In Western North Carolina, autumn is unfolding. Soon the bright yellows and burnt oranges and flaming reds will blanket the mountainous landscape, offering a colorful playground for all who adventure here. Mother Nature is always on her time, and yet the much-anticipated change of scenery from summer to fall couldn’t be more welcomed. For the last few months there has been a subtle shift in our daily habits, a change that many of us may have embraced. We may have yearned for a deeper connection with nature because it is through nature, we connect with ourselves and are able to push the “reset” button on our lives. In Graham County NC, many can find this button and are able to reset it through fly fishing. The opportunity to experience peace and solitude brings fly-fisherman from all over to explore the county’s many creeks and rivers.

Just outside of Robbinsville NC, you will find Big Snowbird Creek. The headwaters of Big Snowbird Creek begin in the Snowbird Mountains, and it empties into Santeetlah Lake. Its three scenic waterfalls, deep wading pools, and easy access make Snowbird Creek a popular fishing spot for many anglers. The real highlight of this creek, though, is its’ delayed harvest section. The section of Snowbird Creek from the US Forest Service footbridge at the old railroad junction to the US Forest Service Road 2579 is the Delayed Harvest section. The most accessible part of this section begins at the concrete bridge over Big Snowbird on FR 2579 and continues down to the footbridge at the end of the gravel road. On October 1st the delayed harvest season begins. This date is anxiously awaited by both beginning and experienced fly fisherman. This fall, the NC Wildlife Resource Commission will stock the Delayed Harvest section on October 1st and again on November 2nd. Although the fish are plentiful, the fishing is “catch and release” only. Other regulations include: no natural bait may be possessed by the angler, and anglers can only fish with artificial lures with one single hook.

Imagine enjoying fishing all day in an unforgettable setting and then when finished, being able to easily get right back to your choice of lodging. If you are staying in one of the many charming and unique places within Graham County, you can get back quickly and see how having “all the comforts of home” help make it easy to bring the days’ reflection to rest. By choosing Graham County as your home base, you will not only be in close proximity to Big Snowbird Creek, but you’ll also be not far from yet another delayed harvest fishing option.

A short distance from Big Snowbird Creek is the Nantahala River. This river is another abundant trout fishing destination, just an easy twenty-five-mile drive from Robbinsville to Macon County. The Upper Nantahala River from the mouth of White Oak Creek continuing on to the Duke Energy Power Plant is classified as Delayed Harvest Trout Waters. The river’s Delayed Harvest section will be stocked, this year on October 2nd and November 16th. This section is a very popular because of its cascading waterfalls, consistent flow, and relative width make it a great river for open wading.

In Graham County, an epic fall fishing trip awaits. The delayed harvest opportunities of the Big Snowbird Creek, the close proximity of the Nantahala River, and the abundance of ”just right” places to stay in and around Robbinsville, make Graham County the ideal location for a base camp. The chance to social distance and to safely rejuvenate may just be what you need this fall season. So, let Graham County be your refuge, and avail yourself of the abundant opportunities to experience the solitude along peaceful river banks and colorful hiking trails this fall season. If you are looking for a place to trek into nature and reconnect, come discover your own sanctuary in Graham County!

Author: Erin Emmons


Joyce Kilmer Forest
US Forest Service
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Smoky Mountain Host of North Carolina logo
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