Understanding River/Creek Access?
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Thread: Understanding River/Creek Access?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    Default Understanding River/Creek Access?

    I am new to fly fishing, and have been in NC for about two years. I looked on the interactive map on the NC wildlife website to locate fishing streams/creeks for fly fishing but I am having trouble understanding certain things...

    When I look and see the creeks and such listed as wild trout or hatchery supported, where am I allowed to access these? Are all the ones listed on there public use, or is it just listed on there for the people who own the property there to know regulations? How do you differentiate between onces you are allowed to access publicly or not?

    I am basically trying to figure out where I am allowed to go and try different creeks/rivers to explore different places.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Boone
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    Hatchery supported streams usually follow roads and access points are mostly obvious pull offs on the roadside. Any landowner bordering the hatchery supported stream that doesn't want you on their land will post against trespass. This can be with signs or paint on trees. Hatchery trucks will usually not stock the stream near posted areas to help avoid user conflict with owners. Look for the green signs that designate the water as hatchery supported as they are likely access points. No stream is the same. Some hatchery streams are bordered by national forest or game lands and are more public in nature. Trout fishing is a part of life for the landowner on a hatchery stream. I always try to be courteous and respectful and pick up any trash left by others. If you have any doubts just strike up a conversation with a landowner and ask permission to access the stream. They can at least point you in the right direction. Many wild trout streams will be on public lands in national forests etc. I know of one wild trout stream locally that runs through many miles of private property and there are no roadside pull offs. This one you have to secure permission from a landowner for parking and stream access. Otherwise it is a very long wade upstream. Sometimes hurdles to access are rewarded with excellent fishing. Use the interactive map to identify a stream you want to check out. Use google earth to get a better idea of what to expect in terms of access. Then travel to the area , explore, and have fun. Don't forget to cross reference the stocking data for streams you are interested in. Some hatchery supported streams receive thousands of fish annually, others very few. Streams that get more fish or have a longer stocking season will have more holdovers through the winter. Don't forget that most hatchery streams close for the month of march. Time to focus on wild trout, delayed harvest, or undesignated waters. I scout for fishing areas on winter afternoons when I have cabin fever, and I often catch holdover trout in the process. Most importantly I find the premium spots that I want to hit when the season is at its peak.
    badankles likes this.


  4. #3
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    If the stream is designated fishable and it's within the lawful season you'll be fine as long as it's not posted against trespassing. Many streams are public in some areas and off-limits in others.

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  6. #4
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    Feb 2020
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiverRunner View Post
    Hatchery supported streams usually follow roads and access points are mostly obvious pull offs on the roadside. Any landowner bordering the hatchery supported stream that doesn't want you on their land will post against trespass. This can be with signs or paint on trees. Hatchery trucks will usually not stock the stream near posted areas to help avoid user conflict with owners. Look for the green signs that designate the water as hatchery supported as they are likely access points. No stream is the same. Some hatchery streams are bordered by national forest or game lands and are more public in nature. Trout fishing is a part of life for the landowner on a hatchery stream. I always try to be courteous and respectful and pick up any trash left by others. If you have any doubts just strike up a conversation with a landowner and ask permission to access the stream. They can at least point you in the right direction. Many wild trout streams will be on public lands in national forests etc. I know of one wild trout stream locally that runs through many miles of private property and there are no roadside pull offs. This one you have to secure permission from a landowner for parking and stream access. Otherwise it is a very long wade upstream. Sometimes hurdles to access are rewarded with excellent fishing. Use the interactive map to identify a stream you want to check out. Use google earth to get a better idea of what to expect in terms of access. Then travel to the area , explore, and have fun. Don't forget to cross reference the stocking data for streams you are interested in. Some hatchery supported streams receive thousands of fish annually, others very few. Streams that get more fish or have a longer stocking season will have more holdovers through the winter. Don't forget that most hatchery streams close for the month of march. Time to focus on wild trout, delayed harvest, or undesignated waters. I scout for fishing areas on winter afternoons when I have cabin fever, and I often catch holdover trout in the process. Most importantly I find the premium spots that I want to hit when the season is at its peak.
    Thank you. So wherever you park/access you can just wade up or downstream as much as you want in/along the creek? Are the wild trout streams still worth fishing? Also how do you differentiate the ones getting thousands of fish stocked vs not many? Does it show anywhere how much each one gets? Thanks!

  7. #5
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    Red X Angler

  8. #6
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    Jun 2012
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    Asheboro
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomasj1107 View Post
    Thank you. So wherever you park/access you can just wade up or downstream as much as you want in/along the creek? Are the wild trout streams still worth fishing? Also how do you differentiate the ones getting thousands of fish stocked vs not many? Does it show anywhere how much each one gets? Thanks!
    Not exactly. Landowners can own stream beds, and prohibit wading thereon. If the water is navigable, you can float in the stream/river/creek without touching the bottom. N C criminal statutes recognize an open woods and fields policy, so if there is no prohibiton (signs/paint/verbal prohibition) you may peacefully enter upon private property that is not within the curtilage (yard/barn yard/fenced off area, ect.) of a property owner.

    Right of way of public roads (measured from the centerline of any roads or bridges) are public property. Utility right of way easments (not on otherwise public lands) and private roads are not public property.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and the above statements are not legal advice, but you can do the research yourself and I beleive you will be led to the same conclusions.

    As was stated above, look for signs and paint. Act respectfully when contacting property owners and don't litter or cause problems. The Wildlife signs will be located in areas that the Commission has received permission for angler access from MOST property owners.
    badankles likes this.


  9. #7
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    Jan 2019
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    Swannanoa
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    There is a lot of options where to go in WNC. The Davidson from just upstream of Davidson river Outfitters in Brevard is all stocked waters and several miles upstream its fly fishing only catch and release. No private property to worry about there. Mills river, has stocked put and take, flyfishing only and delayed harvest. There is some private property access issues on some of it. There is several branches of the Mills to fish. The upper Swannanoa is right behind my house, a lot of it goes untouched, get away from the easy access areas and you will find lots of rarely fished waters and some surprisingly nice sized trout. You can access it from my house if you would like. If you want to catch some nice Browns and Smallmouth the Green river is great, just don't go if it has rained hard recently, muddies up fast.There is a flyfishing only area on it too. The upper French Broad around Bozman has Trout, Smallmouth and you could even hook into a Muskie. If it has a green Trout stream designation you can fish it, just look at the rules according to the type of green signs. There is so many options of places to go, add the Natahala, Tuckasegee, Linville and loads of smaller streams. It would be hard to cover them all in one season.

  10. #8
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    The WRC usually does not stock streams where access is prohibited

  11. #9

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    Thomas, meet us tomorrow, Tuesday the 3rd, morning at Fish Top on the Green River at 10:00 and help us stock some fish. Not only will you find places to access the river you can see where we put the big ones in.
    LIVIT likes this.

    OK so you think you are smarter than a fish, let me see you prove it!

  12. #10
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    Jan 2019
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    Swannanoa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missed Again View Post
    Thomas, meet us tomorrow, Tuesday the 3rd, morning at Fish Top on the Green River at 10:00 and help us stock some fish. Not only will you find places to access the river you can see where we put the big ones in.
    Now that's an awesome offer !

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