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Where to fish in and around Asheville

According to Google, Ashevillians want to know where to fish — so we’re answering the queries with some local lakes and ponds where you can cast a line.

lake julian park.png

Be the big fish at Lake Julian.

Photo via Buncombe County

If you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon out by the water, it might be time to cast a line. “Fishing near me” was one of Asheville’s top Google searches of 2023, so explore these fishing spots + resources to have a reely good time while you fish around the area.

First things first. You’re going to need to purchase a NC Fishing License — find more detailed information on licenses.

Lake Julian

You can fish from the shore, a privately owned boat, or a rented boat for bass, catfish, bream, and crappie in this popular lake. In addition to your NC Fishing License, you’ll need a fishing permit ($4/day, $25/year).

Azalea Park pond.png

Picture yourself on the pier of Azalea Park Pond.

Photo via City of Asheville

Azalea Park Pond

The park’s pier is just one draw — there are also soccer fields, a dog park, and the nearby WNC Nature Center. Azalea Park Pond is part of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s Community Fishing Program, meaning it gets stocked monthly, from April to September, with channel catfish.

Bonus: The nearby Asheville Parks and Recreation office is a site partner of the WRC Fishing Tackle Loaner Program, which is like a library for registered anglers to check out fishing gear for free.

Charles D. Owen ponds

Enjoy pier or bank access at these two Swannanoa ponds. The ponds are also Community Fishing Program sites, so channel catfish are regularly stocked.

French Broad River Park

If you’re up for a challenge, the river is currently stocked with the elusive and notably hard-to-catch muskellunge.

Beaver Lake

This lake is catch-and-release only, and you’ll need a Beaver Lake fishing permit in addition to your NC Fishing License. You can get a single-day permit for $5, or residents can get an annual permit for $10 — nonresident permits are $100, but are 50% off after Monday, July 1. Bonus: After your day of fishing, shift your focus from aquatic to avian and explore the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary.

When in doubt, you can always visit the NC Wildlife Resource Commission’s Fishing Access Map, which lets you view public fishing areas throughout the state.

fishing access map

A snapshot of public fishing areas in Buncombe County.

Screenshot via NC Wildlife

If you’re looking for the lesser known spots...

For the most successful excursions, it’s wise to rely on the experts. Call up the pro anglers at businesses like Southern Appalachian Anglers, Asheville Fly Fishing Co., or Hunter Banks Fly Fishing for a guided fly fishing tour.

Additional resources

  • To find all sites participating in the Tackle Loaner Program, check out this list.
  • The NC Wildlife Resources Commission stocks ~6 million fish in public waters throughout the state — find more info on stocking programs and schedules.
  • If you’re usually on the hunt for trout, it might be a good time to explore other fishing options. Read up on this article from Mountain Xpress explaining how renovations on a local trout hatchery, set to begin next year, will reduce the supply of trout in the area.
  • Find information about trout fishing in NC and about licenses for fishing in Mountain Heritage Trout Waters.
  • Get the lowdown on all of NC’s fishing regulations.
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