North Carolina Fishing
You will need a license for both freshwater and saltwater fishing in North Carolina. You can buy a temporary, out of state, license for a modest fee.
Guest passes can be purchased for 1-3 day periods at a lower
cost. Sports licenses can be purchased by phone, using a
credit card at 1-888-HUNTFISH.
From the North Carolina mountains to the sea, there are numerous lakes, rivers and streams
where you can drop a line, and reel in the “big one”. North
Carolina is home to 217 species of freshwater fish and
500+ species of crayfish and mussels.
North Carolina Mountain Fishing:
lakes and streams of
NC’s mountains are home to many varieties of trout.
The Brook trout, also known as speckled trout, can be found
at the higher elevations, and are the mainstay of mountain
fishing. In lower levels, you can find larger rainbow trout
and the brown trout. There are more than 2,100 miles of
trout streams accessible to the public, and numerous mountain
lakes. However, be sure to get the proper license along
with a regular freshwater one. Some suggested mountain waterways
are Eagle Creek, Hazel Creek , the Nantahala River, the
Cullasaja River, or the Little Tennessee River.
Outer Banks Fishing:
Catch fish from the beach in the Outer
Banks - Most bigger than this one
For the fisherman, the Outer
Banks (OBX) area is a paradise. You can enjoy surf,
pier, fresh water and sound, off shore and inshore the whole
year. You can also go crabbing, clam digging, oyster catching
and shrimping. There are more than 33 species of fish in
the waters of the OBX, including game fish like the blue
and white marlin, tarpon, amberjack, sailfish, tuna sea
bass, and mackerel — to name a few. While fishing in the sound,
you can catch flounder, sea trout, spot croaker, and striped
With hundreds of marlins and sailfish caught each year, the OBX is known as the “Billfish Capital of the World”. The giant blue fin tuna, varying in size from 200-1,000 pounds, puts up a fight that challenges even the most professional angler. For many, trolling is the off shore method of choice. You can charter a boat for half a day, as well as all day trips through any of the local marinas.
You can also fish the Pamlico, the Croaton, the Albemarle and Roanoke Sounds by using a small boat — either your own or one can be rented. In the sound(s) there are flounder, sea trout, croaker, spot, cobia, and at night, there are red trout and drum. You can also hire a guide and boat so you can set out from one of the many public boat ramps. Another popular choice is to charter a head boat which will provide bait, tackle and equipment. The boats also have a drink and snack bar, as well as restrooms.
Other options are pier and surf fishing which can be done on piers from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras. The season begins in March, reaches its peak in May, slows down during the summer, and peaks again in November. For surf fishing, the Outer Banks are best during September.
Freshwater/Brackish fishing is best at the northern end of the beach in Currituck Sound, Kitty Hawk Bay, and Colington Bay. The waters here are home to perch, bass, and catfish. Whether by boat, fly fishing or wading, you will definitely catch your limit!
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your gear and hurry to NC for fishing
fun found in its rivers, stream, sounds, lakes, and ocean.
You’ll be glad you did.
It's difficult to talk about fishing in the South without bringing up Georgia. The fishing in Georgia is some of the most diverse in the South with trout in the North Georgia Mountains, redfish in Savannah, catfish in the Chattahoochee, and bass everywhere else. Our guide to Georgia fishing will help you sort out the basics so you can wet your line in NCs neighboring state.