Jackson County, North Carolina moved one step closer to becoming the Tar Heel State’s trout capital on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 in Raleigh, as members of the state legislature recognized the county as the state’s premier trout fishing destination.
The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce in Sylva and Jackson County Commissioners requested the North Carolina General Assembly to proclaim Jackson County the official trout capital of North Carolina on April 21 of this year. The General Assembly recognized the county’s immense natural resources and its place in history as home to the first fly-fishing trail in the United States.
“It’s part of our heritage and it’s key to our economy. I’m all for supporting it.” Rep. Joe Sam Queen said, nothing the possibilities for economic growth. “There are crafts, there is clothing, hats, creels, the making of the lies, there is a good fly fishing club, it’s just endless.”
Jackson County contains 4,600 miles of trout streams and receives an annual stocking of 92,800 trout, which is the most of any county in the state. It also features the state’s longest contiguous stretch of Mountain Heritage Trout Waters. Three of the 13 towns designated with Mountain Heritage Trout Waters (Sylva, Dillsboro, and Webster) are in Jackson County.
In 2009, Jackson County Chamber Director Julie Spiro co-founded the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, a first of its kind in the industry that directs anglers to 15 prime spots to catch trout in the county. She knows the trail’s positive impact on Jackson County and hopes this designation brings similar results. The chamber has spearheaded the official designation efforts.
“We are pleased our legislators have been supportive of our efforts to increase the visibility of the fishing industry in Western North Carolina,” Spiro said. “We’re excited and optimistic, and look forward to branding Jackson County as the premier trout fishing destination in the state, and ultimately the trout capital. This adds credibility to the success of the Fly Fishing Trail, and provides additional opportunities for fishing and accommodation packages, retailers and outfitters expansion of offerings, and potentially a new festival for our region.”
The designation will move forward through the state House and Senate for a vote, potentially designating Jackson County as North Carolina’s official trout capital, which could occur in early 2017 during the state’s long session.
For more information on trout fishing in Jackson County, read “North Carolina’s Trout Trifecta” by Beau Beasley from the July/August 2015 issue of American Angler. To receive a free guide to the WNC Fly Fishing Trail, call (828) 5862155, or go to www.NCTroutCapital.com.