“We have wanted to help trout anglers by giving more advance notice of stocking dates and locations so they can plan fishing trips better without impacting our program,” said David Deaton, fish production supervisor for the Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries. “Between the weekly stocking schedule and the daily stocking updates, anglers can go online at noon to see which streams got stocked that day, and which streams have yet to be stocked that week.”
Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters, marked by green-and-white signs, are stocked from March until August every year, depending on the individual stream. Many of these waters are stocked monthly, although some heavily fished waters are stocked more frequently. Commission personnel will stock nearly 926,000 trout — 96 percent of which average 10 inches in length, with the other 4 percent exceeding 14 inches in length. Stocked trout are produced primarily 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 Trout 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,” Deaton said. “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.” 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 traffic; Closing and/or locking gates after use; and, Reporting wildlife violations by calling 1-800-662-7137.
And speaking of fishing, and it is that season, there is a really interesting article in the most current issue of Wildlife in North Carolina, the Commission’s quarterly magazine. It’s about a trout stocking program the WRC is conducting at Lake Apalachia northwest of Murphy on the Tennessee state line. They have been stocking large trout 12 – 14 inches for several years in order to establish a trophy trout lake. It seems to be working based on harvest records and survey information. The article discusses the background of the program and even interviews some anglers to discuss fishing methods by season. If you get the magazine and are a mountain angler it is worth a read.
Also starting on April 4th is turkey season, kicking off with a one week youth season. During the youth-only season, turkey hunting is only allowed for those younger than 16 years, who must be accompanied by a licensed adult at least 21 years old. An adult may accompany more than one youth during a particular hunt. The adult cannot harvest a turkey. Each youth must report harvest to the Wildlife Commission through a Big Game Harvest Report Card. License-exempt youths should report their harvest using a Big Game Harvest Report Card for license-exempt hunters. The daily limit is one turkey and the possession and season limit is two turkeys per hunter, only one of which may be taken during youth season.
The Wildlife Commission’s Home From The Hunt™ campaign reminds turkey hunters of basic safety guidelines, such as identifying a target before pulling the trigger. Safety tips include: Never stalk a turkey, which only increases your chances of being mistaken for game; Leave the area if you think another hunter is already there; Alert another hunter to your presence by saying “Stop” in a loud voice; Never wear red, white, blue or black in the field — the colors of a tom’s head and body; Make sure your decoy or harvested turkey isn’t visible when you transport it.