Many people ask me how the fishing is near Raleigh. I never know how to answer. Usually the person asking the question is a fly fisherman and their question is mainly based on trout fishing. I wouldn't say NC is the greatest for trout fishing but what it lacks in trout water it makes up for in variety. I could just say you can fish for trout and smallmouth in the mtns then drive 3hrs and fish for drum and flounder on the coast. NC Wildlife has allowed anglers more variety than that. They've stocked scattered lakes around NC with striped bass and are discussing stocking red drum. From Raleigh you have access to 4 lakes all with a reputation for good fishing when it comes to a specific species.
I wouldn't say Shearon Harris Lake is known nationally. It should be though. It produces more 5lb and larger bass than most other lakes in NC. The key to the big largemouth is the hydrilla grass and Nuclear Plants near the lake. The plant releases warm water year round allowing the fish to keep feeding and never really go dormant. There is also a slot limit which has kept the bigger fish in the lake. Locally the lake gets a lot of hype because of its bass fishing but what I found last year is the white perch fishing is even better. There were some days during the summer I was trying NOT to catch white perch and failed. They seem to be everywhere and if they're not where you're fishing at the moment just wait 5min.
Jordan Lake is mostly known for its great crappie fishing. It became even more popular when it was stocked with stripers and hybrid wipers (striped/white bass). A fish kill has quieted the rumors and great fishing reports about stripers but the large crappie stories are still told. The lake holds enormous bass that are finicky and difficult to catch. The lake is very large and you can spend a day fishing just one finger.
Lake Mayo is known to some as mainly a pickerel lake. The lack of development near the lake has kept it very clear. It has a ton of hydrilla grass. Good bass are caught there often but the lakes main claim to fame is pickerel.
Falls Lake has a little of everything. Big bass, catfish, crappie, carp and a nice white bass population. The lake is bigger than Jordan and you can spend a day just figuring out where to fish. If the lake isn't enough the tail water has a run of shad and stripers in the spring.
You can see when it comes to fishing there is a pretty good variety close to Raleigh. You would have to drive 2hrs west or east for trout or flounder but really you can't complain.