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Fishing is big in Swain County. So big, in fact, that it now has its own website  – This comprehensive guide to fishing in the NC Smokies features, regulations, tournaments, guides, marinas and public access locations and a map and descriptions of twenty-six fishing destinations — mountain trout streams, creeks, rivers and two large lakes. These waters offer more than 17 sporting species from trout to to bass to muskie. What do you want to catch today?

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 (pictured) 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.

New: Parking tags are required to park in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tags can be purchased online or on-site. $5/day, $15/week or $40/year. Parking Info

Delayed Harvest – Wildlife Resources Commission designated 2.2 miles of the Tuckasegee River in downtown Bryson City as Delayed Harvest Trout Waters. DH Map and regulations The DH Waters are from the US 19 bridge (at Darnell Farms) to the Slope Street bridge in town. Learn more

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 several 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.

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.

More fun activities on the water near Bryson City.


  • Prince Boat Dock

    Located in Almond NC on beautiful Fontana Lake. We offer pontoon & johnboat rentals, anchored & covered slip moorings for boat storage, dock store with fuel, propane exchange, boat supplies, ice, bait, tackle & tube rentals.
  • Carolina Trout Guides

    Carolina Trout Guides offers a unique fly fishing experience in Western North Carolina for beginners, families, and experts. We offer float and wade trips specializing in catching brown, rainbow, and brook trout. We guide the Tuckaseegee River, Raven Fork Trophy Water, the Great Smokies National Park, and the streams on the WNC fly fishing trail.
  • Carolina Bound Adventures Fishing

    Are you booking guided Fly Fishing and other adventures while you're here on vacation? Then save your time and sanity by doing it all on one website!  Our adventure planning and reservation concierge service consolidates your vacation research and planning all in one place. Visit our website, choose your desired adventures and we’ll make the reservations plus set up your itinerary – it’s that easy!
  • Cooper Creek Trout Farm & Pond

    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!
  • Tumbling Waters Campground & Trout Pond

    Located on Panther Creek, 1-1/2 miles off NC 28, between Bryson City and Fontana Dam. Outdoor trout farm with free pole, bait and cleaning - and trout is only $6.00 per pound! Open March 16th to November 30th. Full hook-up campground offers hot showers and clean restrooms available for all campers as well as a volleyball court, horseshoe pit, pavilion with full kitchen and coin laundry.
  • Tuckaseegee Fly Shop

    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!
  • Katala Outdoors LLC

    Katala Outdoors is committed to providing a great fly fishing adventure for you, your friends and family. We provide the best customer experience by hiring the best guides in the region, who are friendly, knowledgeable, experienced and passionate about bringing others into the great sport of fly fishing. Offering trips on the Tuckasegee River, Nantahala River, Davidson River, French Broad River Drainage, Cherokee Trophy Waters, North Mills River, South Mills River, and exclusive fishing on Green River private waters.
  • 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.
  • Simonds Bait & Tackle Shop

    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 purchases on site. On site taxidermy (fish only). Open year round.
  • Smoky Mountain Outdoors Unlimited

    We offer fly fishing, spin fishing and lake fishing. We specialize in catching Bass and Walleye on Fontana Lake and catching Rainbow and Brown Trout on Cheoah Lake. We also catch Steelhead Trout on Santeetlah Lake. All bait and equipment is furnished. A shore lunch is provided for full-day trips. Half day trips are also available. Open year round.
  • Endless River Adventures – Fishing

    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.
  • Fly Rod Chronicles’ Curtis Fleming Loves Bryson City

    While Curtis Fleming was in Bryson City for the 2022 Fly Fishing Museum Hall of Fame dinner, he filmed this promotion for our town and our fishing. Thanks Curtis!

    The Weather Channel Featured Steve Claxton Fishing on Hazel Creek

    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 first aired in June 2014. View longer 5 minute version  


    The Sublime Pleasure of Winter Trout Fishing

    Fish are hungry in the winter, too.

    Bryson City. A River Runs Through It.

    Some of the Tuckasegee’s best fishing is in the 2.2 mile downtown delayed harvest section.

    Bryson City Fishing on Facebook

    Bryson City Fishing on Instagram

    Bryson City - Swain County
    Chamber of Commerce

    P.O. Box 509
    Bryson City, NC 28713

    Karen Proctor
    Executive Director


    Visitor Guide pages

    Order a free Visitor Guide featuring Bryson City and the North Carolina Smokies