Wilson Creek Fly Fishing: Because of Wilson Creek Wild & Scenic Area’s fantastic vistas from ridges more than 4000 feet high, numerous whitewater rapids and trails that travel to spectacular waterfalls, fly fishing Wilson Creek is hard to beat. The Wilson Creek watershed is a must-do adventure for all avid fly fishermen and the area offers some of the best opportunities for fly fishing in the entire High Country Region of North Carolina. The lush forests, scenic views and cold, clear streams make for some excellent fisheries.
The Wilson Creek area is located in the Grandfather district of the Pisgah National Forest, in the northwestern section of Caldwell County, North Carolina. Wilson Creek itself is a water system that originates in Calloway Peak and stretches for 23 miles before dumping into John’s River. It was added to the Wild and Scenic River System on August 18, 2000. There are several trout designations in Wilson creek area including: Wild – 4.6 miles; Scenic – 2.9 miles; Recreational – 15.8 miles.
According to historical records, the Wilson Creek Wilderness area was once used by the Cherokee Indians as a summer hunting grounds. It was settled in 1750, and logging began on the dense forest. Mortimer, once the largest community in the Wilson Creek area, was the site of the Ritter Lumber Company sawmill which was destroyed by over 20 inches of rain in 24 hours in July 1916. The week before, a soaking rain had already saturated the ground and heavy lumbering aggravated the speed of the water rushing through the gorge. After a year, efforts to rebuild brought back the sawmill and a textile mill with the community served by a railroad line. The mills provided jobs enough to sustain 800 residents. If still in existence, Mortimer would be the county seat of Caldwell County, North Carolina (which is now Lenoir, North Carolina) However, it flooded again with Wilson Creek reaching over a 90 foot flood stage on August 13, 1940 ending all efforts to bring in industry leaving the area virtually deserted. The concrete shells of the old facilities are visible in a park area. Only a few residents and homes remain upstream at Edgemont, with most the downstream area maintained for public use by the US Forestry Service.
The Wilson Creek area is frequented by hikers and recreation enthusiasts. There are plenty of places to fish, hike, and camp. Dispersed camping is allowed throughout the forest area, but sites must be set up at least 100 ft. from any water. The Wilson Creek Gorge area is available for day use but there is limited parking.