Local anglers will see more enforcement of delayed harvest and hatchery supported stream regulations through a cooperative agreement between the North Carolina Resources Commission and the Mount Airy Police Department.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Officer J.C. Harris said members of the MAPD routinely receive wildlife resources related calls so the move seemed a natural extension of what was already happening.
“The officers already patrol a lot of the Greenway paths,” said Harris. “I’ve explained the game laws to them from an enforcement standpoint. Any peace officer can enforce wildlife regulations. This cooperative program will increase the eyes we have on these areas. It is fantastic that they are working with us to give us some help. There is so much territory to cover.”
MAPD Public Information Officer Kelly Hiatt said the department had met with Harris earlier in response to citizens’ concerns and was happy to help the Resources Commission as a part of their routine patrols in the area.
Harris said two types of trout waters on the Ararat are hatchery supported and delayed harvest streams. Hatchery supported streams are a traditional program where trout are stocked in certain waters from the first Saturday in April through late spring and into the summer. Harris said hatchery supported trout waters must be stocked periodically to sustain angling.
He said the limit of trout in hatchery supported streams is seven per day with no size limit. A hatchery supported stream has no restrictions on bait because trout will be in the stream a short time before being taken. Hatchery supported areas can be found on the Ararat which runs along Highway 103, inside Riverside Park in Mount Airy. Other hatchery supported areas are on Paul’s Creek off of Piper’s Gap Road from the Virginia state line to three-tenths of a mile below the State Route 1625 Bridge as well as on the Fisher River (Cooper Creek) from the Virginia state line to Interstate 77 bridge.
He explained the other trout program featured locally is delayed harvest, which is a catch and release only program. Areas managed under this program include the Mitchell River above the Kapps Mill Dam and areas of the Ararat along the Greenway. Typically these streams are stocked with trout from Oct. 1 to the first Saturday in June. The intent of this project is for anglers to have fish available in the streams to catch over an extended period of time. In hatchery streams trout populations often dwindle between stockings. After the prescribed season is up on delayed harvest streams anglers are allowed seven trout per day.
Harris stressed it is unlawful to possess natural bait while fishing delayed release or catch and release trout waters. Only artificial lures may be used in these waters. The commission defines an artificial lures as a lure which neither contains or has been treated with any substance that attracts fish by the sense of taste or smell.
No trout may be taken from a delayed release stream between Oct. 1, 2012, and 30 minutes after sunset on May 31, 2013. These waters are closed to fishing between 30 minutes after sunset on May 31 and 6 a.m. on June 1. The waters open to fishing for youths under 16-years old under hatchery support stream regulations beginning at 6 a.m. on June 1. Harris said these waters are marked with black and white signs.
Natural bait is allowed on hatchery supported waters and the commission defines natural bait as any living or dead organism (plant or animal) or parts thereof, or prepared substances designed to attract fish by taste or smell. Persons seeking information may visit the commission’s web site at ncwildlife.org.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.