We all know the North and the West have some amazing fly fishing destinations, but we think the South boasts some equally exciting spots to wet your hook. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but these nine gorgeous freshwater rivers and creeks are well worth a visit for some Southern action on the fly!
9. Toccoa River in North Georgia
The Tocca is heralded as one of the best trout rivers in Georgia. With its headwaters running from Union County and into Lake Blue Ridge, it then becomes a tailwater fishery. In all sections of the river you'll find healthy populations of rainbow and brown trout. According Georgia Outdoor News, the Toccoa boasts all the necessary attributes of a trophy trout stream. The section of the river below Blue Ridge Dam is stocked bi-weekly during the months of its trout season; however the river is open year round! For more info, visit this link at blueridgemountains.com
8. Slickrock Creek in North Carolina
North Carolina is home to just about every type of trout stream imaginable, whether you prefer wild or stocked trout streams, free flowing rivers, freestone rivers, tailwaters or the intimacy of smaller creeks. So this was a tough choice. But you just can't go wrong with Slickrock Creek. This meandering stream holds a healthy population of brown and rainbow trout, and even brookies depending on the section of the river. Plus, the fishing pressure is moderate to minimal, and the scenery is unrivaled. Access can be challenging, but if you're a true angler, you know that the best fishing is the toughest to reach! For further info, check out the North Carolina Sportsman
7. Clinch River in Tennessee
This tailwater trout stream brims with trophy-sized browns and rainbows as well as the occasional brookie for miles below Norris Dam. The Clinch produces monster Browns and rainbows year after year, boasting a Tennessee State Record for Brown Trout. With anglers often pulling 5-10lb+ trout from this stream, even its average rainbow could dwarf that of many other fisheries. So if you are looking for a chance to catch monster trout with fairly easy access to the river, the Clinch is well worth a visit! To learn more, visit Fly Fishing Tennessee
6. Canyon Tailrace Section of the Guadalupe River, Texas
Yep, you heard right. The Lone Star State is not usually famed as a trout fishing hotspot, but the Canyon Tailrace section of the Guadalupe River maintains water temperatures amply cool enough to support a healthy population of trout. Located in the Texas Hill Country and only a short drive from Austin, you'll find glimmering, turquoise-clear waters full of stocked trout. The beauty here is unique, differing from anything you'll see further East. So the scenery certainly adds to the Guadalupe's allure, as waters fall into deep blue-green pools and across ancient sheets of rock, periodically adorned by towering cypress trees. If you have never visited the Texas Hill Country, start planning your trip! Thanks to excellent stocking programs implemented by the State, this river in Texas has earned the attention of angers nationwide! To learn more about this fishery, visit GRTU
5. Sipsey Fork Below Smith Lake, Alabama
Flowing from the frigid depths of Lewis Smith Lake, the Sipsey Fork tailwater is Alabama's only year-round trout fishery. Just an hour's drive northwest of Birmingham and boasting a healthy population of stocked rainbow trout, the crystal clear waters of the the Sipsey offer a great opportunity for trout anglers of the deep south to get their fix. Sipsey trout move freely for many miles along the river's gentle current, but only the first couple are publicly accessible for wade fishing. However, boat fishing and kayak fishing are welcome, and, as with all tailwaters, the biggest fish are often caught further below the dam. The area is quiet, surrounded by pristine woodland and home to a diverse ecosystem of wildlife, making it any angler's dream. To learn more and hear from the local experts, visit Riverside Fly Shop
4. Whitewater River, South Carolina
While mostly consisting of a gentle and wadable current, this mountain trout stream dons two magnificent waterfalls, with the best trout fishing in between the drops. Its waters are cool year-round, providing an ideal habitat for rainbow and brown trout, both wild and stocked. However, anglers MUST be careful to avoid fishing close to the top side of the falls, as this can be very dangerous. Such an adventure! What angler doesn't love the sound of rushing waters, cascading over massive boulders and spilling down into crystal pools below? The majestic beauty of this river together with its bountiful population of trout make it no mystery why it made the list. To learn more about fishing in SC, check out this guide.
3. Spring River, Arkansas
The Spring River is Arkansas' only free-flowing trout stream, offering a truly wild experience for anglers. Its waters begin at Mammoth Springs and provide a constant flow year-round, its headwaters pumping nearly nine-million gallons of sub-sixty degree water per hour! This massive spring river is home to a high volume of stocked rainbow and brown trout, many of them of trophy size. According to Arkansas.com the best spots to catch the browns and rainbows on the Spring are where the water tumbles into deeper pools below the falls, offering scenic and exciting opportunities to wet your fly in the Natural State.
2. Rapidian River, Virginia
The Commonwealth is dotted with a vast number of rivers and spring creeks, many of which provide ideal conditions for trout to remain prolific. But the Rapidian is unique in that it holds a robust population of completely native brook trout. Once a favorite fishing spot of President Herbert Hoover, this intimate stream is covered in a woodland canopy, so anglers should be prepared to cast conservatively and bring their "A" game. To learn more about fishing this southeastern gem of a fishery, visit this link at Virginia.gov
1. Little Red River, Arkansas
Touting a pristine river bottom of shimmering sands occasionally giving way to gravel and deep-green moss, this crystal-blue tailwater spills from the dam at Greers Ferry Lake and offers up an angling utopia. Brandishing an international fame as a blue-ribbon trout water, the Little Red is a mecca for MASSIVE trout, drawing high levels of attention even from Western Anglers. It has produced multiple world-record brown trout, only recently being dethroned as the king of trophy brown trout fisheries by the new "all-tackle" record caught in the South Island hydro canals of New Zealand.
Even so, the Little Red River's reputation for being one of the world's greatest trout streams remains set in stone. This twenty-five mile stretch of premiere trout fishing waters below Greers Ferry Lake offer action for both waders and drifters alike. Deep pools, tumbling shoals, occasional forks, and rock overhangs provide plenty of cover and thus an ideally dynamic environment for trout to thrive all year. And you will never forget the sweet smell of its frigid 45-55 degree waters, especially in the morning. If you have not fished the Little Red (yet), you are surely missing out! Click here to learn more. Who knows, you might be the one to catch that next WR brown!