Autumn Trout Fishing and Hunting

Mallicoat Two

The Wildlife Commission stocks Delayed Harvest Trout Waters from fall through spring with high densities of trout to increase anglers’ chances of catching fish. Delayed Harvest Trout Waters, posted with diamond-shaped, black-and-white signs, are popular fishing destinations for anglers who enjoy catch-and-release trout fishing. In Madison County we have the stretch of the Shelton Laurel from the intersection of NC 213 and 25/70 up to NC 208.

I think Autumn is the best time to be on the stream catching trout. Water levels are usually pretty good and both air and water temperatures are ideal, making it more comfortable for both the angler and fish. The streams are heavily stocked in early October and the fish are hungry. That makes it easier to bring them in to your selection of flies. I like to use an elk hair caddis dry fly with an 18 inch dropper trailing a small bead head nymph. It’s always worked for me.

The Commission reminds anglers fishing Delayed Harvest Trout Waters to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species, such as whirling disease, gill lice and didymo, by: Cleaning equipment of all aquatic plants and animals and mud; Draining water from boat, live wells and equipment; Drying equipment thoroughly; and never move fish, plants or other organisms from one body of water to another.

October is also the month where we really ramp up our hunting activities. The early resident goose season with its liberal bag limit and rules was very good to me this year; better than past years. It ended on September 30th. The regular goose season with standard waterfowl rules has three splits, October 4 – 14, November 11 – December 2, and then the longest part of the season from December 16 through February 10, 2018.

The First par t of archery deer season ended October 1st. After a two week blackpowder season ending this Saturday October 14th it will pick back up October 15th. Our other big game, black bear, opens October 16th and the first split runs through November 18th. The black bear season takes a hiatus during the firearms deer season and picks back up on December 11th.

We’ve got a couple of small game and bird seasons opening this month. The first portion of the mourning dove season ended this past Saturday, October 7th. After that we have to wait until right before Thanksgiving for Yankee birds to fly south when the second part starts November 22nd. My beloved ruffed grouse season opens October 16th. Doubt I’ll make opening day this year. I return from a New Hampshire grouse hunt the day prior and both me and the dog will be worn out. Gray squirrel season also starts October 16th. I’m looking forward to some early season bushytail action and squirrel stew.

I mentioned earlier the early resident goose season has been good to me. I’ve bagged a few birds, enough for Thanksgiving and Christmas and maybe a couple of other occasions. But that’s not the best part. My son and I had a trip planned to a farm in the Piedmont for geese just before the early season ended. It’s about halfway between his home in Hope Mills and mine in the mountains. I’d stayed in touch with the farmer since early September with geese coming to his fields daily. A week before the planned hunt he reported they had stopped coming in.

My son changed his plans and came here to the mountains and we went out with a friend to his leased field. To continue a “year of firsts” (first turkey was in April) he bagged his first goose on this trip, the first goose he ever shot at. Filled with the excitement of the first bird and hunt, he missed his next goose with three shots. He now understands and shares my goose addiction.

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