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Museum Exhibits


Stream Blazers

Profiles of legendary fly fishermen, influential reel makers, rod makers, guides, fly tyers, fly creators, artists, authors, conservationists, and cold water resource leaders

Ray Bergman (NY - Special Exhibit) – writer who introduced fly tyers and anglers to the readers of Outdoor Life Magazine; wrote the book Trout: The Trout Fishermans Bible

Silas Walker “Cy” Blanton, Sr. (NC) – legendary storyteller and angler

Phil H. Bracewell (NC) – legendary angler, founding director of Trout Unlimited in NC and also the NC Nature Conservancy

Joe Brooks (MD) – outdoor editor of The Baltimore Sun, author, fly-tyer, fly creator

In the Smokies, Mark Cathey (R) is a fly-fishing legend, Photo circa 1940-41. Photo by I. K. Stearns – Courtesy of the Carl Grueninger family.

Mark Cathey (NC) – legendary angler, local guide and fly-tyer; known for "the dance of the dry fly"

Benny Joe Craig (NC) – master fly tyer; inventor of the "red head" fly series

Beverly “Bev” Dew Hairfield (NC) – active supporter of protecting the Catawba River & proponent of the development of the Morganton Greenway

Bernice Allene DeHart Hall & Fred Hall (NC) – husband and wife known as innovative fly tyers and creators of a number of fly patterns including "Thunderhead" and "Adams Variant"

Cato Holler (NC) – fly tyer, and fly creator best known for the fly pattern "Infallible"; early advocate for stream management, founding director NC Trout Unlimited

Don & Dwight Howell (NC) - brothers known for custom tied flies and hand-crafted rods

Tom Landreth (GA) – outdoors artist known for watercolors of mountain streams and wildlife

Joe Manley (GA) – first chief forester, Great Smoky Mountains National Park; author Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park & Adjacent Waters

Joe Miller Messinger, Sr. (WVA) – legendary angler, fly tyer and fly creator known for the fly patterns "Bucktail Frog" and the "Irresistible"

Ray Mortensen (SC) – long-time Trout Unlimited grassroots activist; the TU Ray Mortensen Conversationist Award is the highest honor TU bestowed to an individual annually

William Murray (VA) – legendary angler, introduced smallmouth bass to the eastern slopes of the Virginia Appalachians

Thaddeus Norris, Jr. (VA) – pioneer in the evolution of fly fishing and the developer of the American split bamboo rod

Ernest Peckinpaugh (TN) – first to manufacture commercially-tied fishing lures

Tommy Reese (NC) – honored with the National Trout Conservationist of the Year Award, founding director Trout Unlimited NC

Newland "Zip" Sanders (NC) – fly tyer and fly creator; inventor of the "Sheep Fly"

George W. Snyder (KY) – reel maker known for the first American-made fishing reel in 1820: The Kentucky Reel

Stanley Tuttle (NC) – legendary angler, fly tyer and fly creator

George “Cap” Weise (NC) – legendary angler and fly tyer, first president of Trout Unlimited NC

Frank Young (NC) – legendary angler, "Son of the Smokies"


A hand-built McKenzie-style drift boat - The first built in the southeast and used for commercial guiding

A short video conversation with the late Cato Holler, a founder of the NC Council of Trout Unlimited, and an early advocate of stream management. He spins a few tales and demonstrates a proper catch and release. In addition to "A conversation with Cato Holler," other videos are featured in rotation, including a 1959 trout fishing trip in the Linville Gorge.

A fly fisherman’s gear: stream attire, landing and wading tools, and stream gadgets

"Evolution of the Fly Rod": showcasing 30 rods from the 19th and 20th centuries.

"Evolution of the Fly Reel": showcasing 27 reels from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Split cane rod making and building

Fully-equipped fly-tying desk, plus fly-tying video

Fly-tying tools and materials

Basic knots

Bill Everhardt’s Southern Appalachian flies

Dwight and Don Howell’s Southern Appalachian flies

Roger Lowe’s 101 Smoky Mountain flies

A collection of realistic flies, which artistically represent insects exactly

Everyone - especially the kids - will enjoy going on the Scavenger Hunt around the museum

Locations of streams & rivers in the Southern Appalachians

Timeline of the evolution of fly fishing from 8000 BC with hooks carved from bone to present day.

Organizations using fly fishing to heal such as Project Healing Waters for recovering veterans, Casting for Hope for ovarian cancer patients and Casting for Recovery for breast cancer patients.