Fishing in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains

Some of the Best Fishing in the Country

The 4,000 miles of cool, clear mountain streams and the many lakes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina offer anglers more fishing opportunities than can be found in any other state in the Southeast. In fact, the region supports one of the most diverse fishing habitats in the world, making fishing one of the most popular things to do in the North Carolina mountains.  In these ancient southern Appalachian mountains you'll find:

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing enthusiasts come for the native brook trout and for the brown and rainbow trout that thrive in the many stocked streams. North Carolina's mountain trout streams are considered to be the finest in the eastern United States. Visit our Fly Fishing page to learn more.

Still-Water Fishing

For those who prefer still-water fishing, largemouth bass, whitefish, catfish, pike, and bluegills abound in the region's myriad lakes and ponds in North Carolina's Blue Ridge mountains. In deepwater lakes such as Fontana Lake, northern fish such as walleye, muskie, and smallmouth bass are also favorites. For a list of great fishing lakes in Western North Carolina, visit our Still-Water Fishing page.

Fishing in Cherokee Waters

On the Qualla Boundary, the Cherokee Fish and Game Management agency regularly stocks the nearly 30 miles of streams and six acres of ponds that are operated as a tribal business, adding nearly 400,000 rainbow, brook, and brown trout to the existing population of native fish.

Trout season opens the last Saturday of March and continues through February 28 of the following year. Fishing is permitted from one-half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.

Although no state license is needed anglers must obtain a Tribal Fishing Permit available at nearly two dozen Cherokee businesses. The daily creel limit is 10 per permit holder.

Every August, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians sponsors the annual Talking Trees Children's Trout Derby at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds. More than 1,000 children participate annually in this free event, which includes fly-tying exhibitions, fish-cleaning stations, food, music, door prizes, and trophies.

Commercial Trout Fishing

Commercial fee-fishing trout ponds offer non-sport fishing for those those who like to fish but who are physically unable to manage the wilder waters of streams and rivers. They are great places to take kids as well. Most fee-fishing trout ponds require anglers to keep and pay for all of the fish they catch. The ponds are usually stocked with rainbow trout and prices generally range from $2.50 to $3.50 per pound. Anglers do not need fishing licenses or trout stamps to fish in these fee-fishing ponds, nor do they have to adhere to size or creel limits when fishing in fee-fishing ponds.

Licensed by the NC Department of Agriculture, operators of these commercial enterprises usually supply the poles, bait, and the cleaning of the fish that are caught. The NC Wildlife Resource Commission can provide more information on fee-fishing trout ponds, as well as other types of fishing in Western North Carolina.

Learn More

Discover more facts about fishing in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains.

What you'll need to know about NC State Fishing Licenses and other resources.

Check out the North Carolina's interactive fishing map.