North Carolina Fly Fishing

North Carolina is a state that is just brimming with fly fishing opportunities in both saltwater and freshwater. Here you've got mountain trout streams galore. In fact, there are over 3,000 miles worth of streams, lakes, and rivers. This is a great place for those who are serious about the sport, and for those who enjoy it more as a relaxing hobby. There are streams ideal for beginners, and those that are better suited to the more experienced anglers.

When taking a look at the trout streams in particular, some are stocked, while others are wild trout. It gives anglers the freedom to choose their style and skill level. You'll find no shortage of public places, but be warned a few areas are private. Of course, we can't talk about North Carolina without referencing the Fly Fishing Trail. This is the first of its kind in the country, and is actually the only one. Often, people plan their adventures based on this well-known trail. Along the route are 15 different locations that are prime spots for various trout.

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of this beautiful state, it’s time to take a look at the top spots for fly fishing.

North Carolina Fly Fishing Map

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NC - Davidson River: 35.284859, -82.791824
NC - New River : 36.558808, -81.353459
NC - Watauga River: 36.157558, -81.769356
PASQUOTANK RIVER NEAR SOUTH MILLS, NC: 36.421389, -76.342500
POTECASI CREEK NEAR UNION, NC: 36.370833, -77.025556
AHOSKIE CREEK AT AHOSKIE, NC: 36.280278, -76.999444
DAN RIVER NEAR FRANCISCO, NC: 36.515000, -80.303056
DAN RIVER AT PINE HALL, NC: 36.319303, -80.050042
MAYO RIVER NEAR PRICE, NC: 36.533889, -79.991389
DAN RIVER NEAR WENTWORTH, NC: 36.412500, -79.826111
SMITH RIVER AT EDEN, NC: 36.525556, -79.765556
HYCO CREEK NEAR LEASBURG, NC: 36.397778, -79.196667
HYCO R BL ABAY D NR MCGEHEES MILL, NC: 36.522500, -78.997500
MAYO CR NR BETHEL HILL, NC: 36.540833, -78.871944
ROANOKE RIVER AT ROANOKE RAPIDS, NC: 36.460000, -77.633611
ROANOKE RIVER AT HALIFAX, NC: 36.331111, -77.580278
ROANOKE RIVER NEAR SCOTLAND NECK, NC: 36.209167, -77.383889
ROANOKE RIVER NEAR OAK CITY, NC: 36.013611, -77.215278
ROANOKE RIVER AT HAMILTON, NC: 35.947500, -77.202500
ROANOKE RIVER AT WILLIAMSTON, NC: 35.859722, -77.040278
ROANOKE RIVER AT JAMESVILLE, NC: 35.813056, -76.892778
CASHIE RIVER AT SR1257 NEAR WINDSOR, NC: 36.047778, -76.984167
ROANOKE RIVER AT NC 45 NR WESTOVER, NC: 35.915000, -76.722778
TAR RIVER NEAR TAR RIVER, NC: 36.194167, -78.583056
TAR R AT US 401 AT LOUISBURG, NC: 36.093056, -78.296111
TAR RIVER AT NC-581 NEAR SPRING HOPE, NC: 35.882086, -78.089539
TAR RIVER BELOW DAM NEAR LANGLEY CROSSROADS, NC: 35.899877, -77.884149
TAR RIVER AT NC 97 AT ROCKY MOUNT, NC: 35.954722, -77.787222
SWIFT CREEK AT HILLIARDSTON, NC: 36.112222, -77.920000
LITTLE FISHING CREEK NEAR WHITE OAK, NC: 36.183333, -77.876111
FISHING CREEK NEAR ENFIELD, NC: 36.150556, -77.693056
