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musky on the French Broad River • Winter Guiding Available

Fly fishing guides on the french broad river

We’re fishing through winter and early spring! Contact us with your dates to book a trip!


Fly fishing musky in Western North Carolina is the next frontier for musky fishing. Join us on the third oldest river in the world, with nearly 30 miles of productive trophy musky water.

Starting in Brevard, North Carolina, find yourself on the main river of the French Broad River and drifting along log infested, deep cut banks. This is one of the finest musky fisheries in North Carolina. 


10-12 wt Thomas & Thomas Exocett Predator / TFO BC Big Fly

• 8-10″ Cortland® Tieable Stainless Steel 35-40lb
• Cortland® 50-60lb Monofilament Nylon Leader Material at 4-5 feet total leader length

Musky Rope: 300-550 grain
• Cortland® Pike Musky Sink 4/8
• Cortland® Compact Type 3, 6, 9


Inflatable, non-motorized Outcast PAC-1300 | Stable, Discreet & Comfortable with hard-decking to stand on for stability and comfort! 


Full Day Musky Float: $600  / 1-2 Anglers

  • A licensed, knowledgeable fishing guide who can assist you with casting, locating fish, and whatever questions you may have.
  • Fly Fishing equipment- Rod, Reel, Fly Line, Leaders, Tippet, Flies
    *** Please request conventional gear in advance — our guide’s default gear on the boat is for fly fishing
  • A North Carolina Fishing License  (you can purchase both ahead of time by visiting
  • A ride to and from the water you’ll be fishing is no longer provided. Your guide will figure out shuttling with you prior to the trip.
  • Lunch, beverages and snacks will not be provided by your guide. Please be ready to provide yourselves lunch, beverages and snacks.

Hire THE Guide:

Contact Headwaters Outfitters musky guide, Gavin Griffin, directly at or by cell at (814)-227-8876

French Broad River on the Musky Mile. 4/21

  “Muskie here can get and are big — mid-50s at their largest. I had a fish chase my fly in an eight for two minutes that I would guess was 54 inches or bigger…

…The more I fish and guide this river, the more I am sure this fishery is one of the best in the south for hunting down southern musky in a fast flowing, log jam filled river. The state record is in here somewhere… I believe in that. 

But this fishery is all about pursuing the endeavor, baby.”

– Gavin Griffin, HWO Musky Guide

Gavin Griffin with a musky
Gavin Griffin with a musky


Best Suited for: Intermediate to more advanced fly anglers

Ballpark Seasons To Fish:  Early as Mid-September (Fall) through December (Winter) into May (Spring)

Destinations: “Musky Mile” of Upper French Broad River

Trip Description: The average day on the Musky Mile starts at 6:30 AM and lasts 10 hours, but we regularly have trips go into 12 to 14 hours depending on what the guide sees fit for the angler. Half way through, you can expect an hour for lunch. ***Started in 2020, lunch is no longer provided by HWO and all clients are asked to bring their own food and drink.*** At the end of your float, you’ll be at your vehicle at the take-out.

During the day, you’ll be casting fly rods between 10 and 12 weight, while running heavier 350 to 550 grain full sinking lines, and using 7 inch to 15 inch flies. It is physically demanding and does put heavy strain on wrists, hands and shoulders. You’ll be standing and casting upwards of 40 to 60 feet.

On conventional gear, you can expect to be cranking low-profile Abu Garcia 400-500s, lined with 80 pound Power Pro braid while turning figure-8s with a 8 foot to 9 foot heavy St. Croix Musky Mojo rod or similar. We throw a lot of jerk and crank baits, mixed in with heavy plastics and glide baits.

Fly fishing and conventional tackle for musky are thrown by our guides but primarily, we use the fly rod and expect anglers to focus on the fly. We are 100% catch and release across the French Broad River fishery.

Known as “the fish of 10,000 casts,” our strain is one of the most southern in the United States. Luckily, for someone interested in the pursuit of these apex predators, we have a healthy and expanding fishery of muskies right here in our backyard on the French Broad River.

October through May is considered the best time to pursue these pike relatives, which grow as large as 50-plus inches in our waters. As we hit the river, your guide will describe the ins-and-outs of musky fishing, provide casting instruction, focus your efforts on productive spots musky live, while including the unique strategies used to trigger follows and strikes.

We suggest booking a minimum of 2 days on the water with guides, but it’s highly encouraged to book 3, 4, 5 days on the water at a time.

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