Swain County's Mountain Lake, Rivers & 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

Fontana Lake webcam

fontana-lake-fishingIf 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.

Bryson City Fishing Guide

More fun activities on the water near Bryson City.

Fishing in the smokies

Steve Claxton and Hazel Creek Featured on The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel came to Swain County for a travel segment on fishing in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. They followed local fishing guide Steve Claxton up Hazel Creek on a rewarding quest for wild mountain trout. The two-minute segment aired on June 12.

View the video  

Longer 5 minute version

Fishing Guides, Outfitters, Fly Shops, Bait & Tackle, and Trout Ponds in Bryson City and the North Carolina Smoky Mountains


The website links below will open in a new window.
 Click thumbnail images to enlarge.

Fontana Guide Service - Fishing

Contact: Kyle Fronrath
3336 Balltown Rd.
Bryson City, NC 28713
Mobile 828-736-2318
Fontana Guide Service - Fishing We'll show you the best fishing in the rivers & lakes of the Smoky Mountains. Fish with International Game Fish Association Professional Guides. Half day & full day trips. Pontoon boat, kayak & paddle board, wade & walk, and night fishing trips offered year round. Choose fly fishing or spinning tackle with top of the line gear. We provide everything. We have a trip for any skill level or budget. HD photos & videos of your trip available upon request. Ask about our lodging packages.

Nantahala On The Fly

Contact: Dakota Rogers
12121 Hwy 19 West
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-736-0784
Phone 828-361-9386
TF 800-468-7238
Specializing in fishing the waters of Western North Carolina. We offer fly fishing trips for the beginner to the expert level fisherman on all the most popular streams. Wade or float trips are offered for full or half day with lunch included. Let us help you plan the trip of your dreams. All equipment provided. Camping Cabins available. Nantahala On The Fly is a Carolina Outfitters, Inc. Company licensed by the US Forest Service.

AB's Fly Fishing Guide Service

Contact: Alex Bell
60 Bristol Drive
Sylva, NC 28779
Mobile 828-226-3833
A premier guide service located in the beautiful Smoky mountains of Western NC - the most picturesque trout waters east of the Mississippi River. We accommodate the serious angler as well as the beginner. Learn when and where to catch trout while taking in the soothing waters of Western NC. We are committed to making this your best experience on the water.

Root Hog Fishing Guide Service

Contact: Dwight Pigman
PO Box 375
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-862-7958
We are a licensed fishing guide service with over 25 years of guide experience. We are available for 8, 6, and 4-hour fishing excursions for up to 4 people maximum per trip, 7 days a week, year-round. Call us for more information on available times and for reservations and scheduling information.

Endless River Adventures - Fishing

14157 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713
Local 828-488-6199
TF 800-224-RAFT (7238)
Fax 828-488-2259
Endless River Adventures offers full and half-day fly fishing adventures for both beginning and experienced anglers. Options include float trips on the Nantahala River, as well as wade trips on the Upper Nantahala for trout; float and wade trips on the Tuckasegee River and Little Tennessee River for trout and small mouth bass. All equipment, rods, reels, waders and wading boots are included. Over 20 years experience in Western North Carolina. Licensed by the US Forest Service. Complete fly fishing shop.

Tumbling Waters Campground & Trout Pond

1612 Panther Creek Rd
Almond, NC 28702
Phone 828-479-3814
Located on Panther Creek, 1-1/2 miles off NC 28, between Bryson City and Fontana Dam. Trout farm. Free pole, bait and cleaning! Trout $3.00 per pound. Open March 16th to November 30th. Also a campground.

Great Smoky Mountain Bait & Tackle

Contact: Joanne Parton
4740 Hwy 19W
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-8920
Fax 828-488-0545
Fully stocked with all of your fishing needs. Great Smoky Mountain Bait & Tackle has everything you would need for a fishing excursion except the boat. We have a large stock of rods and reels and are a fully stocked bait shop. North Carolina annual and day pass fishing license sold here. Lake Fontana maps available.

Cooper Creek Trout Farm & Catch-out Pond

3365 Cooper Creek Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-2500
This full service trout farm offers all the amenities in a beautiful mountain setting that includes hiking trails, waterfalls, and picnic tables. No license required, no limit, and all fishing equipment is provided. Guided fishing tours are also available. Stay an hour or the entire day!

Smoky Mountain Adventures, Inc.

Contact: Steve Claxton
Phone 828-736-7501
With over 20 years in the guide industry, Smoky Mountain Adventures specializes in creating a memorable fishing experience. Whether it's backcountry camping & fishing for wild trout, or a day trip learning the art of fly fishing, we have the expertise & patience to give you a trip you will remember for a lifetime. We offer half-day, full-day, & multi-day trips on all area streams, rivers & lakes to fish for trout, walleye, smallmouth & largemouth. Let us customize an unforgettable trip for you!

Fly Fishing the Smokies

Contact: Eugene Shuler
Po Box 291
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-7665
Phone 828-421-0172
Fly Fishing the Smokies Discover the majestic streams and mountains while enjoying a day of guided fly fishing with some of the Great Smoky Mountains best fly fishing guides. Since 1999, we have guided anglers of all ages and skill levels to some of the most beautiful trout streams in all of the southeastern United States. We offer wade trips, float trips, our signature beginner classes, backcountry camping and the option of half-day and full-day trips. We have something for everyone and for every budget.

