Frequently

Asked Questions


How do I book my trip?

Click any button on the site that says “BOOK NOW.” Fill out the form and include height, weight, and shoe size in the comments section if you will be needing boots and waders. We will take it from there, and contact you about your chosen dates. You may also email heath@pisgahoutdoors.com or call 828-577-3277.


I clicked the button and filled out the form but I haven’t heard anything back yet?

We are most likely in the woods or on the water. The phones won’t work and there is no internet. You should hear something back before the sun goes down or shortly thereafter. If it’s a short notice trip go ahead and call and leave a message on the voicemail, or send a text to the number. Sometimes a text will go through in the forest and I will know to check the email for a booking as soon as I leave the forest.


Do you require a deposit? And what happens if I cancel?

At this time we do not require a deposit and only accept payment after a trip is completed. It has been our experience that folks who want to fish will fish, as long it’s safe, and those who do not.. won’t. We do not want to be on the water with anyone who does not want to be out there themselves. Part of being an outdoors person is being comfortable with not being comfortable. Rain, snow, heat, and cold are all part of the experience. We do not cancel for rain, in fact your guide may call you excited, and wanting to get out earlier. The Pisgah area is a temperate rain forest that averages 80 inches a year. It will most likely rain while you are here. We will not fish in unsafe conditions (i.e. lightning or flash floods) even if you want to. We will admire your drive, but we will not fish. We all have things come up from time to time and need to change plans or cancel. It’s tough on a fishing guide, but it’s part of the business. We ask that you give as much notice as possible. If your cancelation is reasonable, no worries. If your cancelation is unreasonable (we’ve all fished with a hangover) then it may be tough to get a booking with Pisgah Outdoors next time you are in town (hopefully we are that busy). That’s about as punitive as we get.


What forms of payment do you accept?

Cash, Check, or Card. What ever is easiest for you.

NOTE: Due to the cost of credit card fees and the responsibility to pay a guide 100% of their tips, we no longer allow tipping on a credit card transaction.


Do you tip a guide, and how much is acceptable?

This is tough one. It is probably one of the questions most often asked, and is a most uncomfortable and awkward part of the the culture of fishing guides. The short answer is yes. Tipping is customary when booking fishing guides. The long answer goes more into the how and why. I can only tell you a few things about this, both from my experience as a guide and as one who books guides. One: I’m not concerned about the amount of the tip. I, and most guides I know, didn’t get into the business to make a ton of money. A tip is great, but the time and effort spent to leave a 5 star review on Google means a lot more. Two: A bigger tip will not earn you preferential treatment or booking dates. Trips are booked as they come in, and if you book a day it’s your day. You will not get bumped for a big tipper, or if you happen to be the big tipper we will not bump another client so that you may have the day you wish. Three: Money makes the world go round, and if you are handing out a little extra we are more than happy to graciously accept it, and we thank you for your generosity. Four: When I travel to fish I have to tip, and I have to follow the industry standard because I am a fellow guide. You do not have to follow this. I will tell you how I tip, though again, it does not mean you have to or should. The industry standard is 50/100/0. Thats 50 for a half, 100 for a full, and nothing if the guide is a jerk. Five: There are things to consider when tipping, and not to consider. You should consider if the guide was personable or not. Did he work hard? If the fishing was tough did he stick with it, and encourage you to do the same? Was the day fun? Did the guide seem prepared and knowledgeable? How many flies did you loose and how much equipment did you break? You should not consider if the fishing was good, or at least take into account the time of year you booked. Sometimes it’s tough, sometimes it’s August, sometimes it rains, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes you went to bed drunk at 1:30 and got up at 5 to go fishing. Thats fishing. Finally: Tip no more than you normally would, unless the service was above normal. This varies from person to person, but if you normally leave wait staff a certain percent for the tip, then you already know how it’s done.


What will the weather be like?

Your guess is as good as mine. Bring a rain jacket and warm clothes. If you can find an area with less predictable weather you should probably book a fishing trip there too. There seems to be a correlation between places with wild and unpredictable shifts in weather, and good fishing.


What time do trips usually start?

