The Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail has added a new stop on the map for anglers — the Raven Fork trophy water on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.
The fly-fishing trail leads fishermen to 15 different fishing spots in Jackson County, from narrow mountain streams to wide rivers. The Jackson Country Tourism Authority came up with the idea last year as a way to harness the potential of touring anglers.
“The Raven Fork trophy water enhances the trail’s overall experience because it provides a type of fishing not found anywhere else,” said Julie Spiro of the Jackson Country Tourism Authority. “It’s thrilling to catch fish on that stream. There are a lot of large trout in there.”
The 2.2-mile stretch is regularly stocked with large rainbow, brown and golden trout. It’s common to catch fish 20 inches or longer, and there are a number of trout that exceed 30 inches. Access is available through several pull-offs along Big Cove Road with paths that run along the stream.
The scenic Raven Fork replaces the Horsepasture River as spot number 6 on the WNC Fly Fishing Trail. Public access to the Horsepasture River is becoming increasingly limited, which prompted the change.
Raven Fork is designated by the Cherokee as catch and release fly-fishing only. Anglers wishing to fish Raven Fork need to purchase a $20 special use permit and a $7 daily permit from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.
Local guide Alex Bell, who helped create the trail, often has anglers request a trip to Raven Fork.
“Cherokee wants to be a destination east of the Mississippi River that every fly fisherman knows,” Bell said. “They have different strains of trout coming in and have great vision for their fishing program.”
The Raven Fork trophy water in Cherokee and the Tuckasegee River above Dillsboro are two of the most rewarding stretches for trout fishing in the region.
“Those are the two big boys. And they’re both on the trail,” Bell said.
800.962.1911 or go to www.FlyFishingTrail.com.