Where to Fish for Trout in North Carolina [ 4 Great Fishing Spots Revealed ]

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

where to fish for trout in north carolina

North Carolina is a trout fisherman’s paradise. Let’s find out where to fish for trout in North Carolina.

With over 3,000 miles of trout streams and hundreds of lakes, it can be hard to decide where to go. But fear not, because this article will highlight some of the best places to cast your line for trout in North Carolina.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or new to the sport, these destinations offer opportunities for everyone who wants to hook a rainbow, brown, or brook trout.

Trout Fishing in North Carolina: Top Locations to Visit

North Carolina is home to some of the best trout fishing in the southeastern United States, with various streams, rivers, and lakes that offer great opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. Here are some of the top locations for trout fishing in North Carolina.

One of the most beloved trout fishing spots in North Carolina is the Davidson River, located near Brevard. This river is well known for its crystal-clear water and abundant hatches, making it a prime spot to catch rainbow, brown, and brook trout.

Another popular location is the Watauga River, which offers a mix of wild and stocked trout. For those looking for a more secluded experience, head to the Toe River in Avery County.

This lesser-known gem offers great opportunities for catching wild rainbow and brown trout. Whatever your preference, North Carolina has plenty of excellent trout fishing locations to explore.

Davidson River

The Davidson River is a world-renowned trout stream known for its large brown and rainbow trout. The river is located in the Pisgah National Forest and is managed as a catch-and-release fishery, offering anglers a chance to catch some genuinely trophy-sized fish.

Watauga River

The Watauga River is a tailwater fishery in western North Carolina known for its large rainbow, brown, and brook trout. The state stocks the river and allows anglers to catch stocked and wild fish.

nantahala river north carolina
Nantahala River

Nantahala River

The Nantahala River is a popular destination for trout fishing in western North Carolina, offering both stocked and wild trout. The river is known for its beautiful scenery and challenging fishing, with plenty of big fish to be caught for those willing to put in the effort.

South Holston River

The South Holston River is a tailwater fishery that runs through Tennessee and North Carolina and is known for its large brown and rainbow trout. The river is managed as a catch-and-release fishery, allowing anglers to catch some truly trophy-sized fish.

brown trout closeup after being caught

When to Fish for Trout in North Carolina

North Carolina is known for its diverse trout fishing opportunities. The state offers several distinct species of trout, including rainbow, brown, and brook trout. Each species, however, has its own unique needs and preferences when it comes to water temperature and weather. The key to successful trout fishing in North Carolina is knowing when to fish for each species.

Rainbow trout are the most commonly found species in North Carolina. They thrive in cold, clear water, making the spring and fall seasons the best times to fish for them. The water temperatures are cooler in the spring, providing an ideal environment for rainbow trout to spawn. In the fall, the cooler temperatures return, and the trout become more active, eagerly feeding before winter.

Brown trout, on the other hand, prefer slightly warmer water temperatures than rainbow trout. They are most active during the fall months, when the water temperatures are still relatively warm, but the air temperatures begin to cool down. Many anglers also find success fishing for brown trout during the winter months when the fish are less active but are still feeding.

Brook trout are the only native species of trout in North Carolina. They tend to inhabit smaller mountain streams that are cooler and more shaded. Fall can also be a good time to fish for brook trout, but anglers must know the potential for spawning activity.

Overall, North Carolina offers excellent trout fishing opportunities throughout the year. By understanding the seasonal preferences of each species, anglers can increase their chances of success and enjoy all that the state has to offer.

Summing it Up Where to Fish for Trout in North Carolina

In conclusion, North Carolina is a must-visit destination for any serious trout angler, with many streams, rivers, and lakes offering excellent fishing opportunities. Whether you’re looking for big trophy fish or just a fun day on the water, these top locations will surely provide a great fishing experience. Just be sure to check local regulations and get up-to-date information on stream flows and conditions before planning your trip.


North Carolina Wildlife Commission

Game and Fish Magazine

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