Highland Outfitters is located in the heart of the high country in Boone North Carolina. Our mission is to educate and equip fly anglers of all skill levels as well as to conserve our local fisheries. Fly fishing is a multifaceted sport and the niche that I enjoy most is exploring our near endless amount of wild water. Catching trout on the fly is the goal of course, but a large part of what it means to be a fly angler is the experience of it all. Whether it be the hike in to a remote stream, coming around the next bend to find an unnamed waterfall, or the calming presence that nature and solitude provides, it is all of those experiences combined that lead up to catching a trout on the fly.
As such, we at Highland Outfitters strive to give our customers a true mountain fly fishing experience. So what is a true mountain fly fishing experience? Understanding what that means begins with understanding what the high country has to offer. Our watershed offers copious amounts of small freestone creeks full of waterfalls, plunge pools, and native Brook trout that are eager to rise to a well placed dry fly. The small freestone streams gradually grow as they descend the local topography, coalescing with other tributaries as they cascade down the valleys growing in size which welcomes a higher propensity of wild Brown and Rainbow trout. The conglomeration of our many freestone and spring creeks produces many medium sized streams and rivers that wind through the boulder fields that were left behind by retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age.
The wealth of our water is in the wild places and wild trout that call them home. Any person taking a fly fishing trip in our area should experience the ancient and wizened landscape as well as the stunning coloration of a wild trout. The vivid hues of pink and purple in the lateral line of a rainbow, the blood red spots of a brown trout traced by halos of bluish white, or the cosmic mosaic colors of a native brook trout are all humbling to witness in person. Catching trout is the ultimate goal of our sport but there is so much more in all of the experiences that lead up to fooling that trout into eating a concoction of feathers, wire, and fur. Anything less would be disingenuous to what our area has to offer and to what a true fly fishing experience is.
Ben Wayne is Highland Outfitters’ fly shop manager and wild water guru. He specializes in seeking out big, wild brown trout in back country streams in the Appalachian Mountains. With his background in biology and education, he’s a wealth of knowledge on the water and in the shop.