TAR RIVER AT TARBORO, NC: 35.894444, -77.533056
TAR RIVER AT GREENVILLE, NC: 35.616667, -77.372778
CHICOD CR AT SR1760 NEAR SIMPSON, NC: 35.561667, -77.230833
PAMLICO RIVER AT WASHINGTON, NC: 35.543333, -77.061944
VAN SWAMP NEAR HOKE, NC: 35.730833, -76.746111
ENO RIVER AT HILLSBOROUGH, NC: 36.071111, -79.095556
ENO RIVER AT COLE MILL RD NR HUCKLEBERRY SPRING: 36.059417, -78.978083
ENO RIVER NEAR DURHAM, NC: 36.072222, -78.907778
LITTLE RIVER AT SR1461 NEAR ORANGE FACTORY, NC: 36.141667, -78.919167
MOUNTAIN CREEK AT SR1617 NR BAHAMA, NC: 36.149722, -78.896667
LITTLE R BL LITTLE R TRIB AT FAIRNTOSH, NC: 36.113333, -78.859722
FLAT RIVER AT BAHAMA, NC: 36.182778, -78.878889
FLAT RIVER AT DAM NEAR BAHAMA, NC: 36.148611, -78.828889
KNAP OF REEDS CREEK NEAR BUTNER, NC: 36.127922, -78.798339
ELLERBE CREEK AT CLUB BOULEVARD AT DURHAM, NC: 36.019389, -78.894778
ELLERBE CREEK NEAR GORMAN, NC: 36.059311, -78.832506
LITTLE LICK CREEK AT NC HWY 98 AT OAK GROVE, NC: 35.982333, -78.824500
BEAVERDAM CREEK AT DAM NEAR CREEDMOOR, NC: 36.023611, -78.689167
NEUSE RIVER NEAR FALLS, NC: 35.940000, -78.580833
CRABTREE CR AT EBENEZER CHURCH RD NR RALEIGH, NC: 35.845278, -78.724444
CRABTREE CREEK AT HWY 70 AT RALEIGH, NC: 35.838056, -78.674167
CRABTREE CREEK AT ANDERSON DRIVE AT RALEIGH, NC: 35.821111, -78.634167
CRABTREE CR AT OLD WAKE FOREST RD AT RALEIGH, NC: 35.815833, -78.626111
CRABTREE CREEK AT US 1 AT RALEIGH, NC: 35.811111, -78.610833
PIGEON HOUSE CR AT CAMERON VILLAGE AT RALEIGH, NC: 35.787500, -78.654722
MARSH CREEK NEAR NEW HOPE, NC: 35.816944, -78.593056
ROCKY BRANCH BELOW PULLEN DRIVE AT RALEIGH, NC: 35.780000, -78.666389
WALNUT CREEK AT SUNNYBROOK DRIVE NR RALEIGH, NC: 35.758333, -78.583056
NEUSE RIVER NEAR CLAYTON, NC: 35.647222, -78.405278
NEUSE RIVER AT SMITHFIELD, NC: 35.512500, -78.349444
SWIFT CREEK NEAR APEX, NC: 35.718889, -78.752222
SWIFT CREEK NEAR MCCULLARS CROSSROADS, NC: 35.693611, -78.692222
SWIFT CREEK AT SR1555 NEAR CLAYTON, NC: 35.575000, -78.498611
MIDDLE CREEK NEAR CLAYTON, NC: 35.570833, -78.590556
LITTLE RIVER NEAR ZEBULON, NC: 35.821944, -78.352222
LITTLE RIVER NEAR PRINCETON, NC: 35.511389, -78.160278
NEUSE RIVER NEAR GOLDSBORO, NC: 35.337500, -77.997500
BEAR CREEK AT MAYS STORE, NC: 35.274722, -77.794444
NEUSE RIVER AT KINSTON, NC: 35.257778, -77.585556
CONTENTNEA CREEK NEAR LUCAMA, NC: 35.691111, -78.109722
NAHUNTA SWAMP NEAR SHINE, NC: 35.488889, -77.806111
CONTENTNEA CREEK AT HOOKERTON, NC: 35.428889, -77.582500
NEUSE RIVER NEAR FORT BARNWELL, NC: 35.313889, -77.302778
SWIFT CREEK AT HWY 43 NR STREETS FERRY, NC: 35.230833, -77.113889
TRENT RIVER NEAR TRENTON, NC: 35.064167, -77.461389
TRENT R AT POLLOCKSVILLE, NC: 35.010000, -77.218889
NEW RIVER NEAR GUM BRANCH, NC: 34.849167, -77.519444
REEDY FORK NEAR OAK RIDGE, NC: 36.172500, -79.952778
BRUSH CREEK AT MUIRFIELD RD AT GREENSBORO, NC: 36.128056, -79.923889
HORSEPEN CREEK AT US 220 NR GREENSBORO, NC: 36.137778, -79.860000
