All things trout are one mouse click away

Nov. 08, 2012 @ 01:56 PM

The long summer weekday afternoon’s always seemed to drawn a few trout anglers to the back country streams of northern Burke County. 

With angling being the primary drawn, additional reasons to make the often long winding drive to the back country included getting away from the hustle and bustle, clear clean waters, exercise and trying to outwit trout.  While the locals were the most numerous visitors, it was not uncommon to find anglers from even out of state trying their luck in the crystal clear waters.

By default, all the game lands waters in the mountain counties were designated as “Wild” waters.  This meant single hook artificial lures was all that could be used to fish with.  For state wildlife officers that worked these back country areas, checking anglers meant a lot of leg work coupled with observing them without being spotted first.  Those that fished close to the many one lane gravel roads that often paralleled the streams, made this work a bit easier.  Spotting a vehicle parked on the road, the officer would often stop immediately and back up just out of sight.  The next task was to try and spot the anglers.  After finding them, the next objective was to try and determine what the anglers were using for their lure.  Even if it was an obvious artificial lure, it was important to determine if it was being tipped with some type of bait substance.  The most common was a kernel of corn, red worm, or cricket.  Small containers held in a shirt pocket were favorite locations.  However, it would not be uncommon for them to carry several pieces of corn in their mouth.  After establishing that the angler was using bait, the next task was to be close enough to them before they were spotted so that the officer could keep them from breaking their line as they attempted to avoid being caught.  Later, the biggest complaint from the angler is how the trout regulations are too complicated.

The biggest complaint from the casual trout angler is that the states regulations are too complicated.  Avid trout anglers might agree that the regulations are diverse and complex, yet they have little problem in complying with them.  The difference can be equated as knowing the law and knowing where you are fishing.  With more unique trout regulations than ever before, knowledge is certainly the key in order to fishing legally in the Tarheel State.  To make this knowledge more accessible and easy to find, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission recently launched a much needed addition to their web site.  While the info has been available, it was scattered about and not very easy to compile.  With this new page, it makes finding important information on trout fishing as easy as one click for all things trout.

Located at the trout resources page is a must location for trout anglers, especially those that need a little extra help.  While there is a lot of trout related info available, the key to trout fishing in the state is to know the rules for where you want to fish.  Another way of looking at that statement is asking the question, what type of trout fishing do you want to do or, what is the rules for this particular stream?

Officially there are seven different classifications of trout waters within the state.  These include, Hatchery Supported, Wild, Wild Natural Bait, Delayed Harvest, Catch and Release Artificial Lures, Catch and Release Artificial Flies and Special Regulation Trout Waters.  However, this does not include non-designated waters that hold trout which carry trout specific rules on them.  In addition, while “Hatchery Supported” is one of the seven classifications, one of these classified, Linville River within the Linville Gorge, has rules that are different as well.  In addition, the Special Regulation Trout Waters could potentially have several different streams that each has different rules.  Currently there is only one of these, a section of the Catawba River that lies between Lake James and the city of Morganton.

Normally, all trout streams are marked with signs that show their classification.  The web site shows these different signs and lists out the unique rules that apply.     

Knowing the rules for different classifications is one thing, but is of little help without knowing the classification of different streams.  The new web site not only tells you a streams designation but gives you high quality maps as well.  Anglers will also find information about when Delayed Harvest streams will be stocked, in addition to which Hatchery Supported streams were stocked during the week.  There is even information that shows how many trout were stocked in which counties. 

For those that are looking for trout species specific information, the web site offers that as well.  In addition, visitors will find other unique sources of information on trout.  These include, a report on the economic impact that the mountain trout fishing has on the state’s economy, trout fishing partnership opportunities, information on the new Mountain Heritage program and trout angling opportunities on private lands.  While the agency has put everything trout all within one location, it still doesn’t answer that age old question,  “Are the Fish Biting”?   

            Tony Robinson can be reached at