Are you trying to find the best spots in North Carolina for catching catfish? Look no further, because we have a compiled list of excellent fishing locations that are sure to make your next angling adventure an unforgettable experience.
With plenty of large rivers and smaller streams, North Carolina offers some of the most unique and rewarding catfishing opportunities available, so if you’re looking to catch some of these whiskered bottom-dwellers then grab your rods, tackle boxes and bait – Let’s head south!
The Best Catfish Fishing Locations in North Carolina
North Carolina is a haven for catfish anglers, with an abundance of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs teeming with various species of catfish. From the flathead to the channel and blue catfish, these waters offer excellent opportunities for both novice and experienced anglers alike. Here are some of the best catfish fishing locations in North Carolina:
1. Cape Fear River
Cape Fear River is one of the largest rivers in North Carolina, stretching over 200 miles from its headwaters near Greensboro to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s known for its abundant flathead, blue, and channel catfish population.
The river has a rich history, dating back to the Native Americans and early European settlers who relied on it for transportation and sustenance. For anglers, the best spots for catfish can be found around deep holes, submerged logs, and undercut banks, especially near Fayetteville and Wilmington.
2. Lake Norman
Located just north of Charlotte, Lake Norman is the largest man-made lake in North Carolina, boasting over 520 miles of shoreline and covering more than 32,000 acres. This massive lake is home to a variety of catfish species, including blue, channel, and flathead catfish.
Anglers should focus their efforts around bridges, docks, submerged structures, and deep water channels where catfish tend to congregate. The lake also hosts numerous catfish tournaments throughout the year, making it a popular destination for competitive anglers.
3. High Rock Lake
High Rock Lake, situated in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, is a 15,000-acre reservoir known for its healthy channel and blue catfish population. The lake was created in 1927 with the construction of the High Rock Dam and has since become a popular destination for recreational activities, including fishing.
The best spots for catfish anglers on High Rock Lake are near the dam, in deep channels, and around underwater structure where catfish like to hide.
4. Yadkin River
The Yadkin River, which flows through central North Carolina, is another prime location for catfish anglers. It’s home to various catfish species, including blue, channel, and flathead catfish.
The river’s diverse ecosystem allows anglers to target their preferred species. Fishermen should concentrate their efforts around deep holes, submerged logs, and rocky areas near Elkin and Wilkesboro.
5. Neuse River
The Neuse River, stretching over 275 miles from its source in the Piedmont region to its confluence with the Pamlico Sound, is one of the longest rivers in North Carolina. It’s known for its abundant catfish population, including flathead, channel, and blue catfish.
Anglers can find success fishing around deep holes, submerged structures, and river bends, especially near the towns of Goldsboro and New Bern. The river also hosts several catfish tournaments each year, attracting anglers from across the state.
6. Lake Wylie
Lake Wylie, located on the border of North and South Carolina, is a 13,400-acre reservoir known for its excellent catfish fishing opportunities. The lake is home to blue, channel, and flathead catfish, and offers a diverse range of fishing spots, including deep channels, submerged structures, and rocky points.
Anglers should focus their efforts around the Buster Boyd Bridge, Crowders Creek, and the Catawba River channel for the best chances of catching catfish.
7. Roanoke River
The Roanoke River flows through northeastern North Carolina, offering over 400 miles of prime catfish habitat. The river is home to a variety of catfish species, including flathead, channel, and blue catfish. Anglers can find success fishing around deep holes, submerged logs, and rocky areas, particularly near the towns of Weldon and Williamston.
The Roanoke River is also known for its annual striped bass migration, which attracts catfish to feed on the abundant prey.
8. Jordan Lake
Jordan Lake, situated in the heart of North Carolina, is a 14,000-acre reservoir created by the impoundment of the Haw River and New Hope Creek. The lake is home to a healthy channel, blue, and flathead catfish population. Anglers should focus their efforts around the numerous creek arms, deep channels, and submerged structures where catfish tend to congregate.
Additionally, Jordan Lake hosts several catfish tournaments throughout the year, making it a popular destination for competitive anglers.
9. Lake Gaston
Lake Gaston, located along the Virginia-North Carolina border, is a 20,300-acre reservoir known for its outstanding catfish fishing. The lake boasts a healthy population of blue, channel, and flathead catfish, providing ample opportunities for anglers to target their preferred species.
Fishermen should concentrate their efforts around the dam, deep channels, and underwater structure where catfish like to hide. The lake also offers numerous fishing tournaments and events throughout the year, attracting anglers from across the region.
10. Kerr Lake (Buggs Island Lake)
Kerr Lake, also known as Buggs Island Lake, is a massive 50,000-acre reservoir located along the North Carolina-Virginia border. It’s one of the largest reservoirs in the Southeast and is known for its abundant blue, channel, and flathead catfish population.
Anglers can find success fishing near deep water channels, submerged structures, and creek mouths, particularly in the Nutbush and Satterwhite Point areas. The lake also hosts several catfish tournaments each year, drawing competitive anglers from across the region.
These locations showcase the diverse catfish fishing opportunities available in North Carolina. From the tranquil waters of Lake Wylie to the sprawling expanse of Kerr Lake, there’s a fishing spot for every angler looking to reel in their next big catch.
Essential Safety Equipment for Catfish Fishing in North Carolina
Fishing for catfish in North Carolina can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to prioritize safety while out on the water. Regardless of whether you’re fishing from a boat or the shoreline, always ensure that you have the appropriate safety equipment on hand. Here are some essential safety items to consider when fishing for catfish in North Carolina:
1. Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
A personal flotation device, also known as a life jacket, is crucial when fishing from a boat or near deep water. Even strong swimmers can encounter unexpected situations, so always wear a PFD that’s approved by the United States Coast Guard. Ensure that the PFD fits properly and is comfortable enough to wear for extended periods.
2. First Aid Kit
A well-stocked first aid kit is invaluable in case of minor injuries or emergencies. Your kit should include adhesive bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, scissors, pain relievers, and any personal medications you may need. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic first aid procedures in case of an emergency.
3. Sun Protection
Extended exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. Always pack sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection. Additionally, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
4. Protective Clothing and Footwear
Wear clothing that provides adequate protection against the elements and potential hazards such as hooks and fish spines. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and sturdy footwear are recommended. Consider wearing fishing gloves to protect your hands from their sharp fins and teeth when handling catfish.
5. Throwable Flotation Device
If you’re fishing from a boat, having a throwable flotation device on board, such as a cushion or ring buoy is essential. This can be a lifesaver if someone falls overboard and needs assistance.
1. What catfish species can be found in North Carolina?
North Carolina is home to several catfish species, including channel catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, white catfish, and bullheads (brown, yellow, and black). These species can be found in various bodies of water across the state, such as rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.
2. What is the largest catfish species in North Carolina?
The blue catfish is the largest catfish species found in North Carolina. They can grow up to 60 inches in length and weigh over 100 pounds. Blue catfish are known for their strong fighting ability and are a popular target among trophy-seeking anglers.
3. What is the most common catfish species in North Carolina?
The channel catfish is the most common catfish species in North Carolina. They can be found in a wide range of aquatic habitats, including rivers, lakes, and ponds. Channel catfish typically grow to about 20-30 inches in length and weigh between 5 and 20 pounds.
4. What is the best bait for catching catfish in North Carolina?
The choice of bait for catfish fishing in North Carolina largely depends on the species you’re targeting. Cut bait (shad or herring) and live bait (minnows or bluegill) are effective for catching blue and flathead catfish. For channel catfish, stink baits, chicken liver, and nightcrawlers are popular choices.