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North Carolina



You are viewing 2023's Other Fishing Regulations. Click to here to view information for 2024

Other Fishing Regulations

Species Prohibitions

It is unlawful to transport, purchase, possess or sell any live individuals or stock any private or public waters of North Carolina from the following species:

  • African longfin eel (Anguilla mossambica)
  • Amur sleeper (Perccottus glenii)
  • Applesnail (any species of genus Pomacea)
  • Asian swamp eel, swamp or rice eel (Monopterus albus)
  • Australian red claw or red claw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus, or other species in the genus Cherax)
  • Bigclaw crayfish (Faxonius placidus)
  • Bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis)
  • Black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus)
  • Brown hoplo (Hoplosternum littorale)
  • Chinese mysterysnail (Cipangopaludina chinensis)
  • Creole painted crayfish (Faxonius palmeri creolanus)
  • Crucian carp (Carassius carassius)
  • European eel (Anguilla anguilla)
  • European minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus)
  • European perch (Perca fluviatillis)
  • Japanese mysterysnail (Cipangopaludina japonica)
  • Marbled crayfish or Marmorkrebs (Procambarus virginalis or Procambarus fallax f. virginalis)
  • Olive mysterysnail (Viviparus subpurpureus)
  • Oriental weatherfish (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus)
  • Piranha (any species of the genera Pristobrycon, Pygocentrus, Pygopristis, or Serrasalmus)
  • Prussian Carp (Carassius gibelio)
  • Quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) or any mussel in the family Dreissenidae
  • Red shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis)
  • Red-rim Melania (Melanoides tuberculatus or Melanoides tuberculate)
  • Redtail catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)
  • Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
  • Rudd (Scardinius erythropthalomus or Scardinius erythrophthalmus)
  • Ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus or Gymnocephalus cernua)
  • Rusty crayfish (Faxonius rusticus)
  • Shortfin eel (Anguilla australis)
  • Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)
  • Snakehead (from the Family Channidae, formerly Ophiocephalidae)
  • Tubenose goby (Proterorhinus marmoratus, Proterorhinus semilunaris, and Proterorhinus semipellucidus)
  • Virile crayfish (Faxonius virilis)
  • Walking catfish (any member of the genus Batrachus)
  • White amur or grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon Idella; certified triploid grass carp may be bought, possessed and stocked with a permit from the Wildlife Resources Commission.)
  • Yellow bass (Morone mississippiensis)
  • Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)

Fishing Activity Prohibitions

It is unlawful to do the following:

  • Fish by any method (Mar. 1 - May 31) in restored floodplain sloughs connected to French Broad River and Mud Creek (Henderson Co.):
    • Slough 1 at 35.4063687 N, 82.531970 W
    • Slough 2 at 35.398380 N, 82.528750 W
    • Slough 3 at 35.396449 N, 82.525462 W
  • Possess, transport or release live Alewife or Blueback Herring in the Little Tennessee River Basin in and upstream of Lake Santeetlah and Cedar Cliff Lake including all tributaries and impoundments.
  • Possess, transport or release live White Perch in waters in and west of Haywood, Buncombe, and Rutherford counties.
  • Take or possess any state or federally designated endangered, threatened, or species of special concern, including sturgeon from the inland waters of North Carolina.
  • Stock fish into public fishing waters without a permit from the Wildlife Resources Commission (Fish Stocking Permit applications are available at, or for more information about applying, call 919-707-0220).

Fishing Access Area

It is unlawful to:

  • Use any public fishing area for purposes other than fishing, except where facilities are provided and approved uses are posted. All other uses—including the following are prohibited.
    • Swimming
    • Sunbathing on piers or decks
    • Launching or mooring jet skis or boats
    • Skiing
    • Building fires
    • Operating concessions
    • Any other activities not directly associated with fishing
  • Possess a loaded firearm other than a handgun possessed pursuant to a valid concealed handgun permit on those public fishing areas where concealed carry is allowed by the landowner. Carrying any loaded firearm, including concealed handguns, is prohibited on public fishing areas at the following:
    • Bladen Lakes State Forest Game Land
    • Buckhorn Butner-Falls of Neuse Game Land
    • Chatham Game Land
    • DuPont State Forest Game Land
    • Harris Game Land
    • Hyco Game Land
    • Jordan Game Land
    • Kerr Scott Game Land
    • Lee Game Land
    • Mayo Game Land
    • Pee Dee River Game Land north of U.S. 74
    • Sutton Lake Game Land
    • Vance Game Land
    • R. Wayne Bailey-Caswell Game Land, the portion north of U.S. 158 and east of N.C. 119
    • Any other posted public fishing area
  • Use gasoline motors on the following:
    • Etheridge Pond (Edgecombe County)
    • Newbold Pond (Edgecombe County)
    • Lake Rim (Cumberland County)

Public Access for Fishing Only areas will be marked as such and are provided through private property under agreement with the landowner.

