Explaining the Tuckaseegee
It's that time of year. October is here, which means two things: The fishing, after a summer lull, is about to get a lot better. And Western NC fly shops will be answering a lot of questions about the Tuckaseegee River. Here are a few of the most common queries.
1) How's the flow?
Two dams control the East and West Forks of the Tuck. The releases are dictated by Duke Energy, which publishes information on river flows on its website. The East Fork is a bigger release; the West Fork is a lesser flow. Duke can release one section, both sections or none. For more information about the details about these flows, you can go to our YouTube channel for an extensive explanatory video.
We post daily flows on a blackboard in our Sylva shop and to our Instagram account. Many anglers assume we have additional inside information on expected flows, but we do not. We get the same information that Duke lists on its website.
2) Can I wade the Tuck?
That depends. If the East and West Fork are releasing, the Tuck is not safe to wade; however, that scenario is ideal for a float trip. If there's an East Fork release, some anglers are confident enough to wade in certain well-scouted spots. However, it's recommended that most anglers should wait for a West Fork release or, ideally, a no-release day. A West Fork release is a few hundred CFS, which is suitable for some ---- but not all --- anglers. To play it safe, wait for a day when there's no release and a natural flow, which allows for more wadeable day. Keep in mind the Sylva/Dillsboro delayed harvest is generally shallow enough to wade. The Bryson City delayed-harvest stretch, in general, is too deep to offer much wading.
3) How's the fishing?
That depends on the time of year. The Tuck fishes the best from October through early summer, early June, when the delayed harvest ends. The Tuck, it should be noted, is not a good summer fishery, even though it's considered a tailwater. The summertime water temps, put simply, are not cold enough for active trout. In the summer and early fall, it's best to try to find colder water in the Smoky Mountain National Park streams.
The Tuck fishes best in the fall in the spring, when the water temperatures are more conducive to feeding trout and after the state of North Carolina has stocked. The state usually stocks the Tuck seven times a year --- twice in October and November, once each in March, April and May.
The Tuck, like many trout fisheries, is not an exact science. but the above information is a good start. For additional info, stop by one our shops. We have locations in downtown Sylva, Bryson City and Waynesville. Tight lines.
--- Mike Hodge