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Guide To Salmon Fishing In North Carolina

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All about fishing for kokanee salmon in NC.

Salmon fishing in North Carolina

Lake Nantahala is the only recognized area in North Carolina for salmon fishing. There is a population of kokanee salmon that reach over three pounds.

Kokanee salmon are the land-locked version of sockeye salmon. Kokanee do not attain the size of sockeye because they are restricted from migrating out to the ocean to feed and bulk up. Other than their smaller size, kokanee have very similar markings and characteristics to the sockeye. Since they live in a lake for most of their lives, so you can usually locate them spawning near tributary waters that feeds into a lake.

Fishing Boats For Rent In North Carolina

Fishing for salmon in North Carolina

Kokanee Salmon

Kokanee salmon

World record: 9 lbs 10 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 1 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

The state record kokanee salmon was caught out of Nantahala Lake.

About The Pacific Salmon Family

Pacific Salmon are born in and remain in freshwater streams for the early years of life. The number varies by species. Afterward they migrate to the Pacific Ocean waters where they bulk up and prepare for their once in a lifetime spawning run up the freshwater stream where they were born. They will instinctively return to their birthplace, spawn and die. They are found in the streams which empty into the ocean and adjoining ocean waters.

North Carolina Salmon Fishing

The preferred method for catching salmon is fly fishing. Depending on the activity level, salmon may be caught on wet or dry flies, as well as a variety of other lures and baits.


Salmon fishing waters and information, by state.

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Learn the life cycle of salmon

The more you know about the life cycle and seasonal migration of salmon, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit North Carolina salmon fishing waters. Visit the salmon fishing page for more information about the life cycle of the different species of salmon.

Contribute NC Salmon Fishing Knowledge

If you have information, articles or photos relating to salmon fishing in North Carolina, which you would like to see published here, please submit them for consideration.

Best salmon fishing waters in North Carolina!