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Whitewater River South Carolina
Type of Stream: Freestone
Species: Brown and rainbow wild and semi wild
Location: Northwest SC and Southwest NC
Nearest Town: Walhalla, SC and Cashiers, NC
Fishing the Whitewater River:
The Whitewater River is a freestone river that originates in North Carolina Transylvania County, (the Land of the Waterfalls) near Cashiers, then flows predominately South into South Carolina and empties into Lake Jocassee. This is one of the most remote areas of both NC and SC, and as such it has some awesome scenery including two dramatic waterfalls each more than 400 feet high. Whitewater River along with the Horsepasture River, Thompson River, and others are tributaries of Lake Jocassee. One way to access these rivers is by boat however, you need the agility and stamina of a billy goat to navigate up from the lake. There are no trails along these streams leading from the lake so the only access is by walking the stream.
Much of the Whitewater River lies in NC but a couple of miles stretching from the NC/SC border about one mile above the Lower Falls to one mile below the Lower Falls lie in SC. Going a little further up the Whitewater River from the NC/SC border will bring you to the Upper Falls.
The section between the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls a distance of about 2 miles is known for some excellent brown trout fishing. This section of the Whitewater River has good deep pools, runs and riffles making it a great area for fly fishing. The Ph is such that the Whitewater is not a fertile river but if does serve up some nice wild and semi-wild brown and rainbow trout. This area enjoys some periodic stocking of fingerlings by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Once stocked, these fingerlings take on the characteristics of wild trout.
Still further up the Whitewater River State Route 281 in North Carolina crosses the river providing access by a small trail that is not well maintained. This portion of the Whitewater River is gentler with a modest slope. There are many small falls followed by pools and gentle riffles. Most of this water can be waded easily. The North Carolina portion of the river, which starts in the remote portion between Upper and Lower Falls and continues upstream to the headwaters, is managed under Wild (single hook, artificial lure) regulations.
Some cautions are in order for example portions of the river are traveled by kayakers and an angler should keep an eye open for them. In addition, care is needed to be aware of your position with regard to the two falls as it can be very dangerous. Also, since it is not easy to identify the NC/SC border, it is advisable to have both fishing licenses before you go there.
The river is ideal for fly fishermen with a modest drop allowing for good drifts. Good drifts and a careful stealthy approach will be necessary and will prove to be more important than the fly selection.
Fishing in the very early spring can be dangerous due to the vertical drop in some areas. However the early angler using Hendricksons, Black Caddis and March Browns will be successful. See the Perfect Fly line of flies at Trout University.
Summer is a great time to fish the Whitewater River and the stream is favored by good shade and cool water. Yellow Stoneflies and Light Cahills are good choices. Streamers will be effective as well due to abundance of smaller fish in the stream. Of course the terrestrials will also be good due to the heavy tree cover.
Fall and Winter:
This is a very scenic and pleasant time to be on the Whitewater River and fishing remains good as a bonus.
South of Cashiers and West of Brevard is NC 281 which crosses the Whitewater River. At this bridge a trail follows up the river however it is not well maintained. Some agility and determination will be required.
About one mile down NC 281 at the Whitewater Falls Parking Area there is a trail to the Upper Falls. From these falls there is a very rugged trail down to the river area between both falls.
As mentioned above, access can be by boat from Lake Jocassee, however, I have never met anyone who has tried that approach.
Recommended DVDs, Books, etc.:
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