We try our best to be accommodating to your schedule. We can start anytime of day as long as the water is not too hot. In low water years we may restrict trout trips to high elevations and/or early mornings only, during the heat of the summer. That being said…the fish are high maintenance little creatures who are totally indifferent to our schedule. I’ve tried to explain to them that I’m trying to make a living here, and that folks on vacation, and dirtbag fishing guides, do not like waking up early, but it has been to no avail. They bite best when they want. We usually have a pretty good idea about when that is, so we will recommend a start time that will put us in that window.


Do I need to bring my own gear?

No. We are a full service outfitter. We provide boots, waders, rod, reel, flies, leaders, and tippet for each participant. We will ask your height, weight, and shoe size in order to have the proper sized gear for you. If you are outside the norm (Example: You shop at the big and tall store for your everyday clothes) we will not be able to provide you with boots and waders on short notice but given some time we may be able to locate gear for you. Certain sizes are custom order only from the manufacture and we will do our best to work around those issues and accommodate.


Can I fish with my own gear?

Certainly. We encourage you to fish with the gear you are comfortable with. We may ask you to use one of our rods if the water conditions or style of fishing dictates, but we work for you. If you are confident in your and your gear’s limitations and abilities we are happy to leave ours in the car.


Where do we meet our guide?

We will choose a location that is convenient for you and your guide to meet. It is usually near the body of water that will be fished. Your guide will give you detailed instructions and directions, arrive at the meeting place before you, and have his phone available should you need further directions.


How many people do you guide at a time?

We limit our trips to no more than two anglers at a time. Additional anglers require an additional guide, and the related fee. In a dozen years of guiding it has been my experience that two’s company and three’s a crowd. We are an angler focused service and the focus of our service is the angler. With more than two person’s we cannot maintain the focus, attention, and service that each and every angler deserves.


Will I get wet?

Yes and no. In the cooler months we provide both boots and waders to keep you warm and dry. This is why we request your height, weight, and shoe size. We strive to keep the waders and boots clean and in good working condition, and will be particular about where and how you put the waders on before the trip and remove them after the trip. Our guides will assist and instruct you on how to properly put on and remove the waders so that they are less likely to form leaks. On occasion a leak does slip by us and should that happen please inform your guide so that the pair can be removed from service and repaired. It should also be noted that all waders leak at the big hole in the top. If you take a spill (as does happen from time to time) you will get wet. Also, in the cooler months your feet may feel wet, and when you remove the waders you find that they are dry. Cool temps and cotton socks will make your feet clammy, we recommend wool or synthetic socks for this reason. In the summer months we skip the waders and “wet wade” with just the boots unless you would prefer to wear waders.


What should I wear?

In the cooler months you will be wearing your clothes under your waders. For this reason you want to select something that is either wool or synthetic and avoid cotton. The brass rivets on jeans will also wear holes in the waders. A pair of athletic work out pants or a pair of synthetic pajama bottoms paired with a thick pair of wool or synthetic socks work best. For summer months a pair of synthetic shorts or swimming trunks work well under waders or for wet wading. You should still BRING SOCKS as these will be needed under waders or for wet wading. For your shirt and hat select colors that are muted and earth toned. The closer we can get to the fish the more chance we have of catching it. Bright colors and whites are a danger signal to the trout and will make them difficult to catch even if they stick around. If you are on a float trip instead of wade trip simply dress appropriately for the weather and the sun. You will be outside all day exposed to the heat and/or cold.


Should I bring Sunglasses?

YES! Polarized are best, but bring what you have. If you wear corrective lenses wear those unless you have sunglasses with corrective lenses in them. Polarized sunglasses will help you see through the water, spot fish, and reduce the chances for a spill.


Do I need to bring food?

On a half day wade your guide will have water in the cooler. On a full day or float your guide will have waters in the cooler and a small lunch (PB&J and a bag of chips). If you have a high caloric demand or special dietary requirements we suggest you bring your own lunch and/or extra snacks.


Can I have a cold beer or nip of whiskey while out on the water?

Not just NO but HELL NO! That seems like a bit of a gross overreaction I know. I enjoy a cold beer and a nip just as much as the next guy. However, Pisgah Outdoors is a fully insured and permitted service that operates under USFS Permit PIS6842. Part of the stipulations of the insurance and the federal permit is… (and Im paraphrasing here)…“not just NO, but HELL NO!”… and we are required to abide by those stipulations if we want to retain our permits. Consumption of alcohol and/or illegal substances before or during the trip, will result in an immediate cancelation of the trip. There are some great breweries in our area and I encourage anyone and everyone, over 21, and without any moral objections, to seek them out and responsibly imbibe after a great day on the water.


