The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission delivered about 300 trout to Elkin on Wednesday.
The pre-season stocking was part of the state preparation of opening about 1,000 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters in 25 western counties at 7 a.m. on April 5. The season will run through Feb. 28, 2015.
More trout are on their way too, said officials.
According to wildlife officials, anglers can enter the hatchery-permitted fishing area through the Elkin Municipal Park and walk along the waterway picking a spot. Anglers can harvest a maximum of seven trout per day, with no minimum size limits or bait restrictions.
“This stocking gives people locally a fishing opportunity…We’re stocking for pre-season. We’ll be back continuously every month stocking the creek with more trout,” said Spike Gouge, fisheries technician with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
“This is going to be a nice addition for Elkin. We net (the fish) and transfer. We walk to the water and place the fish into the water,” continued Gouge.
According to Gouge, most of the fish will survive until an angler catches and eats them.
Trout larger than 14-inches were observed jumping from Gouge’s net into the water. At first, the trout reacted strangely often bumping into rocks of shallow water.
“They’ve been raised in a hatchery, so they’re not quite used to the new environment. They’ll figure it out though. They always do,” said Gouge.
Within minutes, the trout disappeared into the waterway.
Present for the stocking were officials from the Elkin Valley Trails Association who stated that the hatchery program compliments the trails development and runs along a public access route.
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 supported generosity of landowners,” said David Deaton, fish production supervisor for the Wildlife Commission in a release. “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.”
Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.