RALEIGH, N.C. – Recreational harvest of spotted seatrout in inland waters under the jurisdiction of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has closed by rule following a proclamation from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) that closed all coastal and joint waters to spotted seatrout harvest.
DMF issued the proclamation on Jan. 5 due to widespread cold stun events. The spotted seatrout season will remain closed in all waters until June 15, when it will reopen by proclamation from DMF. Under the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan, if a significant cold stun event occurs, DMF will close all Spotted Seatrout harvest until the spring.
Recreational seasons, size limits and creel limits in inland waters for Flounder, Spotted Seatrout, Red Drum and Gray Trout are the same as those established in the rules of the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission or proclamations issued by the DMF director in adjacent joint or coastal fishing waters. The rule referencing Marine Fisheries’ rules for these four saltwater fish species was implemented in 2011 to standardize recreational seasons and size and creel limits for inland, joint and coastal waters.
According to the DMF news release, the agency has confirmed significant Spotted Seatrout cold stun events in six water bodies from Surf City to Manteo. It continues to receive and verify more cold stun reports. Cold stuns are natural events that occur when there is a sudden drop in water temperature or prolonged periods of cold weather that make the fish sluggish or even kill them outright.
For more information on Proclamation FF-1-2018, visit the DMF’s website, or call 800-682-2632; 252-726-7021.
Anglers should continue to report any cold stun events they see in coastal waters. To report a cold stun event or for more information, contact DMF Spotted Seatrout Biologist Steve Poland at 252-808-8159 or Steve.Poland@ncdenr.gov.