The Best Fishing Spots For Catfish In North Carolina
Guide to fishing for flathead, blue, white and channel catfish in NC.
North Carolina presents ideal conditions for catfish and most waters in the state have one or more species of catfish. Rivers are an ideal environment for growing big catfish. Often ponds and small lakes are stocked with catfish.
North Carolina offers excellent catfish fishing opportunities, with several species of catfish thriving in its lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. One of the most common catfish species in the state is the channel catfish. Known for their voracious appetite and strong fighting abilities, channel catfish can be found in various bodies of water throughout North Carolina. Anglers target them using a variety of baits such as worms, cut bait, and stinkbaits. Popular catfishing locations in North Carolina include the Cape Fear River, Roanoke River, and Lake Gaston.
Another prized catfish species in North Carolina is the flathead catfish. Flatheads are known for their size and are often pursued by dedicated catfish anglers. They prefer deep, slow-moving water and are typically found in rivers and reservoirs with ample cover, such as fallen trees and rock structures. The Yadkin River, Tar River, and Lake Tillery are known for their flathead catfish populations. Anglers targeting flatheads often use live bait such as small fish or large nightcrawlers to entice these powerful predators.
Blue catfish are also a popular species among North Carolina catfish anglers. Known for their impressive size and strong fighting ability, blue catfish can reach trophy proportions in certain waters. They are typically found in larger rivers and reservoirs such as the Roanoke River and Lake Gaston. Anglers target them using cut bait, live bait, or even large artificial lures designed to mimic their preferred forage.
Lastly, North Carolina is home to the white catfish, a smaller species compared to the aforementioned ones. White catfish can be found in various rivers and reservoirs throughout the state and provide excellent angling opportunities, especially for beginners or those looking for a more relaxed fishing experience. They are known for their willingness to bite a variety of baits, including worms, nightcrawlers, and shrimp.
Whether you're targeting channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, or white catfish, North Carolina offers diverse catfishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. With its numerous lakes, rivers, and reservoirs teeming with catfish, the state provides a catfish angler's paradise. Just be sure to check local regulations and licensing requirements before heading out, and always practice catch-and-release or harvest within legal limits to ensure the sustainability of the catfish populations for future generations of anglers.
The major lakes with healthy populations of catfish include Apalachia Lake, Badin Lake, Belews Lake, Blewett Falls Lake, Buckhorn Reservoir, Chatuge Lake, Falls Lake, Fontana Lake, Graham-Mebane Lake, Harris Lake, High Rock Lake, Hiwassee Lake, Hyco Lake, Jordan Lake, Kernersville Lake, Kerr Lake, King Mountain Reservoir, Lake Gaston, Lake Benson, Lake Cammack, Lake Crabtree, Lake Glenville, Lake Hickory, Lake Higgins, Lake James, Lake Mackintosh, Lake Mattamuskeet, Lake Nantahala, Lake Norman, Lake Rhodhiss, Lake Sutton, Lake Tillery, Lake Townsend, Lake Waccamaw, Lake Wheeler, Lake Wylie, Mayo Reservoir, Mountain Island Lake, Moss Lake, Phelps Lake, Roanoke Rapids Lake, Salem Lake, Shearon Harris Reservoir, Tar River Reservoir and W Kerr Scott Reservoir. Most ponds, creeks, rivers and smaller lakes may also have catfish.
World record: 58 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 40 lbs 8 oz
World record: 123 lbs 9 oz
State Record: 78 lbs 14 oz
World record: 143 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 121 lbs 9 oz
World record: 22 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 13 lbs 0 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
What's the best bait for catfish in North Carolina?
Choose from the top 5 all-time catfish baits and try them on local waters. Appealing to the keen sense of smell and taste could turn a so-so day into a memorable event.
The state record blue catfish was taken from Lake Gaston.
The state record channel catfish came from Fontana Reservoir.
The Neuse River gave up the state record flathead catfish.
Lake James yielded the state record for white catfish.
Catfish Fishing Video
Additional catfishing information resources.
There are many species of catfish and even more ways to catch them. Adults range in size from less than a pound to hundreds of pounds. Catfish are found in all types of water including ponds, streams, lakes and rivers throughout North Carolina. There are even species which spend a limited amount of time on dry land. Big giant catfish put up a very noble fight once hooked.
Most catfish are considered bottom feeders to one extent or another. They will generally eat anything that can get in their mouth. Their strongest sense is smell which they use to locate potential food sources. Capitalizing on this sense is the primary weapon in your search for these creatures. Aggressive catfish have been caught on most types of fast moving bass lures so don't under estimate their ability to catch live bait.
Information for states with catfish.