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Source:  Karen Chavez for the Asheville Citizen-Times

“This is no big fish tale!  Rather it’s the reality that trout fishing creates big business for Western North Carolina.

A study released recently, conducted by Responsive Management and Southwick Associates for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, found that in 2014 nearly 149,000 trout anglers fished approximately 1.6 million days.  These anglers gave the state’s economy an estimated $383 million boost in direct spending on items such as fishing equipment, food, gas and lodging, and secondary spending by fly-fishing outfitters and other businesses associated with trout angling and their employees…also found that money spent on trout fishing in 2014 supported approximately 3,600 jobs…

Kevin Howell gave up life as an engineer to take over Davidson River Outfitters in 1998.  The shop and guide business sits on the banks of the Davidson River in Brevard, in Translyvania County.  His father was one of the premier fly tiers of his generation and  Howell followed in  his footsteps.

When Howell began, he had one other guide who worked three days a week.  Now he has 11 guides who  work seven days a week.  The shop also offers classes from rod building and repair to fly-tying classes, casting and fishing and intensive two-day “schools.”

A day on the river for two people ranges from $375 – $500, including all gear, except state fishing license.  “”People love the solitude and peacefulness of fly fishing.  It’s a great way to escape, to get your mind off work, and get outdoors.  The saying goes that catching a fish is second – and being outdoors is first, Howell said.  It’s about a lifestyle, and getting outdoors and not feeling the pressures that society puts on us.””

Ray Fleming of Augusta, South Carolina, a retired health physicist, started fishing with Davidson River Outfitters in Pisgah Forest six years ago at age 70.  He now comes several times a year.  He said he loves to explore new places where fish hide, and to improve his casting and catching skills.  “”I just love being outdoors.  I’m not a beach person.  I love the mountains.  I love standing in the streams…I was out early one  morning.  I looked downstream and there was a canopy of trees on both sides of the river and the sun was shining through on the rippling water.  I thought – How lucky am I?””

SOURCE:  Karen Chavez for The Asheville Citizen Times    

IMAGE:  carolinasportsman.com

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