Saturday, December 21, 2013

Delayed Harvest Fishing on Big Snowbird Creek

After some debate and much discussion, Graham County, NC got its first Delayed Harvest designated waters in 2013.  2.8 miles of creek, from the concrete bridge at USFS Road 2579 to the end of the gravel road at the old railroad junction, will get more than 10,000 extra fish each year!

Gear for a full day of fishing on Big Snowbird.

If you aren't familiar with the Delayed Harvest designation, these waters are open to fishing year-round, but from October to June there is a catch and release only restriction. These streams are stocked more often and with more fish than normal Hatchery Supported waters. They have two extra months of stocking - October and November - that benefit the recreational fisherman. During the delayed harvest months, lures are restricted to only artificial, single-hooked bait and no fish may be kept. However, from June to the following October, bait restrictions are lifted and up to seven fish of any size may be kept each day.

Your average stock rainbow trout, taken on a pink egg pattern.

Big Snowbird creek was stocked with 3,125 rainbow, brook and brown in October and November for a total of 6,250 extra trout just waiting to be caught. I have fished here several times this fall and winter and have had great success each time. This includes a winter-like 30 degree morning in late October and a fall-like 60 degree day in mid-December. Average fish sizes are over 10 inches, though there are several fish larger than 20 inches, to keep things interesting! During the colder months, these fish still have to feed and can be coerced with a good nymph pattern such as a prince nymph or hare's ear or with a pink or green egg pattern.

Here are a couple of pictures of some big fish.

My uncle Louie with a fat stock rainbow, caught on a Rooster Tail spinner.

Local guide Billy Knight with a 20-inch rainbow, taken on a pink egg pattern.
 
More information on stocking schedules and numbers can be found by clicking on the appropriate county at the map found here, on the NC Wildlife Commission Page.


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