Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer
Beginning one-half hour after sunset Feb. 28, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will close approximately 1,000 miles of Hatchery Supported Trout Waters, including Macon County’s Nantahala River and nearby Tuckasegee in Jackson County. These waters will be considered reopened at 7 a.m. on April 3.
The annual effort enables preparation measures for open season. This year, Wildlife Commission personnel will stock the 1,000 miles of river with approximately 960,000 trout, with 96% of the fish averaging 10 inches in length and the other 3% exceeding 14 inches in length.
On its www.ncwildlife.org site, the Commission provides maps displaying all publicly accessible trout fishing opportunities in Western North Carolina. Trout signs are typically displayed at public-access sites. The website also shares graphics of the signs so that anglers can become familiar. For example, signs might provide rules and instructions regarding Hatchery Supported waters versus Catch and Release waters. Additional regulations, as well as North Carolina’s trout management plan and studies regarding trout fishing in N.C. are also available.
Although rivers throughout Western North Carolina are habitats for native, wild trout, Hatchery Supported Trout Waters are stocked at frequent intervals in the spring and early summer every year and are marked by green-and-white signs at the fishing locations. During open season, anglers can harvest a maximum of seven trout per day, with no minimum size limit or bait restriction. To fish during open season, a fishing license is required and obtainable at sporting goods and hardware stores, as well as at Wal-Mart.
For information about trout fishing in North Carolina, visit the Wildlife Commission’s trout fishing page, or call the Inland Fisheries Division at (919)707-0220.