River fishing in far west North Carolina? You may have fished Lake Hiawassee, Lake Nottely, and Lake Nantahala. Well…..They each have their own local river. The Hiawassee River, met by the Valley River, flows north into the Lake. The Valley River begins in the foothills of the Nantahala Forest just east of Andrews. It is fed from natural springs and winds its way westward through the valley between Andrews and Murphy. Winding may be an understatement, more like quadruple S curves as it criss-crosses highways 19/74. This 15 miles stretch goes widely unnoticed and under fished (until now). The Valley River is hatchery supported and stocked March-September.
In addition to care of our waterways, The Hiawassee River Watershed Coalition has created ‘put ins’ on the Valley creating better access for fishing. If you don’t mind wading and hitting the holes, the Valley is for you. During spring and early summer, the stockers hold in deeper pools. These pools are easily recognizable and you can bet on hooking up. Success can be had with rooster tails, shad raps, twisters, and your typical live trout baits. As the weather cools in the fall, the trout move up river (east) to the small streams to spawn.
Smallmouth, catfish, and brim from Lake Hiawassee are also abundant in the Valley as they seek more food and cooler waters during the summer. There are many more outdoor activities in the Murphy area, but the river fishing should be at the top of your list.
Matt Walters is the owner of Murphy/Peace Valley KOA locate at 117 Happy Valley Road In Marble, NC. For Reservations call (828) 562-9382 or (828) 837-6223 or visit www.koa.com/camp/murphy or on facebook at facebook.com/peacevalley.campground.