Fly Fishing the French Broad

Photos and Commentary by Waitsel Smith

fly fishing lake toxaway

Last November, seven buddies and I went to Lake Toxaway, NC for a fishing trip. We form a discipleship group at our church, and this was the first time all eight of us had ever been able to go off on a weekend trip together. The weather was gorgeous. We went north on Interstate 85 out of Atlanta to Hwy 11, then Hwy 281. At Hwy 64, we turned right, heading east. (Commercial photo.)

fly fishing lake toxaway country club

Our chalet was located on the fabulous golf course at Lake Toxaway Country Club. That was just where we slept. Our real destination was the French Broad River, about 10 miles away to the east. I’m not a fly fisherman; but it was a real treat for me to watch the guys who are get their gear ready the night before. (Commercial photo.)

fly fishing road along river

The fork of the river that we were on ran along a back road, which we followed for a ways. There were other fishermen already on it, spaced 100 yards or more apart, so we kept driving. It reminded me of when I was a boy, bird hunting with my dad, how we drove until we found a bean field free of other hunters. Finally, we came to a scenic highway where there were as yet relatively few other fishermen, and got out.

fly fishing french broad river tree

The river was a nice mix of rapids and gentle sections, and extremely cold. I had never worn waders before, so I put on one of the extra pairs the guys had brought and went out into the middle of the river. It was exhilarating.

fly fishing race fishing

It didn’t take the guys long to stake out their territory and get to work. The river had been stocked recently – as a matter of fact, the guy who stocked it was just up the river fishing – so the fish were biting.

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