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Nongame Fish Regulations

Hunting Regulations Icon North Carolina Hunting & Fishing

Nongame Fish

Any fish not classified as a game fish is con­sidered a nongame fish when found in inland fishing waters and includes shellfish and crustaceans.

Manner of Taking Nongame Fish

  • Nongame fish may be taken by hook and line or by grabbling; no fish may be taken by snagging. Special devices may be used to take nongame fish with proper licenses (see “Special Fishing Devices,” Nongame Fish Regulations) in those counties and waters with open seasons (see “Seasons and Waters” Nongame Fish Regulations).
  • Nongame fishes may be taken year-round with archery equipment in waterfowl impoundments located entirely on game lands, and in all inland fishing waters other than the impounded waters on the Sandhills Game Land, Public Mountain Trout Waters, and reservoirs with restrictions on taking grass carp listed above.
  • For special rules governing trotlines, see “Trotlines, Set-hooks and Jug-hooks” (Nongame Fish Regulations).
  • Crab pots may not be used in inland fishing waters or in designated water­fowl impoundments located on game lands, except that persons owning property adjacent to the inland fishing waters of coastal rivers and their tributaries may set two crab pots attached to their property and a special device license is not required.
  • Blue crabs may be taken recreationally with a single line with multiple baits without hooks (see restrictions under “Taking Nongame Fish, Crustaceans, and Mollusks for Bait or Personal Consumption” below).

Seasons for Taking Nongame Fish

There are no closed seasons for nongame fishes taken from inland waters with the following exceptions:

  • There is no open season for sturgeon. Any sturgeon caught must be immediately released.
  • Special devices may only be used to take nongame fish with a special fishing device license in those counties and waters with open seasons (see “Seasons and Waters” Nongame Fish Regulations).
  • Seasons for gray trout are the same as those recreational limits established by Division of Marine Fish­er­ies in adjacent joint and coastal fishing waters. For current limits, see portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-fishing-size-and-bag-limits or call 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632.
  • In Public Mountain Trout Waters, the season shall be the same as the trout-fishing season.
  • Information and regulations about fishing on game lands are listed on Nongame Fish Regulations.

Taking Nongame Fish, Crustaceans, and Mollusks for Bait or Personal Consumption

  • Nongame fishes, crustaceans (crayfish and blue crabs), and mol­lusks taken for bait or personal consumption may not be sold.
  • Nongame fishes, crustaceans, and mollusks may be taken for bait or personal consumption only with the equipment listed below, and any valid license that provides basic inland fishing privileges is only required.
    • A dip net not greater than six feet across.
    • A seine not greater than 12 feet in length with a bar mesh measure of not more than 1/4 inch, except in Lake Waccamaw any length seine may be used to collect bait fishes.
    • A cast net.
    • A bow net in those counties and waters with open seasons (see “Seasons and Waters” Nongame Fish Regulations).
    • Dip nets used in conjunction with a licensed hand-crank electrofisher where authorized by local law.
    • Minnow traps not exceeding 12 inches in diameter and 24 inches in length, with funnel openings not exceeding one inch in diameter. All fish and animals must be removed daily, and the traps must be labeled with the user’s name and address or WRC customer number.
    • A gig except in Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Traps (no more than three) in those counties and waters with open seasons (see “Seasons and Waters” Nongame Fish Regulations).
    • Eel pots (no more than two).
    • A spear gun in those counties and waters with open seasons (see “Seasons and Waters” Nongame Fish Regulations).
    • Hand-held lines with single baits attached to each.
    • A single, multiple bait line for taking crabs not to exceed 100 feet in length that is under the immediate control and attendance of the user and is limited to one line per person and no more than one line per vessel. The line is required to be marked on each end with a solid float no less than five inches in diameter and bearing legible and indelible identification of the user’s name and address.
    • A collapsible crab trap with the largest opening not greater than 18 inches and which, by design, collapses at all times when in the water, except when being retrieved or lowered to the bottom.
  • The daily creel limit is 200 nongame fish, crayfish, and mollusks, in combination, subject to species-specific size and creel limits (see pages Nongame Size & Limits).
  • Any fish taken for bait purposes are included in the daily posses­sion limit for that species (where such a limit is specified).
  • Nongame fish may not be taken for bait from Bear Creek and Rocky River, Chatham County; Fork Creek, Randolph County; Deep River below Coleridge Dam, Randolph County; those portions of Deep River in Moore, Chatham and Lee counties; and Public Mountain Trout Waters (except in impounded waters of power reservoirs and municipally-owned water supply reservoirs).
  • Game fish incidentally taken with nets or traps, while capturing bait, must not be harmed and must be released immediately.

