Delayed Harvest trout fishing on the Nantahala

When fly fishermen talk about the delayed harvest season – the Nantahala River is always mentioned as one of the top destinations.  The Nantahala River has two distinct sections of river, supporting all three species of trout:  rainbow, brook and brown.  Between the quality of stocked and native trout and the beautiful scenery on both sections of river, it is no wonder that the Nantahala is ranked as one of Trout Unlimited’s  Top 100 Trout Rivers in North America.  While supporting a healthy population of native trout, the Nantahala River is also a delayed harvest river from October to June.

What is Delayed Harvest

Delayed harvest is a trout management strategy that provides a high quality catch and release trout opportunity from fall through spring. It runs from October 1st to June 01.  During that time, there are strict regulations set up by NC Wildlife that must be followed.  Regulations include catch and release only and the use of single artificial hook. There are specific stocking days set up  rivers are generally stocked in October and November, and then again in March, April, and May.

What flies work best during Nantahala’s Delayed Harvest?

Dry Flies work best in the early morning and late afternoon.
Small wet flies, streamers, and nymphs work best during the day.

Delayed Harvest Fishing Nantahala

A current NC fishing license is necessary for fishing on either section of river.  You can obtain a 10-day short term license, or annual license at our Outfitters shop overlooking the Nantahala River.  Stop by for a license, and to spend time in our fly fishing section to check out what flies and gear you can use to spend time out on the water.