Delayed Harvest Trout Streams NC

Delayed Harvest Trout Streams NC

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Delayed Harvest is a 2 Designation stocked trout stream as per the regulation of the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission (NCWRC) on certain stocked trout streams. The designation allows for Catch & Release Only during 8 months then Catch & Keep these trout for 4 months.


During the 8 months for Catch & Release Only these streams use only artificial flies/lures having one single hook and all fish must be released. This is where most fly fisherman go to fly fishing and catch trout during the spring and fall seasons. These streams are stocked for fisherman 5 times during the year. Stocking will be done March, April, May, for spring seasonn and October, November for fall season.

During the 4 months of summer you can Catch & Keep these trout. From June thru September the regulations switch over to No bait restrictions, No minimum length limit. These trout will die so the NCWRC wants you to keep them and take them home. This is why they call is DELAYED Harvest.

Delayed Harvest is from October till the last week of May. These streams are stocked the first week of the month only during March, April, May, for spring season and October, November for fall season. During the summer months of June thru September you can Catch & Keep these trout because they will die due to the water temperature being to hot in the summer for trout to survive. Trout need cool waters to survive.

Season is open from October 1, 2021 to June 3, 2022

  • No trout may be harvested or possessed
  • Only artificial lures having one single hook may be used
  • No fishing allowed at all between 1/2 hour after sunset on June 3, 2022 and 6:00 a.m. on June 4, 2022
  • At 6:00 a.m. on June 4, 2022 these waters open to fishing for youths under 18 years old under Hatchery Supported Trout Waters regulations
  • No bait restrictions
  • No minimum length limit
  • Seven (7) trout per day creel limit
  • At 12:00 p.m. on June 4, 2022 these waters open for all anglers under Hatchery Supported Trout Waters regulations
  • Stocking Schedule Delayed Harvest
Delayed Harvest Stream Sign



  1. Choose here License Types & Fees. *All State Inland Fishing licenses in North Carolina include fresh water trout fishing everywhere in the state
  2. Order online NCWRC Online License Center


  • Use barbless hooks. If you use a net, use one made of rubber. It is less harmful to fish scales, gills and eyes. Only net your fish if it is the only way to control it.
  • Wet your hands when handling fish. Dry hands and gloves will remove its protective mucous (slime) coating and scales. These protective layers help prevent infection by waterborne disease. Do not beach a fish or let it flop around the deck of the boat.
  • Try not to remove the fish from the water. If you must, be quick and gentle, do not squeeze the fish. Needle nose pliers, hemostats, de-hookers etc., will speed up the removal of a deep set hook.
  • To revive the fish, hold it under the belly and by the tail, keep it in an upright position underwater, do not move the fish back and forth (this is also a good time to get a measurement and take a photo). If you are fishing in a river or stream, hold the fish facing the current. Be patient and give the fish as much time as it needs to recover and swim away on its own.

Alleghany County

Little River (S.R. 1133 bridge to 275 yards downstream of the intersection of S.R. 1128 and S.R. 1129 [marked by a sign on each bank])

Ashe County

Big Horse Creek (S.R. 1324 bridge to North Fork New River)
Helton Creek (S.R. 1372 bridge to North Fork New River)
South Fork New River (upstream end of Todd Island to the S.R. 1351 bridge)
Trout Lake

Burke County

Jacob's Fork Creek (Shinny Creek to South Mountains State Park Boundary)

Caldwell County

Wilson Creek (game lands boundary downstream of Lost Cove Creek to Phillips Branch)

Clay County

Fires Creek (Rockhouse Creek to the foot bridge in the USFS Fires Creek Picnic Area)

Graham County

(Big) Snowbird Creek (USFS footbridge at the old railroad junction to USFS Road 2579)

Haywood County

West Fork Pigeon River (Queens creek at game lands to up stream to lake Logan)

Henderson County

North Fork Mills River (game land portion below Hendersonville watershed dam)

Jackson County

Tuckasegee River downstream N.C. 107 bridge to the falls located 275 yards upstream of the U.S. 23-441 bridge (marked by a sign on each bank)

Macon County

Nantahala River (Whiteoak Creek to NP&L powerhouse discharge canal)

Madison County

Big Laurel Creek (N.C. 208 bridge to the U.S. 25-70 bridge)
Shelton Laurel Creek (N.C. 208 bridge at Belva to the confluence with Big Laurel Creek)
Spring Creek (N.C. 209 bridge at Hot Springs city limits to iron bridge at end of Andrews Avenue)

McDowell County

Catawba River (portion adjacent to Marion Greenway)
Curtis Creek (game land portion downstream of the USFS boundary at Deep Branch)
Mill Creek (U.S. 70 bridge to I-40 bridge)

Mitchell County

Cane Creek (N.C. 226 bridge to N.C. 80 bridge — also classified as Mountain Heritage Trout Waters, please refer to the Commission’s Regulations Digest(PDF document) for additional information)
North Toe River (U.S. 19E bridge to N.C. 226 bridge — also classified as Mountain Heritage Trout Waters, please refer to the Commission’s Regulations Digest(PDF document) for additional information)

Polk County

Green River (Fishtop Falls access area to the confluence with Cove Creek)

Surry County

Ararat River (portion adjacent to Ararat River Greenway)
Mitchell River (0.6 mile upstream of the end of S.R. 1333 to the lowermost bridge on S.R. 1330)

Swain County

Tuckasegee River (U.S. 19 bridge to Slope Street bridge)

Transylvania County

East Fork French Broad River (Glady Fork to French Broad River)
Little River (confluence of Lake Dense to 100 yards downstream of Hooker Falls)

Watauga County

Lake Coffey
Watauga River—upper (S.R. 1114 bridge to Valle Crucis Community Park lower boundary)
Watauga River—lower (S.R. 1103 bridge to confluence with Laurel Creek)

Wilkes County

East Prong Roaring River (Bullhead Creek downstream to Stone Mountain State Park lower boundary)
Elk Creek—upper (Watauga Co. line to lower boundary of Blue Ridge Mountain Club)
Elk Creek—lower (portion on Leatherwood Mountains Development)
Reddies River (Town of North Wilkesboro water intake dam to confluence with Yadkin River)
Stone Mountain Creek (from falls at Alleghany Co. line to con­­fluence with East Prong Roaring River and Bullhead Creek)

Yancey County

Cane River (Blackberry Ridge Road to downstream boundary of Cane River County Park)