Mountain Heritage Trout Waters Program

The Mountain Heritage Trout Waters program is a cooperative effort between the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and local governments to encourage trout fishing as a heritage tourism activity in western North Carolina cities that are designated as a “Mountain Heritage Trout Water City.”

Currently, 17 cities are participating in the program. Each of these cities provides public access to a trout stream that runs through or is adjacent to the city. North Carolina residents and non-residents who want to fish in a stream that is designated as a Mountain Heritage Trout Water may purchase a 3-day license for $8. The license is valid only for waters that are designated as Mountain Heritage Trout Waters. Anglers with an inland fishing license can fish in Mountain Heritage Trout Waters without a Mountain Heritage Trout Waters license..

Two quick and easy ways to purchase a Mountain Heritage Trout Waters license using a credit card:

  • Call 833-950-0575. (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri.)

  • Buy online

Important note: The Mountain Heritage Trout Water license can only be purchased online or by calling the toll-free number above. Wildlife Service Agents do not sell this license.

To fish for trout in Public Mountain Trout Waters that are not designated as “Mountain Heritage Trout Waters,” anglers age 16 and over must have a valid inland fishing license. Purchase a fishing license here.


No rod and reel? No problem!

Anglers can borrow a rod and reel free of charge for the day. The loaner rods and reels are provided by city and town governments and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission through the agency’s Mountain Heritage Trout Waters Tackle Loaner Program. This program operates like a library. Anglers of all ages register at participating Mountain Heritage Trout Waters program-tackle-loaner sites to receive a tackle loaner ID card, which allows them to check out a rod and reel for the day. Anglers under age 18 must have a parent or guardian to complete the registration form. Anglers receive a free one-time mini-tackle box containing assorted lures the first time they register in the program. One tackle box per participant is permitted. Loaner rods and reels are available for a one-day loan and must be returned to the participating loaner site by the end of the business day. See a list of tackle loaner site locations.


Trout Fishing Tips

Fly-fishing is a great sport but it’s more than a long pole, a fake bug and a casual cast into the water. Fly-fishing takes time and practice. Knowing what lure to fish, as well as when and where to fish is as important as landing a cast in just the right spot with just the right touch. Download a printable “Tips for the Novice Fly-Fisher” card here.

Mountain Heritage Trout Cities Map

Download a printable map and regulations of the stream section that is designated as a Mountain Heritage Trout Water in that location.