Whether you are fly fishing for native brook trout in a cold mountain stream, smallmouth or largemouth bass in beautiful Fontana Lake or rainbow or brown trout in one of the many stocked streams, Swain County hosts one of the most diverse fishing habitats in the world.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala National Forest offer hundreds of miles of spectacularly clear streams. Just a few minutes from Bryson City, the sparkling waters of Deep Creek are ripe for fly fishing, and many anglers enjoy the Nantahala River just west of town.
The Cherokee Indian Reservation also offers a variety of fishing opportunities for the trout fisherman with regularly stocked streams and three trout ponds. There are several other trout ponds in the area.
If you prefer stillwater fishing, Fontana Lake boasts one of the most diverse fish populations anywhere in the country. With depths of over 400 feet, many northern fish such as walleye, muskie and smallmouth bass are among favorites of local fishermen.
To fish in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you must have either a valid North Carolina or Tennessee fishing license. No license is required to fish in Cherokee Reservation waters, however a tribal permit is required. The cost is $7 per day with a creel limit of ten.
You can purchase a basic North Carolina license for a period of one day, three days or one year. The one-day cost for a resident is $5 (one year is $15); for a non-resident is $10, three days $15, one year $30. If you plan to fish for trout outside the National Park, an additional "trout stamp" is required at a cost of $10. Some of the trout streams are strictly catch-and-release.
For more information about North Carolina fishing, please visit the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
Need a fishing liscense?
Fishing licenses can be purchased at the following Bryson City area businesses:
Mountains On The Fly
- Smoky Mountains On The Fly provides a licensed guide service for trout fly
fishing in Western North Carolina. The beautiful, freestone streams of The Great
Smoky Mountains offers you the opportunity to fly fish in one of the most
biologically diverse settings in the world. Wild Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout
inhabit the many cool streams throughout the mountains.
- Full service fly shop and outfitters located right on the banks of the
beautiful Oconaluftee River in Cherokee, NC.
First rate guide service offering trips to the Great Smoky Mountains
National Park and Western North Carolina's most popular fishing destinations.
Custom tailored trips that are right for you. They offer everything from
half day to all day wade trips, float trips in their drift boat, and the
ultimate in flyfishing adventures, overnight back country destinations.