Other Fishing Regulations
North Carolina Hunting & Fishing
Possession of Certain Fishes
- It is unlawful to transport, purchase, possess or sell any live individuals of piranha; “walking catfish” (Clarias batrachus); snakehead fish (from the Family Channidae; formerly Ophiocephalidae); white amur or “grass carp” (Ctenopharyngodon idella) (see exception below); black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus); bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis); silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix); swamp or rice eel (Monopterus albus); red shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis); rudd (Scardinius erythropthalomus); round goby (Neogobius melanostomus); tubenose goby (Proterorhinus marmoratus); ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus); Japanese mystery snail (Cipangopaludina japonica); Chinese mystery snail (Cipantopaludina chinensis malleata); red-rim melania (Melanoides tuberculatus); virile crayfish (Orconectes (Gremicambarus) virilis); rusty crayfish (Orconectes (Procericambarus) rusticus); Australian red claw crayfish or “red claw” (Cherax quadricarinatus) or other species of “giant” crayfish species in the genus Cherax; zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) or any mussel in the family Dreissenidae; redtail catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) or to stock any of them in the public or private waters of North Carolina.
- Certified triploid grass carp may be bought, possessed and stocked with a permit from the Wildlife Resources Commission.
- It is unlawful to take or possess any state or federally designated endangered, threatened, or species of special concern, including sturgeon from the inland waters of North Carolina.
- It is unlawful to 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.
- It is unlawful to possess, transport or release live White Perch in waters in and west of Haywood, Buncombe and Rutherford counties.
- It is unlawful to stock fish into public fishing waters without a permit from the Wildlife Resources Commission (Fish Stocking Permit applications are available at ncwildlife.org/Fishing/Hatcheries-Stocking/Stocking-Permits, or for more information about applying, call 919-707-0220).
Fishing Access Area Regulations
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 swimming, sunbathing on piers or decks, launching or mooring jet skis or boats, skiing, building fires, operating concessions or other activities not directly associated with fishing—are prohibited.
- 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 not allowed on public fishing 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 public fishing area.
- Use gasoline motors on Lake Rim in Cumberland County, and on Newbold and Etheridge ponds in Edgecombe County.
Public Access for Fishing Only
- Where access to inland fishing waters is provided through private property under an agreement with the landowner, the area is marked by signs indicating Public Access for Fishing Only.
- Any licensed angler and accompanying youths may cross the private property signed as Public Access for Fishing Only in order to access public waters for the purpose of fishing.
- Anglers using these areas are prohibited from entering before 7 a.m. or remaining on the property after 9 p.m., building fires, littering, swimming, launching or retrieving boats, and camping while on the private property unless otherwise posted.
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 without first obtaining a letter of authorization from the Division of Engineering and Lands Management at ncwildlife.org/boating 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
- 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
- Tuxedo Hydroelectric Station and dam
- Narrows Hydroelectric Station
- High Rock Hydroelectric Station
Other Fishing Information
For fishing information relating to land administered by other agencies, contact the appropriate agency:
- Blue Ridge Parkway 199 Hemphill Knob RoadAsheville, N.C. 28803.
- Eastern Band of Cherokee IndiansCherokee Fish and Game ManagementP.O. Box 302
Cherokee, N.C. 28719
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park107 Park Headquarters Rd.Gatlinburg, TN 37738
- U.S. Forest Service Wilderness AreasNational Forests in North Carolina160 Zillicoa St.
Asheville, N.C. 28801
- Division of Marine FisheriesP.O. Box 769Morehead City, N.C. 28557
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges (See Hunting on Federal Lands for contact information)