As part of the state’s ongoing water quality monitoring, the NC DENR/Division of Water Quality samples fish populations accross the state.
Since 1990 more than 875 sites across the state have been assessed by the wadeable stream fish community assessment program. A majority of the sites are within the Piedmont; the fewest sites are from the Outer Coastal Plain where wadeable freshwater streams are uncommon. Most of the sites are located at bridge crossings or other public accesses. First order creeks and nonwadeable rivers, estuaries, and reservoirs are not monitored.
The NCDWQ publishes these findings in a series of county spreadsheets. We went through them, extracted all of the records of fish surveys that found trout, and mapped them. Only about 150 locations support trout, which concentrate (as you’d expect) in the western highlands. You can download these data by clicking on the “Data: NC Fish Surveys” link in the NC Resources Menu in the sidebar.
Source: NCDER/NC Division of Water Quality Stream Fish Community Assessment Program, Google Earth
The map above shows many of these sites: brown brown shows the presence of brown trout, red-rainbow trout, and cyan-brook trout*. Since the scale is small and many of the survey sites overlap, there area actually many more findings than is apparent here (altogether there are over 300, with several records at most locations). Each species has its survey findings in a separate kml. You may find it best to turn on one layer at a time because virtually every rainbow site will also have brown trout data and vice versus. If you click on the icon, you’ll pop up a window which will tell you more information, in particular the number of trout of the specific species collected in a specific survey. In the survey illustrated below, 3 fish were collected.
*When you download the KML files, the color scheme will be the same for each file. If you right-click on the file in “My Places”, you can change “Preferences” (windows) or “Get Info” (mac) and change the color yourself. If you save the file in My Places, Google Earth will remember the setting.