Pigeon River North Carolina
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Pigeon River Tributaries
The Pigeon River itself is basically too warm to hold
trout but it has several tributaries that do provide good
trout fishing. Some areas are stocked and others are
designated as wild trout streams. Most of the fishable
waters lie within the Shining Rock Wilderness Area near
the Blue Ridge Parkway above Bethel North Carolina.
The most productive of these streams is probably the
East Fork of the Pigeon River. The section of the river
that flows along Highway #276 doesn't contain trout, or
at least isn't designated as trout waters by the state.
The six mile section of its headwaters above Highway
#276 does. It contains a population of wild brown and
rainbow trout. It lies within the Shining Rock Wilderness
Area and requires hiking to get to its waters. The
stream is accessible from the Big East Fork Trail that
follows along the stream. Its trailhead is located near
the highway #276 bridge over the East Fork. The
stream is small to medium size in this area. The East
Fork has two small tributary streams - North Prong
Shining Creek and Dark Prong Creek both of which are
rather small but have wild trout.
Another stream that is a main tributary of the Pigeon
River is the Little East Fork of the Pigeon River. There
are about two miles of wild trout waters above the Boy
Scout Camp Daniel Boone located on the Little East
Fork Road. It can be accessed from highway #215
above Bethel. This is a small stream but worth fishing.
The Middle Prong starts just below the Blue Ridge
Parkway and flows through the Middle Prong
Wilderness Area. It is a tributary of the West Fork of the
Pigeon River. It's also called the Middle Prong of the
West Fork of the Little Pigeon River. It's strictly a small,
wild trout stream that provides about five miles of trout
The West Fork also has trout but it's stocked. It also
begins just below the Blue Ridge Parkway. Highway
#215 follows right along the stream. The section below
the confluence of the Middle Prong flows through
private property. The section upstream of the Middle
Prong confluence flows through the Pisgah Game
Lands and is open to the public.
There's also a Right Hand Prong of the West Fork. It's a
small wild trout stream that's a tributary of the Middle
Prong. It's accessible by hiking upstream from its
confluence with the Middle Prong near highway #215.
Richland Creek is another tributary of the Pigeon River.
It flows right through Waynesville North Carolina and is
a Delayed Harvest stream. About two miles of the
stream is stocked. There's a special handicapped
access area to this stream.
Downstream several miles from the main headwaters of
the Pigeon River, below Waterville Lake just off
Interstate 40 near the Great Smoky Mountains National
Park, are two more tributaries that hold trout. Hurricane
Creek and Cold Springs Creek. Hurricane Creek is
located on Pisgah Game Lands but offers only about a
mile of fishing. It's accessible from Forest Service Road
Cold Springs Creek is located farther down the Pigeon
River near the Tennessee-North Carolina state line. It's
accessible from Forest Service Road #148 just off I-40.
It provides about a mile of stocked water.
The season runs year-round
Trout can be caught some days during the Winter
Spring is the best time for fly fishing the Pigeon River's
tributary streams because of the hatches.
Summertime is marginal, the water can become too
Fall is a beautiful time to fish these streams and a good
time to catch one of the large brown trout.
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|Type of Stream
Rainbow Trout (wild and stocked with
Brown Trout (wild and stocked with
Brook Trout (stocked with holdovers)
Northwestern North Carolina
State of North Carolina
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 1-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.