Where Are Trout Stocked in NC?

Trout fishing in North Carolina is a popular recreational activity that attracts anglers from all over the country. With its diverse range of water bodies, the state offers plenty of opportunities for trout stocking.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner looking to try your hand at trout fishing, it’s important to know where these prized fish are stocked. In this article, we will explore some of the top trout stocking locations in NC.

1. Delayed Harvest Trout Waters

If you’re looking for a guaranteed trout fishing experience, the Delayed Harvest Trout Waters are a great place to start. These designated areas are stocked with thousands of trout each year by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC).

The best part? These fish are stocked during specific times of the year when the water temperatures are ideal for trout survival.

What makes Delayed Harvest Trout Waters unique?

  • Catch and Release: One of the key features of these waters is that they are strictly catch and release from October 1st through May 31st. This ensures that there’s always a healthy population of trout for anglers to enjoy.
  • Abundance of Fish: The NCWRC stocks these waters with rainbow, brook, and brown trout, providing anglers with a variety of species to Target.
  • Fishing Regulations: It’s important to note that during the catch and release period, only single-hook artificial lures can be used. This helps protect the fish population and ensures sustainable fishing practices.

2. Mountain Streams

If you prefer a more secluded fishing experience surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, then exploring the mountain streams in NC is a must. These streams are often stocked with trout, and they provide a serene and peaceful environment for anglers to enjoy.

What can you expect in the mountain streams?

  • Native Trout: Some of these streams are home to native trout species like the Appalachian brook trout. Catching these elusive fish is a true testament to your angling skills.
  • Challenging Terrain: Fishing in mountain streams can be physically demanding.

    You’ll need to navigate through rocky terrain and wade in shallow waters to reach the best fishing spots.

  • Wilderness Experience: When fishing in these remote areas, it’s important to respect the environment and practice Leave No Trace principles. The solitude and beauty of these mountain streams are worth preserving for future generations.

3. Tailwater Rivers

If you’re looking for year-round trout fishing opportunities, the tailwaters below dams are a prime location. These rivers benefit from regulated water releases, which maintain consistent water levels and temperatures, providing an ideal habitat for trout.

What makes tailwater rivers special?

  • Fishing Accessibility: Many tailwater rivers have designated public access points that make them easily accessible for anglers. This means you won’t have to travel far or hike long distances to find great fishing spots.
  • Trophy Fish Potential: Due to the consistent water conditions, tailwater rivers often produce larger trout compared to other locations.

    If you’re seeking a trophy catch, Targeting these rivers might just give you the opportunity you’re looking for.

  • Hatch Matching: Tailwaters provide a stable environment for insect hatches, making it easier to match the hatch and select the appropriate flies. This can greatly increase your chances of success when fishing for trout.


North Carolina offers a wide range of trout stocking locations, each with its own unique features and fishing experiences. Whether you choose to explore the Delayed Harvest Trout Waters, mountain streams, or tailwater rivers, remember to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations and guidelines set by the NCWRC. Now that you know where trout are stocked in NC, it’s time to grab your fishing gear and embark on an unforgettable angling adventure!

Photo of author

Michael Allen