Tuckasegee River Rainbow Trout
Copyright 2020 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Tuckasegee River North
The Tuckasegee River begins in the North Carolina
mountains from several tributary streams. It combines
into two forks, the East and West, each of which is
dammed. The cold water discharges combine into one
river that provides a suitable habitat for trout for most of
the year.

The popular Delayed Harvest section is approximately
five miles long and located between the small towns of
Dillsboro and Sylvia North Carolina. It is heavily stocked
by the state with brown, rainbow and brook trout.

There are numerous parking pull offs along the North
River Road that follows the stream closely. Access isn't
a problem.

The stream can be easily waded unless water is being
released. It can be floated by drift boat and other small
vessels during the times water is being released.

The Tuckasegee River will remind you of fishing a
Western River in many ways. The surrounding scenery
is not similar but the water looks much the same as
some Western streams. There are numerous rock
ledges crossing the river creating deeper areas of water
and lots of riffles Where there are breaks in the ledges,
there are long runs creating perfect places for the trout
to feed.

Be certain to check the water levels before you make a
long trip to fish the Tuckasegee River. Two different
dams can affect the flows. The links to your left shows
the schedule of discharges.

Also, keep in mind that the delayed harvest section of
water isn't the only part of the river that holds trout.
Trout are present throughout the entire system
including a few miles below the delayed harvest section.
The delayed harvest section can become crowded at
time, so keep in mind there are other areas to fish.

If the flows are low enough to wade, you can wade the
river just about anywhere. There are deep holes but
they are mostly small areas you can wade around. You
do have to watch where your stepping. Since it is quite
wide in places, there is a lot of water to cover.

The Tuckasegge River was one of the first North
Carolina streams to be put under Delayed Harvest
regulations and one that has certainly proven the
program to be not only successful from a fish
management standpoint, but one that's highly popular.
Like any good stream, it can become crowded at times
but that only serves to show the fly fishing opportunities
are good.
Type of Stream

Brown Trout
Rainbow Trout
Brook Trout

Medium Size River

Western North Carolina

Nearest Towns
Dillsboro North Carolina
Sylvia North Carolina

Year-round, Delayed Harvest Oct.
1-June 5 Hatchery supported waters
closed during the month of March

Good for wading, Fine for drift boats

Special Regulations
Delayed Harvest, single hook
artificial only, C&R only

Non-Resident License
State of North Carolina

National Weather Service Link

Release Schedule
Releases East and West Forks

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Trout Flies
North Carolina
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Tuckasegee River
Tuckasegee River
Thumbnails: Click to Enlarge
Angie Marsh fishing Tuckasegee River
Fly Fishing Guide to the Tuckasegee
When you are fly fishing the Tuckasegee
River during the delayed harvest season,
you are going to catch trout unless you are
just a terrible angler. Fishing is usually very
good. The stream will have a huge number
of stocked trout.

As mentioned in the introduction, this river is
wadable when they are not running water
and can be fished from drift boats and other
crafts when they are running water. If you
use a drift boat, you will probably have to
get out and pull it around the rock ledges if
they are not running water.

The trout are usually very cooperative and
not difficult to catch. The river is heavily
stocked. A lot has to do with how long the
fish have been stocked prior to your fishing
the stream. During the delayed harvest
season period, many of the trout will be
newly stocked trout.

When the water is high and you are using a
boat, we suggest you first try streamers.
This tends to pick up the larger trout and
well as cover a lot of water fast. It's a lot of
work to cast streamers all day and many
anglers prefer not to do that. If you can find
some rising fish, it's best to anchor and fish
them. Often that won't be the case. When
there are no rising trout, and you don't want
to try streamers, we suggest you use a
indicator rigged nymph. Some anglers
prefer to use tandem rigs which will also
work well most of the time.

There are a lot of areas where the water is
shallow in one place, and deep just a few
feet away because of the dropoffs the
ledges create. Often the trout are holding in
the deep holes. This can be the case on
cold bright clear days. During those times,
you may do much better using a nymph
without an indicator to where you can
control the depths with your fly line, weight
added to the tippet and mending.  
The season is open year-round but the
delayed harvest season is only from Oct
1-June 5th.
Fishing is great throughout the winter
months unless it is an extremely cold day.
Guide, continued:
During the times when the stream is low,
such as it is in most of the pictures, wading
is the preferred method. You can just
about wade the entire river if you watch
and don't step off into a deeper hole. The
best way it to fish is in an upstream
direction fishing the riffles and runs.

At times the dry fly fishing can be fantastic.
We have caught lots of trout (50 to 100) on
several occasions. You can get by with just
about any good attractor fly most of the
time, but when a hatch is occurring, we
prefer to use a matching fly. As you can
see on our hatch page, this river has a lot
of caddisflies.

If you walk up or down the road bordering
the river, you can often spot rising trout. At
times they seem to congregate in schools
and feed in certain areas. Often you can
catch a lot of trout from one place if you
are careful not to spook them. For
example, on one fall trip, I was fishing an
area about the size of a small house during
a caddifly hatch and managed to catch
over twenty trout. At times I had to stop
casting and let things settle down before
the action resumed.

