Fishing Areas in Jackson County

Balsam Lake Public Fishing Area (PFA), Cullowhee


Highlands Ranger district office, Phone: (828) 526-3765

How To Go:
From Sylva, take N.C. 107 south; turn left on N.C. 281 at Tkaseegee. Go approximately nine miles, turn left on S.R. 1756; continue about five miles. Follow the U.S. Forest Service signs beginning at the intersection of N.C. 107 and N.C. 281 to Balsam Lake.

About the Balsam Lake:
Fishing platforms have been constructed at several sites around the shoreline of this small lake, and a universally accessible pier has been built near the dam. The pier has a canoe-loading site for persons with disabilities. This lake is a Designated Public Mountain Trout Water, and hatchery-supported regulations apply. A special trout fishing license is required. Restrooms and a lodge that can house small groups are located at the site.

Primary Fish Species: Trout are stocked from March through June. Large mouth bass and bluegill are caught in the summer and fall.

Cullowhee Creek Public Fishing Area (PFA), Cullowhee

How To Go:
From Sylva, take N.C. 107 south. Go approximately six miles; turn right on S.R. 1001 at the four-way stop intersection (Cullowhee Elementary School is on the right). Go 0.1 mile; Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department athletic complex is on the right. Park in the lot adjacent to the ball fields.

About the Cullowhee Creek:
Cullowhee Creek flows along the back of the parks and recreation department property. There are two universally accessible fishing platforms adjacent to the creek. Trout are stocked in March and April. This is a Designated Public Mountain Trout Water, and hatchery supported regulations apply. A special trout fishing license is required. Restrooms, picnic shelters and tables are available nearby.

Primary Fish Species: Brook, brown and rainbow trout.

French Broad River, Murray Branch Public Fishing Area (PFA), Hot Springs

How To Go:
From Asheville, take U.S. 19/23 north to U.S. 70 (Marshall exit). Take U.S. 70 north (about 35 miles) to Hot Springs city limit. Turn right on S.R. 1304 (first state road on right before crossing the French Broad River.) At the stop sign, turn right; go six miles to the U.S. Forest Service’s Murray Branch Recreation Area.

About the French Broad River:
This area has three fishing pads along the French Broad River connected by a universally accessible trail. Two handi-capped parking spaces are provided. The Forest Service provides a covered picnic shelter with restrooms.

Primary Fish Species: Channel catfish, flathead catfish, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and suckers.

Max Patch Pond Public Fishing Area (PFA), Hot Springs

How To Go:
From Hot Springs, take N.C. 209 south about five miles; turn right on Meadow Fork Road. From Meadow Fork Road; turn right on Max Patch Road; go approximately three miles. Max Patch Pond parking area is on the right.

About the Max Patch Pond:
Pond has a large, universally accessible fishing pier accessed from the parking area. A Designated Public Mountain Trout Water and managed under hatchery-supported regulations, Max Patch Pond is stocked with trout March through May. A special trout fishing license is required.

Primary Fish Species: Rainbow, brown and brook trout.

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