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Lake Information for Lake James


Tucked away in rolling hills at the base of Linville Gorge is Lake James, a 6,510-acre lake with more than 150 miles of shoreline. This impressive waterway is the centerpiece of Lake James State Park. Here, nature offers scenic vistas of the Appalachian Mountains and beckons to those with an appetite for recreation.

Facilities and Parks: 

Canal Bridge Access Area - Burke County: On N.C. 126, south of Benfield Landing Road (S.R. 1234), northwest of Marion.

Hidden Cove Access Area - McDowell County: On N.C. 126, near Lake James State Park headquarters, northeast of Marion

Linville River - Burke County: On N.C. 126, off Jamestown Road, northwest of Morganton

Black Bear - McDowell County: On Lake James Road, off Hankins Road, off N.C. 226/221, northeast of Marion.

Fishing Description: 

The cool mountain waters of the Linville and Catawba rivers flow into hilly terrain to form a deep lake with enough points and coves to challenge any fisherman. Water level fluctuation, due to hydroelectric power production, keeps aquatic vegetation at a minimum and concentrates fish populations, especially in winter.

Cool, deep waters and warm surface waters provide a variety of sport fishing. Largemouth bass is the most sought-after fish in the lake. The early morning and late afternoon hours during April through October are the best times to angle for this tackle-buster and its smallmouth relative.

Walleye, first introduced in 1951, is another prized game fish in the lake. White bass spawn in May, and crappie fishing is best during May through July. Bluegill, robin and catfish are available year round, and record specimens of muskellunge have been caught in the lake.

Other fish include bream, sunfish and perch. A fishing license is required. All Wildlife Resources Commission regulations apply.

Largemouth Bass
White Bass
Catfish Family
Optional Information
Surface area: 
Lake James
Lake type: 
North Carolina

Businesses Located Nearby

Bait & Tackle

    Terrell Bait & Tackle Shop
  • 7970 Nc Highway 150 E - Terrell, NC
  • (828) 478-2024
    Piedmont Bait & Tackle
  • 5138 E Highway 150 - Lincolnton, NC
  • (704) 735-4416
    Cole's Tackle Box
  • 816 Highway 321 - Hampton, TN
  • (423) 725-4954

Boat Rental

    Benfield's Boat Landing
  • 5741 Benfield Landing Rd - Nebo, NC
  • (828) 584-0441
    Price Lake Boat Rentals
  • 3636 Blue Ridge Pkwy - Blowing Rock, NC
  • (828) 963-4186

Vacation Rental

Bar and Restaurant

    Mallory's Bar & Restaurant
  • 826 N Green St - Morganton, NC
  • (828) 437-0756
    Judge's Barbeque Restaurant
  • 128 Greenlee Ford Rd - Morganton, NC
  • (828) 433-5798
    Tropical Bar & Restaurant
  • 783 W King St - Boone, NC
  • (828) 264-4601

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