June 5 is the season opener
Next Saturday, June 5 is the opening day of North Carolina’s 2021 Delayed Harvest season for 36 bodies of water. The first half of opening day is open to youth anglers 17-years-old and younger. At noon, all other licensed anglers can join in.
The youth anglers get the 6 a.m. to 11:59 a.m. time slot all to themselves only on June 5. The season runs through Sept. 30.
During the Delayed Harvest season, anglers are not bound by gear or bait restrictions on Delayed Harvest waters. These waters also have no size limit, and anglers can keep up to seven trout per day.
Anglers should keep in mind that these regulations are only for Delayed Harvest waters. NCWRC identifies these waters with diamond-shaped, black and white signs. Click here for a list of all Delayed Harvest waters along with trout maps and other information.
Live bait is tough to beat during Delayed Harvest season
As stated above, anglers can use any type of bait or lure they want during the season. Trout in these waters have seen plenty of artificial spinners during the off season. So live bait is unbeatable, especially in the first week or so of the season. Pautzke Bait’s Fireballs also work exceptionally well. The best advice is to come prepared.
Some anglers insist that alternating between live worms and crickets is the best tactic. Fishing either under a cork can be highly effective, but deadlining either of them with no weight added to the line will also catch a limit quickly.
As the season progresses and the crowds thin out, it’s a good idea to get wet, wading in the middle of your favorite trout waters and casting under the overhanging banks that are so prevalent throughout western North Carolina. A good pair of polarized shades will help you see the trout if you take your time and look carefully.
The Delayed Harvest season is a great time to catch plenty of fish and stock up the freezer. It’s also a great time to get kids and others involved in the great sport of fishing.
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