Who We Are
Katala Outdoors specializes in guided fly fishing trips in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. We are dedicated to providing you, your friends, and your family with a memorable experience in the great outdoors. Our North Carolina fly fishing guides deliver the greatest client experience possible in the region. These guides are pleasant, educated, experienced, and passionate about introducing new people to the wonderful sport of fly fishing. Jonathan Smith, who was born and raised in North Carolina, is the owner of Katala Outdoors.
Jonathan Smith was born and raised near Charlotte, NC, where he grew up fishing for bass, bream, and catfish in local farm ponds. He fell in love with western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee while hiking the Appalachian Trail with his brothers as a teenager. Jonathan spent summers during college commercial fishing for salmon, halibut, and black cod in much bigger waters, the Gulf of Alaska, with the fleet out of Kodiak Island. Jonathan lived for many years in the Seattle, WA, area sport fishing in the Puget Sound for salmon and fishing for trout across the Pacific Northwest, and he introduced friends to the sport. Jonathan returned home to North Carolina where he started Katala Outdoors so he could introduce others to the sporting life in western North Carolina and throughout the southeastern United States.
James Lambert is a Bryson City native who took up hunting at age 6. A year later, he caught his first rainbow trout with his dad’s favorite dry fly, a red Royal Wulff. Outdoor adventures with his father and grandfather taught him skills ranging from training and running Mountain Curs to harvesting wild ginseng. James and his dad have also won numerous awards in competitive-hunting contests. This accumulation of experiences and challenges nurtured one of James’s finest assets — his patience — especially with folks who are new to fly fishing. When he isn’t guiding anglers, he enjoys camping with his wife, Chelsea, their two dachshunds, Willadean and Sunny, and his mother-in-law. This fall, James will guide Cast ‘n Blast trips, which feature his two favorite pastimes.
Patrick Ambrose grew up in the Carolinas, where he learned angling fundamentals from his grandfather on the Pamlico River and the creeks of North Carolina’s coastal plain. During summers, he fished South Carolina’s coastal waters, taking cues from his dad and his uncle, Wayne, while developing an insatiable appetite for low-country seafood. Patrick is new to fly fishing and looks forward to the adventures awaiting him in the streams and rivers of western North Carolina and Tennessee. Outside of fishing, he loves writing, reading, and watching sports with his partner, Kim, and their four cats — Gibson, Ashton, Shelton, and Monster. He’s also excited about hunting with James this fall and tasting his buddy’s squirrel gumbo.
Why the name Katala Outdoors?
Katala (pronounced Ka-tah-la) is a variation on a Cherokee word, attalla, which means mountain. In Sanskrit, Katala is a type of big fish. Since Katala Outdoors is headquartered and operating in the mountains of western North Carolina, with a long and proud heritage of Cherokee culture, and since we are all about catching big fish, the name is perfect!