(a)  It is unlawful to take nongame fish for bait or personal consumption in the inland waters of North Carolina using equipment other than:

(1)           a net of dip net design not greater than six feet across;

(2)           a seine of not greater than 12 feet in length (except in Lake Waccamaw in Columbus County where there is no length limitation) and with a bar mesh measure of not more than one-fourth inch;

(3)           a cast net;

(4)           a bow net for the seasons and waters in which the use of bow nets is authorized in 15A NCAC 10C .0407;

(5)           a dip net when used in conjunction with a licensed hand-crank electrofisher;

(6)           a gig (except in Public Mountain Trout Waters);

(7)           up to three traps for the seasons and waters in which the use of traps is authorized in 15A NCAC 10C .0407;

(8)           up to two eel pots;

(9)           a spear gun for the seasons and waters in which the use of a spear gun is authorized in 15A NCAC 10C .0407;

(10)         minnow traps not exceeding 12 inches in diameter and 24 inches in length, with funnel openings not exceeding one inch in diameter, from which all fish and animals are removed daily, and that are labeled with the user's Wildlife Resources Commission customer number or name and address;

(11)         a hand-held line with a single bait attached;

(12)         a single, multiple-bait line for taking crabs not to exceed 100 feet in length, marked on each end with a solid float no less than five inches in diameter, bearing legible and indelible identification of the user's name and address, and under the immediate control and attendance of the person using the device, with a limit of one line per person and no more than one line per vessel; or

(13)         a collapsible crab trap with the largest open dimension not greater than 18 inches and that by design is collapsed at all times when in the water, except when it is being retrieved or lowered to the bottom, with a limit of one trap per person.

(b)  The use of equipment under this Rule requires a valid license that provides basic inland fishing privileges.

(c)  It is unlawful to sell nongame fishes or aquatic animals taken under this Rule.

(d)  Game fishes taken while netting for bait shall be returned unharmed to the water, except white perch may be taken when captured in a cast net being used to collect nongame fishes for bait or personal consumption in all impounded waters west of I-95 and in the Tar River Reservoir (Nash County).

(e)  No person shall take or possess during one day more than 200 nongame fish in aggregate for bait or personal consumption subject to the following restrictions:

(1)           No more than 25 eels, none of which may be less than 9 inches in length, shall be taken from or possessed, regardless of origin, while boating on or fishing in inland fishing waters;

(2)           While boating on or fishing in the following inland fishing waters, no river herring (alewife and blueback) that are greater than six inches in total length shall be taken, and no such river herring shall be possessed regardless of origin:

(A)          Roanoke River downstream of Roanoke Rapids Dam;

(B)          Tar River downstream of Rocky Mount Mill Dam;

(C)          Neuse River downstream of Milburnie Dam;

(D)          Cape Fear River downstream of Buckhorn Dam;

(E)           Pee Dee River downstream of Blewett Falls Dam;

(F)           Lumber River including Drowning Creek;

(G)          the tributaries to the rivers listed above; and

(H)          all other inland fishing waters east of Interstate 95.

(3)           No more than 50 crabs per person per day or 100 per vessel per day with a minimum carapace width of five inches (point to point) shall be taken.

(f)  Any fishes taken for bait purposes are included within the daily possession limit for that species.

(g)  It is unlawful to take nongame fish for bait or any other fish bait from the following waters:

(1)           Public Mountain Trout Waters (except in impounded waters of power reservoirs and municipally-owned water supply reservoirs);

(2)           Bear Creek in Chatham County;

(3)           Deep River in Chatham, Lee, and Moore counties and downstream of Coleridge Dam in Randolph County;

(4)           Fork Creek in Randolph County; and

(5)           Rocky River in Chatham County.

(h)  In the waters of the Little Tennessee River, including all the tributaries and impoundments thereof, and on adjacent shorelines, docks, access ramps, and bridge crossings, it is unlawful to transport, possess, or release live river herring (alewife and blueblack).

(i)  No person while fishing shall remove the head or tail or otherwise change the appearance of any nongame fish having a size limit so as to render it impracticable to measure its total original length. No person while fishing shall change the appearance of any nongame fish having a daily creel limit so as to obscure its identification or render it impracticable to count the number of fish in possession.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 113-134; 113-135; 113-135.1; 113-272; 113-272.3; 113-292;

Eff. February 1, 1976;

Amended Eff. July 1, 2000; July 1, 1998; July 1, 1993; July 1, 1992; May 1, 1992; July 1, 1989;

Temporary Amendment Eff. July 1, 2001;

Amended Eff. July 18, 2002;

Temporary Amendment Eff. June 1, 2003;

Amended Eff. June 1, 2004 (this amendment replaces the amendment approved by RRC on July 17, 2003);

Amended Eff. August 1, 2018; August 1, 2017; August 1, 2016; August 1, 2015; August 1, 2014; August 1, 2013; August 1, 2010; May 1, 2008; May 1, 2007; May 1, 2006.