Hook A Smallmouth On The French Broad (Asheville): Float for smallmouth through the Biltmore Estate. For those who want to play Huck Finn for a day, float by raft or drift boat through the Biltmore Estate is the way to go. Drift past forests and vineyards, casting crease flies and poppers to feisty smallmouth bass that lurk along the rocky shoals. A few musky are caught every year throwing big streamers with wire leaders, but the phenomenal smallie fishing and the scenery is the big draw. You can wade the Bent Creek area when water levels allow.
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.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 W to I-26 E and get off on exit 33, NC 191. Turn left and head south on NC 191 until you cross under the Blue Ridge Parkway overpass. The Bent Creek river access is the first left.