MOREHEAD CITY All North Carolina coastal and inland waters are closed to both commercial and recreational spotted seatrout fishing. The action took effect at noon Wednesday and will remain in force until June 15.
Louis Daniel, director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, issued a proclamation closing the waters after cold stun events were confirmed. These included the Pamlico, Alligator, Pungo, Scuppernong, Trent, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers; Chocowinity, Blounts and Chadwick bays; and Slades, Bath, Cahooque, Hancock and Spooners creeks.
Under N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rules, the season on the fish, also known as speckled trout, automatically closes in inland waters when it closes in adjacent coastal waters.
Cold stun is a naturally occurring event. When waters cool during the winter, spotted sea trout move to deeper, warmer waters in the estuaries and ocean. But if there is a large drop in water temperature over a short period of time, the fish may be stunned or die from it.
The intent of the closure is to allow the fish that survive a chance to spawn this spring. Peak spawning occurs in May. Observer News Services
The N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission has scheduled two public meetings this month to seek input in developing decade-long management plans for three of its western North Carolina game lands.
The first, on Feb. 17, will be held at the Ashe County Arts Council Building, 303 School Ave., in West Jefferson, concerning the Pond Mountain and Three Top Mountain lands. The second, on Feb. 20, will be at First Presbyterian Church Tartan Hall, 26 Church St., in Franklin to gather input on Needmore Game Land. Both are scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Not so many years ago few anglers fished for largemouth bass at Lake Norman during winter.
A catch last Saturday showed those who stowed their tackle from fall until spring what they missed.
Matt Haywood of Lincolnton and George Lewis Thomasson Jr., of Mount Holly teamed to boat a limit of five largemouth weighing 20.5 pounds to win a Winter Trail tournament sponsored by Carolina Coach & Marine of Claremont. Their impressive catch included a bass of 7.6 pounds reeled in by Haywood.
Finishing second were Anthony Johnson and Shane Lineberger, with five fish scaling 15.4 pounds.
In other tournaments:
• For five straight years a team of invited N.C. catfishing enthusiasts returned from Kerr Reservoir in defeat, beaten by their host Virginians.
The streak ended Jan. 25 in the annual event called “The Ice Bowl” on the big reservoir on the N.C.-Virginia border near Henderson.
The North Carolinians’ 18 biggest fish, the limit, outweighed the Virginians’ catch, 242 pounds to 240.
The largest catfish, weighing 39.8 pounds, was boated by the Tar Heels' Todd Swaim of Walkertown. He was fishing with friend Adam Beane.
All the catfish were released after being weighed. TH
• The trio of Statesville anglers Kevin Custer and Michael Hinson, along with Omar Edwards of Claremont blitzed the field by boating three fish weighing 88.96 pounds to easily win an NC-CATS monthly tournament at Lake Tillery on Saturday. Their largest scaled 35.05 pounds.
A distant second were Chris Hammill of Kannapolis and Tyler Mayhew of Lexington with 52.47 pounds.
All the fish were released. TH
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