▶ OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
in the High Country
Anglers seek out the High Country as a destination for their favorite pastime. The area’s rivers are home to rainbow, brown and brook trout, and outfitters are ready to take you on an excursion and provide all the gear and advice you need. With miles of streams and rivers running through spectacular scenery of the High Country, you’ll find anglers in the waterways looking to make their catch. There are three species of trout found here: the Rainbow, the Brown and the elusive Brook Trout. You can also find smallmouth bass. So how to catch them? Of course the best way to do that is to hire a guide.
Where to Buy a Fishing License?
If you're wanting to fish in North Carolina, you will need a license approved by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Fishing licenses range from 10 day passes to lifetime passes for residents, non-residents, seniors, and disabled. Prices vary for the length of these passes and what type of resident you are.
In Watauga County, you can obtain a fishing license at: Food Lion in Blowing Rock, Wildlife Unlimited in Boone, Cove Creek Store in Sugar Grove, J&M General Store and Grill in Blowing Rock, Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, Village Hardware in Blowing Rock, Walmart in Boone and Watauga River Fly Shop in Vilas.
In Avery County, you can obtain a fishing license at: Food Lion in Banner Elk, Brinkley Hardware in Elk Park, Fred's General Mercantile atop Beech Mountain and Three Nails Hardware in Newland.
N.C. Fishing License Fees:
10 Day Pass: $7 resident / $18 non-resident
Annual Pass: $20+ resident / $36+ non-resident
Lifetime: $250 resident / $1200 non-resident
Kids Under 16: No license required
*Prices differ for seniors, disabled and veterans.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway has several popular fishing spots and numerous streams and creeks. Remember that while no special permits are needed for fishing along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will need a standard fishing license issued by North Carolina. You can obtain a license here: http://www.ncwildlife.org/default.aspx. Note that each fishing spot may have its own regulations posted.
Fishing spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway:
MP 238 to 244 Doughton Park has the Basin Cove Creek complex with stocked streams full of rainbow and brook trout.
MP 292.7 Along with many miles of horse and carriage trails, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park estate has Trout Lake and Bass Lake, both of which hare popular fishing waters.
MP 295 Julian Price Memorial Park has 4,344 acres with a campground, picnic area and trails – not to mention a lake for boating and fishing! Note that fishing is not permitted from the dam at Price Lake or from the footbridge in the Price Lake picnic area.
MP 316.4 Fish in the Linville River. The Linville River parking area at Milepost 316.4 offers a picnic area and comfort station at an altitude of 3,250 feet. Take Spur Road to the Linville Falls, campground and visitor center.
Remember that while no special permits are needed for fishing along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will need a standard fishing license issued by North Carolina. You can obtain a license here. Note that each fishing spot may have its own regulations posted.
Address: Banner Elk, NC
Wildcat Lake in Banner Elk is part of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Public Mountain Trout Waters program and is a hatchery-supported trout water. It has been stocked with three different types of trout, blue gills and bass. There is a children’s fishing dock on the far side of the lake and a handicap accessible dock near the spillway. Wildcat Lake is located on Hickory Nut Gap Road in Banner Elk.
Maintained by Ashe County Wildlife Club and stocked by the state, Chinquapin Lake is open for fishing from the first Saturday in June to Sept. 30. It is located in Jefferson, where you take Highway 88 ten miles and hang a left at Upper Mountain Agricultural Research Station on Big Peak Creek Road and go four miles on gravel road until pavement begins.
Address: Cherokee National Forest, TN
Watauga Lake is a 6,430-acre reservoir in East Tennessee and on the North Carolina border. According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, “Smallmouth, walleye, and trout are the most popular game fish for Watauga anglers. Gizzard shad, alewife, bluegill, and assorted minnows make up the forage base. There are eight public boat ramps, seven marinas and two Forest Service recreation facilities. From Boone, take U.S. 321 about 45 minutes directly to Watauga Lake. For more information about fishing in the Watauga Lake, go to the website.
Address: 333 Wallingford Rd, Blowing Rock, NC
Mayview Lake in Blowing Rock has a dock and is perfect for fishing, feeding ducks or relaxing by the lake. Mayview Lake is located just behind downtown Blowing Rock near the American Legion Building at 333 Wallingford Road. For more info, call the Town of Blowing Rock at 828-295-5222.