REEDY FORK NEAR GIBSONVILLE, NC: 36.173056, -79.614167
SOUTH BUFFALO CREEK NR POMONA, NC: 36.049444, -79.855278
SOUTH BUFFALO CREEK AT US 220 AT GREENSBORO, NC: 36.038056, -79.799722
RYAN CREEK BELOW US 220 AT GREENSBORO, NC: 36.031111, -79.796111
SOUTH BUFFALO CR NEAR GREENSBORO, NC: 36.060000, -79.725833
N BUFFALO CR AT WESTOVER TERRACE AT GREENSBORO, NC: 36.079167, -79.812778
NORTH BUFFALO CREEK AT CHURCH ST AT GREENSBORO, NC: 36.097778, -79.782500
NORTH BUFFALO CREEK NEAR GREENSBORO, NC: 36.120556, -79.708056
BUFFALO CREEK AT SR2819 NR MCLEANSVILLE, NC: 36.128056, -79.661667
HAW RIVER AT HAW RIVER, NC: 36.087222, -79.366111
CANE CREEK NEAR ORANGE GROVE, NC: 35.987222, -79.206111
HAW RIVER NEAR BYNUM, NC: 35.765278, -79.135833
SANDY CREEK AT CORNWALLIS RD NEAR DURHAM, NC: 35.983222, -78.956806
THIRD FORK CR AT WOODCROFT PARKWAY NR BLANDS, NC: 35.922639, -78.952417
NEW HOPE CREEK NEAR BLANDS, NC: 35.885000, -78.965278
BOLIN CREEK AT VILLAGE DRIVE AT CHAPEL HILL, NC: 35.922306, -79.066000
NORTHEAST CREEK TRIB AT SR1182 NR LOWES GROVE, NC: 35.915389, -78.893528
NORTHEAST CREEK AT SR1100 NR GENLEE, NC: 35.872222, -78.913056
MORGAN CREEK NEAR WHITE CROSS, NC: 35.923611, -79.115000
MORGAN CREEK NEAR CHAPEL HILL, NC: 35.893333, -79.019722
WHITE OAK CR AT MOUTH NEAR GREEN LEVEL, NC: 35.760278, -78.920278
HAW R BELOW B. EVERETT JORDAN DAM NR MONCURE, NC: 35.649444, -79.065556
HAW RIVER NEAR MONCURE, NC: 35.632222, -79.060000
EAST FORK DEEP RIVER NEAR HIGH POINT, NC: 36.037222, -79.945556
DEEP RIVER AT RAMSEUR, NC: 35.726389, -79.655556
ROCKY R AT SR1300 NR CRUTCHFIELD CROSSROADS, NC: 35.806944, -79.527500
ROCKY R AT US 64 NEAR SILER CITY, NC: 35.735141, -79.423075
TICK CREEK NEAR MOUNT VERNON SPRINGS, NC: 35.659722, -79.401667
DEEP RIVER AT MONCURE, NC: 35.626944, -79.116111
BUCKHORN CREEK NR CORINTH, NC: 35.559722, -78.973611
CAPE FEAR RIVER AT LILLINGTON, NC: 35.406111, -78.813333
FLAT CREEK NEAR INVERNESS, NC: 35.182778, -79.177500
LITTLE RIVER AT MANCHESTER, NC: 35.193333, -78.985556
CAPE FEAR RIVER AT FAYETTEVILLE, NC: 35.050556, -78.858333
ROCKFISH CREEK AT RAEFORD, NC: 34.999722, -79.214722
CAPE FEAR R AT WILM O HUSKE LOCK NR TARHEEL, NC: 34.835556, -78.823611
CAPE FEAR R AT LOCK #1 NR KELLY, NC: 34.404444, -78.293611
BLACK RIVER NEAR TOMAHAWK, NC: 34.755000, -78.288611
NORTHEAST CAPE FEAR RIVER NEAR CHINQUAPIN, NC: 34.828889, -77.832222
NORTHEAST CAPE FEAR R NR BURGAW, NC: 34.598333, -77.875278
WACCAMAW RIVER AT FREELAND, NC: 34.095000, -78.548333
YADKIN RIVER AT PATTERSON, NC: 35.990833, -81.558333
ELK CREEK AT ELKVILLE, NC: 36.071389, -81.403056
YADKIN RIVER BL W KERR SCOTT DAM NEAR BUCK, NC: 36.136111, -81.223333
REDDIES RIVER AT NORTH WILKESBORO, NC: 36.175000, -81.168889
YADKIN RIVER AT WILKESBORO, NC: 36.152500, -81.145556
YADKIN RIVER AT ELKIN, NC: 36.240419, -80.849161
ARARAT RIVER AT ARARAT, NC: 36.404444, -80.561667
LITTLE YADKIN RIVER AT DALTON, NC: 36.299167, -80.414722
