Parks & Recreation


Cold mountain streams.  A high, deep lake formed by one of the cleanest rivers in the U.S.  A world-famous trophy trout stream.  And you haven’t fished Carter County yet?  Time to find out what you’ve been missing!

Watauga River Fishing 1The landscape of Carter County is defined by its mountains, streams and man-made lakes.   Abundant rainfall and the absence of industrial development in the high mountains yields top-notch fishing waters – some of the cleanest in the U.S.

There are over a dozen interesting streams, some almost unknown except to locals. The most famous by far is the renowned trophy trout section of the Watauga River between Elizabethton and Washington County, as beautiful as it is productive. But other creeks and rivers can be just as exciting and, especially for the adventurous, there are hidden gems throughout the county.

The Doe River, although less well know than the Watauga, is gaining a reputation for native brown trout and rainbows, and offers easy access along the Doe River Fishing Trail.  Watauga Lake is famous for its clean, deep, cold waters that yield lake trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, and striped bass, in addition to panfish, catfish and the occasional rainbow and brown trout. The lake, which has over 100 miles of shoreline, most of it undisturbed forest, is well-served by public boat launches and several marinas. Tired of fishing? Lie back and watch the sailboats passing.

TVA’s smallest lake, Wilbur, lies just below Watauga Lake, surrounded by the cliffs of the Watauga Gorge. Motorboats aren’t allowed, making this a great place for float fishing or lazing away the day on the shore. There is a dedicated fishing area with parking near the dam.

In a county famed as an outdoorsman’s paradise, it simply doesn’t get any better than our fishing.


Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce
Elizabethton/Carter County Tourism Association website

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