CASTING A LINE IN JACKSON COUNTY
Anglers travel from across the country to experience Jackson County’s pristine rivers and streams that are teeming with brown, rainbow and brook trout.
Jackson County is home of the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, which maps out 15 prime spots to catch brown, rainbow and brook trout in the crystal-clear streams of the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you’re looking for wide-open rivers or secluded mountain streams, the Fly Fishing Trail has you covered.
The heart of the trail, the Tuckasegee River, is the county’s largest body of water, flowing some 50 miles. The “Tuck” as it’s called by locals, is also one of the most accessible rivers you’ll find anywhere.
With 92,800 fish stocked in its waters annually, it’s no wonder Jackson County is recognized as the North Carolina Trout Capital. In June of 2016, legislators on both the N.C. House and Senate floors approved a resolution recognizing Jackson County as the Premier Fishing Destination in the state. The effort was led by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Director Julie Spiro, Rep. Joe Sam Queen, and Senator Jim Davis.
In addition to the streams and The Tuck, Jackson County also has several lakes that are great for catching largemouth bass.
Fishing Season and Limits
Mountain trout regulations include Hatchery Supported Trout Waters, Wild Trout Waters and Special Regulated Trout Waters such as Delayed Harvest Trout Waters (PDF).
Mountain Heritage Trout Waters – Jackson County has the state’s longest contiguous stretch of Mountain Heritage Trout Waters. Through the Mountain Heritage Trout Waters program, fishermen can receive a $5, three-day fishing permit for select stretches of water in Sylva, Dillsboro and Webster.
Weekly Fishing Report
View an interactive map of all river access points in Jackson County.
View the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission map of fishing areas
Hatchery Supported Locations:
- Balsam Lake
- Bear Creek Lake
- Buff Creek– SR1457 Bridge to Scott Creek
- Cullowhee Creek-Tilley creek to Tuckasegee River
- Green’s Creek– Green’s Creek Baptist Church on SR1370 to Savannah Creek
- Savannah Creek– Headwaters to Bradley’s Packing House on NC 116
- Scott Creek, Dark Ridge Creek – Jones to Scott Creek
- Tuckasegee River – From confluence with West Fork Tuckasegee to NC 107 bridge at Love Field & former Dillsboro Dam to SR 1392 bridge at Wilmot
- Tanasee Creek Lake
- West Fork Tuckasegee River
- Wolf Creek Lake
- Tuckasegee River (NC 107 bridge at Love Field to NC 116 bridge at Webster)
- Chattooga River
- Gage Creek
- Needle Creek
- North Fork Scott Creek
- Sols Creek
- Tanasee Creek
- Whitewater River-Down from Silver Run creek to S.C. line
- Wolf Creek – Except Balsam Lake
Catch and Release Artificial Lures Only:
Jackson County houses several breathtaking scenic mountain lakes that, thanks to the area’s large trout population, is home to some of the largest small and largemouth bass in the state, and some would even argue the country. The lakes of Jackson County offer boating, kayaking and canoeing opportunities and delight with opportunities to view pristine scenery while casting a line. With a plethora of bass, yellow perch, musky, walleye, brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout, there are plenty of chances to reel in the catch of the day, or even catch of the week, in Jackson County, NC. Local guides, such as Dream Catcher Guides, are available to show you exactly where the fish are biting, and provide gear for rent.
Lake Glenville is the largest lake in the county, and one of the highest-elevation lakes east of the Rocky Mountains. It features an expansive 26 miles of shoreline, seven islands and plenty of waterfalls to discover. Here, fishermen will find endless supplies of trophy-sized large and smallmouth bass, trout and perch. Signal Ridge Marina rents pontoon boats and Lakeshore Marina rents boats and fishing gear. Bear Creek Lake has the reputation of being one of the cleanest lakes in Western NC. Bear Lake is regularly stocked with fish by the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, making it a very popular stop for anglers. The crystal-clear waters are loaded with monster bass, trout and brim. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Cedar Cliff Lake is the lowest in elevation and is surrounded by large rock walls. Although not stocked by North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission, this secluded lake possesses one of the most impressive walleye and rainbow trout populations, thanks to the lake’s proximity to the Tuckasegee River. The scenic and peaceful Wolf Creek Lake is a 183-acre, high-elevation lake that contains plentiful brook, brown and rainbow trout, giant bass and walleye.
Guides and Outfitters
Check out these videos to learn more about fishing in Jackson County:
Anglers & Appetites, Season 3, Episode 305
Everyone using the WNC Fly Fishing Trail is asked to make the following pledge:
“As a true sportsman, I pledge to never litter and to avoid trespassing on private lands. I will respect the rights of property owners, and always leave the streams in better condition than I found them.”