Trout fishing below White Water Falls
Trout fishing as a sport in Western North Carolina dates to
the late 1800s when George Vanderbilt owned what is today the Pisgah National
Forest. Tourism brochures from the early
1900s boost of “brooks and streams teeming with gamey mountain trout.” A 1914 Southern Railways publication featured
a photograph of a fisherman, “where trout abound” below Toxaway Falls.
A 1929 brochure
states that “rearing pools” in the Pisgah National Forest have been established
to raise fish from government hatcheries that are released into local streams
when they are five inches long.
In 1937 the CCC built a Fish Rearing Station on the Davidson
River near Daniel Ridge in the Pisgah National Forest. After construction the Fish and Wildlife
Service took over administrative responsibilities and the Forest Service
provided maintenance of the facility. This facility was closed down in the mid-1960s
because of its deteriorating condition.
A second hatchery was constructed in 1957 on the Davidson
River near John’s Rock. This hatchery,
officially The Bobby N. Setzer Hatchery, has grown into the largest trout
hatchery in North Carolina. Since 1983
it has been operated for both production and distribution purposes by the North
Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
|Fishing in the Davidson River.|
The hatchery raises brook, brown and rainbow trout in indoor
tanks. Fingerlings of approximately
three inches live in outdoor raceways. When
the trout reach a size of at least 10 inches they are ready to be released into
streams throughout Western North Carolina. In addition the hatchery has facilities to study fish disease and nutrition and monitor water quality. The water supply for the hatchery operations
comes from Grogan Creek and the Davidson River.
Also located at the hatchery, the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education features a raceway exhibit that describes the trout production
process. It is open daily from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular
library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see
additional photographs. For more information, comments or suggestions
contact Marcy at [email protected] or