Guided Trout Fishing

Hooked for Life
Fly Fishing w/Ken Wilbanks

The Place

Madison County North Carolina is home to some of THE most beautiful and plentiful trout waters in America. The unprecedented beauty of the landscape, the breathtaking streams and rivers cascading through pristine national forests and dependable stocks of rainbow, brown and the brook trout set the stage for THE fly fishing experience of a lifetime. Hot Springs is in the northwestern corner of Madison County and is an epicenter for fly fishing. Within ten miles there are at least half a dozen world class fishing streams, creeks and rivers: Spring Creek, the French Broad River, Meadow Fork Creek, Hickey Fork Creek, Big Laurel Creek, and Shelton Laurel Creek.

Hot Springs is a high mountain valley at the intersection of Spring Creek and the French Broad River. Spring Creek, which runs straight through Hot Springs, is a designated N.C. Mountain Heritage Trout Water, which makes Hot Springs a designated N.C. Mountain Heritage Trout Water Town. The creek is stocked abundantly six times a year with Brown, Brook, and Rainbow Trout. (Even if you don`t have waders you can fish right off of the Red Bridge.) The French Broad River, the third oldest river in the world, also runs along Hot Springs. The river boasts one of the premium Smallmouth Bass fisheries in North Carolina and is ranked as one of N.C.`s top four best rivers for Smallmouth. Two other N.C. Mountain Heritage Trout Waters, the Big Laurel and Shelton Laurel Creeks, are just five miles out of town. Hickey Fork Creek (a small tributary of Shelton Laurel Creek) has a rare native (rather than stocked) population of beautiful Brook Trout that make for a one of a kind catch. This remarkable confluence of world class creeks, streams, and rivers creates an unparalleled outdoor and fly fishing experience that is unrepeatable.

Fly fishing is arguably the premier blend of artistry, skill and sport in all of outdoor life. Casting a whip thin rod and delicately presenting cunningly crafted replicas of aquatic and terrestrial insects is artistry in motion. The swirl of fish rising to the invitation and the stunning strike followed by the pull of the fight exhilarates everyone from rank beginner to seasoned master of the stream. Once you`ve begun fly fishing you will certainly be delightfully hooked for life.

The Person:

Ken Wilbanks is a life-long outdoorsman and fly fisherman offering guided trout fishing excursions throughout Western North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee and Northern Georgia. His passion for fly fishing has taken him to all of the major fishing regions of the United States. His journey has included three decades of fly fishing in the Pacific North West, Yellowstone Basin, the Rocky Mountain States, New England, and all throughout Dixie. He believes fishing is more than a sport. It`s a moving meditation, the ultimate communion with nature, a way of living and of thinking. It is an exercise in strengthening the muscles of hope and faith. It is life - the way it is meant to be lived and experienced every day.

The Packages:

1/2 Day Package:

Full Day Package:

Cane Pole Fishing for the Family:

Ken is pleased to offer a low-tech approach to family fishing fun. This package is ideal for parents who would like to spend a half day in nature with their kids introducing them to the wonders of the natural world while learning to fish. Cane poles are made from raw bamboo, a length of line, a hook, and a cork float. Ken will help parents and kids make their own poles and then take them on a guided fishing excursion on Spring Creek. Perfect for birthdays, summer vacations, or any other excuse you need to get back to nature and `just go fishing.` (You even get to keep the fishing pole!)

2 hours of Cane Pole Fishing (includes making the fishing rod) - $50.00 per family

Bring your own gear because, as every fisherman knows, it makes for a better experience. If you are a beginner and don`t have gear yet, some loaner gear is available. Please mention this when you call to book a fishing package. Ken provides one leader and three carefully selected flies per person.

Contact Information:
Cell: 828-776-6459


Fall pictures and video courtesy of Bruce Kennedy, innerworks productions
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