A man in a baseball cap and gray shirt smiling while holding two awards, one for "1st place" and the other for "National Fly Fishing Champion," at a competition.

Fishing Champion in Cherokee

Michael Bradley, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, clinched the top individual spot and led his team, Team USA1, to victory in the 2024 National Fly Fishing Championship hosted in Cherokee. Additionally, he secured the coveted first-place position nationwide for USA points, solidifying his outstanding performance in the competition.

The FFTUSA US National Championships are a prestigious fly fishing event sanctioned by Fly Fishing Team USA. The 2024 event was held from February 26th to March 1st, 2024, in Cherokee, NC. This championship featured a new point system and cycle for the year 2024. Organized by Glade Gunther, the competition consisted of four 2.5-hour competitor-controlled river sessions and one 4-hour competitor-controlled lake session.

Participants competed across five competition sectors, including Lower and Upper Nantahala, Ravens Fork General Water, Ravens Fork Trophy, and Wolf Creek Lake. Anglers targeted a variety of trout species, including wild and stocked Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout.

Michael’s Reaction

“This championship was a long, tiring week for myself. It still hasn’t really kicked in that I was able to sneak a first place in the final session for the overall win. No way on earth I could have done it without the help of my family. They’re the real champions. Thanks for everyone that came out to watch and support us. Shout out to the Cherokee Middle School Fly Tying class for coming over in the mucky weather to watch me as well. Also want to give my teammates a shoutout for crushing it out there. I’m very proud to have been a part of this team. I ended the tournament with a first place team, first place individual, and first place in USA points. That being said, I am on the upcoming world championship team that will be headed to France in a few months and to Czech Republic next year. My favorite part of the entire tournament was hearing my little girl yell “GO DADDY” as I was getting my trophies.”

Learn More about Michael and fly fishing in Cherokee on Fly Fish Cherokee’s Facebook page.