YADKIN RIVER AT ENON, NC: 36.131667, -80.443889
YADKIN RIVER AT YADKIN COLLEGE, NC: 35.856667, -80.386944
SOUTH YADKIN RIVER NEAR MOCKSVILLE, NC: 35.845000, -80.658889
HUNTING CREEK NEAR HARMONY, NC: 36.000556, -80.745556
SECOND CREEK NEAR BARBER, NC: 35.717608, -80.596075
ABBOTTS CREEK AT LEXINGTON, NC: 35.806944, -80.234722
PEE DEE R AT HWY731 BL LK TILLERY NR NORWOOD, NC: 35.200667, -80.061806
W. BR ROCKY R B MTH OF S PRONG R NR CORNELIUS, NC: 35.467778, -80.790278
CLARKE CREEK NEAR HARRISBURG, NC: 35.414167, -80.751944
MALLARD CR BL STONY CR NR HARRISBURG, NC: 35.332778, -80.715833
CODDLE CR AT SR 1612 NEAR DAVIDSON, NC: 35.503889, -80.736389
BACK CR AT SR1173 NEAR HARRISBURG, NC: 35.309167, -80.673611
REEDY CREEK AT SR 2803 NR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.256389, -80.700556
REEDY CREEK BELOW I-485 NR PINE RIDGE, NC: 35.258611, -80.662778
MCKEE CREEK AT SR2804 NR WILGROVE, NC: 35.253889, -80.648056
ROCKY R AB IRISH BUFFALO CR NR ROCKY RIVER, NC: 35.321667, -80.540833
CLEAR CREEK AT SR3181 NR MINT HILL, NC: 35.208333, -80.580000
GOOSE CR AT SR1524 NEAR INDIAN TRAIL, NC: 35.130424, -80.631179
GOOSE CREEK AT SR1525 NR INDIAN TRAIL, NC: 35.125000, -80.602778
GOOSE CR AT FAIRVIEW, NC: 35.153611, -80.535278
ROCKY RIVER NEAR NORWOOD, NC: 35.148889, -80.175833
PEE DEE R AT PEE DEE REFUGE NR ANSONVILLE, NC: 35.103217, -80.045933
LITTLE RIVER NEAR STAR, NC: 35.387222, -79.831389
PEE DEE R NR ROCKINGHAM, NC: 34.945833, -79.869722
BIG SHOE HEEL CREEK NR LAURINBURG, NC: 34.750556, -79.386667
DROWNING CREEK NEAR HOFFMAN, NC: 35.061111, -79.493889
LUMBER RIVER NEAR MAXTON, NC: 34.772778, -79.331944
LUMBER RIVER AT LUMBERTON, NC: 34.620278, -79.011111
BIG SWAMP NR TAR HEEL, NC: 34.710278, -78.836389
LUMBER RIVER AT BOARDMAN, NC: 34.442500, -78.960278
CATAWBA R NR PLEASANT GARDENS, NC: 35.685833, -82.060278
LINVILLE RIVER NEAR NEBO, NC: 35.794722, -81.890000
CATAWBA R AT SR1223 BL LK JAMES NR BRIDGEWATER, NC: 35.740361, -81.834667
JOHNS RIVER AT ARNEYS STORE, NC: 35.833611, -81.711944
LOWER LITTLE RIVER NR ALL HEALING SPRINGS, NC: 35.945556, -81.236944
MCDOWELL CREEK NR HUNTERSVILLE, NC: 35.406944, -80.890556
TORRENCE CR AT BRADFORD HILL LN NR HUNTERSVLLE, NC: 35.403611, -80.882778
MCDOWELL CR TRIB AT SR2131 NR HICKS CROSSROADS, NC: 35.401811, -80.917719
MCDOWELL CREEK NR CHARLOTTE, NC (CSW10): 35.389714, -80.921000
GAR CREEK AT SR2074 NR CROFT, NC: 35.361389, -80.897500
KILLIAN CREEK NEAR MARIPOSA, NC: 35.434167, -81.030000
LONG CREEK NEAR PAW CREEK, NC: 35.328611, -80.909722
GUM BRANCH NEAR THRIFT, NC: 35.299444, -80.946389
LONG CREEK NR RHYNE, NC: 35.300556, -80.972778
PAW CR AT WILKINSON BLVD NR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.240278, -80.974444
BEAVERDAM CREEK AB WINDY GAP ROAD NR SHOPTON, NC: 35.169722, -80.987778
HENRY FORK NEAR HENRY RIVER, NC: 35.684444, -81.403333
JACOB FORK AT RAMSEY, NC: 35.590556, -81.566944
INDIAN CREEK NEAR LABORATORY, NC: 35.420556, -81.265278
