November Newsletter

On The Fly South November 2022

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Now that November has arrived, it really is beginning to feel like fall across the southland. The evenings are cool and the mornings crisp. The tempatures in our trout waters are staying cold, and that moderating influence extends to the inshore saltwater as well. Those conditions turn on some of the best fishing of year, before the cold winter arrives. Whether it is brookies, browns or rainbows in the high country or redfish and false albacore in the brine, this month is a good time to be on the water.

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Targeting mountain brookies in the fall. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

The November edition of ON THE FLY SOUTH that will be posted at mid-month features a brook trout option in the mountains of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. We also head west to explore an overlooked trout fishery in the Missouri Ozark Mountain region.

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For fans of the saltwater, we head to the North Carolina coast. While Cape Lookout is well-known for its false albacore action in November, we instead sample some equally fine fishing for the albies farther south in the Wilmington area. You also get our usual lineup of resort information, fly tying and the End of the Line column.

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Around The South:

Changes Coming For Louisiana Size Limits?

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

This trout would no longer be a legal catch in the Pelican State. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted a Notice of Intent (NOI) to increase the minimum size limit of spotted seatrout to 13.5 inches total length from the current 12 inches minimum total length and to decrease the current 25 fish daily bag limit to 15 fish daily bag limit. Modifications in this rule create one statewide size and bag limit, removing the separate regulations in coastal western Louisiana.

At the October 2022 meeting, LDWF staff presented data indicating that spotted seatrout were continuing to be overfished .  Management options and recent survey results regarding public opinions toward those options were presented to the LWFC as well.

During the last 2.5 years, LDWF has held eight public meetings across the state, issued multiple surveys to the public, and collected hundreds of public comments on this topic via email.

“I really appreciate the effort of our anglers for taking the time to provide valuable input during our meetings and surveys,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “While the process was lengthy, it allowed ample time for our anglers to voice their opinions on potential management options and allowed the Commission to gather the relevant biological facts to make the difficult, but necessary decision about one of our most popular recreational species.”

Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed rule to Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email to jadriance@elf.la.gov before December 30, 2022. The full notice of intent can be found here.

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Georgia Delayed Harvest Opens

Georgia Wildlife Resources Division

November 1 is opening day. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

If you were looking for a reason to go trout fishing, we have just the ticket.

Beginning November 1, trout fishing on Georgia’s delayed harvest trout streams will be in full swing, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).

While trout fishing can be found year-round in Georgia, there are five trout streams that are seasonally managed under special regulations called Delayed Harvest (DH) to increase angler success. These streams have catch-and-release regulations from November 1-May 14 and are stocked monthly by WRD and other partner agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and South Carolina DNR. This combination of stocking and catch/release allows for good trout catch rates and high angler satisfaction.

This year, all five delayed harvest streams will be stocked with trout. These streams are:

Chattahoochee River from Sope Creek to US Highway 41 (Cobb Parkway).
Toccoa River located on U.S. Forest Service land upstream of Lake Blue Ridge in Fannin County (from 0.4 miles above Shallowford Bridge to 450 feet above the Sandy Bottom Canoe Access).
Amicalola Creek on the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area (from Steele Bridge Road downstream to Georgia Hwy. 53).
Smith Creek downstream of Unicoi Lake (Unicoi State Park).
Chattooga River (from Ga. Hwy. 28 upstream to the mouth of Reed Creek) on U.S. Forest Service land bordering South Carolina.

“We are excited to resume delayed harvest stockings on the Chattahoochee River below Morgan Falls Dam this year thanks to excellent trout production in our state hatcheries, and the low, fishable flows we are seeing in the river currently,” said Georgia Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson. “With the Lake Burton Fish Hatchery renovation complete and trout inventories returned to historic levels, the Chattahoochee DH should provide a great trout fishing opportunity near Metro Atlanta.”

Between November 1 – May 14, anglers on all traditional delayed harvest streams are restricted to single hook, artificial lures. Beginning May 15, the general regulations to designated trout waters then apply to those streams.

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Fly Fishers International Free Fly Casting Clinics

The Southeastern Council of Fly Fishers International is sponsoring two, free casting clinics during November. Each is led by a FFI Certified Casting Instructor. The sessions work on techniques to improve your casting stroke. Anglers must have some experience with casting and bring their own rod equipped with reel, line and leader. The events are open to all, but you must register.

