Catch and Release Artificial Flies/Lures Only NC

Catch & Release Artificial Flies/Lures Only

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Catch and Release Artificial Flies/Lures Only is a designated trout stream as per the regulation of the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission (NCWRC) on certain trout streams. The designation allows for Catch & Release Only of all trout caught. The trout must only be caught using Artificial Flies or Lures only and then released. This a great trout stream designation for fly fishing.



Catch and Release Artificial Flies/Lures Only is open all year around in North Carolina.

  • Season is open year-round
  • No fish may be harvested or possessed
  • Only artificial flies and lures having one single hook may be used
  • It is unlawful to possess natural bait on your person while fishing




  1. Choose here License Types & Fees. *All State Inland Fishing licenses in North Carolina include fresh water trout fishing everywhere in the state
  2. Order online NCWRC Online License Center


  • Use barbless hooks. If you use a net, use one made of rubber. It is less harmful to fish scales, gills and eyes. Only net your fish if it is the only way to control it.
  • Wet your hands when handling fish. Dry hands and gloves will remove its protective mucous (slime) coating and scales. These protective layers help prevent infection by waterborne disease. Do not beach a fish or let it flop around the deck of the boat.
  • Try not to remove the fish from the water. If you must, be quick and gentle, do not squeeze the fish. Needle nose pliers, hemostats, de-hookers etc., will speed up the removal of a deep set hook.
  • To revive the fish, hold it under the belly and by the tail, keep it in an upright position underwater, do not move the fish back and forth (this is also a good time to get a measurement and take a photo). If you are fishing in a river or stream, hold the fish facing the current. Be patient and give the fish as much time as it needs to recover and swim away on its own.

Ashe County

Big Horse Creek (Virginia state line to SR 1361 bridge, excluding tributaries)

Avery County

Elk River (portion on Lees-McRae College property, excluding the
Lost Cove Creek (game land portion, excluding Gragg Prong and Rockhouse Creek)
Wilson Creek (game land portion)

Buncombe County

Carter Creek (game land portion)

Burke County

Henry Fork (portion on South Mountains State Park)

Jackson County

Flat Creek
Tuckasegee River (above the Clark property)

McDowell County

Newberry Creek (game land portion)

Transylvania County

Davidson River (headwaters to Avery Creek, excluding Avery Creek, Looking Glass Creek, and Grogan Creek)

Watauga County

Laurel Creek (confluence of North and South Fork Laurel creeks to Elk Creek, excluding tributaries)

Pond Creek (headwaters to Locust Ridge Road bridge, excluding the pond adjacent to Lake Coffey)

Yancey County

South Toe River (headwaters to Upper Creek)
Upper Creek