is the Delayed Harvest Program?
A: The N.C.
Wildlife Resources Commission's delayed harvest program is one of the
more popular trout programs in the state. By delaying harvest of trout
stocked in certain bodies of water, the Commission provides anglers with
high quality, catch-and-release fishing opportunities in the spring and
Q: How did delayed
harvest trout fishing originate?
A: This is
a program that was instituted through the regulations process with substantial
public input in the early 1990s. Four streams were opened for the delayed
harvest program for spring fishing only in 1992. The program was then
expanded to fall and spring fishing in 1996. The number of streams in
the program has continued to grow through the regulations process, primarily
due to strong public interest and support.
Q: Who makes the
decisions about which streams and rivers are designated as delayed harvest
for changing fishing regulations, including putting new streams in the
delayed harvest program, are accepted from the public by letter or at
public hearings. The Commission's fish biologists also can make proposals
where they see opportunities or biological needs. All of the proposals
are given consideration and public input is solicited at the annual public
hearings. The Commissioners make the final determination on regulations
proposals after considering the input.
Q: How does stocking
differ for a delayed harvest stream versus a hatchery supported stream?
A: We stock
delayed harvest program streams in the fall and spring, but we stock hatchery
supported streams in the spring and summer. Also, we stock delayed harvest
streams with higher densities of trout than the hatchery supported streams.
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.
Q: Why is
delayed harvest scheduled so the harvest occurs in the summer?
A: In early
summer, when some streams begin to get too warm for the trout to survive,
the Commission opens the streams to harvest under hatchery supported regulations.
This keeps fish populations more in line with stream conditions and allows
for better population management from year to year.
Q: Has the delayed
harvest program been well received and is it expanding?
A: The popularity
of delayed harvest is evidenced by the program's growth to include 18
waters covering more than 50 miles of streams. About 25 percent of North
Carolina's trout hatchery production is now dedicated to the delayed harvest
program. The expanded trout stocking program was made possible through
increased production capabilities at the Commission's three coldwater
hatcheries - Armstrong, Marion and Pisgah Forest.
Q: What are fishing
regulations for delayed harvest waters?
A: Under delayed-harvest regulations, no fish can be harvested or possessed from these waters between Oct. 1, 2007 and one half-hour after sunset on June 6, 2008. No natural bait is allowed, and anglers can fish only with single-hook, artificial lures.
At 6 a.m. on June 7, 2008, delayed-harvest waters open to fishing under hatchery-supported regulations, which means no bait restrictions, no minimum length limit and a seven-trout-per-day creel limit. Hatchery-supported regulations remain in force until Oct. 1 each year.
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.