Possession and Use of Nongame Fish

  • It is unlawful, while fishing, to change the appearance of fish subject to size limits or daily creel limits or to remove the head and/or tail from fish that are regulated by a size limit so that they cannot be measured and/or identified.

Sale of Nongame Fish

  • Nongame fish caught on hook and line, grabbling and by special fishing devices may be sold, subject to the following restrictions:
    • Species-specific size and creel limits (see pages Nongame Fish Regulations).
    • Bowfin may not be sold.
    • Blueback herring and alewife taken by any method in inland waters may not be sold, except for those fish less than six inches in length that are taken from Kerr Reservoir (Granville, Vance, and Warren counties).
    • Blue crabs taken from inland fishing waters with a line containing multiple baits may not be sold.
    • Those listed under “Miscellaneous Prohibitions” on page Fish Consumption.
    • A special fishing device license is required when taking nongame fish with special fishing devices and also subject to restrictions listed under “Special Fishing Devices,” on pages Nongame Fish Regulations, “Seasons and Waters” on pages Nongame Fish Regulations and “Fishing on Game Lands” on page Nongame Fish Regulations.
  • The sale of commercially raised nongame fish is regulated by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Trotlines, Set-hooks and Jug-hooks

  • A trotline is a fishing device consisting of a horizontal common line having multiple hooks attached.
  • A set-hook is a fishing device consisting of a single line having no more than three hooks that is attached at one end only to a stationary object.
  • A jug-hook is a fishing device consisting of a single line having no more than three hooks that is attached at one end only to a float.
  • Trotlines, set-hooks and jug-hooks may be fished under any license that authorizes basic fishing privileges.
  • It is unlawful to use live bait with trotlines, set-hooks or jug-hooks.
  • Trotlines must be set parallel to the nearest shore in all public waters, where their use is authorized.
  • Each trotline, set-hook and jug-hook shall have attached the user’s name and address or the user’s NCWRC customer number legibly inscribed.
  • Each trotline shall be conspicuously marked at each end, and each set-hook shall be conspicuously marked at one end with a prominent flag or floating object.
  • Metal cans and glass containers cannot be used as markers.
  • The number of jug-hooks that may be fished is limited to 70 per boat.
  • Trotlines, set-hooks and jug-hooks must be fished daily, and all fish must be removed daily.
  • Trotlines, set-hooks and jug-hooks without bait or not properly labeled may be removed from the water by wildlife enforcement officers.
  • Blue crabs may be taken recreationally with a single line with multiple baits without hooks (see restrictions under “Taking Non­game Fish, Crustaceans, and Mollusks for Bait or Personal Consumption” on Nongame Fish Regulations).

Exceptions

  • No trotlines, set-hooks or jug-hooks may be used in the impounded waters of Sandhills Game Land.
  • No trotlines, set-hooks or jug-hooks may be used in Public Moun­tain Trout Waters, except impounded waters of power reservoirs and municipal water supply reservoirs open to the public for fishing.
  • In Lake Waccamaw, it is unlawful to use trotlines, set-hooks or jug-hooks from May 1–Sept. 30.

Special Fishing Devices

  • Special fishing devices for the taking of nongame fishes, include the following: archery equipment, seines, cast nets, gill nets, dip nets, bow nets, reels, gigs, spear guns, baskets, fish pots, eel pots, traps (excluding crab traps and automobile tires), and hand-crank electrofishers where authorized by local law.
  • Special fishing devices may only be used in inland fishing waters during designated seasons. See list (by county) under “Seasons and Waters”.

