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The 5 Best Fishing Spots Near Raleigh North Carolina

The city of Raleigh's proximity to the Rocky Mountains makes it one of the best fishing cities in North Carolina. The city is surrounded by many great fishing spots under an hour away.

Before You Go

To fish in this state, you need to purchase a North Carolina fishing license unless you qualify for one of the following exemptions:

  • Under 16 years of age
  • Fishing private ponds
  • Fishing on July 4th “free fishing day”

You can check out a full list of regulations on The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s website.

Falls Lake

Located 24 miles outside of the heart of Raleigh, Falls Lake provides anglers with some great fishing. The lake is home to largemouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, black and white crappie, blue gill, white bass, white perch, yellow perch, striped bass and chain pickerel. No matter what you’re fishing for, Falls Lake probably has you covered.

The best time to fish for trophy-sized bass in Falls Lake is between February and April, when the largemouth bass are spawning. We suggest working the shallows with spinner baits, crankbaits and jigs. Fish tend to call creek channels, ledges, humps and other structures in the water home, and these areas often have the largest concentration of fish.

If you’re having no luck fishing from the shoreline, you can rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboards at the lake, and there are public boat ramps. Just make sure you stay in the designated area if you have a gas-powered boat.

Jordan Lake

Located 25 miles outside of Raleigh, this 13,940-acre reservoir boasts 180 miles of shoreline fishing. The lake has an average depth of 14 feet and maxes out at 38 feet at the deepest point. If shoreline fishing isn’t your thing, you can rent a canoe, kayak or boat from one of the many public boat launch ramps.

Lake Jordan has great fishing all year round, but the best time to catch a 10-pound bass is between February and April when they’re spawning. The lake is home to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, black and white crappie, blue gill, white bass, yellow perch and striped bass. The lake sports one of the best striped bass fisheries in North Carolina and is stocked annually to keep the population strong.

Neuse River

The Neuse River is the largest river entirely contained within the state of North Carolina, spanning 250 miles. The Neuse has a very productive estuary that is home to speckled trout, red drum, rockfish, flounder, cobia, bluefish, spanish mackerel and albacore. If you fish further up the river, you will find largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, white bass and yellow perch. While there aren’t conventional species in the river, the Neuse River is actually great for fly-fishing for medium-sized bass and chubb.

Ocracoke Island

If you’re looking for some of the best deep sea and offshore fishing in all of North Carolina, then you’re going to want to make the trip out to Ocracoke Island. This sparsely populated island in the Outer Banks sports miles of undeveloped shoreline that are great for surf fishing. The ocean around the island is home to drum, sharks, bluefish, flounder, spanish mackerel, pompano, spots, croaker, sea mullets, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, wahoo, trout, mahi, sailfish, redfish and white marlin. If you want to take advantage of some of the best deep sea fishing around, you should consider taking a charter boat.

Tuckasegee River

The Tuckasegee River is one of the best fishing spots in all of North Carolina for both conventional and fly-fishing. The river is home to the largest smallmouth bass in the Smoky Mountain region, and you can catch bass close to 8 pounds and 16 to 20 inches long. The river is also home to a healthy trout population, perfect for any fly-fishing enthusiast.