River Wading for smallies
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Thread: Wading for smallies

  1. #1
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    Question Wading for smallies

    Going to take a couple trips up to the mountains for wading for smallies over the next month or so.

    I've researched the heck out of areas/rivers/creeks online.

    Last week the North Toe from Spruce Pine downriver was too fast and muddy to wade. Tried the North Toe above Spruce Pine off Bent Road, but that looked like trout water primarily.

    Threw a few spinners in the South Toe at Route 80, parked in the Church parking lot there. Had hip waders on and was concerned about the depth. Next trip I'll wet wade.

    Any suggestions? I don't mind totally out of the way places and scrambling down a river bank... if it's clear smallie water. Would love to not see another soul.

    TIA
    Slimy Deck likes this.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you can sell him your old kayak."

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  3. #2
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    Apr 2020
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    I recently moved to Asheville from Central Ohio and wading around here certainly is not as easy or plentiful.

    I fish the Toe quite a bit up from the Huntdale area but mainly float. I have waded and caught plenty of fish when I did but you wont be walking up and down miles of river. It is more find a decent spot with parking and then fish a hole or two in close proximity. A lot of this is also staying close to or almost on the bank.

    I have heard the Little Tennessee around Needmore Rd. is friendly for wading but have not had a chance to make it there yet with all the rain lately.

    Just hit the New River this past weekend around Twin Rivers Campground and there is certainly wadeable water around there. Was planning on floating past where the forks meet this weekend as I have a buddy passing though but I think the rain will have me going to Tennessee instead. Seems like both of the forks (North & South) had some good, easy areas to wade and lower gradient so you wont be fighting current as much like on the Toe.

    The Broad river below lake lure has some opportunity for wading. Not a ton of big fish in there but a good mix of decent largemouth and smallmouth. The Broad in that section generally flows pretty clear as it is controlled by the dam, but they do release to generate power so you have to be aware of that (I have fished it when they were pushing water and it was not terrible but certainly tougher to paddle/wade. There are also some deep holes further down that can make wading tough/impossible but more room to roam than most places.

    There are some smaller creeks/flows I have not yet explored that drain into Fontana lake & some of the larger rivers that I know hold smallies I assume are easier to wade. Check out some of the articles the park/forest service has put out on smallmouth good place to get ya started.

    If you can get a craft to float in it will be worth it. I have an inflatable paddle board I use to access spots I cannot wade to and then often jump off of anchor. I will often paddle up rivers and float back down. Lots of work for sure, but opens a lot in this area.

  4. #3
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    Thanks for your detailed reply!

    I have a great SOT Kayak rigged for lake fishing. I like the idea of a float, but don't have the "two cars, two guys" needed to make that feasible. I have thought about paddling UP someplace and fishing back downstream.. but even some of those little riffles would make it difficult I would think.

    I might try the South Toe further upstream... and wet wade where I can get wet to the waist... or, do as you suggest, and find a spot, fish a few holes, runs... and then scamper up to the SUV and drive to the next spot.

    Thanks again! I'll let you know what happens! It's a drive from Charlotte... so I have to pick the days.. and watch the previous weather for river speed/height/stained waters.
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you can sell him your old kayak."

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  6. #4
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  7. #5
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    I was at our place in Little Switzerland this weekend but the storms on Friday night pretty much made everything too dangerous to wade. Anywhere in the stretches below Spruce Pine you can find a decent spot with parking you'll catch plenty of fish. Depending on the time I have, I'll hit one spot in the morning and another in the afternoon. Google Maps-Satellite/Earth is a good source for spots and parking. There are a few deeper holes in the N Toe that will produce lots of fish and some decent fish (if they don't see you first!). As much as I love to throw spinners, rapalas, etc. I've done my best drifting senkos, TRD's, craws and the like into the deeper holes. You'll lose more baits but you'll catch a lot more fish.

    I also like down near Huntdale too and the confluence of the Cane and Toe. River gets wider there and some better fish can be found but you can spend all day fishing one area. Cane River can be a fun to wade too and certainly easier than the Toe/Nolichucky. That is also quite a haul from Charlotte.

    South Toe further up will be mainly trout water. This time of year wet wading is fine and I'd even suggest it in the S Toe. Parts of that river get pretty slick and I about bite it every time when I fish it. I've fished a couple private access parts off Hwy 80 and caught fair numbers and a couple decent fish. Can be an option when the other rivers are a little muddy as it tends to run real clear.