LONG CREEK NEAR BESSEMER CITY, NC: 35.306389, -81.234722
SOUTH FORK CATAWBA RIVER AT LOWELL, NC: 35.285278, -81.101111
IRWIN CR AT STATESVILLE AVE AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.261944, -80.836944
STEWART CREEK AT STATE ST AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.240278, -80.868333
STEWART CREEK AT WEST MOREHEAD ST AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.228333, -80.869167
IRWIN CREEK NEAR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.197778, -80.904444
TAGGART CREEK AT WEST BOULEVARD NR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.206667, -80.921944
SUGAR CREEK AT ARROWOOD ROAD NEAR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.139722, -80.911111
COFFEY CREEK NR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.145833, -80.926944
SUGAR CREEK AT NC 51 NEAR PINEVILLE, NC: 35.090833, -80.899444
LITTLE SUGAR CR BL 36TH STREET NEAR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.250278, -80.808333
LTL SUGAR CR AT MEDICAL CENTER DR AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.203611, -80.836944
LITTLE SUGAR CR AT HILLSIDE AVE, CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.179167, -80.846389
BRIAR CREEK NEAR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.236111, -80.771111
BRIAR CR AT INDEPENDENCE BLVD AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.210833, -80.800833
EDWARDS BRANCH AT SHEFFIELD DR AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.203333, -80.772222
BRIAR CR BL EDWARDS BRANCH NEAR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.206111, -80.805833
BRIAR CREEK AT PROVIDENCE ROAD AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.182500, -80.820000
BRIAR CR ABOVE COLONY RD AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.175278, -80.830833
TRIB TO BRIAR CREEK AT COLONY RD AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.168889, -80.830833
TRIB TO BRIAR CR AT RUNNYMEDE LN AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.166944, -80.836667
LITTLE HOPE CR AT SENECA PLACE AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.164444, -80.853056
LITTLE SUGAR C AT ARCHDALE DR AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.148056, -80.857778
LITTLE SUGAR CREEK AT PINEVILLE, NC: 35.085278, -80.882222
MCALPINE CREEK AT SR3150 NR IDLEWILD, NC: 35.175833, -80.719167
CAMPBELL CREEK NR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.186667, -80.736667
IRVINS CREEK AT SR3168 NR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.158611, -80.713333
MCALPINE CR AT SARDIS ROAD NEAR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.137778, -80.767500
MCALPINE CR AT COLONY RD NEAR OLDE PROVIDENCE, NC: 35.118333, -80.806667
FOUR MILE CREEK NEAR PINEVILLE, NC: 35.076944, -80.822500
MCMULLEN CR ABOVE LINCREST PLACE AT CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.170278, -80.785556
MCMULLEN CR AT SHARON VIEW RD NEAR CHARLOTTE, NC: 35.140833, -80.820000
