2004 Agricultural Tourism & Crop Diversification Program

Three pairs of trout raceways, intake structures and plumbing, a small storage building and haul tank existed.

In addition to the production facility, three small ponds that were overgrown with brush were on-site.

Mitchell County like most of Western NC has many tourists that seek the cool mountain air during summer. The tourists dine in local restaurants and seek recreational opportunities. Some of the part-time and full-time residents have streams or ponds in their landscapes. Since opening, Falls Creek Trout Farm has supplied trout to local restaurants and stocked streams and ponds with fingerling and food-size trout.

Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson also saw the ponds as an opportunity to market fish directly with fee-fishing. Ken cleared the area and stocked the ponds with food-size trout. In order to attract customers to this new fee-fishing facility, he placed signs in high travel areas. Road side signs are crucial in marketing fee-fishing and was a needed resource. He also created a sign with facility rules that are clearly visible to the customers. Ken has placed ads in the local paper trying to attract customers. He uses tee-shirts, ball caps, and business cards to further market his operation.

He has targeted different markets-restaurants, pond owners, and tourists and local residents seeking recreation. He has really worked hard to diversify his markets to include restaurants and fee-fishing. In addition to providing him with some additional income, he employs 1 part-time worker. The producer has developed relationships with other trout growers and buys fingerlings from local sources.