Delayed harvest rivers offer popular options for anglers

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Rob McComas fishing the Green River

Rob McComas fishing the Green River

October is mostly for hunters, squirrel season, muzzle loader season, archery season, but if that’s not for you, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s popular delayed harvest program might be.

Starting October 1 of each year, the NCWRC takes portions of several rivers in WNC and designates them as delayed harvest. This is a very good program where they stock these sections of river with good numbers and size of Brown, Brook, and Rainbow trout.

Most of these rivers have easy access, and are scattered over the western part of the state so that there is one within a reasonable drive for most folks.

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The Nantahala and Tuckasegee rivers are probably two of the more popular ones. The Nantahala is located in a very nice remote gorge type area. The river is smaller, bordering on being called a big creek, but is stocked very well and fishes very fun. Smaller holes encourage the angler to wade or walk up or down the river seeing new water.

The “Tuck” is a much wider river, and also a much more heavily fished river. The size of it makes an angler tend to pick a spot and fish it for quite a while. The bigger river tends to hold more fish in a single spot so an angler can sometimes stay at one spot and catch fish all morning. It is also known for some big trout.

But a little closer to home is the Mills River and Green River. The Mills’ fish are small. It is a smaller river, again bordering on being a large creek, and gets a far amount of pressure. If you get up early and get to a good spot though, you can do really well in a short amount of time in the deeper holes.

The Green River is a fun one for me. I like the layout of the river, with some good deep holes, shallow runs, and the change or current with the water released from Lake Summit upstream.

Delayed harvest streams are catch and release only, with single hook lures. Fly fishing is very popular on the sections, but if you prefer conventional gear, be sure the lures you buy are not scented, that’s a big no no. It’s hard to beat single hook Rooster Tails and similar inline spinners like the famous Panther Martin, or Mepps.

I like to encourage folks to do what most of the world doesn’t: think of others. Sure, it sounds really cool to brag about catching a bunch of fish in a single day, but every one that you catch will be less likely to bite for the next person, and that person may be a young kid on their first fishing trip, or a hard working person that doesn’t have all the time in the world to go fishing and has to make the best of the time they have.

Some folks call it the “Golden Rule,” I call it Matthew ch.7 v12.