North Carolina Fishing

north carolina state flag







Number of Fish Species (fresh):  220

Number of Fish Species (salt):  300

State Sportfish (fresh):  Southern Appalachian Brook Trout

State Sportfish (salt):  Red Drum

Notable Records:  a 15lb 14oz. largemouth bass from Union County, a 1lb 13oz. warmouth from Richmond County, a 116lb 8oz. cobia from Oregon Inlet, a 94lb drum from Hatteras Island

Fishing Regs:  For freshwater regs right click, save as here (NC freshwater regs) or visit the site here.  For saltwater regs right click, save as here (NC saltwater regs) or visit the site here.

Fishing License Info:  

  Freshwater       Saltwater  
  Residents Non-Residents     Residents Non-Residents
Annual $15.00 $30.00   Annual $15.00 $30.00
10-day $5.00 $10.00   10-day $5.00 $10.00
Trout $10.00 $10.00        

For more information on licenses click here.

Quickcast:  From the extensive rivers, lakes and reservoirs in the interior of the state to the great expanse of the sounds and bays in the East then out to the Atlantic Ocean, North Carolina truly has a huge range of fishing opportunities.  Starting in Western Carolina anglers may find Fontana Lake where smallmouth bass, walleye, muskie and largemouth bass are known to lurk.  Moving east anglers will find the French Broad River which is known for its exceptional smallmouth bass fishery.  East of the French Broad is Lake Norman.  This lake brings in fishermen looking for black crappie, yellow perch, channel cats, bluegill, largemouth and smallmouth bass.  If its trout you’re on the hunt for then there are plenty of rivers and streams holding trout but those in Avery County (Western region) are especially profitable for browns and rainbows.  At the top of the state is a 50,000 acre lake called John H. Kerr Lake.  This lake is home to striped bass, spotted bass, catfish species, walleye, crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass.  Heading almost all the way to the bottom end of the state is the famous Cape Fear River.  This 200 mile blackwater river holds striped bass, black drum, flounder, speckled trout, red drum and bass species.  Looking to the far East are wide expanses of embayments such as Pamlico Sound which brings anglers in for red drum, speckled trout, flounder, rock fish, tarpon and spanish mackerel. Going further east anglers will be exploring all that North Carolina offshore fishing has to offer.  Out in the blue water anglers should expect to bring up some sailfish, blue marlin, king mackerel, wahoo, tuna, grouper, snapper, seabass and mahi.