Fishing FAQ

What kind of fish can I catch in Connestee’s lakes?


The predominant species for sport fishing are Sunfish (brim/bluegill), catfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout and yellow perch. See fish species for more information about the different species found in Connestee Falls.

What do I use for bait?


Connestee anglers use the same kinds of baits and lures you find at any other mountain lake in the Southern Appalachians. Earthworms are especially effective with all species. Artificials, such as paste, are a favorite trout bait, and many types of lures are effective with nearly all our fish. We do not allow live baits such as minnows because of the danger of introducing unwanted species.

What are the best lakes for fishing?


Our four lakes are pretty much equal. Anglers have their favorites, of course, but the lakes are equally stocked according to their size, and their waters are equally suited for the species found in Connestee.

Where can I fish?


You may fish from the shores at any of the public areas, e.g., Atagahi Park, Ticoa Park, Wanteska Dam, etc. Please do not trespass on the private property that makes up the lake berms. From a boat you may fish any of our lake waters. There are no private waters in our lakes.

Do I need a license?


Yes, if you are 16 or older, you need a Connestee Falls fishing license. They are available to CFPOA members and their guests at the Administration Office. The current fee is $15 a year for CFPOA members, $14 for a one-week guest license and $5 for a one-day guest license. Anglers also need North Carolina state licenses. During times when the Administration office is closed, a one-day guest license may be obtained at the Main Gate Security post.

Are there limits to how many fish I can take?


Yes, we have creel limits for some species. The Administration Office can give you an up-to-date list. Also, see fish species for more information.

What are the best times to fish?


As elsewhere, Connestee fishing varies with the season and the hour of day. We enjoy fishing year-round, but some species, like trout, are more active in cool waters and others, like bass, are more active in warm. So summer fishing is different than winter fishing. Anglers argue all the time about what time of day is best.

Why aren’t there bigger bass in the lakes?


Bass are aggressive predators and feed on other fish. Those smaller, forage fish, require still smaller creatures to eat, and the food chain eventually gets down to phytoplankton. Plankton doesn’t grow in our lakes because the waters are so infertile, i.e., lacking in nutrients. Our lakes are infertile because most residents want them kept clear, for their appearance and for swimming. If we fertilized them to provide nourishment for plankton, they’d turn green and murky. Without plankton, though, there are few forage fish naturally. So the bass have little to eat and only a few grow to trophy size. In the past, the Club has supervised CFPOA stockings of forage fish for the bass and trout and our Fishery Management Committee is continuing to consider future programs.

Why must you stock?


Partly because of those crystal clear waters. Most species don’t thrive on their own without large populations of forage fish to feed upon. So as they are caught, we must add more to keep up a vibrant sport fishery. And unlike the other species in our lakes, our popular rainbow trout won’t reproduce at all in our lakes; they spawn naturally only in cold streams with rocky bottoms.

Why don’t the lakes have a wider variety of fish?


Stocking our lakes is a delicate balancing act. Sometimes if you put in a new species, they can eat up one of the existing species, or eat up all of our limited number of forage fish other species feed upon. The Club’s Fishery Management Committee is constantly reevaluating our stocking program with an eye toward improving the balance and variety of species.

Also see Fishing Tips