Swain & Graham County - Western North Carolina Mountains
Fontana Lake is a reservoir controlled by Fontana Dam on the Little Tennessee River located in Graham and Swain counties in North Carolina. Fontana lake provides some of the best walleye fishing in the state.
The lake forms part of the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the northern border of part of the Nantahala National Forest. Depending on water levels, the lake is about 17 miles long. The eastern end of Lake Fontana comes out of the Tuckasegee River near Bryson City.
The lake has many inlets into coves and many islands formed from former mountain peaks, especially near the eastern end. As with most dam-impounded lakes, the steep banks are exposed when water levels are low.
When the lake is at the normal summer level, a boat may be used to access remote trailheads such as Hazel Creek. While the maximum controlled elevation of the lake (top of dam gates) is 1,710 ft, the normal Summer surface elevation is 1,703 ft . NC Hwy 28 roughly parallels the southern shore of the lake and US 19 between Bryson City and Wesser/Lauada briefly skims an inlet at the extreme southeastern edge. Many towns were submerged shortly after the creation of Fontana Lake, such as Proctor and Judson.
Fish species: Walleye, Black Bass, Sunfish, Crappie, Catfish, and White Bass
Directions from Waynesville: Follow highway 19-23 west past Bryson City. Stay on Hwy 19-23 until coming to the junction of 19-23 and Hwy 28 North. Follow signs to boating access areas. Boating Access areas are located off of Hwy 28 North at Tsali and Cable Cove. Both of these are free access areas for boats and other marine vehicles.
For more Information and Licenses
N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
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