Fishing in Maggie Valley NC – The Top Spots

Thinking about fishing in Maggie Valley, NC? This adorable mountain town near the Great Smoky Mountains isn't just for sightseeing. Get ready to fish in crystal-clear streams with rainbow and brown trout, surrounded by breathtaking views.

We're Maggie Valley NC locals, and really enjoy fishing in Maggie Valley and surrounding areas. Our guide will let you in on all the fishing magic in Maggie Valley, from the top spots to gear up to insider secrets for a successful outing.

There are so many places to go fishing in Maggie Valley NC that it's impossible to talk about all of them. Instead, we're going to talk about some of our personal favorites for fishing in Maggie Valley NC.

Updated: 3/27/2024

What You Need for Fishing in Maggie Valley NC

Fishing in Maggie Valley, NC, requires a valid license from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. There are specific regulations for fishing in national parks and the Blue Ridge Parkway, so be sure to check their websites before heading out.

For a simpler option, consider the 3-day Mountain Heritage Trout Waters license, perfect if you only plan to fish in designated areas like Maggie Valley and Waynesville. This affordable license ($8 as of March 2024) is available online at or by phone at 888-248-6834.

Tips for Fishing in Maggie Valley NC

Fishing in Maggie Valley Tips

So you've got your license, your rod, and your sights set on reeling in a trophy trout in Maggie Valley NC. Here are some insider tips we can share with you to make a great fishing experience even better!

  • Pick Your Spot: Maggie Valley boasts several options (see our picks below). Jonathan Creek offers easy access but can be tricky for beginners because of narrow sections and slippery rocks. For wilder streams with potentially bigger fish, consider venturing out with a local guide who knows the real hidden gems.
  • Time it Right: Early mornings and evenings are prime times for trout activity, as water temperatures are cooler. Be mindful of seasonal changes – trout are deeper in the summer and shallower in the spring and fall.
  • Mind Your Presentation: Trout are wary creatures. Use stealthy approaches and cast upstream so your lure or bait drifts naturally towards them.
  • Lure Selection: Match your lure to the season and water conditions. Small spinners, inline spinners, and nymphs are popular choices. In spring, dry flies that mimic insects can be enticing. Ask local tackle shops for their recommendations.
  • Respect the Environment: Practice catch-and-release techniques to preserve the fishery for future generations. Pack out all your trash (Leave No Trace) and leave the natural beauty of Maggie Valley pristine.

Remember, patience, respect for the environment, and a touch of mountain magic are key ingredients for a truly unforgettable fishing experience in Maggie Valley.

Fishing in Maggie Valley NC - Our Picks for the best spots

Jonathan Creek Maggie Valley NC

Maggie Valley NC is a great vacation spot for anyone trying to get away from it all. If you're trying to get away from it all and you don't go fishing you probably aren't doing it right!

Each spot in our guide will have a rating from 1-5 on how hard it is and a list of the fish you can probably catch there. This will help you narrow it down to what places you want to fish.

Here are our top picks for fishing in Maggie Valley NC:

Jonathan Creek

Jonathan Creek, also known as J-Creek to the locals, is a small creek that runs through Maggie Valley. You can catch your fair share of dinner in J Creek as it is regularly stocked with trout throughout the spring and summer!

The water is ice cold and feels refreshing when wading through it looking for fishing holes. The hunt is one of our favorite things about fishing at Jonathan Creek.

There are so many fishing holes and you have to cast it just right to get the fish to bite.

Jonathan Creek is a really convenient place to fish because you can access it from almost anywhere in Maggie Valley. The creek can be tough to fish for some amateur creek fishers because of the many narrow points and the slick rocks.

Whether you're fly-fishing, spinner fishing, or any other way, Jonathan Creek is an amazing place to fish. We suggest bringing your waders though because it's best fished if you're in the water!

Difficulty: 3-5

What to fish for: Trout

Distance: In Town

Lake Junaluska

Photo by: Lori Tremper

Lake Junaluska is a man made lake that's a part of the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center and is one the easiest places to fish near Maggie Valley NC.

This lake is a great place to take your children or grandchildren to fish as it's open and easy to fish. If I want to drive right down the road and fish somewhere easy we highly recommend going to Lake Junaluska.

We've caught a variety of fish from here including Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Common Carp, Sunfish, Bluegill, and Trout. We've seen people catch catfish as well.

There are also rumors of Lake Junaluska having Lake Trout. We've never caught or seen one but like to stay optimistic that if this rumor is true we'll eventually catch one!

Difficulty: 1

What to fish for: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Trout, Blue Gill, Perch, Sunfish, Carp, Catfish

Distance: 7 miles from Maggie Valley


With crystal clear water, the crisp mountain air, and the quiet of the woods, Sunburst is truly an incredible place to fish. The drive is longer than others on this list but the drive is beautiful and enjoyable as soon as you get on Lake Logan Road.

The authorities regularly stock Sunburst with many trout. We've also caught plenty of  Bass while fishing up and down its many streams.

When we go out to Sunburst and get in the water, we can't leave for hours because we're so entranced with the scenery. Each trip we can catch, on average, between 5-10 trout.

The downside to sunburst though is that its catch and release.

When you catch a fish, you have to put it back, except for a few times throughout the year. Sunburst is also single hook artificial, so you can only use single hooks and can't use live bait.

Sunburst is an exceptional area for fly-fishing as well.

Difficulty: 2

What to fish for: Trout, Rock Bass

Distance: 23 Miles, 30-40 Minutes

Wrapping up on Fishing in Maggie Valley NC

Fishing in Maggie Valley NC

So, what are you waiting for? With its stunning scenery, abundant fish, and relaxed atmosphere, Maggie Valley, NC offers an unforgettable fishing experience.

Cast a line, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and create lasting memories on your next fishing adventure.

For regulations and licensing information, be sure to check with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission before you head out. Tight lines!

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.

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