DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Boone Fork Creek in North Carolina

Fly fishing can be a great sport and hobby to enjoy. Plus, with so many great destinations for trout fishing around the country, it’s easy to find plenty to explore. You don’t even have to pay a guide so whether you’re on a budget or just want to go alone, you can do as you please. 

In this guide, we’ll help you learn about Boone Fork Creek, including what kind of fly fishing it offers, which sections are best, what you need to bring, and more. We’ll even cover which seasons are best for fly fishing this creek, along with some travel tips for those coming from out of town. Let’s get started.

Boone Fork Creek Overview

Boone Fork Creek is located in Northwestern North Carolina, just outside of Boone. The freestone stream is small, starting at Price Lake Dam. This is a catch-and-release stream that offers beautiful scenery. 

It’s also a tributary of the Watauga River, and they meet up near Foscoe. You’ll find rainbow, brown, and brook trout in the creek. The brooks are native, while the rainbows and browns are a mixture of wild and stock/holdover. 

Boone Fork Creek offers some larger browns than several of the streams in the area and its small size makes it an enjoyable fishing experience for those who want something with good access. The Boone Fork gets its start above Price Lake and flows into the lake, and out the spillway through a picnic area. 

The picnic area sees a lot of tourists during the summertime. However, outdoorsy anglers will appreciate that there’s a large campground near the picnic area in Julian Price Memorial Park. Once the stream leaves the picnic area, it flows into a series of long pools and plunges. 

This is typically where people look for the best fly fishing, but this two-mile stretch is within park boundaries and follows the parks’ regulations of catch and release and fly fishing only. The elevation of this creek is what makes it so desirable-- sitting at 3900 feet in the picnic area, it’s easy for the water to stay cool. 

This creek has a higher pH, which means it offers better populations of aquatic insects for the trout to feed on. This is how you find bigger fish here than in other streams. Although sections can get a little crowded in the summer, this creek is worth a visit. Consider visiting in the other seasons for less traffic, but we’ll discuss that more below.

Boone Fork Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing access sites on Boone Fork Creek in western North Carolina

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Best Places to Fish Boone Fork Creek

As mentioned, many people like to fish near the Price Lake Dam and the picnic area, where there are plenty of riffles and pools with easy access. However, you may find more pressure here during popular times of the year for fly fishing. You are better to head downstream if you’re here during the summer because you’ll still find good fishing and can miss the crowds. 

Inside the park, you’ll also find access from the Boone Fork Loop Trail, which is a short hike to the water. This is a 5.5-mile loop trail that only follows the creek for a few miles before departing near Bee Tree Creek. 

Outside of the park, the stream goes through private property, so you’ll want to avoid these areas. Watch for signs and make sure that you’re not trespassing. The best sections to fish are in the dam area and the park area, although you’ll want to travel during off-season times for a peaceful experience. 

There is parking near the dam and at the intersection of Highway 231 and the Blue Ridge Parkway where the picnic area can be found. You shouldn’t have to hike far to find fishing in this creek, even if you leave the more popular areas.

Best Time to Fish Boone Fork Creek

North Carolina’s streams are best fished during the spring months, as most of the trout love the aquatic insect hatches that come during this time. March and April are the best times to come. You may still find some good fishing into May.

The summer days usually get too hot for much good fishing in this small creek, but you might have luck on cool days. Fall, however, is spawning season and sees the water temps cool down. Thus, it is the second-best time to visit Boone Fork Creek. 

You will also find some good fishing here on the warmer winter days. You can expect to follow standard trout stream seasonal guidelines to get the best catches. If you want to capitalize on hatches, come during spring. 

If you prefer to enjoy the fall foliage and go for those feisty browns, plan your trip then. Another consideration with this stream is fishing during cloudy days, or even during the early morning or evening hours. This ensures you’re not spooking the trout.

Fly Box - What You'll Need

The fish here love the abundant stoneflies, mayflies, caddisflies, and even scuds. The variety of insects makes it easy to stock your imitations and keep the fish happy. You can find plenty of action with dry flies so be sure to keep those on hand. 

Nymphs and streamers could help you in some areas of the creek, but these fish are fairly easy to catch even in the populated areas. The water conditions are good and the fish themselves are much less picky during peaks hatches.

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Boone Fork Creek:

Dry Flies

  • Yellow Sally (#12 - 16)
  • Yellow Humpy (#10 - 18)
  • Parachute Sulphur (#14 - 18)
  • Parachute Adams (#12 - 22)
  • Light Cahill (#10 - 18)
  • Elk Hair Caddis (#8 - 16)
  • Yellows Stimulator (#8 - 14)
  • Chernobyl Ant (#8 - 12)
  • Griffith's Gnat (#16 - 24)

Nymphs

  • Pheasant Tail (#12 - 20)
  • BH Hare's Ear (#12 - 20)
  • Rainbow Warrior (#14 - 22)
  • Pat's Rubber Legs (#4 - 12)
  • Golden Stonefly (#6 - 10)
  • Tellico Nymph (#12 - 18)
  • Zebra Midge (#16 - 22)
  • WD40 (#16-20)
  • Y2K Egg (#12 - 16)

Streamers

  • BH Wooly Bugger (#2 - 6)
  • Sculpzilla (#4)

Gear Recommendations

A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Boone Fork Creek. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 3X to 5X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.

Boone Fork Creek Fishing Report

Area fly shops, guides and websites that can provide a Boone Fork Creek fly fishing report and update on current conditions are listed below:

Fishing Regulations

The state of North Carolina requires that all people who are 16 years of age and older have a valid fishing license. There are resident and non-resident sport fishing licenses available.

You can purchase a North Carolina state fishing license and learn about the most current regulations through the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Trip Planning Tips

Boone isn’t far from this river, where you can find plenty of food and a place to stay if you’re not interested in camping. However, camping is available in the park and other areas around the creek. Highway 421 runs west to Winston-Salem, so anyone flying in can book a flight there. 

Be sure to have a car, though, so that you can get to the river. In Boone, you’ll even find some great attractions and other things to see if you want to take a break from fly fishing. You’ll find plenty of bait shops and fly stores along your route for last-minute supplies and fishing reports.

Looking for more places to fish? Check out our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in North Carolina

Feature image by Bikes and Books

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