A contingency plan is being undertaken by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to make up for the kill of 168,500 rainbow trout at a hatchery in McDowell County.
Those fish, ranging in size from 5 to 10 inches, had been designated for stocking in Western North Carolina waters this summer and next spring.
The kill took place at the Armstrong Creek State Hatchery off U.S. 226 north of Marion.
On April 9 three men tampered with an intake valve, diverting freshwater away from the hatchery and killing the fish. Charged in the case are Jack Daniel Brown, 21; Gabriel Paul Miller, 20; and John Timothy Mitchell, 20. All are from McDowell County.
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“They were on the scene in that area, just messing with things they shouldn’t have,” said Richelle Bailey of the county Sheriff’s Office. “They didn’t know what it would do until they saw on the news they had killed the fish.”
To supplant the lost trout and meet immediate stocking goals, the Wildlife Commission will transfer 50,000 fish from the Bobby Setzer Hatchery near Brevard to the Armstrong facility. The remainder will be made up by maximizing growth on fish being raised for 2016.
Additionally, the agency bought 150,000 trout eggs from a commercial supplier.
“We build a small buffer into our production plans each year as a contingency against events such as droughts or disease outbreaks,” said David Deaton, the Commission’s fish production supervisor. “Utilizing the fish from the Setzer Hatchery at this point means we no longer have the capacity to overcome any environmental issues that might happen during the summer.” Observer News Services
The weather was bad, cold and rainy, but the day was a good one as 60 Wounded Warriors were taken fishing last Thursday at Lake Norman.
The U.S. military members were treated to angling action by volunteers working with Operation North State, which founded a series of fishing events for them.
Recognized after a post-fishing meal at Berea Baptist Church in Mooresville:
Heaviest total weight: Steve Gomez, Raeford and guide Kenneth Tucker, Winston-Salem, 14.3 pounds; Best largemouth bass: James McDougal, Fayetteville, with Aaron Miles, 4.28 pounds; Best striped bass: Kevin Summers, Cameron, with Maynard Evans. 8.4 pounds.
Operation North State’s Terry Snyder, who originated the Top Shelf fishing program, noted that angler Will Stewart of Fayetteville and his guide, David Clubb of Mooresville, had caught fish weighing 11.66 pounds with three hours to go when Stewart had to come off the lake. Tom Higgins
Catches of the week
▪ Three catfish weighing 101.62 pounds at Lake Tillery by the duo of Ken Tucker of Lincolnton and Jim Merritt of Asheboro, including a 53.57-pounder. The catch enabled them to win a Catawba Catfish Club tournament Saturday.
▪ Limits of 20 crappie each at Lake Norman by Bo and John Crutchfield of Denver, N.C. The fish struck locally created Bobby Garland Jigs.
▪ Blackfin tuna in the 25-pound range off Hatteras Village for Concord anglers Andy Miller, Eric Glover, Leandra and Michael Hobson.
▪ A 48-pound wahoo off Hatteras by Tom Sims of Asheville.
<▪ A 47.7-pound cobia in the surf at Ocracoke Island by Ward Trotter of Grandy.
▪ An 8.5-pound black drum at Bogue Inlet Pier by Nui Vinson of Wilmington.
▪ A mix of 60 hybrids, spotted bass, white perch and catfish during a morning trip at Lake Norman by Lou Mintzer, Joe Baker, Rich Doering and Tom Phelan while fishing with guide David Clubb of Mooresville.