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Lower Nanty tips

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  • Lower Nanty tips

    I'm thinking of heading up to the Nantahala to fish the lower section this weekend. I've never been. I think I know where I'm going, but how is the access? Are there plenty of pull offs? Basically, what's best way to approach it? DMs and specific areas welcome.


  • #2
    if you're talking about the section that people whitewater raft/kayak all the time, upstream from the NOC, there are a bazillion pulloffs, so access is pretty solid. I've never fished it, but i've heard time and time again that it can actually produce some pretty awesome fish, many of which have become accustomed to the tube/raft hatches.
    Resident Tenkara Nerd


    • #3
      Other than the SOHO, it's probably the highest density wild trout stream in the south. Tons of wild rainbows and some really nice browns. With the water on, fish any current break, particularly if there's depth. They'll be stacked in there. With the water off, be stealthy and fish little and light.

      Team USA Youth/Team Dead Drift


      • #4
        I would be interested in any tips too. I fish it at least once or twice every year, but I don't feel like I've ever figured it out. I usually catch a fair number of small, stream-born rainbows and browns in the lower Nanty. The big ones are there, but I've never seen one.

        Just below the discharge point, there is a parking area for rafters. There are bathrooms available. The river here is narrow and fast. The next downstream pull-off is Patton's Run, which is a place I like to fish. I have had the best luck here with very small flies. I usually fish it when the river is up. When it drops it is like fishing in your bathtub for very spooky fish.

        Below Patton's Run is a pull-off and small iron bridge across the river. I've not fished that, but it looks fishy. From there down to the next raft take out is mostly private. The raft takeout is Ferebee Memorial Picnic Area (with rest rooms). I've fished this area a bit and mostly caught small browns, again on very small flies.

        From here on down to Nantahala Outdoor Center are many pull-offs. There is a walk bridge about halfway down that gives you access to the other side of the river. I've only been sporadically successful in this stretch.

        At the end of the lower Nantahala is Nantahala Outdoor Center at Wesser. It is a good place to get a meal and relax. When the water is low, you can stand on the bridge and watch the fish pick midges off the surface. These fish are never pushovers. I usually fish this area in the evening, just above Big Wesser Falls.

        Good luck.



        • #5
          To continue, the lower Nantahala seems to be mostly a small nymph and streamer river. Small nymphs (#18 and smaller) will catch the average-size fish, which are usually less than 10 inches. I've never done very well with dry flies, except with midges in the film when the generators aren't running. I have fished big streamers in hopes of catching one of the monsters the river is known for, but I've never connected with one.

          There is a YouTube video of Kelly Galloup, who owns Galloup's Fly Shop on the Madison River, fishing the Nantahala from a drift boat. At the 8:50 mark, there is a really big brown that another fisher has caught. Kelly finally catches a smaller, but still nice brown, near what looks like the Ferebee Picnic Area. He is fishing a big meat fly the entire time. Here is the video.

          So, I suspect the big fish are few and far between, but they are there. The small fish are abundant, but they like midge larvae most of the time.

          I would love to see a study of the river's insect population. The next time I fish the Nanty I think it might pay to sample the invertebrates.



          • #6
            I like to fish the area up river from the iron bridge. Usually with drys in the softer water then a WB or a dark nymph.
            "I like beer, do you like beer, I like beer a lot."


            • #7
              If they are running water you better be a skilled wader to even think about it. Even then many spots with access you can only fish along the bank. With water levels low it is a bit easier.

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              • #8
                Hey guys, just realized I never posted a thank you for all the help here. My experience over the two times I've gone up have been similar to what you guys suggested: a lot of small, wild fish. I found it to be a difficult river to fish, or a least to get a read on.


                • #9
                  i don't know if it's just me but for some reason every time I fish that river I have to be dialed in on my hooksets and strike detection

                  Those lower nanty fish spit my hooks like no other