For four decades, we’ve been celebrating the opening of Trout Season with friendly competition and prizes! The Blowing Rock Trout Derby is a much-anticipated early springtime event in the village. We have some of the best trout fishing anywhere in the Southeast, so the combination of the Derby and our lovely springtime makes for a great reason to visit. Fishing is a fun outdoor sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime and the Derby is a great way to be together as a family!


2023 brings the 43rd Blowing Rock Trout Derby on Saturday, April 1!

Derby Headquarters:  Blowing Rock Clubhouse, 108 Lakeside Drive, Blowing Rock, NC 28605.



This year there are two ways to participate:


Classic Tournament:

  • Begins at sunrise on April 1, 2023 and ends at 4:00 PM.
  • Catches should be taken to the Official Derby Headquarters by 4:00 PM for measuring.
  • Trout caught in any PUBLIC Watauga County body of water on April 1st are eligible to be entered for measuring.
  • Mayview Lake at Broyhill Park in Blowing Rock is restricted to fishing by children 11 and under and persons with disabilities. No fishing license is required for Mayview Lake. There is a limit of three fish per person from Mayview Lake.
  •  All Fishing and Wildlife laws should be followed for Watauga County public waters, including possession of valid fishing license and following all posted regulations.
  • No entry fees are required and no pre-registration is necessary for participation in the Trout Derby.
  • Prizes are awarded at 4:30pm at The Speckled Trout Outfitters. Scroll down for the prize lists!

Catch & Release:

  • Catch & Release participants must register at the Official Derby Headquarters starting at 7:30am on Saturday, April 1, 2023.
  • Each participant will be given a measuring tape to measure their catches.
  • Each participant MUST take a timestamped photo measuring their catch in order for it to be considered for judging.
  • All timestamped photos must be entered to Headquarters by 4:00 pm for judging.
  • All public water in Watauga, Ashe, and Avery county will be permitted with single hook artificial lures only.
  • All other state regulations must be followed.
  • Prizes are awarded at 4:30pm at The Speckled Trout Outfitters. Scroll down for the prize lists!

At the Derby:

7:30am Official Headquarters and Catch and Release Registration Opens. Event t-shirts and gifts available while supplies last!
7:30am-2pm Art Contest for Kids at Headquarters- bring completed artwork to submit or create art on site with supplies provided.
4pm Deadline for entries
4:30pm Awards Ceremony at The Speckled Trout Outfitters.

Mayview Lake at Broyhill Park in downtown Blowing Rock will be stocked with hundreds of fish in the days leading up to the derby, and other local bodies of water are stocked for the season as well. Kids are invited to fish at Mayview Lake, where some of the stocked fish are tagged for special prizes!

The North Carolina Wildlife Commission supports the Blowing Rock Trout Derby with free “Fish for Fun” bags complete with a tackle box, regulation book, bumper sticker, stringer and bobber. Be sure to bring the kids by the Derby Headquarters early for their bags, and to collect an official Derby T-shirt, free! Kids are also invited to participate in the Art Contest, where the winning art will be featured on next year’s Event Poster and T-Shirt. Kids may create their art in advance or on-site and submit it at Derby Headquarters on April 1st before 2pm; entries should be no larger than standard 8.5 by 11 inch paper.  All art submissions are hung on the walls inside Derby Headquarters, where local judges select the winner at the end of the Derby.

Where to Fish

Classic Tournament

  • Trout caught in any Watauga County public waters on derby day are eligible for measurement and prizes.

Catch & Release

  • All public water in Watauga, Ashe, and Avery county will be permitted with single hook artificial lures only.


On the day of the Derby grab your fishing license and your fishing gear and hit local waters for brown, speckled, or rainbow trout. Favorite nearby spots include Price Lake, Bass Lake, and the Middle Fork River along Highway 321.
**Follow this link and select Watauga County on this map of NC fishing waters to see public fishing areas. Note that Blue Ridge Parkway waters are not included, but fishing is allowed on the Parkway- just obey posted signage.
If you want the easiest-to-find public fishing areas, see this High Country Host Guide for addresses of popular Watauga spots!
Make sure you have a current NC Fishing License! Find out more, and even get your license online at TakeMeFishing.org

Entries and Prizes

Classic Tournament

  • Once you’ve caught your prize-winning trout, take it to the Derby Headquarters at the The Blowing Rock Clubhouse (before 4pm). There, derby staff will measure your catch and record the length. 

Catch & Release

  • Catch & Release participants will be provided a measuring tape to track each trout caught and time stamped pictures measuring each fish MUST be documented to be recorded towards your final score.

Trophies & Prizes

Classic Tournament
Unique, handcrafted plaques by Snake Mountain Iron Works are awarded as trophies for the largest trout in five divisions:
Men (ages 17+)
Women (ages 17+)
Girls (ages 12-16)
Boys (ages 12-16)
Small Fries (age 11 and under)

Catch & Release Categories
Men (ages 16+)
Women (ages 16+)
Girls (ages 12-15)
Boys (ages 12-15)
Small Fries (age 11 and under)

Prizes accompany each Trophy, and include outdoor and fishing gear like new rods and reels, sporting vests, tackle boxes, and more.

Species Prizes
Largest Brown, Brook, and Rainbow Trout each awarded $100 cash.

Tagged Trout
At least 10 tagged trout will be released into Broyhill Lake- each awarded $25 cash.

Trout Derby Dining

Are you looking for a taste of mountain trout? Check out these Blowing Rock restaurants that dish up our favorite local fish over the Trout Derby weekend:

Speckled Trout Restaurant & Bottle Shop: blackened trout po’ boy sandwich or NC trout entrees- choose from salt & pepper, blackened, hickory smoked, or crusted with cracker, almond & cornmeal, or cilantro

Foggy Rockblackened, parmesan crusted, & fried NC trout (all one entree)

Best Cellar: NC mountain trout piccata

Bistro Roca: NC mountain trout with brown butter

Chetola Resort/Timberlake’s Restaurant: pumpkin seed crusted NC trout

Hellbender: NC trout dip (appetizer)

Storie Street Grille: pecan crusted NC trout

Twigs Restaurant: sauteed or pecan crusted NC rainbow trout

We love our sponsors!

4 Forty Four, The Speckled Trout Restaurant & Bottle Shop, The Speckled Trout Outfitters, Chetola Resort, Town Tavern, Hollars Construction, Inc., Appalachian Mountain Brewery, M-Prints Screen Printing & Embroidery, Blowing Rock Ale House, Bolick & Traditions Pottery, Edmisten Heating & Cooling, Booneshine Brewing, Mike Calhoun’s Bass Club, Mountaineer Maintenance Inc., Lost Province Brewing Company, J.B. Allen Home Solutions, Jenkins Realtors, Inc., Cheeky Fishing, A-1 Pest Control, Wingo Outdoors, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, White Tail Properties Real Estate, Snake Mountain Iron works, Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, Blowing Rock TDA, Napa Auto Parts, Boone, NC, Temple Fork Outfitters & Scientific Anglers. Trophy sponsors are First Citizen’s Bank & Food Lion of Blowing Rock.

For more information

on the Trout Derby and overnight accommodations in the Blowing Rock area, contact the Blowing Rock Visitor Center at 828-295-4636 or info@visitblowingrock.com.