Commission Biologists Seek Help from Anglers to Stop the Spread of Rusty Crayfish

A destructive, non-native crayfish has invaded the upper Catawba River in western North Carolina, and Wildlife Commission biologists are asking anglers to help stop the spread of the rusty crayfish. The rusty crayfish has a rust-colored spot on its sides, just in front of the tail. It has black bands on the tips of its claws. Anyone who finds one is asked to kill it immediately, note its location, freeze it, and contact TR Russ

Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters Open April 5 at 7 a.m.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open approximately 1,000 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters in 25 western counties at 7 a.m. on April 5. The season will run through Feb. 28, 2015. While fishing on hatchery-supported trout waters, anglers can harvest a maximum of seven trout per day, with no minimum size limits or bait restrictions.


Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters

There are approximately 1,100 miles of Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters in North Carolina. In hatchery-supported waters there is no size limit or bait restriction, and the creel limit is seven trout per day. Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters are marked with green-and white signs that are posted conspicuously along the watercourses.

The following waters are classified as Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters (streams that are underlined are stocked with catchable-size trout at frequent intervals during the months of March through August):

McDowell County

Catawba River (Catawba Falls Campground to Old Fort Recreation Park)

Little Buck Creek (game land portion)

North Fork Catawba River (headwaters to North Cove School at S.R. 1569 bridge)

Armstrong Creek (Cato Holler lower line downstream to Greenlee upper line)

Mill Creek (upper railroad bridge to U.S. 70 bridge, except where posted against trespassing)

Mountain Heritage Trout Waters

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, five cities are enrolled in the program. Each of these cities provides public access to a trout stream that runs through or is adjacent to the city. Old Fort has agreed to take part in this program and will be officially designated on August 1, 2010.

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 $5. The license is valid only for waters that are designated as Mountain Heritage Trout Waters. Anglers with the appropriate fishing license and trout privilege license can fish in Mountain Heritage Trout Waters without a Mountain Heritage Trout Waters license.

The Commission offers two quick and easy ways to purchase a Mountain Heritage Trout Waters license using a credit card:

Call 1(888) 248-6834. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. From May to September, phone lines are open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Sunday.

Click here.

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 waters that are not designated as “Mountain Heritage Trout Waters,” anglers age 16 and over must have a valid fishing license and a trout privilege license. Click here to purchase a regular fishing license and stamp.

No rod and reel? No problem!

Anglers can borrow a rod and reel free of charge for the day at the Mountain Gateway Museumon Water St. 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.


Official site for tourist information on the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake James and area fishing and lakes. Containing links and video to local attractions.



Bed and Breakfast

On our seven scenic acres in the midst of the Pisgah National Forest (hidden among mountain laurel between the villages of Black Mountain and Old Fort), we welcome romantic couples, adventurers, weary business travelers, and families of all kinds who seek the allure, relaxation, and sustenance you can only retrieve amidst the beauty of a wilderness venue.

Email them

Click on logo or here, to go to their website.


Catawba Falls Campground, 828-668-4831

Now offering Wi-Fi access, store with ice cream and supplies and salon providing manicures and pedicures. Closest campground to Catawba Falls, centrally located to all Western North Carolina attractions.



Tour the Town

Perhaps the best place to start your tour of this historic town, is at the Mountain Gateway Museum, a building constructed of river rock that sits near the center of town and along Mill Creek. Inside, a 14-minute video in a small screening room reveals the story of the town’s rich history. The museum is actually the old community center, built in 1937 as a WPA project. On one level, visitors will find tools and other household items used by the pioneers. The second level offers a view of what the inside of a log cabin looked like in the frontier days. On the grounds you’ll find two log cabins that have been moved to the property, believed to have been the site of the original fort. To celebrate its history, each April the town throws a big party called Pioneer Day with re-enactors, music and food. The museum is open every day. And it’s free. Take a moment and walk across the street to Parker Legwear and shop for some high quality socks at their outlet store. The area around Parker Legwear has seen many changes with the Arrowhead Art Gallery, K&R Antiques and the County Tourism Department joining the Mountain Gateway Museum in the center of town.

Just over the railroad tracks on the right is the town square; on the left next to the arrowhead is the old yellow depot.

The town has the Whistle Stop, which serves mouth watering pizza, the Rail which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering daily specials.

Just outside of town is a peaceful picnic area in the Pisgah National Forest, Old Fort Picnic Area. Take a ride down Mill Creek to Andrews Geyser and watch the train circle you on the mountain.

If you’re a fan of Thomas Wolfe, make a stop at the Old Fort Cemetery on Cemetery Road, just off Main Street, where you will find one of the Wolfe’s angel statues. Wolfe’s father lost a marble angel (imported from the famous Carrara Marble Works in Italy) to an Old Fort resident in a poker game. The angel now peers down on the grave of an Old Fort resident. This angel may be the one that Wolfe placed in American literature.