Selected by North Carolina as Mountain Heritage Trout Cities, both Spruce Pine and Bakersville offer anglers the best in mountain fishing but your chances of catching the big one doesn’t stop there.  With miles of public and private waters, your mountain fishing adventure will be photo worthy! Come visit the first weekend in June for the Troutacular! Kids Fishing Event  or catch some of the other fishing dates on the calendar including regional and state fishing qualifiers.  Call one of our renowned fishing guides to take you to the “sweet spot”…those secret fishing holes that only they know about!

photo credit: Appalachian Exposures

Fly Fishing Tip: Fly-fishing is a great sport but it’s more than a long pole, a fake bug and a casual cast into the water.  Fly-fishing takes time and practice. Knowing what lure to use, as well as when and where to fish is as important as landing a cast in just the right spot with just the right touch. Download a printable “Tips for the Novice Fly-Fisher” card here




Purchase a fishing license

Learn more about the Mountain Heritage Trout Waters 3-day license

dad and son fishing

Download printable maps and regulations for our Mountain Heritage Trout Waters. 

Spruce Pine



Other Fishing Links 

Troutacular! Spruce Pine Facebook Page

Troutacular! Bakersville Facebook Page

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

In the News

“Toe the line – The delayed-harvest section of North Carolina’s North Toe River is a prime stretch of trout water in the winter.” -Carolina Sportsman Magazine

“5 Best Rivers To Fish In Western North Carolina -Coastal Angler Magazine.”

Fly Fishing the North Toe

Located in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, the North Toe River stretches all the way north from Plumtree and travels through Bakersville, Green Mountain and finally into the Nolichucky Gorge in Tennessee. The river holds an impressive population of trout in the northern sections from Spruce Pine and up river, while the lower sections are filled with smallmouth, trout and musky. There are two ways to fish the North Toe. If fly fishing is your wheelhouse then begin at Spruce Pine and work your way up stream. If the smallmouth specimen is preferred, float down the river just south of Spruce Pine. Both sections offer phenomenal fishing year round.

Trout Fishing the North Toe

The upper North Toe is managed by North Carolina State stocking program along with

photo credit: Appalachian Exposures

numerous other private trout fishing clubs. All of which stock the river throughout the year. The delayed harvest section starts in downtown Spruce Pine and stretches a couple miles downriver. Anglers can find easy pull off spots that are accessible to the public.

The river offers cold, clear, oxygenated water that provides trout with the right recipe for growing fast. There are plenty of brown trout, rainbow trout and even brook trout in the northern sections of the North Toe. Sections of the river just north of Spruce Pine can be hard to access and many are private. Be sure to watch out for no trespassing signs when stopping to fish.

Smallmouth Fishing the North Toe

The lower part of the North Toe River is highly concentrated with smallmouth and can be easily accessed on the side of the road. Smallmouth will also come north to feed on war paint minnows and crawfish. Smallmouth can also be found in Spruce Pine throughout the delayed harvest sections in the summer months, while spring and fall are best for trout.

Smallmouth fishing can be best approached by using spinning gear or 7wt fly rods. Using flukes, topwater baits, and hair jigs will provide the best bites for spinning gear tackle. For fly fishing use popping bugs, flashy streamers and minnow chasers during the spring, summer and fall months.

How To Fish

Fly anglers can find tons of hatches in Spring and Fall to target large trout specimens. Brown trout can be found in the delayed harvest sections over 26 inches so matching the hatch can be very important. Try brown caddis, giant black stoneflies in the spring and hendricksons and terrestrials in the summer months.

The caddis flies will come out to play in the fall as well. Brown and green imitation caddis flies work well. The North Toe River is a trophy trout fishing river and can be fished year round. To learn more about the North Toe, contact Southern Appalachian Anglers for more details on hatch charts and trout patterns.

(credit: Southern Appalachian Anglers)

Local Outfitter: Burnette’s Country Store