Rivers of the Tsalagi

Indigenous. Aboriginal. Native. These words really strike a tone, not only in this area, but around the country. The hills and mountains where we fish and live in Western North Carolina are the ancestral home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. The name Katala is a transliteration of the Cherokee word Attalla, which means “mountain.” These mountains are full of Cherokee lore, and most of the peaks and valleys in this region are names given by the Cherokee. The Tsalagi (Cherokee) language also gave us the names of some of our most treasured rivers.

The Oconaluftee River’s Tsalagi name is Egwanulti, which means “by the river. It has an amazing population of wild trout that course through its length, from the headwater branches and creeks, all the way to the reservation.

The Nanatahala River runs through an area where the sun is usually only visable around noon, which is why the Cherokee named it the “land of the noonday sun.” The lack of full sun throughout the day helps to keep the water nice and cold for the trout we chase through its course.

The Tuckasegee River, which we fish religiously, is a transliteration of the Cherokee word “Daksiyi,” which means Turtle Place. Kituwa or Giduwa, is the “Mother Town” of the Cherokee and is located on the banks of the Tuck, in between Bryson City and the Cherokee Reservation.

We have some incredible fisheries in this region, and so many of them have incredible names. Names that are often butchered by out-of-towners to the point it’s comedic. Regardless of how poorly they’re pronounced, the fishing is always good and we love to share in the rich history of this area, its people, and its fish.

We invite you to come and partake in the awesome fishing we have here and indulge yourself in the beauty of the mountains and its people. The Cherokee Reservation has a lot to offer from its Arts & Crafts district, to the casino that draws folks from around the country. Come and find out for yourself why this place is so special. While you’re at it, let’s go fishing!

Consider our name, Katala Outdoors, as a tribute to the natives that came before us.

Thank you for being here with us

Josh Whorton

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