Fishing in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of America’s iconic fishing destinations that offers outstanding opportunities for both freshwater and deep-sea saltwater fishing.
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About North Carolina

What attracts countless anglers to North Carolina is the nearly-unmatched variety of fish species that can be found in its waters, and pursued with the help of all imaginable fishing types and techniques. Numerous man-made and natural lakes, like High Rock Lake, Fortuna Lake, Lake Waccamaw, to name just a few, often house bass fishing tournaments. Those who prefer to fish for trout will never forget the Mitchel, Oconaluftee, Tuchagassee, and other rivers and streams of the Tar Heel State. Saltwater fishing opportunities in North Carolina are focused around the Outer Banks. This narrow strip of islands runs along the shore, and serves as a natural wavebreaker, creating a special type of brackish habitat known as the Sounds, shallow and warm bays that have everything that the fish needs: food, including numerous oyster beds, and shelter. A number of excellent fishing charters operate from Outer Banks and Roanoke Island, and offer fishing trips in both the Sounds and the offshore hotspots in the Atlantic Ocean.

Fishing Types

North Carolina is well-known for the beaches of the Outer Banks, and many anglers who visit it with their families find also excellent conditions for surf and pier fishing for species such as mackerel. A large part of the Sounds is shallow, and perfectly suitable for bottom or flats fishing. And of course for those who feel the attraction of the sea, numerous excellent fishing boats and charters offer both relaxed nearshore and inshore family outings, and offshore and deep sea pursuit for tuna, marlin, shark and other saltwater fish. The sea around Cape Hatteras is notorious for its roughness and treacherous nature, which incidentally brought about numerous wreck fishing opportunities. The anglers who like to wander will appreciate numerous fishing trails, marked through the woods and along the trout streams running through the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains. The most renowned of them is the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, but there are numerous others, and backcountry fishing enthusiasts still have an option to blaze their own. Lake fishing for largemouth bass in North Carolina is also exemplary.

Targeted Fish Species

Streams and brooks of North Carolina’s Smokey and Blue Ridge Mountains are swarming with both native brook trout, and stocked rainbow and brown trout. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass in rivers and lakes reach historic size, and you may also catch impressive catfish, muskie and walleye. Red drum, striped bass and flounder are the main attraction in the Sounds, and inshore waters near the Outer Banks abound in king and Spanish mackerel. For deep sea fishing enthusiasts, North Carolina is one of the main attractions, as the ocean here is a sort of a crossroads for pelagic saltwater fish species, the place to go if you want to feel a yellowfin and bluefin tuna, mako shark, sailfish, swordfish, or marlin on the end of your line. Less nomadic species such as groupers can be caught in North Carolina as well.

Fishing Techniques

North Carolina is the state where you can practice a number of classic fishing techniques in their purest form. From spinning for largemouth bass in the lakes to fly-fishing for elusive trout along the picturesque mountain trails, from deep sea trolling for sailfish and tuna to casting surf rods for mackerel and flounder, North Carolina is one of those states where almost every angler will find a fishing trip of their dreams.