Fishing Regulations

Streams and lakes on the Blue Ridge Parkway are game fish waters under federal regulations. State fishing licenses or short-term permits are required for all fishermen 16 years old and up; state trout stamps are term licenses. The fisherman must carry licenses at all times while fishing. The Parkway fishing season, which runs in conjunction with the state's season, runs from the first Saturday in April through the last of February (the month of March is used for stocking).

Basically, the use of lures other than single hook artificial lures is prohibited in Parkway waters. Price Lake, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is listed as General Trout Waters. On Basin creek, down stream from the Price Lake Dam (Boone Fork), only artificial flies are permitted. However, along the Linville River, Laurel Fork Creek, and the Big Horse Creek and North Fork of the New River in Ashe County and the Little River and the new River in Alleghany County – all state laws regarding season, license, possession size and use of lures and bait apply.

Trout Lake, Sim's Pond and tributary streams on the Blue Ridge Parkway are classified as native trout waters (single hook, artificial lures) and they have their own limits and regulation. The collection of natural bait on Parkway lands is illegal.

North Carolina regulations governing "native trout waters" streams place a limit of four trout per day with a minimum size of 10" for Rainbow and Brown Trout and 7" for Brook Trout. Bait and lures with more than one hook are prohibited. On "trophy waters" streams, only artificial flies can be used.

Although a license is not required to fish in a private pond, fishing license plus a special trout permit is required for North Carolina controlled waters. Licenses and permits can be purchased at the following locations:

On the Blue Ridge Parkway, trout streams and lakes are stocked annually, and they offer excellent fishing. At the Cone Park, Bass Lake has bass and blue gill with Trout Lake designated as native trout waters. Most mountain streams in the area are stocked with trout and also have native trout.

The Watauga River and the various forks of the New River in Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany Counties have small mouth bass, red-eye bass, catfish and in some areas rather large muskies along with three varieties of trout.

Other High Country streams and lakes known for their good fishing are Wilson Creek, Elk River (between Banner Elk and Elk Park on Hwy 194), Howard's Creek (off Hwy 194 north of Boone), Boone's Fork (off Watauga River above Hound Ears), the Globe section of the Johns River Gorge (eight miles south of Blowing Rock off Hwy 321 on Globe Rd), Anthony Creek, Johns River and Big Horse Creek (upstream from Lower SR 1361 bridge to the Virginia state line.)