishing can be very rewarding to say the least. With bugs still hatching and terrestrials, stone flies and sulphurs dominating the trouts’ diet, dry fly fishing is still spectacular. Smallmouth fishing also remains great this time of year, with smallmouth looking up for a topwater bite. The Western North Carolina region provides anglers with a cooler temperature than other regions of the country. Be sure to bring a rain jacket as rain showers are common in some areas!

October – November

Rivers: One of our guides favorite season of the year. With trophy trout and trophy smallmouth being caught all month long, the months of October and November are phenomenal. Smallmouth will begin to chase War Paint Minnows, so streamers and poppers work very well. Trout will begin to feed heavily on caddis flies and midges. The wild brown trout in Western North Carolina along with wild rainbow trout will be caught this time of year as well.

Reservoirs: A favorite time of the year to hit the reservoir. With fly fishing and light tackle options, the bass will push shad into backs of creeks and feed on them for weeks. In October and November you will be using shad imitation baits, and topwater baits to convince big bass to bite. Smallmouth and largemouth can be caught in quantities during this time of year.


Rivers: Really… December? That’s right. Catch wild trout all day long! With blue winged olive hatches and small midge patterns the fishing never slows down. During this time of year your guide will take you to a private stream that has little to no pressure from other anglers. You will be able to catch wild rainbow and brook trout and the possibility of a huge brown!