Members of the Blue Ridge Trout Unlimited, Winston-Salem Chapter are set to return Saturday to be sure something fishy continues along the Ararat River. The group plans to conduct a Stream Cleaning on the river beginning at Rowe Park at 8:30 a.m.
“We’ve been doing this for two years on the Ararat and this is the third year I’ve been involved with clean up efforts by our group,” said Blue Ridge Trout Unlimited, Winston-Salem Chapter Treasurer Ron Zambor. “We were in Mount Airy last September. This is the closest property designated as a delayed harvest stream to Winston-Salem. It’s just a 45 minute drive for us.”
He explained the stream is typically stocked from October through May by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Under delayed-harvest regulations, between Oct. 1, 2013, and June 6, 2014, no trout may be harvested or possessed from this stream (and must be released). No natural bait is allowed, and anglers can fish only with single-hook, artificial lures.
The department defines an artificial lure as one which neither contains or has been treated with any substance that attracts fish by the sense of taste or smell. Anglers are encouraged to visit the department website at www.ncwildlife.org for information.
The 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 are marked with diamond-shaped, black-and-white signs, and have proved popular fishing destinations for anglers who enjoy catch-and-release trout fishing.
Zambor said he expects more than 14 chapter members for the clean up, which is the largest number the group has had for the stream project.
“We’ve adopted this stream over the last two years. We’ve found that after the catch and release season is up, litter piles up along the banks,” Zambor said. “We plan to meet that morning at the park and we’ll take a break at noon.” He explained volunteers will pick up litter and debris along the banks as well as from the stream bed.
Zambor said the stream was given the designation as part of the ongoing river restoration projects around three years ago and Trout Unlimited began participating shortly afterwards. He said the stream’s continued clarity and cleanliness are critical to the continued survival of trout there. Habitat preservation also insures the members an opportunity to continue with their sport.
“I think the large number of participants signed up to help demonstrates their membership’s interest in keeping the Ararat River and the environment as clean as possible,” said The Woman’s League of Mount Airy spokesperson Lisa Goodin. “As supporters of conservation efforts and healthy lifestyles, we commend TU and their members for their efforts and continued support in our area. We welcome anyone interested in coming out and helping or just to support this fine group for all they do.”
The mission of the group is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. According to the Trout Unlimited web site, it was founded in Michigan in 1959. It is a national non-profit organization with 147,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.
Volunteers typically work from coast to coast to protect, reconnect, restore and sustain trout and salmon habitat on behalf of today’s anglers and coming generations of sportsmen and women who value the connection between healthy, intact habitat and angling opportunities.
“This is our way of giving back to the community for letting us fish there,” said Zambor. “”We’re looking forward to it.”
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.