Fly Fishing the French Broad River
Unknown to many anglers, the French Broad River that runs through Downtown Asheville is an outstanding smallmouth bass fishery. Because of the high fish density seen on this river, its proximity to Asheville, and the reduced number of anglers, the French Broad River offers great smallmouth fishing for those in Western North Carolina.
As one of the oldest river in the world, the French Broad River holds smallmouth bass that average 12 inches and some as large as 5 lbs. This river has an immense amount of crayfish and baitfish that are the main food source for the smallies. A wide variety of river bottom types give the fish more then enough room and variety for both habitation and spawning. Every year since the floods in 2004, the French Broad River has seen its smallmouth bass population grow in both size and numbers.
Adopting some tactics from traditional spin fishing, the fly fishing angler has great opportunities for catching the meanest pound-for-pound freshwater fish. Typical bass flies such as poppers, clouser minnows, and crayfish patterns work well on this river during specific times of the year. Even large dry flies will catch smallies during some of the significant mayfly hatches on the French Broad
Because of the variety of river bottom types, the French Broad can be a difficult river to wade. With the limestone ledges that often run the entire width of the river, wading boots with studded soles are recommended. Better yet, experiencing the river from a boat is the ultimate way to spend a day on the French Broad.
French Broad River Fly Fishing Stream Report The French Broad River has not been reliably clear thus far this year. The fish should be done spawning for the most part, but there is always a period of relative inactivity following the spawn. With the frequent rain shower we've had so far this year, the French broad has seen its share of high water levels and decreased visibility. When the river is muddy, the fishing is nearly impossible as the smallmouth have very little time to see a fly due to the higher river flow and the decreased visibility. With July and August just around the corner, fishing will dramatically improve over the next few weeks as the weather patterns shift and give us less precipitation. Stock up on your crayfish patterns, as well as white and chartreuse minnow patterns for when the water falls and clears.