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RALEIGH, N.C. (Oct. 10) – A N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission survey confirms what many anglers already know: North Carolina has some terrific trout fishing opportunities.

An overwhelming majority (81 percent) of trout anglers reported being very or somewhat satisfied with their trout fishing experiences in 2006, based on data collected from the “North Carolina Trout Angler Opinion Survey.”

The telephone-based survey, conducted by Responsive Management in April and May, was the first study of its kind to assess the preferences, satisfaction and levels of participation of trout anglers in North Carolina. Responsive Management, a research firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, interviewed 1,504 licensed anglers age 18 and older who fished for trout in 2006.

In addition to being satisfied with the trout fishing opportunities available in North Carolina, 83 percent of anglers also expressed satisfaction with the fees associated with trout fishing, while 64 percent supported an increase in license fees to help cover costs of trout fishing access, trout production and trout stocking.

Anglers were more likely to go fishing in hatchery-supported trout waters, followed by wild trout waters and delayed-harvest waters.

Surveyed anglers said they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the size and quality of stocked trout, with 82 percent reporting satisfaction with stockings in hatchery-supported waters and 86 percent for stockings in delayed-harvest waters.

Despite a variety of regulations governing harvest of trout, most anglers practiced catch-and-release — 50 percent reported they “mostly released” and 79 percent reported they “mostly or at least half the time released” the fish they caught.

Most anglers fished on public land, particularly on Commission-owned game lands and national forests, with 59 percent reporting that they fished mostly on public land and 92 percent reporting they fish mostly or at least half the time on public land.

As for bait choices, most respondents didn’t have a preference, using a combination of flies, lures and bait. However, a large majority (71 percent) of anglers does not use powerbait in delayed-harvest waters, with 44 percent opposed to the dough-bait and 30 percent supporting the use of it in delayed-harvest waters.

North Carolina has an estimated 131,055 resident trout anglers, many of whom are driving greater distances to cast a line in a favorite stream. The profile of a typical trout angler is changing from a rural resident with minimal education who prefers to fish locally for stocked trout with natural bait to one who resides in the urban Piedmont, has a college degree, travels significant distances to fish, and practices catch-and-release angling.

According to Mallory Martin, fishery supervisor for the Mountain Region, results from the survey will be used to guide management actions that will benefit the maximum number of anglers while maintaining aquatic resource integrity.

“Anglers identified native brook trout protection, trout production/stocking, angler access and information, and reservoir trout management as important program areas for future Wildlife Commission efforts,” Martin said.

For more information on trout fishing in North Carolina, visit the agency’s Web site, www.ncwildlife.org, or call the Division of Inland Fisheries at (919) 707-0220.
 
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