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Fishing Nantahala Lake

AKA: Nantahala Lake, Nantahala Reservoir

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By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Lake Nantahala, NC

Popular Fish Species Nantahala Lake, NC

Nantahala Lake Popular Fish - Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Smallmouth bass are a favorite of many locals at Nantahala Lake. Without blueback herring or spotted bass in the lake, smallmouth tend to thrive. Fishing for smallmouth bass can be good anytime they are shallow - in spring, during high water, mornings in summer and during warmer fall afternoons. Use shallow crankbaits around rip rap, and around grass use worms, jigs, topwater and spinnerbaits. In winter, spend your time on deeper structure with small worms, jigs and spoons. Other bass to be caught here include largemouth bass and spotted bass.

Nantahala Lake Popular Fish - Walleye

Walleye Fishing

Thanks to good fisheries management by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, a growing population of walleye are now being caught in the waters of Nantahala Lake. They are eager to feed throughout the lake, but tend to concentrate around structure on points, flats and ledges off the river channels. A proven method for catching walleye in Nantahala Lake is by trolling with spinners tipped with live bait, or trolling with long-billed, deep diving crankbaits. However casting live bait, jigs, worms and spoons also works well at times.

Nantahala Lake Popular Fish - Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass Fishing

The population of largemouth bass in Nantahala Lake is doing well. Excellent fisheries management and plenty of cover for both baitfish and bass have created an environment for anglers to catch both quantity and quality here. Fishing for largemouth bass is good virtually any time they are shallow - in spring, mornings in summer, and during warm Fall afternoons. Use shallow crankbaits around rip rap. Around grass use worms, jigs, topwater and spinnerbaits. In deeper water, big worms, jigs and spoons are three good weapons. In winter, spend your time on deeper structure. Smallmouth bass also reside here in good numbers.

Nantahala Lake Fishing Video

Fish species to fish for...

Guide to fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, blue catfish, black crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, bluegill, yellow perch, kokanee salmon and striped bass at Nantahala Lake in North Carolina.

As the only lake in the South with a population of kokanee salmon, Lake Nantahala is a unique fishery in these parts. However, salmon is not the only attraction for anglers here. This 1,600-acre lake in the south eastern section of the state, has a wide range of fish species to pursue. Bass, catfish, crappie, trout, stripers and sunfish reside here. Local fishing guides can provide all the gear and spend a day showing you how to catch fish on Lake Nantahala. Bring your boat or rent one at the marina. Canoe and kayak fishing are popular here and there is thirty miles of shoreline, some of which can be accessed for shoreline fishing. This scenic lake provides opportunities for all types of angling, from shallow water techniques to deep-water ledge and structure fishing.

Nantahala Lake, located in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, is a haven for fishing enthusiasts seeking both tranquility and excellent fishing opportunities. This picturesque lake stretches over 1,600 acres and is surrounded by lush forests, offering a scenic backdrop for anglers to enjoy their favorite pastime.

Nantahala Lake is renowned for its abundance of fish species, making it a popular destination for anglers of all skill levels. The lake is known for its populations of smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, trout, and catfish. Smallmouth bass are a prized catch at Nantahala Lake, known for their strong fight and acrobatic leaps. Largemouth bass are also plentiful, providing anglers with exciting opportunities to reel in a big catch. Walleye, known for their delicious taste and challenging nature, can be found in deeper parts of the lake. Additionally, the lake is regularly stocked with trout, including rainbow trout and brown trout, making it a popular spot for trout fishing. Catfish can also be found in the deeper areas of the lake, providing anglers with the chance to catch some impressive specimens.

Nantahala Lake in North Carolina is a paradise for anglers seeking a tranquil fishing experience amidst stunning natural surroundings. With its variety of fish species, including bass, walleye, trout, and catfish, there are ample opportunities to reel in a memorable catch. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a nature lover, Nantahala Lake offers a serene setting to enjoy fishing and appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the North Carolina mountains.

Fishing Boats For Rent In North Carolina

Primary fish species residing in Nantahala Lake

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Channel catfish Blue catfish Black crappie Walleye Rainbow trout Brook trout Brown trout Bluegill Yellow Perch Kokanee salmon Striped bass

Lake Nantahala Amenities

Marina: YES
Boat Rental: YES
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: YES
RV Hookups: YES
Lodging: YES
Convenience Store: NEARBY
Bait & Tackle: NEARBY
Restaurant: YES

Today's Weather & Forecast

Boating is a popular activity on Nantahala Lake, with public boat ramps available for easy access to the water. Whether you prefer a motorized boat or enjoy kayaking or canoeing, the lake's calm waters and scenic surroundings provide a peaceful boating experience. Boaters can explore the lake, search for their favorite fishing spots, and enjoy the breathtaking mountain views along the shoreline.

Fishing Boat Rentals

Nantahala Shores Boat Rentals
Rentals: Bass boats and pontoon boats
828 557-0408


Nantahala Shores Boat Rentals
13 Old Faber Road
Topton, NC 28781
828 557-0408

Public Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

Nantahala Lake Boat Ramp
This small, but efficient, one-lane boat ramp has a dock and limited, paved parking. Access this launch area via Big Choga Road

Nantahala Lake Rocky Branch Access Area
Centrally located, on the south side of the lake, this is a two-lane boat ramp with a dock and gravel parking. Access is via Wayah Road.

Fishing Guides On Nantahala Lake

Welch's Guide Service - largemouth bass, smallmouth bass

If you offer fishing guide services on this lake, please contact us for a free listing, to be posted here.

Fishing License

Click here for a North Carolina Fishing License.

Camping options are available near Nantahala Lake, allowing anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area. The nearby Nantahala National Forest offers a range of campgrounds with facilities such as picnic areas, restrooms, and hiking trails. Camping near Nantahala Lake provides the opportunity to extend your fishing trip, wake up to the sounds of nature, and fully enjoy the serenity of the mountainous landscape.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

Appletree Campground - 828 524-6441

Appletree Group Camp Campground - 828 321-3610

Nelson's Nantahala Hideaway Campground - 828 321-4407

Brookside Campground & Rafting - 828 321-5209

Lake Nantahala NC Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Nantahala Lake
Franklin Chamber of Commerce
425 Porter Street
Franklin, North Carolina 28734
866 372-5546


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Nantahala Lake in North Carolina.

Trout, bass, walleye and salmon fishing in southeast NC.

Fishing at Lake Nantahala, in North Carolina.