Whether you prefer rafting or reeling — or both — the waters of Unicoi County are waiting for you.

The Nolichucky River’s churning white waters winds through the deepest gorge in the eastern United States.  Steep slopes and cliffs rise more than 2,000 feet from the magnificent river, offering exhilarating whitewater rafting amongst breathtaking scenery. Public boat access is available upstream in Poplar, North Carolina, as well as a take-out at Chestoa Recreation Area.  In addition, several local rafting companies provide guided whitewater rafting trips and equipment.  The following is a listing of rafting companies.

  • High Mountain Expeditions
    Banner Elk, NC
    Telephone: (800)-262-9036
  • USA Raft
    2 Jones Branch Road, Erwin, TN  37650
    Telephone: (866)-USA-RAFT or (866)-872-7238 (map)
    www.myusaraft.com  (map)
  • Wahoo’s Adventures
    Boone, NC
    Telephone: (828)262-5774

The Nolichucky River is also a world class small mouth bass river with some small mouths exceeding 4 pounds. You may also find musky, crappie and catfish.  During the months when the water is cooler brown trout may be caught and rainbow trout are abundant.

The Erwin, TN  37650 National Fish Hatchery, located in Unicoi County, supplies the river with pond fed fish. Last year the hatchery produced over 13 million eggs from four strains to support their fish management programs. After approximately two and a half years the breeder fish are delivered by truck to the Chestoa Bridge and released into the Nolichucky.  These fish have been pond fed.

Tennessee offers annual, 10 day and 3 day licenses.  Children under the age of 13 need no licenses.  Licenses are sold by local merchants and instant licenses are available 24 hours, 7 days a week from the Wildlife Resources Agency.  1-888-814-TWRA or online atwww.wildlifelicense.com/tn/.