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Cherokee, North Carolina

Big Fish a Sure bet on Cherokee’s new Trophy Trout Water

by Charlie Downs

      Though you might lose your fishing shirt if you make a trip to the casino on the Cherokee Reservation, you’re almost guaranteed to win big if you visit the new stretch of stocked trout water opened last fall on the Raven’s Fork of the tribal fisheries.

      The 2.2 miles of fly fishing only, catch and release water begins at the Blue Ridge Parkway Bridge on Big Cove road and continues upstream to just below the Big Cove campground.  This section of the river was heavily stocked last fall with large [some HUGE] rainbow, brown, brook, and what the fisheries people are calling “golden” trout to kick off the new Trophy water with an invitation only fly fishing tournament. Periodic stockings since then have insured that fish lost to predation, poaching, etc. are continually being replaced.

      The water is a typical Smoky Mountain stream, with riffles, glides and a few slow, deep runs. As you might expect, the usual nymphs and streamers work well, and a few fish have been taken on dries.

      This stretch of river can become crowded on weekends, especially when the weather is mild. Come prepared at these times to do a little “combat” style fishing or move around up and down stream to the areas which don’t hold as many obvious fish.

      In addition to the required $7.00 daily tribal permit you will need a $20.00 annual Trophy Water permit which is good for one year from the purchase date. Both are available at most of the reservation grocery stores and all Curtis Wright Outfitters locations.