NC Wildlife Resources Commission stocks Plateau waters with thousands of trout

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission recently stocked Harris Lake in Highlands and Cashiers Public Pond (behind the library) with thousands of rainbow and brook trout.

Pictured below are Austin Brooks and Jillian Osborne with the NCWRC stocking Harris lake in Highlands with 2,000 trout.

“The public can fish for these trout and can harvest up to seven fish per day,” said NCWRC Assistant Fish Hatchery Superintendent Austin Brooks. “They can use any lure or bait of their choice. Any person ages 16 or older must possess an Inland Fishing license in order to fish. Any youth ages 15 and younger do not need a license to fish.”

Approx. 2,000 trout were put into Harris Lake and 1,000 trout into Cashiers Public Pond.

The trout were transported in a tanker truck. Pictured above Austin Brooks from NCWRC scoops out a net full of trout to put into Harris Lake.

The fish were stocked using two methods. The first was to shoot the fish out of a tube into the water from a truck parked near the shore. However, Brooks and NCWRC Fish Culturalist Jillian Osborne didn’t like how shallow it was near the shore, so they began manually launching the fish from nets to send them out to deeper waters making it easier to acclimate to the new environment.

Jillian Osborne tosses trout into Harris Lake.

The fish came from the NCWRC’s Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery located in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard.

Brooks said the hatchery stocks trout as part of the NCWRC’s “Winter Impoundment Program” when there are surplus trout available to provide additional angling opportunities to the public.  

Airborne trout entering their new home in Harris Lake.

Surplus trout are extra fish that exist at the hatchery once they have met all existing requests for fish. The hatchery in Brevard exists to provide trout for 86 different bodies of water in 12 western North Carolina counties per the requests of Fisheries Management staff.

Jillian Osborne tosses trout to deeper waters to ease their transition.

Licenses can be purchased at the NCWRC’s website HERE.

To learn more about the NCWRC’s fish hatcheries click HERE.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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