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Fantastic Fishing Alternatives in Place of Winter Impoundments

Author: NCWRC blogger/Tuesday, November 2, 2021/Categories: Blog, Conservation, Fishing

Fantastic Fishing Alternatives in Place of Winter Impoundments

NCWRC Staff Blog Post by Madeline David, Angler Engagement Coordinator

Tropical Depression Fred hit western North Carolina hard this past August. As reported in an agency press release on Aug. 24, flash flooding caused severe damage at the Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery and Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. About 1 million trout were lost and our staff were left with a huge challenge to ensure Delayed Harvest stockings would run as scheduled starting Oct. 1.

The good news is that our staff were able to work with various partners across the country to source fish and fish eggs, and for now, the Fall/Winter 2021 into early Spring 2022 Delayed Harvest and Spring/Summer 2022 Hatchery Supported trout waters will be stocked as scheduled. While the situation is still precarious and could change if another serious event occurs, this is great news for anglers across the state.

Unfortunately, not enough trout are available for the 2021 winter small impoundment trout stockings.  This popular trout stocking program occurs annually in the Fall/Winter at numerous small impoundments throughout central and western North Carolina, including in urban areas.The program may resume in December 2022, pending fish availability.

However, we’ve compiled a great list of alternative fishing opportunities in your area to take advantage of this winter in place of the surplus trout stockings:

  • In Franklin and Vance Counties, be sure to check out Owens Park Pond (Louisburg). There you'll find Crappie and White Perch biting in the winter months. We recommend using live bait, such as minnows and shiners.
  • In Raleigh or surrounding areas, head to Simpkins Pond at Lake Wheeler Park (Raleigh) or Harris Lake (New Hill). At Harris Lake, there's three public fishing piers (Harris Lake County Park, New Holleman's Crossing and Crosspoint Landing) with adjacent fish habitat structures at each. There you'll find Crappie and White Perch biting in the winter months. We recommend using live bait, such as minnows and shiners.
  • In Greensboro or surrounding areas, visit Oak Hollow Lake (High Point), Lake Higgins (Summerfield) or Cedarock Park (Burlington). Hybrid striped bass are stocked at Oak Hollow and will be active in the winter. We recommend live bait, chicken livers or artificial lures. At Lake Higgins and Cedarock Park, you can still find trout this winter! That's because each does its own trout stocking. Stockings for Lake Higgins begin mid-November. There is a $2 fee to fish with a $4/pound take-home fee and no daily limit. All trout caught must be kept. At Cedarock Park, trout stockings will likely begin in early December with a $5 fee to fish and a limit of 4 trout per day.
  • In Charlotte or surrounding areas, drop a line in at Lake Norman - a great site for fishing in winter! Why? The McGuire Nuclear Station (Mecklenburg County side) and Marshall Steam Station (Lincoln County side) have water-warming discharge canals that attract fish. There's plenty of bank fishing to be had.
  • In Moore and Richmond Counties, take a trip to the Sandhills Game Lands (Hoffman). The game lands have several small impoundments that are open to bank fishing. There you’ll find chain pickerel and yellow perch are still active in the winter months.

For real time updates of any possible changes, check out www.ncwildilfe.org/troutupdate on a regular basis.

Photos by NCWRC: Anglers enjoying an afternoon on the water at Harris Lake in New Hill.

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