TRAVEL GUIDE TO BRYSON CITY AND THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS
THINGS TO DO IN THE SMOKIES
Swain County's Mountain Lake and Streams are a Fisherman's Paradise
Whether you are fly fishing for native brook trout in a cold mountain stream, smallmouth or largemouth bass in beautiful Fontana Lake or rainbow or brown trout in one of the many stocked streams or rivers, Swain County hosts one of the most diverse fishing habitats in the world.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala National Forest offer hundreds of miles of spectacularly clear streams. Just a few minutes from Bryson City, the sparkling waters of Deep Creek are ripe for fly fishing, and many anglers enjoy the Nantahala River just west of town, particularly the section above the powerhouse on Wayah Road (pictured).
The Little Tennessee River just west of Bryson City off the Needmore Road is a wide, cold, boulder-strewn river - perfect for smallmouth bass, brim, rock bass and muskie.
The Cherokee Indian Reservation also offers a variety of fishing opportunities for the trout fisherman with regularly stocked streams, trophy waters and three trout ponds. Cherokee holds 4 tagged fish tournaments, a fly-fishing tournament in the trophy waters and a trout derby for children every year. More info
If you prefer flat water fishing, Fontana Lake boasts one of the most diverse fish populations anywhere in the country. With depths of over 400 feet, many northern fish such as walleye, muskie and smallmouth bass are among favorites of local fishermen.
For boating information, including public boating access and marinas with boat rentals, as well as the Old 288 handicap accessible fishing pier, visit the Boating page of this web site. There's also more information about Fontana Lake.
Below Fontana Dam on Highway 28, the Lewellyn Branch handicap accessible bank fishing pier and boat launch ramp facility offer fishermen access to Cheoah Lake on the Little Tennessee River.
Printable Bryson City Fishing Guide (pdf).
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To fish in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you must have either a valid North Carolina or Tennessee fishing license.
You can purchase a basic North Carolina license for a period of one day, three days or one year. The one-day cost for a resident is $5 (non-resident is $10); one year is $15 (non-resident is $30). A 3-day non-resident fee is $15. If you plan to fish for trout outside the National Park, an additional "trout stamp" is required at a cost of $10 (both resident and non-resident). Some of the trout streams are strictly catch-and-release.
For more information about North Carolina fishing, go to NC Fish & Wildlife's Online Fishing Regulations.
No license is required to fish in Cherokee Reservation waters, however a tribal permit is required. The cost is $10 per day; $17 for 2-day, $27 for 3-day, $47 for 5-day. Catch & Release Trophy Waters require an additional $75/year permit. Click here for more information, a list of locations in Cherokee that sell fishing permits or to purchase a permit online.
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Bryson City - Swain County
Chamber of Commerce
& Visitor Center
210 Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Bryson City, NC 28713
Karen Proctor Wilmot