Julie Spiro grew up fishing along the western fork of the Tuckasegee River. Today, as the executive director of the Jackson County Travel and Tourism Authority, and with the help of two avid anglers, she’s sharing her enthusiasm for the sport.
The organization recently unveiled the WNC Fly Fishing Trail, the first officially designated trail of its kind in the country. It includes sections along the Tuckasegee, Chattooga, Whitewater, and Horsepasture rivers—all of which are great for catching brook, brown, and rainbow trout. To select the 15 spots, Spiro called on the expert advice of Alex Bell, owner of AB’s Fly Fishing Guide Service in Sylva, and renowned fisherman Bobby Kilby. The trail map covers access points and all the need-to-know details about the water and what you’ll find there, and the website offers information about nearby places to stay, fishing licenses, and GPS coordinates. While you’re bound to find a favorite fishing hole, Bell says he loves to wet his line in the Tuckasegee River near the Dillsboro Dam. “It’s where you’re most likely to find a 10-pounder.” Good luck reeling it in.