Thursday, October 1, 2015

Welcome Delay

I'm no more fond of delays than the next guy, but when you're talking about delaying the harvest of trout for half a year, I'm all in favor. The catch-and-release season on North Carolina's 30-plus delayed harvest trout streams opens this morning. In Georgia and South Carolina, the delayed-harvest opportunity begins next month. These waters, which are ever expanding in number, provide an outstanding cool-season opportunity for anglers who don't mind releasing their fish and fishing only single-hook artificial lures.

I'm a big fan of the delayed harvest concept because it makes great use of resources. Most waters that are managed this way offer outstanding cool-season trout habitat, but conditions deteriorate dramatically when the whether warms during the summer. Most cannot hold high densities of trout through the warm months, so it is only because of the harvest season that fisheries crews can stock these waters so heavily for the catch-and-release season. Two distinctive user groups of trout fishermen are very well served on waters that mostly received only early-season stockings or very light summer stockings prior to the development of this program.

Before you hop in the in the car too quickly, do check the stocking schedule, which is posted on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's website. Initial stockings are staggered over the first week of October, and it would be sort of sad to visit a delayed harvest stream for the first time any given year, with naturally high expectations, the day before they stock the fish!

I haven't made any specific plans yet, but you can trust that I'll have the car pointed toward North Carolina soon!

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