MCALPINE CR BELOW MCMULLEN CR NR PINEVILLE, NC: 35.066497, -80.869850
STEELE CREEK AT SR1441 NR PINEVILLE, NC: 35.105000, -80.953611
SIX MILE CREEK NEAR PINEVILLE, NC: 35.010356, -80.828542
WAXHAW CREEK AT SR1103 NEAR JACKSON, NC: 34.836944, -80.791667
COVE CREEK NEAR LAKE LURE, NC: 35.423333, -82.111667
SECOND BROAD RIVER NR LOGAN, NC: 35.404444, -81.872500
BROAD RIVER NEAR BOILING SPRINGS, NC: 35.210833, -81.697500
FIRST BROAD RIVER NEAR CASAR, NC: 35.493056, -81.682222
FIRST BROAD RIVER AT LAWNDALE, NC: 35.415278, -81.561667
SOUTH FORK NEW RIVER NEAR JEFFERSON, NC: 36.393333, -81.406944
FRENCH BROAD RIVER AT ROSMAN, NC: 35.143333, -82.824722
DAVIDSON RIVER NEAR BREVARD, NC: 35.273056, -82.705833
FRENCH BROAD RIVER AT BLANTYRE, NC: 35.299167, -82.623889
MILLS RIVER NEAR MILLS RIVER, NC: 35.398056, -82.595000
FRENCH BROAD RIVER NEAR FLETCHER, NC: 35.427500, -82.548056
NORTH FORK SWANNANOA RIVER NEAR WALKERTOWN, NC: 35.683333, -82.333056
BEETREE CREEK NEAR SWANNANOA, NC: 35.653056, -82.405278
SWANNANOA RIVER AT BILTMORE, NC: 35.568333, -82.544722
FRENCH BROAD RIVER AT ASHEVILLE, NC: 35.608889, -82.578056
IVY RIVER NEAR MARSHALL, NC: 35.769722, -82.620833
FRENCH BROAD RIVER AT MARSHALL, NC: 35.786389, -82.660833
FRENCH BROAD RIVER AT HOT SPRINGS, NC: 35.889917, -82.821000
W F PIGEON R ABOVE LAKE LOGAN NR HAZELWOOD, NC: 35.396111, -82.937500
WEST FORK PIGEON RIVER NEAR RETREAT, NC: 35.426667, -82.919722
WEST FORK PIGEON RIVER AT BETHEL, NC: 35.463889, -82.900000
EAST FORK PIGEON RIVER NEAR CANTON, NC: 35.461667, -82.869722
PIGEON RIVER NEAR CANTON, NC: 35.523056, -82.846667
PIGEON RIVER NEAR HEPCO, NC: 35.635000, -82.990000
CATALOOCHEE CREEK NEAR CATALOOCHEE, NC: 35.667500, -83.073611
PIGEON R BL POWER PLANT NR WATERVILLE, NC: 35.783611, -83.111944
SOUTH TOE RIVER NEAR CELO, NC: 35.831389, -82.184167
WATAUGA RIVER NEAR SUGAR GROVE, NC: 36.239167, -81.822222
LITTLE TENNESSEE RIVER NEAR PRENTISS, NC: 35.150000, -83.379722
CARTOOGECHAYE CREEK NEAR FRANKLIN, NC: 35.158889, -83.394167
LITTLE TENNESSEE RIVER AB NC HWY 28 AT IOTLA, NC: 35.232861, -83.391472
LITTLE TENNESSEE RIVER AT NEEDMORE, NC: 35.336389, -83.526944
NANTAHALA RIVER NEAR RAINBOW SPRINGS, NC: 35.127500, -83.618611
NANTAHALA RIVER NEAR HEWITT, NC: 35.305000, -83.652222
TUCKASEGEE RIVER AT SR 1172 NR CULLOWHEE, NC: 35.287778, -83.143889
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distance: 244.4 miles
VALLEY RIVER AT TOMOTLA, NC
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distance: 238.6 miles
CHEOAH RIVER NR BEARPEN GAP NR TAPOCO, NC
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distance: 224.5 miles
NANTAHALA RIVER NEAR HEWITT, NC
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distance: 224.3 miles
NANTAHALA RIVER NEAR RAINBOW SPRINGS, NC
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distance: 217.2 miles
LITTLE TENNESSEE RIVER AT NEEDMORE, NC
280 markers
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Where to Go?