    I fished the Johns River recently near Colletsville and caught a fair amount of little smallies. I even waded down to where Wilson Creek meets and caught a few in that section. Still, I like the Toe area better.

    I've wanted to try Henry's Fork too but haven't made time. You could also check out some of the rivers up 77 like the Dan, Yadkin, S Fork New, Fisher, Ararat...I just don't fish up that way much.

  8. #6
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    thanks for that. Had already found it... the Celo one is helpful
    m75rlg likes this.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you can sell him your old kayak."

  9. #7
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    [QUOTE=Lindy Rig;1228711]Thanks for your detailed reply!

    I have a great SOT Kayak rigged for lake fishing. I like the idea of a float, but don't have the "two cars, two guys" needed to make that feasible. I have thought about paddling UP someplace and fishing back downstream.. but even some of those little riffles would make it difficult I would think.

    I might try the South Toe further upstream... and wet wade where I can get wet to the waist... or, do as you suggest, and find a spot, fish a few holes, runs... and then scamper up to the SUV and drive to the next spot.

    Thanks again! I'll let you know what happens! It's a drive from Charlotte... so I have to pick the days.. and watch the previous weather for river speed/height/stained waters.[/QU

    Contact fellow NCAngler member Dustin at Dusty Trails outfitters in Crumpler for a shuttle. http://www.dustytrailsoutfitters.com/
    Red X Angler

  10. #8
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    May 2016
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    Vilas
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    Try New River Campground in Independence, VA if you want good smallmouth fishing by wading or kayaking. The campground provides 2.5, 5 and 11 mile shuttles so that solves you 2 man/2 car problem. Beautiful section of the river and great campground.

  11. #9
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    Thanks for the info Mtn Appraiser!

    Was all set to hit the South Toe near Celo gauge this morning, and work upstream from there... it's a 2.5 hour drive... AND THEN LAST NIGHT.... thunderstorms.. Gauge at S. Toe went from Height of .98 to 1.57... and discharge/flow went from 96.5 to 348!! Slept-in instead. One of these days
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you can sell him your old kayak."

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindy Rig View Post
    Thanks for the info Mtn Appraiser!

    Was all set to hit the South Toe near Celo gauge this morning, and work upstream from there... it's a 2.5 hour drive... AND THEN LAST NIGHT.... thunderstorms.. Gauge at S. Toe went from Height of .98 to 1.57... and discharge/flow went from 96.5 to 348!! Slept-in instead. One of these days
    I live in Boone. We have a great smallmouth and trout river nearby- Watauga River. It is wadeable and accessible from numerous places. Especially good from NC Hwy 194 bridge all the way to Watauga Lake. Buddy of mine caught a beautiful 32" brown this spring. Several nice smallies caught this spring and early summer.

  13. #11
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    Sounds like another spot! Thank you!

    I love my SOT Kayak... and hit all the lakes down here. But there's something about summer wading for smallmouths! I mean dang, I just got awesome wet-wading shoes and high neoprene socks... I'M READY!!
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you can sell him your old kayak."

  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtn appraiser View Post
    I live in Boone. We have a great smallmouth and trout river nearby- Watauga River. It is wadeable and accessible from numerous places. Especially good from NC Hwy 194 bridge all the way to Watauga Lake. Buddy of mine caught a beautiful 32" brown this spring. Several nice smallies caught this spring and early summer.
    Tennessee has stocked Watauga with Browns a bunch of times in the past decade. I have not caught but a few on my many trips there. Evidently, they're fleeing the state in pursuit of fresh crawdad hunting grounds.... I bet that one grew up in the lake...???
    gambusia, and ncsouthpaw like this.


  15. #13
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    Another question about what goes up the Watauga River from the lake, do Walleyes make their way into North Carolina when they spawn in the river? They might be available during late winter and early spring. They like to spawn in shoals.

  16. #14
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    Not that I am aware of. I have fished for the spawning walleyes in early spring and caught them up the river near but not quite to the TN/NC line.
    Troutgirl likes this.


  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtn appraiser View Post
    Not that I am aware of. I have fished for the spawning walleyes in early spring and caught them up the river near but not quite to the TN/NC line.
    So, you were fishing in Tennessee. I just wondered how far up they went. I thought maybe they went a few miles into Carolina. The Watauga arm of the lake is the only arm I haven't been all the way up. I have not been past that camp club with all the buoys for boats to tie to and the old Tweetsie rail bridge crosses the river.
    mtn appraiser likes this.


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