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Delayed-Harvest Trout Waters Open on October 1
Media: A hi-res version of this image may be downloaded here. Please credit the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

RALEIGH, N.C. (Sept. 30) – On Oct. 1, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will implement annual delayed-harvest regulations for 17 designated trout waters in 14 counties located in western North Carolina. Under delayed-harvest regulations, no fish may be harvested or possessed from these waters between Oct. 1, 2003 and ˝ hour after sunset on June 4, 2004. No natural bait is allowed. Anglers can fish only with artificial lures and one single hook.

Delayed-harvest waters, posted with black-and-white signs, create high-quality fishing opportunities where anglers can fish densely stocked trout streams on a catch-and-release basis fall through spring.

In anticipation of heavy angler participation, the Commission plans to stock delayed-harvest waters during the first week of October, November, March, April and May with 224,000 catchable-sized trout – 90,000 brook trout, 44,000 brown trout and 90,000 rainbow trout, according to Carl Kittel, coldwater production coordinator with the Commission.

“We stock delayed-harvest streams with higher densities of trout than the hatchery-supported streams,” Kittel said. “Doing this effectively provides anglers places to fish where they have greater chances of catching stocked trout. During March, delayed-harvest streams provide fishing opportunities for stocked trout when hatchery-supported streams are closed, emphasizing catch-and-release fishing for trout instead of trout harvest.”

At 6 a.m., on June 5, 2004, delayed-harvest waters open to fishing under hatchery-supported regulations, which means no bait restrictions, no minimum length limit, and seven-trout-per-day creel limit. Hatchery-supported regulations remain in force until Oct. 1 each year.

The delayed-harvest program began in 1992 with spring stockings of 18,000 catchable-size trout in four streams. Due to strong public interest and support, the program expanded in 1996 to incorporate both spring and fall fishing. Today, the program includes 17 bodies of water covering 52 miles of stream and one lake in 14 mountain counties. Increased production capabilities of the Commission’s three coldwater hatcheries at Armstrong, Marion and Pisgah Forest have allowed the program to grow. Approximately 30 percent of the Commission’s hatchery-raised trout are now stocked in delayed-harvest waters.

“Last year, the Commission renovated its coldwater hatcheries, installing advanced technologies that have enabled us to produce more and larger trout for stocking mountain waters,” Kittel said. “Over the last six years, we have increased production from 600,000 fish per year averaging 9˝ inches long to 740,000 fish per year averaging 10˝ inches long. A larger portion of this production is dedicated to the delayed-harvest program.”

A list of delayed-harvest waters follows:

Ashe County

bulletTrout Lake
bulletHelton Creek (Virginia state line to New River)

Burke County

bulletJacob Fork (Shinny Creek to lower South Mountains State Park boundary)

Haywood County

bulletWest Fork Pigeon River (Queen Creek to the first game land boundary upstream of Lake Logan)

Henderson County

bulletNorth Fork Mills River (game land portion below the Hendersonville watershed dam)

Jackson County

bulletTuckasegee River (N.C. 107 bridge at Love Field to the Dillsboro dam)

Macon County

bulletNantahala River (Whiteoak Creek to NP&L powerhouse discharge canal)

Madison County

bulletBig Laurel Creek (N.C. 208 bridge to the U.S. 25-70 bridge)
bulletShelton Laurel Creek (N.C. 208 bridge at Belva to the confluence with Big Laurel Creek)

McDowell County

bulletCurtis Creek (game land portion downstream of the U.S. Forest Service boundary at Deep Branch)

Mitchell County

bulletCane Creek (N.C. 226 bridge to N.C. 80 bridge)

Polk County

bulletGreen River (Fishtop Falls access area to the confluence with Cove Creek)

Surry County

bulletMitchell River (0.6 mile upstream of the end of S.R. 1333 to the S.R. 1330 bridge below Kapps Mill Dam)

Transylvania County

bulletEast Fork French Broad River (Glady Fork to French Broad River)

Watauga County

bulletWatauga River (S.R. 1557 bridge to N.C. 105 bridge and S.R. 1114 bridge to N.C. 194 bridge to Valle Crucis)

Wilkes County

bulletEast Prong Roaring River (mouth of Bullhead Creek downstream to Stone Mountain State Park boundary line)
bulletStone Mountain Creek (from falls at Alleghany County line to confluence with East Prong Roaring River and Bullhead Creek)

See more information on delayed-harvest regulations, weekly stocking updates, or a list of trout maps designating fishing regulations in effect on specific streams.




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