The big question is where to go? Well, this isn’t exactly a simple question to answer, thanks to the vast amount of options. In this guide, we will try our best to highlight some of the top spots, and at least give you a starting point of sorts. Even though you can find fishing all through the state, much of the focus is on the Fly Fishing Trail. This unique trail is what draws visitors from all around the country, and even from outside the United States.

Due to space limits, we’ll focus primarily on freshwater fly fishing locations. North Carolina’s coastal waters shouldn’t be forgotten though. This is also a mecca for fly fishers from the state and around the country.

So let’s get started in helping you plan your visit.

The Fly Fishing Trail

The Fly Fishing Trail isn’t one specific spot; rather, it is a collection of 15 fabulous locations in the western part of the state. Obviously you won’t be able to visit all these spots in one trip. The trail itself is found in Jackson County, and as mentioned this is the country's first and only trail like this. What makes this trail even more spectacular is that it is located within the Great Smoky Mountains.

The idea is that you can visit these locations over time, and find your favorites. Along this trail the fish you'll be catching are rainbow, brook, and brown trout. The trail offers a nice amount of variety so you can head to open waters, large waters, or small streams if you prefer. While we can't name off all 15 spots, here are just a few:

Scott Creek - This particular stream features hatchery rainbow and brown trout. It's known for its scenic beauty, and the fact it is highly accessible.

Whitewater River - Here's a great spot for wild trout. You will find rainbow, brown, and brook trout. The river is very accessible, and it flows right to Whitewater Falls.

Savannah Creek - This is another hatchery supported creek, with brown and rainbow trout. The creek is about 10 miles in length, which is more than enough for great fishing.

The Davidson River

The Davidson River offers a number of different streams that branch off of it. Many of these are excellent for fly fishing, and are highly accessible. The river itself is found in Transylvania County, and is described as "backcountry" conditions. Typically you will find rainbow and trophy brown trout in this river.

