Fish Wilmington: Bass to Redfish

Many people take vacations to North Carolina to get away to the mountains. Fly fishing the trout streams or just relaxing among the Appalachian Mountains is a great way to recharge your batteries. There’s something special about the mountains. But for many anglers, North Carolina is a fishing destination that seems to have it all; and it does. The warm waters of Lake Sutton, the tidally influenced Cape Fear River, the pristine back waters of the estuaries and bays and even offshore offer up experiences that will forever remain in your mind for the seasoned angler or the first time tyke. Wilmington makes for a great hub to access all these great fisheries, and also includes spectacular beachfronts, shopping and dining. 

Lake Sutton offers up incredible bass fishing due to a unique feature that is situated on the lake; a power plant! The steam electric plant generates energy from coal and natural gas and provides a warm discharge that circulates throughout the entire lake. This warm-water regulation spurs bass feeding long before the waters in the area recover from the area’s winter. It also kicks the spawning season into high-gear. These unnatural water temps keeps the fish hungry and active, perfect for you topwater fanatics!

Just adjacent to Lake Sutton lies the Cape Fear River. The upper Cape Fear is known for incredible bass fishing as well, but it really shines during the winter for striped bass. Although the striped bass are catch and release only, these fish are a blast to target when other local fisheries aren’t producing. Check creek mouths and around structure to find fish. Work your baits slow and you will be greatly rewarded.


As the Cape Fear River empties into the Atlantic Ocean, your chances at finding redfish and speckled trout increases. The mouth of the Cape Fear and surrounding bays and estuaries provide the ideal habitat for hungry inshore species, this includes flounder. The oyster bars, tidal creeks and seagrass beds provide ample feeding opportunity for these fiesty fish. Fish a moving tide with bait present for your best chances at slob redfish or gator trout.


When visiting the area or just looking to increase your odds at catching, hire a reputable guide that knows the area and enjoys putting their clients on fish; whether it be a seasoned angler or a first time tyke.


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