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Trout Fishing Season Starts Saturday With the 39th Annual Trout Derby Day in Blowing Rock

Fishing at Broyhill Lake in last year’s Blowing Rock Trout Derby. Photos by Lonnie Webster

By Luke Weir

Following a five week restocking period, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will reopen hatchery-supported trout waters Saturday at 7 a.m. In celebration, the 39th annual Blowing Rock Trout Derby Day at Broyhill Lake will begin shortly after, at sunrise.

Hatchery supported trout waters, distinguishable by green and white signs, have been closed since March 1 for restocking, according to a statement from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

“Staff will continue to stock certain streams through June,” the statement said. “Over the four months, staff will stock nearly 916,000 trout — 96 percent of which will average 10 inches in length, with the other 4 percent exceeding 14 inches in length.”

Anglers are limited to harvesting a maximum of seven trout per day, with no size limits or bait restrictions, the wildlife commission’s statement said.

The statement also said hatchery supported trout waters are open to public fishing, but some waters reside on privately owned land. The commission’s statement urged anglers to respect the property they fish on, lest property owners revoke public access.

Meanwhile on Saturday, a High Country fishing tradition will continue when the 39th annual Blowing Rock Trout Derby Day takes place at the freshly-stocked Broyhill Lake from sunrise until 4 p.m., according to a release from Executive Director of the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Association Tracy Brown.

The event is completely free to participate in, and will include brown, speckled and rainbow trout for anglers’ enjoyment, the release said. Some of the fish are even tagged as prizes.

“Trout fishing in this area is something that helps set our destination apart from other places across the state and brings many visitors to town,” Brown said in the release. “Our whole area looks forward to the Blowing Rock Trout Derby. It’s the unofficial start of spring in our town.”

There will be first-place trophies in five divisions: men, women, boys, girls, and small fries younger than 11. Special prizes will also be awarded and there will be free t-shirts.

“Derby headquarters, where information is distributed and participants’ fish are measured and registered is the Blowing Rock Clubhouse at 108 Lakeside Drive in Blowing Rock,” the release said.

According to the release, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission supports the Trout Derby with free ‘Fish for Fun’ bags, including a tackle box, regulation book, bumper sticker, stringer and bobber.


For a complete list of all Hatchery Supported Trout Waters, as well as trout maps, the complete stocking schedule, and daily stocking updates on Hatchery-Supported Trout Waters, visit the Commission’s trout fishing page.

For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit the Commission’s fishing page or call the Inland Fisheries Division, 919-707-0220.

For more information on the Trout Derby and overnight accommodations in the Blowing Rock area, visit blowingrock.com or contact the Visitor Center at 828-295-4636.


Hatchery Supported Trout Waters:

Avery County:
Boyde Coffey Lake Elk River (S.R. 1305 crossing immediately upstream of Big Falls to the Tennessee state line),
Linville River (Land Harbor line [below dam] to the Blue Ridge Parkway boundary line, except where posted against trespassing),
Milltimber Creek North Toe River —upper (Watauga St. to Roby Shoemaker Wetlands and Family Recreational Park, except where posted against trespassing),
North Toe River—lower (S.R. 1164 to Mitchell Co. line, except where posted against trespassing),
Squirrel Creek,
Wildcat Lake

Ashe County:
Beaver Creek (N.C. 221 to South Fork New River),
Big Horse Creek (Mud Creek at S.R. 1363 to S.R. 1324 bridge),
Big Laurel Creek (S.R. 1315 bridge to confluence with North Fork New River),
Buffalo Creek (S.R. 1133 bridge to N.C. 194-88 bridge),
Cranberry Creek (Alleghany Co. line to South Fork New River),
Nathans Creek North Fork New River (Watauga Co. line to Sharp Dam),
Old Fields Creek (N.C. 221 to South Fork New River),
Peak Creek (headwaters to Trout Lake, except Blue Ridge Parkway waters),
Roan Creek,
Three Top Creek

Watauga County:
Beaverdam Creek (confluence of Beaverdam Creek and Little Beaverdam Creek to an unnamed tributary adjacent to the intersection of S.R. 1201 and S.R. 1203),
Beech Creek Buckeye Creek (Buckeye Creek Reservoir dam to Grassy Gap Creek),
Buckeye Creek Reservoir Cove Creek (S.R. 1233 bridge at Zionville to S.R. 1214 bridge at Sherwood), Dutch Creek (second bridge on S.R. 1134 to mouth) Elk Creek (S.R. 1510 bridge at Triplett to Wilkes Co. line, except where posted against trespassing),
Laurel Creek (S.R. 1123 bridge at S.R. 1157 intersection to Watauga River),
Meat Camp Creek (S.R. 1340 bridge at S.R. 1384 intersection to N.C. 194),
Middle Fork New River (adjacent to intersection of S.R. 1539 and U.S. 321 to South Fork New River),
Norris Fork Creek South Fork New River (canoe launch 70 yards upstream of U.S. 421 bridge to lower boundary of Brookshire Park),
Stony Fork (S.R. 1500 bridge at S.R. 1505 intersection to Wilkes Co. line)

Last year’s winner in the girl’s division in the Blowing Rock Trout Derby