Saturday November 12 – Lee University (behind Keeble Hall), Cleveland, TN – 10 am-noon – Led by CCI Brian Deloach – Hosted by Project Healing Waters Knoxville – Refreshments to follow.

Registration link: https://events.eventgroove.com/event/Casting-Clinic-Registration-69848

Sunday November 20 – Shelton Farm, 8851 Highway 51 Sterrett, AL 35147 – 1-3pm – Led by CCIs David Horky, Rick Shelton and Tom McCarthy – Hosted by Native Fish Coalition Alabama – Refreshments to follow.

Registration link: https://events.eventgroove.com/event/Casting-Clinic-Alabama-70276

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Pond Fishing For Trout In Metro St. Louis

Missouri Department of Conservation

During winter months, the metro St. Louis area is a great place to fish for rainbow trout, thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) winter trout program.

Winter trout season for MDC’s St. Louis Urban Fishing Program starts in November. That’s good news for trout chasers who now to need drive only minutes to pursue their passions rather than hours to a Missouri trout park.

During cold-weather months, MDC stocks nearly 40,000 rainbow trout each year in 12 St. Louis City and County lakes, Union City Lake in Franklin County, as well as in five lakes in the August A. Busch Conservation Area on Route D in St. Charles.

“MDC will stock rainbow trout November through February,” said MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Denise Otto. “These trout are spawned and raised in MDC hatcheries.”

MDC will continue to add several brood stock lunker trout—some as large as 10 lbs.—into the mix at its urban winter trout lakes, including the ones in August A. Busch Conservation Area.

Area lakes stocked with winter trout include:

Carondelet Park Boathouse Lake in St. Louis
Gendron Lake in St. Ann
January-Wabash Lake in Ferguson
Jefferson Lake in Forest Park
Koeneman Park Lake in Jennings
O’Fallon Park Lake in St. Louis
Suson Park’s Island Lake and Carp Lake
Tilles Park Lake in St. Louis County
Union City Lake in Union, Franklin County
Walker Lake in Kirkwood
Wild Acres Park Lake in Overland
Vlasis Park Lake in Ballwin
August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area lakes 3, 7, 21, 22, and 23 (Lake 28 has been replaced by Lake 7)

Between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31, some lakes are catch-and-release only, and some are catch-and-keep. After Feb. 1, trout may be harvested from all lakes. Anglers can find information on specific winter trout lakes statewide at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zd5, or check regulations posted at the lakes. All trout anglers between age 16 and 64 must have a valid Missouri fishing permit to participate. Anglers wishing to catch and keep trout must also possess a trout permit regardless of age.

MDC provides a chance for anglers to keep on top of trout stocking efforts in the St. Louis area.

“The fish stocking hotline is a very popular resource for St. Louis area anglers,” Otto said, “the hotline is updated immediately after we finish stocking for the day. The number is toll free from anywhere in the St. Louis area. A recorded message lets anglers know when and where fish were stocked, the total number and species stocked.”

Anglers are encouraged to call the hotline at 636-300-9651 to get the latest information. Trout stocking will begin the first week in November.

“Nothing beats fishing at one of Missouri’s four trout parks or many Ozark streams,” said Otto, “however, these close-to-home opportunities make it easy for a quick trout fishing excursion after work, or during a busy weekend. With rising fuel costs these close-to-home opportunities are more important than ever.” For information about fishing, go online at https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing.

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Maryland Fall Trout Stocking

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began fall trout stock in early October. The department is stocking thousands of hatchery-raised brown, golden, and rainbow trout in select creeks, rivers, lakes, and ponds across the state.

Anglers are encouraged to sign up to receive stocking updates. Anglers can also call the trout stocking hotline at 800-688-3467 on Fridays starting in October for a weekly update on all locations stocked. The DNR also publishes daily stocking updates on their website as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Due to several variables that can alter schedules, stocking sites and times are not announced in advance, but are available afterward.

As a reminder, regulations are now in effect requiring catch-and-release fishing only for brook trout in all put-and-take trout areas and all waters east of Interstate 81. Anglers should take time to properly identify brook trout, which are not stocked by DNR. Some stocked streams have seasonal restrictions so anglers should consult the current Maryland Guide to Fishing and Crabbing for all regulations and restrictions.

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