Fly Fishing On Boone Fork Creek

By James Marsh

Boone Fork Creek is located near Boone, North Carolina, and begins at Price Lake Dam just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The entire stream is “catch and release” only. It’s a beautiful little trout stream that’s a tributary of the Watauga River. It enters the Watauga River near Foscoe, North Carolina. It has brown, brook and rainbow trout. Some of the browns reach a large size. Fly fishing Boone Fork Creek is a pleasurable experience. It’s an excellent small, wild trout stream.

The Boone Fork actually begins above Price Lake from springs and along with another small stream, Cold Prong, flows into Price Lake. This area is within the Julian Price Memorial Park. The park is managed by the National Park Service. When it first flows out of the lake’s spillway, it goes through a picnic area. The park, including the picnic area, is located at the intersection of U. S. Highway #321 and the Blue Ridge Parkway at Blowing Rock. Sims Creek, a small tributary, also enters the Boone Fork inside the park.

The picnic area itself isn’t worth fishing during the summer or peak tourist times because the people using the area spook the trout. It can be fished during the off-season times and early in the day. The Julian Price Memorial Park also has a large campground with facilities that are located adjacent to the picnic area. It’s best to park at the end of the road inside the park to begin fishing during the times the park is busy.

When the stream flows out of the picnic area, it falls through a much steeper decline and becomes a series of plunges and long pools. This section of the creek flows for over two miles within the park’s boundaries. Fly fishing Boone Fork Creek in this area falls under the fly fishing, catch and release only regulations inside the park.

The Boone Fork Loop Trail follows the creek inside the park and provides good access to most of its waters. It isn’t a piece of cake to hike the trail. As just mentioned, the streams flows at a steep decline in this area. The Boone Fork Loop trail forms a circle that is 5.5 miles in length. Of course not all the trial follows the creek. Fly fishing Boone Fork Creek can be challenging in some areas.

There’s a small tributary, Bee Tree Creek, which enters Boone Fork Creek at the point the trail departs the stream. Parts of these streams are closed (I think it includes Bee Tree Creek) so you need to check the current signs and regulations to make sure you’re not fishing a closed section. The Boone Fork Loop Trail follows Bee Tree Creek for a ways after it departs the Boone Fork. The stream flows through private property outside of the park.

One good thing about the stream is that it stays cool, even in areas where it is exposed to the sun in meadows, and other areas void of trees. This is because the elevation of the creek in the picnic area is approximately 3900 feet. The weather is much cooler at this higher elevation. Most of the stream runs through hardwood and pines and is shaded.

Boone Fork Creek has a low pH compared to other high elevation streams in the North Carolina mountains. It begins with some spring water which increases the pH. Because of that, it also has a good population of aquatic insects, many of which are not so common in nearby other streams. Green Sedges and Cinnamon Sedge Caddis are plentiful and so are scuds. The stream has a lot of other aquatic insects that are plentiful in the other streams such as Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, Blue-winged olives, Light Cahills, American March Browns, Sulphurs, LIttle Yellow stoneflies, Golden stonesflies, Giant Black stoneflies, Winter stoneflies, Needle stoneflies and others.

  • Season: The season runs year-round
  • Winter: Trout can be caught some days during the Winter
  • Spring: Spring is the best time for fly fishing Boone Fork Creek, due to the hatches.
  • Summer: Summertime is okay – the water stays cool.
  • Fall: Fall is a beautiful time to fish this stream

James Marsh is the Owner of The Perfect Fly online and catalog mail-order store.