Waterways are everywhere in the High Country, and some of them are teeming with life. While this is a trout fishing destination, there are angling opportunities of all sorts.
Patrick Sessoms, owner of Due South Outfitters in Boone, said spring and fall offer some of the best times to fish, adding that the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s delayed harvest stocking program, which begins the first week of October, means purely recreational catch-and-release opportunities in the area.
WRC District 8 management biologist Danny Ray said there are a number of different designations for trout fishing to cater to the kind of fishing you are looking for.
“Some people like to fish for the wild trout, some people like to just go and catch a few stockers and put them in the frying pan, so we try to have something for everyone” Ray said.
Ray added there are other types of fish in the mountains primarily not found in streams.
Public Access AreasThe N.C. WRC in partnership with federal and local governments, and private landowners, maintains a database of public access fishing areas, some are riverbank access, but others have handicap-accessible piers and canoe access. For a full map of access points, including which have the features you are looking for and is a waterway falls in Public Mountain Trout Waters, which have additional regulations and require trout privilege on a license, click to www.ncpaws.org/wrcmapbook/FishingAreas.aspx.
Family OutingsThere are a number of accessible ponds in Avery, Ashe and Watauga that are popular family fishing destinations.
Some popular locations include the following: Trout Lake, Lansing Park and Ashe Park Pond in Ashe County, Blowing Rock’s Broyhill Park, Price Lake, Coffey Lake in Watauga, and Wildcat Lake and Newland’s Shoemaker Park in Avery.
Pisgah National ForestThe Pisgah National Forest is filled with waterways rich with aquatic life and is home to the Wilson Creek area, a popular trout fishing destination. The Wilson Creek area is home to brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, redbrest sunfish and small mouth bass. The area offers those willing to delve far enough into the back country canoe access, a handicap-accessible pier and bank fishing access.
Important Note: Pisgah National Forest waters are designated as Public Mountain Trout Waters. Wilson Creek is a Delayed Harvest Trout Water, and additional restrictions apply. Trout-seekers should regard signage and comply with regulations.
Linville GorgeWith multiple access points along Old N.C. 105, the Hatchery Supported Trout Waters of the Linville River require Public Mountain Trout Waters privileges.
Because of the remote and rugged nature of the terrain, hikers are encouraged to contact the U.S. Forest Service before embarking into the area.
The Linville Gorge is also accessible from U.S. 221, N.C. 181 and N.C. 183. Call the U.S. Forest Service at (828) 652-4841 for more information.
RegulationsFor complete listings of all regulations regarding licenses, hunting, fishing and trapping, see the 2019-2020 North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Regulations Digest, available online by clicking to www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting/Laws-Safety, or attached to the online version of this article at www.highcountrync.com.
Getting the gearBefore setting out, the first step is ensuring that you and your party have the proper equipment. Throughout the high country, a number of outfitters will be able to help you determine the best tools for the job.
For those hoping to test the waters of trout fishing for the first time, or who simply want to let someone else handle the logistics of their fishing expedition, a number of companies offer guided trips to locations throughout the area.
MountainBound Fly Guides5712 N.C. 105 South, Vilas
Elk Creek Outfitters1560 N.C. 105, Boone
Due South Outfitters2575 N.C. 105, Boone
Wildlife Unlimited1864 Old Hwy. 421 South, Boone
Mountains to Coast Fishing
and Hunting Guide Service(828) 355-3474
Foscoe Fishing Company and Outfitters8857 N.C. 105, Foscoe
HikeMore Adventures9245 N.C. 181, Jonas Ridge
Highland Outfitters140 S Depot St., Boone
RiverGirl Fishing Company4041 Todd Railroad Grade Rd, Todd