Term and Use of Special Device Licenses

  • The license is valid during a license year (12 months from date of purchase).
  • Each user of a special device must have his own license in possession, except that a bow net or dip net may be used by another person who has the owner’s license in his possession.
  • Only the principal owner or operator must be licensed when drag seines are used at inland beaches to take mullet.
  • Dip nets may be used in conjunction with a licensed hand-crank electrofisher where authorized by local law to take nongame fish for bait or personal consumption in inland fishing waters with any valid license that provides basic inland fishing privileges.
  • Nongame fishes may be taken with archery equipment under any license that authorizes basic hunting or fishing privileges.

Netting Restrictions

  • Stationary nets must not exceed 100 yards in length and must be spaced at least 50 yards apart.
  • “Attendance” requires that a fisherman be within 100 yards of his net at all times.
  • Stationary nets must run parallel to the nearest shoreline.
  • Anchored, fixed or drift gill nets must be marked at each end with two separate yellow buoys, which shall be of solid foam or other solid buoyant material no less than five inches in their smallest dimension. Buoys on each of the nets shall be marked (by engrav­ing buoys or attaching engraved metal or plastic tags) with one of the following: owner’s N.C. vessel registration number, owner’s U.S. vessel documentation name or owner’s last name and initials.
  • No wires or ropes associated with a special fishing device may extend across any navigable watercourse.

Fish-Trap Restrictions

  • A fish trap may be no more than 60 inches in length and no more than 30 inches in depth or width.
  • No lead nets, wing nets or other devices may be attached to the trap nor used within 25 feet of the trap.
  • Such devices, when set and left unattended, shall be affixed with a card or tag furnished by the license-holder and upon which his name and address shall be legibly inscribed.

Eel Pot Restrictions

  • It is unlawful to use eel pots with mesh sizes smaller than one-half inch by one-half inch.
  • Each eel pot must be marked by attaching a floating buoy, which shall be of solid foam or other solid buoyant material and no less than five inches in diameter and no less than five inches in length. Buoys may be of any color except yellow. The owner shall always be identified on the attached buoy by using engraved buoys or by engraved metal or plastic tags attached to the buoy. Such identification shall include one of the following: owner’s N.C. vessel registration number, owner’s U.S. vessel documenta­tion name, or owner’s last name and initials.

Hand-Crank Electrofisher Restrictions

  • Hand-crank electrofishers are any manually operated device capable of generating a low-voltage electrical current, not to exceed 300 volts, for the taking of catfish.

