Fishing & Swimming
You can experience the warmer months in the High Country by wading knee deep in a cool mountain stream while pursuing trout and small-mouth bass. Beautiful crystal clear mountain lakes are also available for those preferring still water. Regardless of your fishing interest or skill level, our area offers an abundance of different fishing opportunities. Fishing licenses are required for anyone who is 16 years of age or older. An additional trout stamp is required on designated trout waters. Temporary, 1-year and lifetime licenses are available. Most fishing shops and department stores that carry fishing gear also sell fishing licenses. Fred's General Mercantile on Beech Mountain (828-387-4838) as well as Brinkley's Hardware in Elk Park (828-733-2107) sell fishing licenses. You can also call the NCWRC at 919-662-4381 or go online at www.ncwildlife.org to receive regulations, season dates, maps and order licenses. Below are just a few out of many fishing and swimming places that we have to offer in our area:
Lees-McRae's Historic Mill Pond
This duck and fishing pond is located off Highway 184 (Tynecastle Highway) on Hickory Nut Gap Road in Banner Elk. Take an immediate right turn into the park area. Bring the family and feed the ducks, picnic, fish in the pond or just enjoy the waterfall that is just a short walk back from the main road. It's so picturesque and close to all the Banner Elk great restaurants and unique shopping.
Grandfather Trout Farm
You only pay for what you catch, and there's no license needed. Their trout pond is stocked to the brim, so you're sure to catch one. Clean them yourself, or they can do it for you. Bring a cooler to pack your catch on ice, and you will be ready for a fresh mountain trout dinner. There is also gem mining and a miniature putting course. There is something for the entire family. They are located on Highway 105 in Foscoe past the town of Seven Devils. For more information, call 828-963-5098.
Linville Gorge Wilderness Farm
The Linville Gorge Wilderness Area is located in the Western North Carolina Mountains southeast of Boone. A part of the Pisgah National Forest, Linville Gorge is renowned for its 10,975 acres of rugged terrain, steep trails, dense forests and impressive rock cliffs. Formed by the Linville River with Jonas Ridge on the east and Linville Mountain on the west, Linville Gorge averages a 1,400 foot drop from rim to river. The distinctive rock formations located on Jonas Ridge include Sitting Bear, Hawksbill, Table Rock, and the Chimneys entice rock climbers from around the world. Elevations range from 1,300 feet on the Linville River to 4,120 feet on Gingercake Mountain. Hunting and fishing in the gorge require permits. For more details, click on the link on the right side of the page.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Off the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will find several places where you can fish: Moses H. Cone Memorial Park (Milepost 292.7) covers 3,600 acres. You will find many miles of horse and carriage trails, hiking and fishing; Julian Price Memorial Park (Milepost 295) covers 4,344 acres. You will find a campground, picnic area, lake, boating, fishing and hiking trails here. Also, off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, there are several small lakes that have a variety of fish. Price Lake allows non-motorized boat traffic while Sims Pond, Bass Lake and Trout Lake allow bank fishing only. An NC or VA license without a trout stamp is valid for these bodies of water. For more information, call the Blue Ridge Parkway at 828-271-4779.
High Country Fishing Outfitters
174 Old Shull's Mill Road
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 963-5050
Out of respect for our native populations, they practice ‘catch and release' fishing on all waters and species. They also fish single ‘barbless' hooks. This has been their practice since they started. They feel that catch and release fishing is imperative to protect our fisheries. They strongly support Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers.
Elk Creek Outfitters
1530 Highway 105
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 264-6497
They offer trips for various species and accommodate both fly-fishermen and spin-fishermen; however, several sections of river they fly-fish exclusively. All fishing is "catch and release" with barbless hooks.
Foscoe Fishing Co. and Outfitters
8857 Highway 105 South
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 963-6556
Foscoe Fishing Company & Outfitters is the only Orvis Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide Service in North Carolina's High Country. They operate a shop in Banner Elk and offer high quality fly-fishing on the Watauga, Boone's Fork, Wilson Creek and many other pristine mountain streams that are located near our shop. They also offer float and walk guides on portions of the waters of Tennessee. All of these waters offer excellent opportunities for catching Brown, Brook, and Rainbow trout.
RiverGirl Fishing Co.
4041 Railroad Grade Road
Phone: (828) 877-3099
Buckeye Lake and Lake Coffey
These two lakes on Beech Mountain are wonderful fishing lakes. You can get more information, including directions, from the Beech Mountain Town Hall (828-387-4236) or the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce (828-387-9283). Buckeye Lake, a seven-acre lake located at the base of the town, offers a combination of outdoor activities, including fishing and bird watching. Buckeye Lake is also a starting destination for several of the hiking and biking trails the town has to offer.
Fishing season begins the first Saturday in April, and in the month of June a popular event for kids and family is the Kiddo Fishing Derby, a free event for children ages four to 12. The competition awards trophies in the categories of the first trout, largest trout, heaviest trout and the first to catch the limit of four trout. Vendors are also on site selling hot dogs and soft drinks or picnic tables are available for families that want to bring their own food and snacks. For more details on these lakes, click on the link on the right side of the page.
One of the best things of which Banner Elk can boast is a beach—on the 13-acre Wildcat Lake, located on Hickory Nut Gap Road approximately 1 mile from Highway 184. Upgraded picnic facilities, including two shelters, play areas and a bath house all are available. There is no charge to use any of the facilities, although state fishing licenses are required, and reservations for use of the picnic shelters are necessary. Lifeguards are on duty during summer hours. The beautiful shores of Wildcat Lake have long been a magnet for summer swimmers, enjoying the cold waters and the adjacent park for picnics, reunions, even weddings. For 50 years, a Presbyterian church-related camp has offered its young campers priceless memories set in and near this picturesque lake. For more details, click on the link on the right side of the page. Also, for more information, call 828-898-5465.