There are a lot of ways you can fish this
river. Another great way is to single out
larger fish or only fish to individual rising or
feed feeding below the surface. This lets
you catch the larger ones and provides
more satisfaction for some anglers. All in
all, the fishing is usually fairly easy with a
lot of action. For that reason, the river is
usually packed with anglers. It can get a
little crowded at times, but it's a wide
stream with lots of water to fish.  
Tuckasegee River Hatches and
Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is
based on our stream samples of larvae
and nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other
foods at the particular time you are fishing.
Unlike the generic fly shop trout flies, we
have specific imitations of all the insects in
the Tuckasegee River and in all stages of
life that are applicable to fishing. If you
want to fish better, more realistic trout
flies, have a much higher degree of
success, give us a call.  We not only will
help you with selections, you will learn
why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92% of the
thousands of our customers will use
nothing else.

We have used a kick net and some other
types of insect nets on this stream to try to
determine the available insects and
hatches that occur. It has a lot of insect life
in it. Most of them are caddisflies but it
also has a good population of blue-winged
olive mayflies. We have even found one
species that we haven't been able to

The Blue-winged Olives usually hatch
starting in February. They seem to last
through the month of April. There are
several species of them that fall under this

Most of the hatches are different species
of Cinnamon caddisflies. These are net
spinners which means that imitations of
the larvae, pupae and adult stages of life
will work. These hatches take place from
May throughout the summer until
November. They are not constant, but
most of the time there will be one of the
various species of them hatching or
depositing their eggs, usually both.

October and November usually brings
about some huge Little Sister Caddisfly
hatches. These start in June and July and
seem to drop off and pick back up again in
October. There are several species of
Hatches, continued:
In addition, you will find some species of
Green Sedges. The larvae of these
caddisflies will work great anytime during
the season. There are several other
species of small caddisflies, but none as
important as the Cinnamon Sedges, Little
Sisters and Green Sedges.

We have also noticed a lot of craneflies on
the water. I am certain the trout dine on
them at times. If you fish the river during
the winter and early spring, I am certain
midges would be a key insect to imitate.
The bottom samples we observed were full
of midge larvae. There were a good
number of hellgrammites there also.

This river has a good population of
sculpin, baitfish and minnows. Streamers
work most anytime. Crayfish are also
present in the stream.

From about the middle of June through
September and into the first of October,
terrestrial insects should be an important
source of food for the trout in the
Tuckasegee River. Imitations of ants,
beetles and grasshoppers should work.
There isn't a lot of vegetation along the
banks and the river is very wide but there
should be plenty of the terrestrials that get
in the water along the banks.

We recommend you try our "Perfect Fly"
streamers and other flies on the
Tuckasegee River. We also sell the
generics and attractors and at a great
price. Whichever you prefer, we hope you
will consider our flies.
Springtime is a good time to fish the Tuck
The water gets on the warm side for good
trout fishing during the summer.
Fall is the best time to fish the Tuck
Tuckasegee River
Tuckasegee River
Angie Marsh fishing Tuckasegee River
Angie Marsh fishing Tuckasegee River
Thumbnails: Click to Enlarge
Fishing Report Updated 01/08/21
(Bottom Of Page)
Tuckasegee River Fishing Report - 01/08/21
The new website at Duke Energy put the East and West fork schedule under Nantahala.
The river is currently a
little above normal.We are getting good reports from customers
when the levels are okay

7 Day Weather Forecast: (Click the box below to see more detailed weather information)

Recommended Trout Flies: (not up to date ) - fish for smallmouth bass in the lower
Afternoon Water Temperature: 40
Clarity: clear
Duke Energy Scheduled Releases
Blue-winged Olives: size 16 and 18, nymph, emergers, duns and spinners
Brown Sculpin, White Belly Sculpin & articulated streamers, size 4/6
Black Matuka and Olive Matuka Sculpin, size 4/6/8
Aquatic Worms, size 12, pink, brown, etc.
Midges: Blood (Red), sizes 22, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Light Green, size 22, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Cream, size 22, larva, pupa and adults
Winter Stoneflies, size 16/18, nymphs and adults
Strategies, Techniques and Tips:
There is little change in the strategy for the coming week. The majority of the trout are
stocked fish that are not very selective but after being stocked for a couple of months can
begin to rely on the natural food in the stream. You can get by with
generic imitations like our
Hare's ear nymphs, Parachute Adams dries and Matuka
streamers but you are probably better off using better imitations of the naturals.
Hatches of various species of Blue-winged Olives are possible in the afternoons and more
likely and in greater quantities if the skies are cloudy or overcast.
Our Brown Sculpin, White Belly Sculpin and Articulated streamers are great flies to use
anytime. The Olive Matuka and Black Matuka Sculpin are also great streamers for the Tuck.
Aquatic worms are working. Green sedge caddis are hatching. Cinnamon Caddis are
hatching. Winter stoneflies are hatching. Aquatic worms are working.
We still think a good strategy is fishing a tandem Midge rig under a small strike indicator
with the midge lava as the bottom fly and the midge pupa as the top fly. Fish the adult
midge only when you observe trout feeding on the surface.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (sales@perfectflystore.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (sales@perfectflystore.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

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