Seasons and Waters Applying to Special Fishing Devices

  • Nongame fish may be taken year-round with archery equipment in waterfowl impoundments located entirely on game lands and in all inland fishing waters other than the impounded waters on the Sandhills Game Land, Public Mountain Trout Waters, and reservoirs with restrictions on taking grass carp listed on Nongame Fish Regulations.
  • No special fishing devices, including crab pots, may be used in designated waterfowl impoundments located on game lands. Exception: Nongame fish may be taken year-round with archery equipment from waterfowl impoundments located entirely on game lands other than the impounded waters on the Sandhills Game Land.
  • It is unlawful to fish at any time in the waters or on the property of any state fish hatchery, including Bones Creek from the Lake Rim Dam to the U.S. 401 Bypass (Raeford Road), except McKinney Lake Reservoir at McKinney Lake State Fish Hatchery.
  • Seasons and waters, in which use of special devices other than archery equipment is authorized, are indicated by the following counties:
    • Alamance: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in Alamance Creek below N.C. 49 bridge and Haw River. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters.
    • Alexander: July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters; and with spear guns in Lake Hickory and Lookout Shoals Reservoir.
    • Alleghany: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in New River, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Anson: July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Pee Dee River below Blewett Falls Dam. July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters, except Pee Dee River from Blewett Falls Dam downstream to the Seaboard Coastline Railroad trestle.
    • Ashe: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in New River (both forks), except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Beaufort: July 1 – June 30 with traps in the Pungo River and in the Tar-Pamlico River above Norfolk and Southern Railroad bridge; and with gigs in all inland public waters. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters.
    • Bertie: July 1 – June 30 with traps in Broad Creek (tributary of Roanoke River). March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Bladen: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Black River; July 1 – March 1 with hand-crank electrofishers in Cape Fear River between Locks and Dams 1 and 3 and Black River (local law), except that hand-crank electrofishing is prohibited within 800 feet downstream and 400 yards upstream of Lock and Dam 1; 400 yards downstream and upstream of Lock and Dam 2; and 400 yards downstream of Lock and Dam 3.
    • Brunswick: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Alligator Creek, Hoods Creek, Indian Creek, Orton Creek below Orton Pond, Rices Creek, Sturgeon Creek and Town Creek.
    • Buncombe: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Burke: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters, except Johns River and Public Mountain Trout Waters. July 1 – June 30 with traps, gigs and spear guns in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters and Lake James. Fishing by use of an unattended float is prohibited on Lake James (local law).
    • Cabarrus: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters. July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters.
    • Caldwell: July 1 – June 30 with traps, gigs and spear guns in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Camden: July 1 – June 30 with traps in all inland public waters. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Carteret: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, except South River and the tributaries of the White Oak River.
    • Caswell: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters. July1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters, except Moons Creek. July 1 – June 30 with traps in Hyco Reservoir.
    • Catawba: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters, except Catawba River below Lookout Dam. July 1 – June 30 with traps, spear guns and gigs in all public waters.
    • Chatham: Dec. 1 – April 15 with dip and gill nets in the Cape Fear River, Haw River, Deep River and Rocky River (local law). July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in the Cape Fear River and Haw River. July 1 – June 30 with traps in Deep River; and with gigs in all public waters.
    • Cherokee: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Chowan: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters. July 1 – June 30 with traps in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Clay: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Cleveland: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters. July 1 – June 30 with gigs, traps and spear guns in all public waters.
    • Columbus: Dec. 1 – March 1 with gigs in all inland public waters, except Lake Waccamaw and its tributaries. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Livingston Creek. July 1 – March 1 with hand-crank electrofishers in Waccamaw and Lumber rivers (local law).
    • Craven: July 1 – June 30 with traps in the main run of the Trent and Neuse rivers. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, except Pitch Kettle, Grindle, Slocum (down­stream from the U.S. 70 bridge), Spring and Hancock creeks and their tributaries; and with seines in the Neuse River.
    • Currituck: July 1 – June 30 with traps in Tulls Creek and Northwest River. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Dare: July 1 – June 30 with traps in Mashoes Creek, Milltail Creek, East Lake and South Lake. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Davidson: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters; and with traps in all public waters except Leonard’s Creek, Abbott’s Creek below Lake Thom-A-Lex Dam and the Abbott’s Creek arm of High Rock Lake upstream from the N.C. 8 bridge.
    • Davie: July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters. July 1 – Aug. 31 for taking only carp and suckers with seines in Dutch­man’s Creek from U.S. 601 to Yadkin River and in Hunting Creek from S.R. 1338 to South Yadkin River.
    • Duplin: Dec. 1 – June 5 with seines in the main run of the Northeast Cape Fear River downstream from a point one mile above Serecta Bridge. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in the main run of the Northeast Cape Fear River downstream from a point one mile above Serecta Bridge.
    • Durham: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in Neuse River. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters.
    • Edgecombe: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all public waters.
    • Forsyth: July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters, except traps may not be used in Belews Creek Reservoir.
    • Franklin: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in Tar River. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Parrish, Laurel Mill, Jackson, Clifton, Moore’s and Perry’s ponds, and in the Franklinton city ponds.
    • Gaston: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters. July 1 – June 30 with gigs, traps and spear guns in all public waters.
    • Gates: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Graham: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters. Special devices are not permitted on Santeetlah Lake, Fontana Lake, Cheoah Reservoir and Calderwood Reservoir (local law).
    • Granville: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Kerr Reservoir. July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in the Tar River below U.S. 158 bridge. July 1 – June 30 with dip and cast nets in Kerr Reservoir.
    • Greene: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets and reels in Contentnea Creek.
    • Guilford: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in Haw River, Deep River below Jamestown Dam and Reedy Fork Creek below U.S. 29 bridge. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters.
    • Halifax: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Beech Swamp, Clarks Canal, Conoconnara Swamp, Fishing Creek below the Fishing Creek Mill Dam, Kehukee Swamp, Looking Glass Gut, Quankey Creek and White’s Mill Pond Run. April 1 – June 15 in Fishing Creek on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, shad and herring (not to exceed 6 inches in length) may be taken with skim or gill nets having a bar mesh of not less than 1.5 inch (local law).
    • Harnett: Jan. 1 – May 31 with gigs in Cape Fear River and tribu­­taries. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Cape Fear River.
