Fishing is Easy and Fun in Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters

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Fisheries technicians Wes Humphries and Kevin Gabel load trout on to a stocking truck at the Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery in Transylvania County. The season for hatchery-supported trout waters opens on April 4, 2009 at 7 a.m.RALEIGH, N.C. – With hatchery-supported trout waters opening at 7 a.m. on April 4, now is the time to make plans to take a kid fishing in waters where the fishing tends to be a little easier and a lot more fun.

As the name implies, hatchery-supported trout waters are stocked with thousands of catchable-sized brook, brown and rainbow on a monthly basis from March to August.

This year, staff with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will stock more than 818,000 trout, with 96 percent of the stocked fish averaging 10 inches in length and the other four percent exceeding 14 inches in length.

When fishing on hatchery-supported trout waters, anglers can harvest a maximum of seven trout per day, with no minimum size limits or bait restrictions. These harvest regulations, combined with the generous stocking numbers, can result in some fantastic fishing opportunities.

“The better the fishing opportunities and the catch rates, the greater the chances are that a young person will get hooked on fishing,” said Kyle Briggs, a program manager for the Division of Inland Fisheries. “While we stock hatchery-supported waters for anglers of all ages, we always want to encourage experienced anglers to take someone new to fishing with them whenever they can.

“Fishing in hatchery-supported waters is a great opportunity to introduce someone new to the sport of fishing.”

Last year the Commission stocked 812,471 catchable trout during a compressed trout stocking season, brought about by the extraordinary drought conditions.

“Due to the dedication and hard work of our hatchery staffs, we were able to stock over 99.5 percent of the trout requested despite the additional complexities associated with the drought and compressed stocking season,” Briggs said.

The stocked trout are grown in four Mountain region fish hatcheries operated by the Commission and distributed along hatchery-supported streams where public access for fishing is available. Currently, approximately 1,120 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters in 25 western North Carolina counties are open to public fishing, though many of those miles are privately owned.

“Anglers need to know that fishing opportunities on many hatchery-supported streams are available only through the continued support of landowners,” Briggs said. “For this reason, we want to remind fishermen to respect the land they’re using and remember that access can be taken away if landowners feel their land is being abused.”

Anglers can help prevent the loss of public access to fishing by:

  • Respecting private property and landowners at all times
  • Removing all trash and litter from fishing and parking areas
  • Parking only in designated areas and leaving driveways open for pass-through traffic
  • Closing and/or locking gates after use
  • Reporting wildlife violations by calling 1 (800) 662-7137

The season for hatchery-supported waters runs from 7 a.m. on April 4, 2009 to Feb. 28, 2010. Hatchery-supported waters are marked with green and white signs.  For a detailed list of all hatchery-supported trout waters and regulation information, click here. 

For trout fishing maps and weekly stocking summaries on hatchery-supported trout waters, click here. Note that weekly stocking information appears online for only seven days, and updates are posted on Fridays after fish are stocked.

For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit the fishing page or call the Division of Inland Fisheries, (919) 707-0220.