Winter is the perfect time to sharpen fishing skills without fighting large crowds. Roaring River State Park will offer catch-and-release fishing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays through Feb. 13, 2012.
"The winter catch-and-release season is a great time to fish the waters at Roaring River State Park," said Paul Spurgeon, hatchery manager. "The summer crowds are gone, and the scenery is so much different with the leaves off the trees.
"Eagles haunt the river during the winter and watching them cruise the park is an awesome sight," said Spurgeon. "With less people, the stream is rarely crowded and the stream can be explored with amazing clarity."
Anglers interested in participating in the winter fishing season must obtain a trout permit. No daily tag is required.
"The hatchery had an excellent growing season this year, and the size of fish stayed at or above 12.5 inches the entire season," said Spurgeon. "The hatchery stocked 1,100 of these fish initially and also 150 lunkers for the catch-and-release season.
"This is on top of the leftover fish from the regular season," said Spurgeon. "Around 350 fish will be stocked every two weeks throughout the season. We have had reports of extremely big fish being caught already."
Anglers are invited to fish the stream from the hatchery to the bridge below the old dam in the lower campground. The 1.3 miles of stream located below the bridge inside the park is closed during the winter.
"All trout shall be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught, and no trout shall be possessed on these waters," said Spurgeon. "Only flies shall be used. A fly is defined as an artificial lure constructed on a single-point hook using any material except soft plastic bait that is tied, glued or otherwise permanently attached.
"Flies may be fished with or without a spinner," said Spurgeon. "Small single-point spinners commonly referred to as rooster tails may be used."
For more information on winter catch-and-release season, call Spurgeon at 847-2430.