NC’s Delayed Harvest trout waters open Saturday

Delayed Harvest

Youth have Delayed Harvest waters to themselves in the morning

North Carolina’s 2021 opening day for harvesting trout in the state’s Delayed Harvest waters is tomorrow, June 5. But adult anglers don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to make a cast. The season opens at 6 a.m. only for youth anglers 17-years-old and younger.

For the next 6 hours, the youth have Delayed Harvest waters all to themselves. Adults can certainly be there to supervise. But they can’t participate until noon. The season, which features no size limit, no bait or lure restrictions, and a seven trout per day creel limit, runs through Sept. 30.

Click here for all the info you’ll need to identify and find Delayed Harvest waters, along with stocking schedules and maps.

Make your bait stand out from all the others

The NCWRC has been stocking these waters all year, and these waters have been held to tight restrictions on gear with no harvesting allowed since last fall. Opening day is about as close as you can get to having trout jump into your creel.

While some anglers will stick to using artificial lures, most will turn to natural baits like live crickets and worms. These are tough to beat on opening day, and will likely catch a limit of trout quickly. Another bait that’s popular among trout anglers is Pautzke Bait’s Fireballs. Berkley PowerBait Trout Nuggets are also good.

Some anglers will be prepared with a number of live bait/natural bait options. Since the trout will likely see many of the same baits and lures during the first half of opening day from youth anglers, adults starting at noon would be wise to have something a little different just in case the trout turn finicky.

Aside from Berkley’s Trout Nuggets and Pautzke’s Fireballs, all of which are available in a wide range of colors, Fire Dye is also a great option to dye live worms to make them stand out from all the other live worms that will be offered to trout throughout the Delayed Harvest season.

JOIN THE CLUB, get unlimited access for $2.99/month

Become the most informed Sportsman you know, with a membership to the Carolina Sportsman Magazine and

About Brian Cope 1922 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply