Fishing in North Carolina

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The small streams and rivers of North Carolina are some of the most productive waters for wild trout in the southeastern United States. With everything from hard-to-reach remote streams to easily accessible tailwaters full of stockers, North Carolina has something for anglers of all skill levels. Plus, with hundreds of miles of coastline and the well-known Outer Banks, North Carolina offers a vast amount of saltwater fly fishing opportunities.

The western side of North Carolina holds a lifetime?s worth of superb fly fishing water within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pisgah National Forest, and the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail in Jackson County. Throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, countless small streams and rivers are loaded with trout, all of which are wild and naturally reproducing. There are too many quality waters within the Park to list but a few favorites are Hazel Creek, Forney Creek, and Deep Creek, where rainbows and browns are the primary targets, but brook trout can be found in the colder, headwater sections of the streams. Heading east from the Park will take you through Pisgah National Forest where the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway connects you to many of the region's best trout streams including Big East Fork of the Pigeon, South Toe, and Wilson Creek. Some of the state?s most accessible trout streams make up the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail. The trail includes 15 fishing spots along rivers and streams that are well known for producing quality brown, rainbow, and brook trout, in settings that are perfect for beginners and experts alike.

Besides mountainous trout fishing, North Carolina?s other fly fishing action happens on the coast where anglers target a wide range of saltwater species including striped bass, red drum (redfish), speckled trout, and migratory false albacore. There are fishing opportunities up and down the coast, but some favorites include the Crystal Coast within North Carolina?s Outer Banks, Kure Beach near Wilmington, and the Oregon Inlet on the northern portion of the coast.


NC Department of Fish & Wildlife
1751 Varsity Drive
Raleigh, NC 27606
P: 919-707-0010

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North Carolina Fishing Articles

6 Winter Flies to Never Leave Home Without

Posted on February 12, 2017

It’s winter time and if you’re like me then you’re probably daydreaming of warmer weather and being on the river. You’re also probably behind the vice tying up dozens of flies for the months ahead....

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Choosing the Proper Fly Rod

Posted on January 21, 2016

Proper fly fishing gear is essential. Along with the reel, flies and line, the most important gear is the fly rod. Fly rods may vary in length from 6 - 12 feet and come in different weights, colors,...

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Guides based in North Carolina

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Trout Unlimited
By the next generation, Trout Unlimited will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their North American range, so that our children can enjoy...

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