Creeks in Avery County
Roaring Creek: For wild trout, go the same direction as you would to Big Plumtree Creek Road above, but turn on nearby Roaring Creek Road instead The stream will be a mile down the road on your left. GPS 36.0732, -82.0253
Boyd Coffey Lake: From N.C. 105 in Boone take a left on U.S. 221 until you come to Autumn Lane and make a right. Follow Autumn Lane until you come to Pilot Ridge Road and then make a left on Edgemont Road. GPS: 36.0774, -81.7760
Cow Camp Creek: From Old Toe River Road near downtown Newland go about one mile and turn left on Cole Hollow Road. On your left will be the stream. GPS 36.1076, -81.9957
Archie Coffey Lake: From NC 105 in Boone take a left on US 221 to Edgemont Road. Past Pilot Ridge Road and on your right will be the creek. GPS: 36.0774, -81.7760
Lost Cove Creek: Deep pools await in the rugged terrain of the Lost Cove Wilderness Area in the Pisgah National Forest. From the Blue Ridge Parkway exit near Blowing Rock, drive south until you hit the Roseboro Road. After which take a right and drive to the end of Timber Ridge Trail to meet the stream on the right. GPS 36.0157, -81.7985
Plumtree Creek: For wild trout, take Highway 19 East south from Elk Park about 10 miles to Big Plumtree Creek Road, where you will take a left. The stream will be on your right approximately 1,000 feet on Lick Log Road. GPS 36.0324, -82.0002
Horse Creek: From Elk Park, take Highway 19 about four miles south and make a right on Big Horse Creek Road. The stream will be on the left side of the road. GPS 36.1076, -81.9957
Toe River: In downtown Newland is the River Walk Park, of which the Toe River runs underneath, that the locals love to fish. GPS 36.06618, -81.8705
Creeks in Watauga County
Beech Creek: Located near the backside of Beech Mountain, Beech Creek is supported via hatchery and wild trout. Beech Creek can be accessed by US 321. GPS: 36.2530, -81.9029
Laurel Creek: From Boone take US 321 to Sugar Grove and make the second left once you pass the US 321 Bridge over the Watauga River. GPS: 36.2497, -81.8591
Dutch Creek: Accessed via the second bridge on SR 1134, Dutch Creek continues into Valle Crucis. GPS: 36.1988, -81.7824
Middle Fork of New River: While the New River runs for miles and miles, a popular spot is nearby Aho Road, which is near the intersection of US 321 and the Blue Ridge Parkway around Blowing Rock.
North Fork of the New River: In the Meat Camp community off of NC 194, several miles from Boone, near Sutherland Road is where two creeks come together and make for some great fishin’.
Watauga River: Along the Watauga River in between Foscoe and Sugar Grove is a great stretch of trout waters. You can park at the Valle Crucis Community Park off of Broadstone Road or you can park on the pull-off near the intersection of NC 105 Bridge and Broadstone Road. Or drive all the way to Sugar Grove and park at the kayak access at the US 321 Bridge over the Watauga River and fish.
Creeks in Ashe County
Big Laurel Creek: Catch some fish – both wild and hatchery-supported – where the North Fork meets Highway 88. Big Laurel Creek runs nine miles to the Virginia/North Carolina line. GPS: 36.4678, -81.6438
Big Horse Creek: Big Horse Creek in Lansing is among the more popular streams in Ashe County. Access the stream at the Big Horse Creek Road bridge. GPS: 36.5612, -81.5390
Beaver Creek: From Jefferson on U.S. 221, take a left on Highway 163, where Beaver Creek runs nearly eight miles. GPS: 36.3748, -81.4777
Cranberry Creek: One of the popular fishing waters is Cranberry Creek, which runs from Alleghany line near Laurel Springs across Highway 88, traveling 12 miles to South Fork of New River at U.S. 221 Bridge. GPS: 36.420559, -81.473938
South Fork of the New River: Near Todd, the South Fork of the New River is a popular place to fish for trout. GPS: 36.3092, -81.595741
Helton Creek: Perhaps the best stretch of fly-fishing waters along Helton Creek is from its confluence with the New River all the way to the Virginia line. Helton Creek, located near Jefferson, is now a delayed-harvest water with an excellent 11-mile stretch. GPS: 36.4365, -81.2932
North Fork of New River: Flowing along N.C. 88 and N.C. 194, the North Fork of the New River is teeming with trout from Watauga County line to the sharp dam. GPS: 36.4329, -81.6368
Three Top Creek: With more than 10 miles of hatchery-supported waters, Three Top Creek is among the favorite trout waters to fish on opening day of the fishing season in Ashe County, located off N.C. 88 in Creston. (Not along game land portion.) GPS: 36.3612, -81.5916
Hoskins Fork: From the Watauga County line to the North Fork of New River, Hoskins Fork is 12 miles of hatchery supported waters. From Lansing, take the Highway 88. One-half mile past Sutherland Road, the stream flows. GPS: 36.3889, -81.6990
Peak Creek: Take Highway 88 to Big Peak Creek Road. After about 14 miles, the stream is roughly 2,000 feet on left and is hatchery supported. GPS: 36.4023, -81.3106
Pine Swamp Creek: Head south along N.C. 221 out of Jefferson and turn right on Highway 163. Continue for five miles until making a right on Phillips Gap Road. Continue for 1,000 feet until a fork in the road. Take the left fork onto Dick Phillips Road. The hatchery-supported stream will be 7/10 of a mile on the left. GPS: 36.2983, -81.4560