Blue Chip Fly Fishing

Contact: Eddie Hudon
PO Box 1160
Whittier, NC 28789
Phone 561-685-1735
Phone 954-263-4452
Fly fishing guide service. Having fun while promoting the sport of fly fishing.

153 Charters

Contact: Cpt. James McManus
2013 East Fork Rd.
Sylva, NC 28779
Phone 828-421-8125
Complete Fishing Guide service. Specializing in area lakes for Bass, Walleye and Trout. Thirty years experience at Fontana Lake. Can take anyone from novice to expert. We provide all bait, tackle, lunch, drinks and snacks. Top of the line equipment, Lowrance Units, Minn Kota, Penn, Abu Garcia, 22' Panga CC w/145 Yamaha. USCG Licensed

Simonds Bait & Tackle Shop

Contact: Ann Parton
1085 Main St
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-6854
Located on the Tuckasegee River. Live bait: shinners, trout fingerlings (seasonally), nightcrawlers, wax worms, meal worms, and crickets. Complete line of tackle for lake, river, and fly fishing. Locally hand tied flies. Single hook lures for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.Fishing license. On site taxidermy (fish only). Open year round.

Tuckaseegee Fly Shop

Contact: Dale Collins
3 Depot Street
Bryson City, NC 28713
Mobile 336-847-1234
Bryson City NC's only full service fly shop! We are your headquarters for local fly patterns, fly fishing gear, guided trips, and fly fishing advice. We carry products from many well known vendors such as Redington, Rio, Catch Fly Fishing, Montana Fly Company, Scientific Angler, Umpqua, TFO Fly Rods, Chota, Brodin Nets, Simms Logo Apparel, and our very own Tuckaseegee Fly Shop logo hats and shirts. We welcome all locals and travelers to stop in and say hi!

Nantahala Outdoor Center

13077 Hwy 19 W
Bryson City, NC 28713
Local 828-488-6900
TF 800-232-7238
Fax 828-488-0301
Nantahala Outdoor Center Rated "One of the Best Outfitter's on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure, NOC has been the leader in the rafting industry since 1972. NOC offers family friendly adventures rafting and paddling the Nantahala River, as well as riverside dining, lodging, shopping, mountain bike rentals, lake kayaking, wilderness medicine training and our world famous Paddling School. There's something for everyone so come see for yourself why NOC is a legend in the outdoors!

Smoky Mountain Outdoors Unlimited

Contact: Ronnie Parris
1012 E Alarka Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone 828-488-9711
Mobile 828-736-9471
Smoky Mountain Outdoors Unlimited Guided fishing & camping trips. We offer fly fishing, spin fishing, lake fishing, camping and boathouse camping trips. All bait and equipment is furnished. A shore lunch is provided for full-day trips. Half day trips are also available. Open year round.

Clampitt Hardware
111 Main Street, Bryson City NC 28713

Simonds Bait and Tackle
1085 Main Street, Bryson City NC 28713

Great Smoky Mountain Bait & Tackle
4470 US 19/74 West, Bryson City NC 28713

Almond Boat & RV Park
1165 Almond Boat Park Road, Bryson City NC 28713

Endless River Adventures
14157 US 19/74 West, Bryson City NC 28713

Fontana Village Resort
40 Fontana Dam Road, Fontana Dam NC 28733

Fishing Regulations

You can purchase a basic North Carolina resident license – or a non-resident license – for a period of ten days or one year; there is an additional charge if you fish hatchery-supported trout waters.

The ten-day cost for basic fishing for a NC resident is $9 (non-residents pay $20). A NC resident may purchase a one-year license for $22, (non-residents pay $38). The addiitonal trout privilege license is $15 for anyone (for one year). All license fees listed include the $2 transaction fee.

Children under 16 do not need licenses when a parent is present.

For more information about North Carolina fishing, go to NC Fish & Wildlife's Online Fishing Regulations.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

To fish in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you must possess a valid fishing license or permit from either North Carolina or Tennessee.

Cherokee Indian Reservation

Regular Permit — No license is required to fish in Cherokee Reservation waters, however a tribal permit is required for each person 12 years of age and over, for streams and ponds. No other fishing permit or license is accepted. Children under 12 are allowed to fish when accompanied by a permitted adult. The cost is $10 per day; $17 for 2-day, $27 for 3-day, $47 for 5-day. A single season's permit is available for $250.

Catch-and-Release Special Use Permit for Trophy Waters — $25 for a 1-3 day permit, or $75 per year, with the purchase of a general tribal fishing permit. The Special Use Permit allows use of the catch-and-release area designated on Raven Fork. All general fishing regulations apply to this permit, as do the following Special Use Regulations within the catch-and-release area:

• Tackle is limited to fly rods, reels, and line with a maximum of 18 feet of leader material or monofilament line attached.

• Only artificial flies and streamers constructed of natural or synthetic material on a single, barbless hook are permitted.

Only one single-hook fly per line is permitted.

Fishing with multiple flies attached to a single line (droppers) is permitted.

Click here for more information or to purchase a permit online.


Bryson City - Swain County
Chamber of Commerce

210 Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Bryson City, NC 28713


Karen Proctor Wilmot
Executive Director

800-867-9246 toll-free
828-488-3681 local
828-488-6858 fax