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Guide To Great Trout Fishing In North Carolina

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All about fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout in local lakes and streams.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Trout fishing in North Carolina

North Carolina offers excellent trout fishing opportunities with its diverse range of trout species and abundant fishing locations. Anglers can target three main species of trout in the state: rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. Each species has its unique characteristics and preferred habitats, providing anglers with diverse fishing experiences.

The purpose of this page is to share basic information about trout fishing and identify trout fishing waters in the state. Trout fishing in North Carolina can be enjoyed in both lakes and rivers. Many lakes in the western part of the state are stocked with trout and offer fantastic fishing opportunities. Some popular trout lakes include Lake Glenville, Lake Junaluska, and Lake Lure. These lakes provide anglers with the chance to catch rainbow trout and brown trout, which are known for their acrobatic jumps and strong fights.

Rivers and streams in North Carolina are also prized trout fishing destinations. The state's numerous coldwater rivers and mountain streams offer ideal habitats for trout. The Nantahala River, Davidson River, and South Toe River are renowned for their productive trout fisheries. Anglers can enjoy both fly fishing and spin fishing techniques in these scenic waterways, targeting rainbow trout, brown trout, and native brook trout.

North Carolina maintains a state record program that recognizes exceptional trout catches. Anglers who land trout of record-breaking size can submit their catch for consideration. The state records for rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout reflect the impressive fish that have been caught throughout North Carolina's waters.

Whether you prefer the serene beauty of mountain streams or the calm waters of stocked lakes, North Carolina offers a wealth of opportunities for trout fishing. With its variety of trout species, picturesque fishing locations, and the potential to land trophy-sized fish, North Carolina is a haven for trout anglers of all skill levels.

Trout Waters In NC

As you might imagine, trout fishing waters in NC are limited. Lakes in the state with a population of trout include Apalachia Lake, Buckhorn Reservoir, Cheoah Lake, Fontana Lake, Lake Glenville, Lake Nantahala and Santeetlah Lake. Several rivers in the state have spotty trout fishing as do some small ponds and parks.

Fishing Boats For Rent In North Carolina

Trout Species In The State

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 20 lbs 3 oz

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 7 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 24 lbs 10 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Select the best trout lures and baits

Trout spinners, crankbaits and jerkbaits work well for shallow, reasonably active fish. Salmon eggs, worms and prepared baits will work at virtually all depths.

The state record brook trout was taken from the Raven Fork River.

The state record brown trout was caught in the Nantahala River.

The state record rainbow trout came from the Horsepasture River.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has a stocking program for fish across the state. Visit their website to gather details on trout stocking in North Carolina.

Watch trout fishing videos to see trout anglers in action.

The 5 primary trouts are the rainbow, brook, brown, cutthroat and lake trout. Browns are considered the most difficult to catch and brookies are the easiest. Pure cold water is key to survival of the trouts.

Additional trout information

Trout Conservation
Trout Unlimited


Trout locations and info, by state.

AK Trout Fishing AL Trout Fishing AR Trout Fishing AZ Trout Fishing CA Trout Fishing CO Trout Fishing CT Trout Fishing DE Trout Fishing GA Trout Fishing HI Trout Fishing IA Trout Fishing ID Trout Fishing
IL Trout Fishing IN Trout Fishing KS Trout Fishing KY Trout Fishing MA Trout Fishing MD Trout Fishing ME Trout Fishing MI Trout Fishing MN Trout Fishing MO Trout Fishing MS Trout Fishing MT Trout Fishing
NC Trout Fishing ND Trout Fishing NE Trout Fishing NH Trout Fishing NJ Trout Fishing NM Trout Fishing NV Trout Fishing NY Trout Fishing OH Trout Fishing OK Trout Fishing OR Trout Fishing PA Trout Fishing
RI Trout Fishing SC Trout Fishing SD Trout Fishing TN Trout Fishing TX Trout Fishing UT Trout Fishing VA Trout Fishing VT Trout Fishing WA Trout Fishing WI Trout Fishing WV Trout Fishing WY Trout Fishing

Learn the habits of trout

Trout are considered some of the most difficult fish to fool. Once you locate North Carolina waters with a population of trout, the challenge becomes identifying trout flies and lures that will trigger strikes. Visit the trout fishing page to learn more about the habitat each of the trouts prefer.