Places to fish in North Carolina Mountains | Otter Creek Trout Farm


a father and his daughter fish for trout

Take a family & kid-friendly trip to the North Carolina mountains this summer, near Franklin NC, to experience Otter Creek Trout Farm.  The kids will have a fabulous time pond fishing, learning, and simply watching the beautiful trout at the farm.

welcome sign at otter creek trout farm

Alex and Nicole, owners of Otter Creek, will undoubtably welcome you with open arms.  I had the opportunity visit their unique property last summer, tucked in the scenic Nantahala Mountain range of Macon County.  During my visit, I sat with Alex beside Otter Creek (which borders the entire property, and is available for private fishing outings by appointment), as he told me a bit more about the process of raising NC Mountain Trout. He has some cool stories of how he’s grown his business over the years.  It’s tough work to produce such a beautiful product, which is Rainbow Trout.  Such a peaceful property to visit.  If you close your eyes for a moment, you can almost hear the water splashing by.

The Trout.

From fingerlings, all the way up to 8 lb. monsters, the trout at Otter Creek Trout Farm are a sight to behold.  You can image your kid’s first experience watching a 20+ inch trout as it cruises by, just out of their reach.  How exciting!
Pond Fishing is available to all.  Otter Creek sells their trout by the pound, and it’s keep what you catch. Pond fishing trout average about 1 pound to 1.5 pounds.

It’s tough to beat fresh NC mountain trout, so definitely plan on catching some while at the farm.  Alex will even clean them up for you!  Whether you fry them, bake them or grill them, you can’t go wrong.  If you’ve never cooked trout before, it’s usually best to start simple.
Try this delicious trout recipe, for starters.

The Farm.

While planning your trip to OCTF, call ahead and ask Alex or Nicole to book a farm tour for your family or group.  Trout farming is a very interesting process and I promise that you’ll learn lots!  You might even meet the resident hogs 🙂
Also, be sure to ask Nicole about her herb garden.  Fresh herbs would pair well with your fresh mountain trout… hint, hint!
Have you ever had a goose egg?  Probably not.  I hadn’t either until my trip to OCTF.  I came home with a humongous goose egg… and it was delicious!  I know, random mention, but this IS a farm, ya know?!

Now, start planning your trip to Otter Creek Trout Farm!
Give Alex and Nicole a call:  (828) 321-9810
Or, shoot them an email:
More info about OCTF on Stay And Play In The Smokies

trout farm in north carolina


Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail | Jackson County


Image Credit: Jackson County Chamber of Commerce

Sylva, Dillsboro, & Cullowhee NC | A trout fishing destination on the rise

Trout Fishing is on the rise in western North Carolina, and rightfully so.  The rise in popularity for the sport of fly fishing here can be largely attributed to Jackson County’s creation of the “first and only fly fishing trail in the United States,” the WNC Fly Fishing Trail.  The creation of the Trail helps cater to the one-third of all visitors that stop by the Jackson County visitor center with trout fishing already in their sights.

The Trail boasts a diverse selection of mountain trout waters including:  Hatchery Supported, Delayed-Harvest, Wild, Wild Natural Bait, Catch And Release – Flies Only, Catch And Release – Artificial Lures Only.  There is truly something for every level of experience.  Before heading out, please take some time to familiarize yourself with the NC Wildlife Regulations that are applied to each body of water along the Trail.

When trying to decide on which trout waters will better suit your experience level, here a few recommendations (for more detail about North Carolina Wildlife fishing regulations, visit our website here):

Hatchery Supported & Delayed Trout Waters:  Beginner to Experienced.  Expect to catch fish fairly easily.

Wild:  Experienced.  You must use artificial single-hook lures, making for a much more challenging day on the water.

Wild Natural Bait:  Intermediate to Experienced.  The use of natural bait such as worms makes it a little easier to attract a wild and cautious trout.

Catch & Release (Flies/Artificial Lures Only):  Experienced.  The lure restrictions make for a challenging day, and releasing the trout properly takes some knowledge.


