Delayed harvest season for trout starts across Eastern Tennessee today. However, due to above average water temperatures, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) says trout stocking in the Hiwassee River will be postponed until water temperatures are below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
TWRA says sections of Buffalo Creek, Paint Creek, Tellico River and Hiwassee River will be catch and release starting October 1. The Doe River and Piney River delayed harvest areas starting November 1. During this time, only artificial lures are permitted and the use or possession of bait is not allowed. These streams will be stocked with quality trout to provide a unique trout angling experience.
TWRA says trout require cold water temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit to survive. Unfortunately the Hiwassee River is too warm to stock trout right now, with temperatures vary between 69 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
TWRA Region 3 streams fisheries biologist, Travis Scott says, “TWRA has a lot invested in producing these quality trout and want to be sure conditions are favorable before stocking to ensure longevity of the resource as well as prolonged opportunities for anglers.”
TWRA has funded a USGS temperature gauging station on the Hiwassee River. Biologists are watching the situation, and when temperatures reach good conditions stocking will begin.