From salt water to freshwater, North Carolina has vast amounts of fishing opportunities. During certain seasons, the right angler can catch an award-winning fish. But how does a novice fisher(wo)man like myself cultivate a list for you? Luckily I found a
year-round list for the best places to fish and the best fish to catch depending on the season. Get your rods ready!
1. Cape Hatteras, January
While Cape Hatteras offers ideal year-round fishing, you'll want to visit during January. Striped bass migrate to this area in winter. On any given day a fisherman can expect to catch several, each weighing 25 or more pounds.
2. Fontana Lake, February
You'll want to bring a warm jacket for this fishing excursion deep in the mountains. February is the ideal time to catch smallmouth bass on Fontana Lake. Look for a rocky point or rock outcrops where they will most likely be.
3. Sutton Lake, March
While the lake itself is only 850 acres the largemouth bass here are quite large and quite abundant. Cast a line in March. Trophy regulations prohibit the keeping of bass in March, catches of more than 20 in a day are quite common.
4. Albermarle Headwater Rivers, April
The striped bass here draw anglers from all across the nation to Roanoke River in April. With four rivers connecting at the head of the Albermarle sound, the striped bass fishing here rivals that of nearby Weldon.
5. Randleman Regional Resevoir, May
This resevoir has the best largemouth bass fishing in the state. In May you have the potential to catch several 8-10 pound fish. While the reservoir is still somewhat new, several of the fish caught here exhibit the rapid growth seen with new bodies of water.
6. Carolina Beach, June
You might have to fight the crowds...but the flounder you'll catch in June will be worth it. The deep waters of the Cape Fear River and artificial reefs just offshore make this an ideal flounder habitat. The flounder arrive here by the dozen in June. Best part...you'll have a tasty dinner for later.
7. Lake Waccamaw, July
This natural bay is a total of 8,936 acres. While the White Perch is native to the lake, they are extra plentiful during July. It is possible to catch a one pound Perch that can give you the potential to earn a NACRP award from the NCWRC.
8. Neuse River, August
Another popular year-round fishing destination, the Neuse River has an abundant amount of Red Drum. During August-September the Red Drum are most active. While you'll have to release your catch as most measure longer than 40-inches...you can't beat the thrill of a great reel!
9. Masonboro Inlet, September
The Masonboro Inlet at Wrightsville beach will give you some of the best bluefish in North Carolina. During this month the bluefish move to all the coastal inlets. Due to the conditions of Masonboro Inlet, it is easy to fish here in a small boat.
10. Beaufort Inlet, October
False albacore migrate to this area come October. As well as a large amount of anglers migrating for a fast catch. Anglers use fly-fishing gear to catch the swift, elusive fish. You have the potential to catch a 20 lb. false albacore.
11. Lake Norman, November
The Blue Catfish are abundant in Lake Norman come November, as they are following the migration of white perch. To catch a 30 pound catfish, try fishing in deep waters to prevent snags.
12. Topsail Beach, December
Brave the cold weather to catch a perfect speckled trout at Topsail in December. Obtain a driving permit from the town marina or town hall to drive out along the beach to Topsail Inlet. The Inlet has a golden reputation for trophy wins.
Where are your favorite places to fish in North Carolina? Tell us in the comments!