What should I expect?

If it is your first time fly fishing you should expect to learn the fundamentals of casting, how to make a drift, how to mend, how to set the hook, how to land a fish with a fly rod, and how to hold a fish for a picture. All of these elements must be learned one at a time and then put in the proper order. On the average first time trip the first 45 minutes is spent with out a fly tied on and learning the basics. The next few hours we put into practice what we have learned so that we can catch a fish. There are a few anomalies, but most folks struggle for about 3 hours, get everything just right for about 15 or 20 minutes and finally feel they have it, then crash and completely fall apart during the last 30 to 45 minutes of the trip and wonder why its not working now. This is normal and should be expected.


How do Pisgah Outdoors Guides Instruct?

We have a certain formula we follow at the beginning of the day depending on if you are an experienced or inexperienced fly fisherman. The main goal for the day is to have fun, second is to learn, and third is to catch a few fish. Your guide will be calm, respectful, and patient when instructing, and will probably be excited and intense when you start fishing. Remember, your guide can see fish that you cannot, he knows the fish ate before you do, he knows where a big one is holding, and he wants it for you worse than you do. Treat him more like a bird dog than another person. Watch his body language and his tone. If he suddenly turns from a calm and patient teacher into a football coach or a drill instructor then you are close to getting a fish or a good fish. Ignore his intensity, get your game face on, and listen to the instruction. If you catch the fish, your guide and you both will be happy. If you do not, your guide will immediately resume his calm and yogi like demeanor, and go looking for your next fish. That bird dog still gets fed at the end of the day whether you shot your limit or missed them all…same goes for your guide. That dog was happy just to be out in the field working, and a limit of birds means nothing to the dog, only that he/she got to spend the day with you…same goes for your guide.


Can I keep the Fish I catch?

Probably not. On a few of our overnight backcountry trips we keep a few fish for the fire as part of the experience. We also feel that if you have walked 5 miles and spent a night in the woods then you have earned a fish for the fire, and that the fish is honored by the experience. On day trips most of the water we fish is Catch and Release only, and on waters where keeping is allowed we like to put them back so that we can catch them again tomorrow. We also feel that the advantage of a guide reduces the level of fair chase, and so, if you would like to return tomorrow and catch a few on your own to keep, on waters that allow, then by all means do so. With the overnight backcountry exception, we are a Catch and Release only service.


Do I need a fishing License?

Yes. You will need a fishing license and you can get one at any North Carolina Wildlife Service Agent location or online by following this link. https://www.ncalvin.org/AlvinMVC/Customer/Search or by calling 1-888-248-6834 or by email at licenses@ncwildlife.org

If you are out of state you can choose a 10 day or a full year. In-state you should choose a full year. You will need a trout stamp if fishing for trout. Some in-state licenses include the stamp. As regulations and licenses change frequently you should call the toll free number if you have any questions. Pisgah Outdoors is not a Wildlife Service Agent, and its guides are not responsible for insuring that you have the proper license. We are happy to assist you with your license to the best of our abilities if you need help.


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How old do children need to be for a guided trip?

Depending on age, personality, and maturity level, children will have wildly varying attention spans and levels of energy. This could also be said for adults, so we are happy to guide supervised children as long as expectations are reasonable. In fact, we encourage you to bring the young ones along, as long as expectations are reasonable. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We run the trips a little different for the very young ones, focusing more on stream ecology (finding bugs) and fluid dynamics (skipping rocks), with a bit of fishing thrown in. You know your children better than we do, and are better able to determine if you would like to spend a day with them (where they get all the attention), or without them (where you get all the attention). These are my two.


Do you have private waters?

The bread and butter of Pisgah Outdoors is wild fish and public lands. This is our passion and our main focus. However, we also know how our bread is buttered, and that is your satisfaction with your day. If you prefer to fish on Private Waters we do have access to a secluded and exclusive piece of water close to the Pisgah area. The water is big and the fish strong so we recommend heavier rods (6 0r 7) during normal flows. The water is located on a working farm and is around 7 miles in total length. The water holds wild fish but is heavily stocked and fed, and large rainbows are the normal fare.

*Private waters include additional fees. Please call for pricing 828-577-3277.