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Top Trout Fishing Streams in North Carolina

Mon, 05/25/2009 - 11:56 -- jmaslar

I have fished the trout streams in North Carolina for 30 years and have, at one time or another fished just about every stream in the state.  During that time, I have kept notes as to how many fish I caught, what were the species, how difficult the terrain and how heavy the fishing pressure appeared to be.

 NC Brown

 from Deep Creek

I have condensed that information into a list of what I call the Top 12 Best Trout Streams in the state; and now for the disclaimers.   I  have tried to keep the list simple to understand. As you review the list, please bear in mind that due to my human frailty, the impressions I received were based on my observations which may be biased based on my life experiences.   If the rhododendrons were particularly pesky, it may have lowered my expectations a little or if I was exhausted from hiking, I may have been biased against that stream.  Sometimes, I would “give up” on a stream if I was blanked a couple of times on consecutive trips.  However, I still feel that I have classified them appropriately.


Also, the conditions for fishing change from year to year, month to month or even day to day.  Slickrock in the Joyce Kilmer Forest, for instance, was my favorite and there were days there where I did very little, and there were days when I landed a number of huge browns.  Slickrock is by far the most remote being beyond the Fontana Dam in the far western portion of the state.


Deep Creek and the Bradley Fork are in the The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Deep Creek is somewhat difficult to get to if you fish the top or the mid sections.  Like many of the streams, the upper portions harbor Brook Trout, while the Rainbow Trout can be found lower with the Brown Trout.  Often times the Brown Trout, being ferocious eaters will tend to crowd out the Rainbow Trout.  However, you can get a grand slam of all three catches in one day.  The bottom, just before it empties into the “Tuck” is hatchery supported and can be fished with live bait.


Please keep in mind the fishing regulations for each stream as they may vary along the various sections of the stream.  Be especially respectful of the type of bait/lure that you select as some areas may be flies only, others may be single hook and still others may be “anything goes” short of dynamite.  Personally, I prefer flies or single hook and I practice the “catch and release” method of preserving our fishery.


I have tried to give some geological diversity by selecting streams in several different counties while still maintaining them within my best 12 and that is one reason why I have 12 and not 10. 


I have not included the Cherokee Nation Waters or Bullhead Creek in the Stone Mountain State Parksince they require a payment or special permit to fish in them.


And finally, please be respectful of the private lands that surround many of these streams and be respectful of other fishermen or visitors to the outdoors.



Submitted by Anonymous on

I might prefer Deep Creek over Slick Rock.

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