Photo Credit: Jackson County Chamber of Commerce


The WNC Fly Fishing Trail takes you to 15 excellent spots to try your luck at Smoky Mountain trout.  You can catch Brook, Brown, and Rainbow trout.  Whether you desire quantity or size, small streams or large open water rivers, WNC Fly Fishing Trail has you covered.  The website lists each creek or river, and gives you each of these tools to help plan your adventure:

The Stretch:  An overview of how long each body of water is.

Access Points:  Where to park

Type of Water:  Fishing Designations like “Hatchery Supported”

Available Fish:  What you can expect to reel in

Numbers or Size:  Will you catch a lot of small to medium sized fish, or will you catch a trophy?

Noteworthy:  The 411 or local knowledge about the area

Another feature of the WNC Fly Fishing Trail in Jackson County is their detailed, waterproof map of the trail.  The maps are complimentary and can be downloaded from the website, picked up at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, or you can contact the Jackson County Tourism Authority (800-962-1911).

The Trail even has a “Trail Pledge” that everyone is asked to make before heading out.

“As a true sportsman, I pledge to never litter and to avoid trespassing on private lands.  I will respect the rights of property owners, and always leave the streams in better condition than I found them.”  I don’t know about you, but I can get on board with this!

See more articles and info like this via our On-Line version of Stay And Play In The Smokies the magazine here.

Trout Fishing on the Cullasaja River – Franklin, NC

Western North Carolina trout fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities that is enjoyed by both expert fly-fisherman, and kids alike. Our area boasts an almost endless amount of pristine mountain waters that offer many different types of trout fishing opportunities. In this post, we want to share our opinion on the Cullasaja River, along the Cullasaja River Gorge, between Franklin & Highlands, NC.

Great spot for catching trout in Cullasaja River

The Cullasaja.

The Cullasaja River is a ‘Hatchery-Supported Waters‘ river that receives a good number of Rainbow, Brook & Brown trout throughout the year. The ‘stockers’ (as we like to call them), are stocked from several different points along the river, usually around bridges. If you’re lucky and time it just right, you could find yourself in the middle of a recent stocking. If so, you’ll have no trouble catching fish!
Even if you don’t hit the jackpot, you’ll still be in good shape to catch some mountain trout. It seems like every time we walk over a bridge along the Cullasaja, we see a few trout swimming around below. One such bridge accessed via ‘Goldmine Road’. This is a popular stock-point and offers very easy access to some nice fishing spots for any level of fisher.

The Local Scoop.

Although the Cullasaja River is hatchery-supported, there are wild trout to be caught… If you take the time to find them. The majority of fishing ‘pressure’ is located around the bridges, the pull-offs along US Highway 64, waterfall/swimming holes, etc. The trout you’ll find near these locations will more than likely be ‘stockers’. Please don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with these trout; they are clean fish and are perfectly good to eat! The reasons we enjoy catching wild trout vs. the stocked variety are: color, fight & challenge.
Wild trout have prettier color and skin patterns than stocked trout due to their exposure to natural surroundings their entire lives.

More times than not, a wild trout will put up more of an aggressive ‘fight’ during the catch and while landing the fish.  Think about it this way:  a ‘stocked trout’ is fed… a ‘wild trout’ has to hunt for it’s food.  Which do you think would be more aggressive in it’s pursuit?

You’ll find it harder to catch a wild trout than a stocked trout.  Why?  Well, we can use the same comparison  as we did above in the fight description.  After being fed for the majority of it’s life, the stocked trout will bite at just about anything that resembles a food source.  This isn’t the case for the wild trout because it has had to hunt for it’s food to sustain it’s existence.  This makes the wild trout much more selective in it’s diet.  The wild trout knows what will benefit it the most.

Having described why we prefer catching wild vs stocked, we hope you get a better picture of why this is.
So, are you ready for our recommendation??

We recommend wading the Cullasaja River from any of the easy access points located along U.S. Highway 64 between Franklin & Highlands, NC, for a chance to catch some wild trout.  Remember you can use natural or artificial bait in this river, but we recommend using artificial.  By doing this, you’ll make catching either type of trout (wild/stocked) more of a challenge, and you’ll save a lot of time not having to bait your hook!

If you plan on ‘killing’ fish, please remember that your limit is 7 trout.  Check out this simple but delicious way to prepare our catch at dinner time!! —> Fish Fry Recipe Mix

A platter full of mountain trout dredged in homemade fish fry recipe