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“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden


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NC flounder fish

Fish Identification? How does it work? We've divided the fish which are commonly found in Coastal North Carolina into several categories. These relate to either the type of fish (tunas, billfish, etc) or the locations where they are most commonly caught. Of course, sometimes some of the fish in the Offshore/Reef group might swim closer to shore and be found where you would expect Inshore/Coastal fish. Likewise, some of the Inshore/Coastal fish is as much at home offshore as inshore. We have also listed all the fish by name only, in case you have no idea where they are commonly caught.

Fish Identification

All Boat Ed boating education resources and boater’s license courses have been developed in conjunction with the boating safety agencies responsible for boater education in states and provinces, are approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and Transport Canada, and are recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Individuals 16 years of age or older using any type of bait or gear to catch finfish while fishing in North Caro­lina’s public waters must possess a valid North Carolina fishing license.

Use the list or the map to the left to access near-real time observations. Click anywhere on the map to access forecast information.

How to catch catfish

Catfish are classified as warm water game fish, preferring water temperatures from the mid-70s to 80s. They're found naturally in large warm water rivers, including large tributaries of those waters, and have been stocked in many lakes and ponds. Catfish can tolerate muddy water but, contrary to popular belief, cannot survive where pollution levels are high or dissolved oxygen levels, low. Blue cats prefer clearer, faster water than the other catfish species.