  • Any licensed angler and accompanying youths may cross private property with this signage in order to access public waters to fish.

Boating Access Area Regulations

It is unlawful to:

  • Leave any vehicle, trailer, boat or other obstruction where it will impede the use of the ramp by others.
  • Park any vehicles, trailer or boat anywhere on the area when the parking zone is fully occupied. This does not prohibit legal use of the ramp.
  • Use the area for swimming, camping, operating concessions or for any use other than the launching and recovery of boats and parking of vehicles and boat trailers, except where facilities for a particular use are provided.
  • Operate any vessel within 50 yards of the ramp at a speed greater than “No Wake” speed.
  • Possess a loaded firearm other than a handgun possessed pursuant to a valid concealed handgun permit on those boating access areas where concealed carry is allowed by the landowner. Carrying any loaded firearm, including concealed handguns, is not allowed on boating access areas at Bladen Lakes State Forest Game Land, Buckhorn Butner-Falls of Neuse Game Land, Chatham Game Land, DuPont State Forest Game Land, Harris Game Land, Hyco Game Land, Jordan Game Land, Kerr Scott Game Land, Lee Game Land, Mayo Game Land, Pee Dee River Game Land north of U.S 74, Sutton Lake Game Land, Vance Game Land, the portion of R. Wayne Bailey-Caswell Game Land that is located north of U.S. 158 and east of N.C. 119, and any other posted boating access area.
  • Operate a vehicle on any boat access area in a manner so as to endanger life or property.
  • Deposit any debris or refuse anywhere on the grounds of the area.
  • Fail to obey any instruction or signs regulating use of the access area.
  • Conduct a fishing tournament, weigh-in, or or any organized activity or event without first obtaining a permit from the Division of Lands and Water Access at or by calling 919-707-0150. This permit must be available for inspec­tion by wildlife enforcement officers during the tournament.
  • Park in a handicapped space without displaying a handicapped plate or sign.

Hydroelectric Station Safety Zones

A 100-foot safety zone extends both upstream and downstream of the following hydroelectric stations and dams. Only fishing and boating are authorized within the safety zone, subject to the following restrictions:

  • All boaters within the safety zone are required to wear approved U.S. Coast Guard personal flotation devices.
  • Any anglers within the safety zone that enter the water are required to wear an approved U.S. Coast Guard personal flotation device.
  • No vessel may anchor within this zone or tie off to any part of the hydroelectric station structure.

Hydroelectric Stations and Associated Dams

Catawba River:

  • Bridgewater Hydroelectric Station (Paddy Creek, Linville and Catawba dams)
  • Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Station and dam
  • Lookout Hydroelectric Station and dam
  • Mountain Island Hydroelectric Station and dam
  • Oxford Hydroelectric Station and dam
  • Rhodhiss Hydroelectric Station and dam

Green River:

  • Tuxedo Hydroelectric Station and dam

Yadkin River:

  • Narrows Hydroelectric Station
  • High Rock Hydroelectric Station

Other Fishing Information

For fishing information including seasons, sizes, and creel limits relating to land administered by other agencies, contact the appropriate agency:

199 Hemphill Knob Road

Asheville, N.C. 28803.

Phone: 828-271-4779

  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Cherokee Fish and Game Management

P.O. Box 302

Cherokee, N.C. 28719

Phone: 800-438-1601

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

107 Park Headquarters Rd.

Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Phone: 865-436-1200

  • U.S. Forest Service Wilderness Areas

National Forests in North Carolina

160 Zillicoa St.

Asheville, N.C. 28801

Phone: 828-257-4200

  • N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries

P.O. Box 769

Morehead City, N.C. 28557

Phone: 800-682-2632

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges

1849 C Street NW, Room 3349

Washington, DC 20240-0001

Phone: 800-344-9453

Fish Consumption Advisories

Elevated levels of some pollutants may be found in certain fish caught by the public or sold commercially in the United States. For more information, contact N.C. Department of Health and Human Services at 919-707-5900 or see and click on “Fish Consumption advisories.”

Freshwater Fishing Records

The Wildlife Resources Commission maintains records for popular freshwater sport fishes caught by rod and reel or cane pole in state waters.

State record fish must be weighed on scales certified by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and verified by a Wildlife Resources Commission fisheries biologist (or biologist designated by the Commission). For an application form, other requirements, and to see a list of state records, visit, or call the Inland Fisheries Division at 919-707-0220.