The Davidson River

The Davidson is North Carolina’s destination trophy trout stream and is full of large trout that have frustrated even the most experienced anglers.  Don’t venture into these waters unless you are mentally prepared to be skunked by some very experienced fish. The secret to catching fish here is either sight fishing with large streamers to wary browns or repeatedly drifting #22 nymphs past the noses of waiting fish.

One of the most popular places to fish is near the fish hatchery shown on the map. Because the hatchery releases a lot of nutrients into the stream there is a large supply of food for the fish and they get large. Also because of the nutrients, the stream has a large midge population which calls for using very small midge nymphs in the #18-22 range. If you are not skilled in very technical nymphing methods then it is worth it to hire a guide for a least a half day to improve your skills and reduce the frustration. Most of this stream is managed as a catch and release, artificial flies fishery from the headwaters down to Avery Creek–below that to the USFS boundary, it is a hatchery supported stream.

Upstream through the hatchery and downstream to Avery Creek, the Davidson River has been classified as Catch-and-Release, Artificial-Flies Only water.  Beginning downstream at Avery Creek, the Davidson is classified as Hatchery-Supported water.  Check the current North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Rules for any changes to these regulations and look for the diamond-shaped signs along the river.

Season:  Open All Year

Lure Restrictions:  Only artificial flies with one single hook may be used

Daily Limit:  No trout may be harvested or possessed



Season:  First Sunday in April – Last Sunday in February

Lure Restrictions:  None

Daily Limit:  7 trout

I think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution.

John Gierach