    • Haywood: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Lake Junaluska and Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Henderson: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Hertford: July 1 – June 30 with traps in Wiccacon Creek. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, exclud­ing public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Hyde: July 1 – June 30 with traps in all inland waters. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Iredell: July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters; and with spear guns in Lookout Shoals Reservoir and Lake Norman.
    • Jackson: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Johnston: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Black Creek, Little River, Middle Creek, Mill Creek, Neuse River and Swift Creek.
    • Jones: July 1 – June 30 with traps in the Trent River below U.S. 17 bridge and White Oak River below U.S. 17 bridge. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, except the tributaries to White Oak River.
    • Lee: Dec. 1 – April 15 with dip and gill nets in Cape Fear River and Deep River (local law). July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in Cape Fear River. July 1 – June 30 with traps in Deep River; and with gigs in all public waters.
    • Lenoir: July 1 – June 30 with traps in Neuse River below U.S. 70 bridge at Kinston. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Neuse River and Contentnea Creek upstream from N.C. 118 bridge at Grifton; and with seines in Neuse River.
    • Lincoln: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters. July 1 – June 30 with traps, gigs and spear guns in all public waters.
    • McDowell: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters. July 1 – June 30 with traps, gigs and spear guns in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters and Lake James. Fishing by use of an unattended float is prohibited on Lake James (local law).
    • Macon: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Madison: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Martin: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Mecklenburg: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters. July 1 – June 30 with traps, gigs and spear guns in all public waters, except Freedom Park Pond and Hornet’s Nest pond.
    • Montgomery: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters, except in Pee Dee River between Tillery Dam and Rocky River. July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters.
    • Moore: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters, except Deep River. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except lakes located on the Sandhills Game Land; and with traps in Deep River and its tributaries.
    • Nash: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Tar River. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in the Tar River below Harris’ Landing and Fishing Creek below the Fishing Creek Mill Dam.
    • New Hanover: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, except Sutton (Catfish) Lake.
    • Northampton: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Gaston and Roanoke Rapids reservoirs and the Roanoke River above the U.S. 301 bridge. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Occoneechee Creek, Old River Landing Gut and Vaughns Creek below Watsons Mill.
    • Onslow: July 1 – June 30 with traps in White Oak River below U.S. 17 bridge. Aug. 1 – March 31 with eel pots in the main run of New River between U.S. 17 bridge and the mouth of Hawkins Creek. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in the main run of New River and White Oak River, and in Grant’s Creek.
    • Orange: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in Haw River. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters.
    • Pamlico: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, except Dawson Creek.
    • Pasquotank: July 1 – June 30 with traps in all inland waters, except Dawson Creek. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Pender: Dec. 1 – June 5 with seines in the main run of the Northeast Cape Fear River. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in the North­east Cape Fear River, Long Creek, Moore’s Creek approximately one mile upstream to New Moon Fishing Camp and Black River. July 1 – March 1 with hand-crank electrofishers in Black River (local law).
    • Perquimans: July 1 – June 30 with traps in all inland waters. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Person: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in Hyco Creek and Mayo Creek. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters.
    • Pitt: July 1 – June 30 with traps in Neuse River and in Tar River below the mouth of Hardee Creek east of Greenville. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, except Grindle Creek, and Contentnea Creek between N.C. 118 bridge at Grifton and the Neuse River. March 1 – April 30 with seines in Tar River.
    • Polk: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Randolph: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in Deep River above the Coleridge Dam and in Uwharrie River. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters.
    • Richmond: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters, except Pee Dee River from Blewett Falls Dam downstream to the Seaboard Coastline Railroad trestle. July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters, except lakes located on the Sand­hills Game Land. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Pee Dee River below Blewett Falls
    • Robeson: Dec. 1 – March 1 with gigs in all inland public waters.
    • Rockingham: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in Dan River and Haw River. July 1 – June 30 with traps in Dan River; and with gigs in all public waters.
    • Rowan: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters. July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters.
    • Rutherford: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters. July 1 – June 30 with traps, gigs and spear guns in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Sampson: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Big Coharrie Creek, Black River and Six Runs Creek. July 1 – March 1 with hand-crank electrofishers in Black River downstream of N.C. 1105 bridge (local law).
    • Stanly: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters, except Pee Dee River between Tillery Dam and Rocky River. July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters.
    • Stokes: July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters; and traps may not be used in Belews Creek Reservoir.
    • Surry: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters; and with traps in the main stem of Yadkin River.
    • Swain: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters. Special devices are not permitted on Santeetlah Lake, Fontana Lake, Cheoah Reservoir and Calderwood Reservoir (local law).
    • Transylvania: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Tyrrell: July 1 – June 30 with traps in Scuppernong River and Alligator Creek. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding Lake Phelps, the drainage canals that connect Lake Phelps and Scuppernong River, public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Union: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in all running public waters. July 1 – June 30 with traps and gigs in all public waters.
    • Vance: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in the Tar River. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Rolands, Faulkners, Souther­­lands and Weldon ponds, City Lake, and Kerr Reservoir. July 1 – June 30 with dip and cast nets in Kerr Reservoir.
    • Wake: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Sunset, Benson, Wheeler, Raleigh and Johnson lakes. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in the Neuse River below Milburnie Dam, and Swift Creek below Lake Benson Dam.
    • Warren: July 1 – Aug. 31 with seines in Fishing Creek, Shocco Creek and Walker Creek, excluding Duck and Hammes Mill ponds. July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, except Duck and Hammes Mill ponds, Kerr Reservoir and Gaston Reservoir. July 1 – June 30 with dip and cast nets in Kerr Reservoir.
    • Washington: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in all inland public waters, excluding Lake Phelps, the drainage canals that connect Lake Phelps and Scuppernong River, public lakes, ponds and other impounded waters.
    • Wayne: March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Little River, Mill Creek and Neuse River.
    • Wilkes: July 1 – June 30 with traps in Yadkin River below W. Kerr Scott Reservoir; and with gigs and spear guns in all public waters, except Public Mountain Trout Waters.
    • Wilson: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in Contentnea Creek (except Buckhorn Reservoir), including unnamed tributaries between Flowers Mill and S.R. 1163 (Deans) bridge. March 1 – April 30 with bow nets in Contentnea Creek below U.S. 301 bridge and in Toisnot Swamp downstream from the Lake Toisnot Dam.
    • Yadkin: July 1 – June 30 with gigs in all public waters, and with traps in the main stem of Yadkin River.

