10 Best Fish to Catch in North Carolina

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North Carolina has some great water bodies, from small ponds to large rivers and lakes, you will find a wide range of waters. These spots are also equipped with some of the most amazing fish species, including easy catches and trophy-winning species. The common fish species include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, sunfish, pumpkinseed, bluegill, redear sunfish, red drum, and much more.

However, in this article, we have listed the ten best fishes to catch in North Carolina. So, let’s educate ourselves with the brief details of these best fish species.

1. Red Drum

Red drum is one of the saltwater fish species found in North Carolina. These are found in various sizes and types. Three main types of red drum are old drum, adult drum, and channel bass. Some famous locations for catching red drum are Bald Head Island, Cape Hatteras, Ocracoke inlet, and Cape Lookout. Additionally, to enhance your catch, it is better to use jig-heads and plastic worms, etc.

2. Largemouth Bass

North Carolina is filled with largemouth bass. This state has these species in abundance. Some famous water bodies for catching largemouth bass are Badin Lake, Falls Lake, Harris Lake, Lake Glenville, Lake Benson, Lake Norman, Moss Lake, Mountain Island Lake, Roanoke Rapids Lake, Lake Higgins, High Rock Lake, Phelps Lake, and much more.

3. Crappie

Crappie can be found in almost all waters throughout the state. These are some of the most populated fish species in North Carolina. Two major types of crappie found here are black and white crappie. Some water bodies known for crappie are Kerr Lake, Mayo Reservoir, Salem Lake, Blewett Falls, Badin Lake, Lake Gaston, Lake Hickory, Fontana Lake, Lake Norman, Randleman Lake, and Shaeron Harris Reservoir, etc.

4. Strippers

These are often found in the saltwater around the state. The strippers and wild strippers are two major types of these species in North Carolina. Some of the great spots to target strippers are Roanoke Rapids Lake, Lake Nantahala, Lake Hickory, Falls Lake, Badin Lake, Lake Gaston, Lake James, Kerr Lake, High Rock Lake, Lake Mackintosh, Mountain Island Lake, and much more.

5. Walleye

Walleye are found in the deep and rocky waters, especially the areas with comparatively cold waters. This state is home to two types of walleye, i.e., sauger and walleye. There are only a few bodies of water that contain walleye here. These include Hiwassee Lake, Chatuge Lake, Blewett Falls Lake, W Kerr Scott Reservoir, Lake James, Fontana Lake, Falls Lake, Lake Glenville, and Santeetlah Lake.

6. Other Types of Bass

Along with largemouth bass, this state also has some bass types like smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and Redeye Bass. However, these have fewer population than largemouth bass. Some of the waters with a larger quantity of these types of bass are Lake Wheeler, Lake Sutton, Lake Hickory, Mountain Island Lake, Santeetlah Lake, Lake Townshed, Lake Wylie, Lake Gaston, Kerr Lake, and Buckhorn Reservoir, etc.

7. Catfish

In North Carolina, you can find four different variants of catfish, namely, White Catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, and channel catfish. Additionally, there are numerous waters with a high quantity of these species like Badin Lake, Lake Benson, Falls Lake, Phelps Lake, Moss Lake, Shearon Harris Reservoir, Salem Lake, Mountain Island Lake, Lake Higgins, Lake Cammack, Lake Rhodhiss, High Rock Lake, Chatuge Lake, Hiwassee Lake, Fontana Lake, and more.

8. Salmon

The only type of salmon found in North Carolina is Kokanee salmon. These types of fish species are one of the rare ones in the state. There is only one body of water that offers salmon in this state. So, if you are an actual fishing enthusiast and love catching salmon, you must head towards Lake Nantahala. You will surely find some catches there.

9. Panfish

Some common types of panfishes found in this state include warmouth, yellow perch, white perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, redear sunfish, green sunfish, bluegill, redbreast sunfish more. Additionally, it is also equipped with a wide range of waters offering panfish, such as Lake Wylie, Lake Gaston, Falls Lake, Lake Tillery, Harris Lake, Randleman Lake, Lake Sutton, and Salem Lake, etc.

10. Trout

You will find three major types of trout in this state: brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. Moreover, there are plenty of waters in North Carolina which are famous for their population of trout. These locations include Fontana Lake, Lake Nantahala, Buckhorn Reservoir, Santeetlah Lake, Cheoah Lake, and Appalachia Lake. So, head to any of these locations, and you will surely find few catches for yourself.


North Carolina is an underestimated state in terms of fishing opportunities, but it contains some great species and a list of spots for the anglers.


North Carolina Fish Species.

North Carolina Fishing.

Saltwater Fish Species in North Carolina.