Forney Creek

Forney Creek may not be as popular as some of the bigger streams, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth a visit. The creek empties into Fontana's north shore, and you can reach it by a hike or by boat. What anglers appreciate about this creek is that it's more remote. Therefore, it gets much less crowded even in peak season. If you’re the type of angler who appreciates the peace and quiet while fishing, then you will love this location. This creek is known for brown and rainbow trout.

When to Go?

It's not commonplace to say the best time of year for fly fishing is all year-round, but that's the case with North Carolina. You can literally fish throughout the state any month of the year. Along the Fly Fishing Trail this is especially true. Go ahead and book your adventure for winter, fall, spring, or summer. If you were to ask the experts, they would typically choose the tail end of fall and the beginning of spring as the "best" times. The reason for this has to do with the bug hatches.

There is also the fact that summer is peak season, so you will be dealing not just with anglers, but also those using the waterways for boating and canoeing. This can make casting a bit of an issue as you’ll need to be well aware of who and what is around you at all times. If you like solitude when fishing, summer doesn’t always guarantee it.

In North Carolina the hatches never stop, it's just a matter of what is hatching, and when. It can change as you move across the state, but here’s a general look at the hatches. In January you'll find midges and stone flies. The months of February and March bring about more stone flies and baetis. April is black caddis time. In May you're into more caddis, midges, and baetis. June sees terrestrials and stone flies, as does August. From September until the end of November there are terrestrials, flying ants, and midges. Obviously you’ll want to keep these in mind as a rough idea when picking your flies.

When it comes to the weather in North Carolina, again, it's tolerable all year-round. Fall and spring may be considered the most comfortable temperatures, as you aren’t too hot or too cold. It's very common to see snow in the winter in some of the mountain regions, but again this doesn't mean the fishing grinds to a stop. Winter is usually a good time for wading (in the proper waders) or floating.

One thing that North Carolina is known for is the change in temperatures during the day. If you are fishing in the mountain regions you can expect temperatures as cool as 40 degrees when you start your day. By lunch it may be as warm as 80 degrees. That's quite a variance, so dressing in layers is the best way to deal with it. As well rain is very common in spring, summer, and fall. Packing rain gear and an extra pair of dry clothes is usually a wise idea.

What You Will Need When You Get There?

As with any state, the equipment needed isn’t dependent on the state you are fishing in, rather the size of the water, the weather, and the size of the fish. Typically a rod that is between seven and nine feet should do just fine in the majority of lakes, streams, creeks, and rivers. You can use a five or six weight.

Choosing your flies is based on the hatches taking place in that region, and at that time of year. If you aren’t an avid angler, or you aren’t a resident of the state you may be unsure of what hatches are happening. This is a great opportunity to visit a local fly fishing shop and get some advice. Not only can they suggest the best flies, but you’ll also be able to pick up flies that work perfect in that region. Taking these extra steps just help to ensure you have the best experience possible when you reach the water.

North Carolina offers a variety of ways to fish. Anglers can fish by drift boat, wading, or from the shore. It's totally dependent on where you are, and what style you prefer. Keeping this variety in mind, as you pack your gear, a good quality pair of waders is always a wise idea. At least this way you are prepared should you decide to wade.

If you are planning to enjoy the fly fishing opportunities in North Carolina, then you will need a valid fishing license. This license is required for all people who are 16 years of age and older. This requirement is true for freshwater and saltwater fishing. There are a few different license options for both residents, and non-residents. It's also important to familiarize yourself with the regulations in the state before doing any fishing. These regulations can change yearly. All of this information, and more, can be found through the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Division.

Few states offer such incredible fly fishing opportunities as North Carolina does. Whether you are here for the unique Fly Fishing Trail, or to adventure out on your own and discover your own spots, you’re sure to have a successful trip.