Fishing on Game Lands

  • A game lands license is not required to fish in any waters on game lands.
  • All game lands are open to public fishing with the following exceptions:
    • Re-stocked ponds when posted against fishing.
    • Grogan Creek in Transylvania County, which serves as a fish hatchery and water supply.
    • Hunting Creek Swamp Waterfowl Refuge in Davie County.
    • Private ponds where fishing may be prohibited by property owners.
  • In all game lands ponds, forked-tail catfish may be taken only by hook and line, and the daily creel limit is six catfish for all species combined.
  • The use of special fishing devices, including crab pots, is pro­hibited in designated waterfowl impoundments located on game lands. Exception: Nongame fish may be taken year-round with archery equipment from waterfowl impound­ments located entirely on game lands other than the impounded waters on the Sandhills Game Land and Public Moun­tain Trout Waters.
  • Blue crabs may be taken recreationally from designated water­fowl impoundments on game lands with hand-held lines with single baits and a collapsible crab trap with a maximum opening of 18 inches. The limit is 50 crabs per person, per day or 100 per vessel per day with a minimum carapace width of five inches (point to point).

State Fish Hatcheries

It is unlawful to fish at any time in the waters or on the property of any state fish hatchery, including Bones Creek from the Lake Rim Dam to the U.S. 401 Bypass (Raeford Road), except McKinney Lake Reservoir at McKinney Lake State Fish Hatchery.