The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open approximately 1,100 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters in 25 western counties at 7 a.m. on April 7. The season will run until March 1, 2013.
While fishing on hatchery-supported trout waters, anglers can harvest a maximum of seven trout per day, with no minimum size limits or bait restrictions.
Hatchery-supported trout waters, marked by green-and-white signs, are stocked from March until August every year, depending on the individual stream. A list of numbers and species stocked by month and county can be found on the Commission’s website. Many of these waters are stocked monthly, although some heavily fished waters are stocked more frequently.
Balsam Lake, which was drained by the U.S. Forest Service to repair a leak in the spillway, remains closed and will not receive stockings this year.
Commission personnel will stock nearly 877,000 trout, with 96 percent of the stocked fish averaging 10 inches in length and the other fish exceeding 14 inches.
Stocked trout are primarily produced in two Mountain region fish hatcheries operated by the Commission and are distributed along hatchery-supported streams where public access for fishing is available. While hatchery-supported waters are open to public fishing, many of those miles are privately owned.
“Opportunities to fish on many of these hatchery-supported trout streams are only available through the support and generosity of landowners,” said David Deaton, fish production supervisor for the Wildlife Commission. “It’s important for anglers to respect the property that they’re fishing on and remember that landowners can take away access if they feel their property is being misused.”
Deaton said that 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.
For a detailed list of all hatchery-supported trout waters and regulation information, as well as trout maps and weekly stocking summaries on hatchery-supported trout waters, visit the Commission’s website, www.ncwildlife.org/fishing. Weekly stocking information appears online for seven days, and updates are posted on Fridays after fish are stocked.