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Outdoors report: Fishing’s fine by bank or boat

Fishing on High Rock and Tuckertown lakes has been hot the past week for bank fishermen and boaters.
Crappie continue to bite, even though fish have moved into deeper water. The best range is from 12 to 18 feet deep. Areas on High Rock to try include the mouth of Dutch Second Creek, the mouth of Abbott’s Creek near the main channel’s submerged sandbar and Flat Swamp Creek. Slow trolled minnows and jigs are both working well, with red/ green, pearl/white and black/green jig bodies are the best colors to try.
Several fishermen have caught largemouth bass up to 7 pounds. Spawning bass are still being seen in shallow areas, with some starting to move off the beds and stack on points and mid-depth structure.
You can find good shallow water fishing if you can squeeze your boat under the Stoke’s Ferry Road bridge on Dutch Second Creek. Use spinner baits and jigs around the flooded trees just off the creek channel.
Another good area to try is the extreme upper reaches of Crane Creek, above the Goodman Lake Road bridge. Large numbers of Cyprus trees are in water at ranges from 2 to 4 feet deep. With a little exploring, you can find the deeper creek channel that holds good bass on the edges.
Striped bass have been hitting good in the mornings and evenings at local power dams. Fishermen are catching stripers up to 20 pounds, with 3 to 8 pounders seen regularly. Live shad or plastic shad type lures are working best.
For bank fishermen,try the Davidson County side of Tuckertown at the base of High Rock Dam. When water is being discharged from the power plant, fishing is the best.
In the past two weeks, anglers have pulled out catfish weighing more than 30 pounds and good numbers of flatheads are being caught below the dams. Several fishermen caught well over 300 pounds of catfish in half a day of fishing recently. Best bait for flatheads includes live shad, bluegill, gold fish and shiner minnows. Suspend the bait 2 to 6 feet off the bottom for best results.
Use heavy tackle with 17- to 25- pound test line for trophy flatheads. Rocks generally are the biggest hazard when fighting one, so a heavy line is a must.
Cut-bait, stink bait and worms are luring in channel and blue cats from the banks or boats.
Bluegill are biting lake wide, with good hand sized fish seen in most buckets. Crickets and worms are the top bait choices, with fishing as easy as grabbing a cane pole, line and hook. Little Crane Creek off Providence Church Road, File Road at Crane Creek and Bringle Ferry Road near Tamarac Marina are all great places to try.
Boating safety
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission issued a boating safety advisory as a reminder to “boat safe, boat sober,” according to Capt. Chris Huebner, the state boating safety coordinator.
A boat operator who registers a blood alcohol level of .08 is legally intoxicated and subject to arrest for operating a vessel while impaired.
“The law also allows for a boat operator to be charged if appreciably impaired, regardless of blood alcohol level, since wind and waves, combined with heat, glare, motor noise and vibrations can create a condition known as boater fatigue that exaggerates the effect of alcohol 3-to-1,” Huebner said.
Wildlife officers remind boaters:
– Blue Light = No Wake: Boats approaching within 100 feet of a law enforcement vessel displaying flashing blue lights must slow to a no-wake speed. In narrow channels, the distance is within 50 feet.
– Wear a Life Vest: State law requires children under 13 to wear a proper life vest while on any recreational vessel that is under way. It is recommended that everyone should. A floating cushion or a life vest nearby isn’t enough in an emergency.
– Be Aware, Be Involved: Boaters can report accidents and violations by calling toll free 1-800-662-7137.
Memorial Day weekend traditionally signals the start of the recreational boating season.
Birding in the Piedmont
Bird watchers, enthusiasts and researchers gathered recently for the opening of the Piedmont region of the North Carolina Birding Trail.
Once the driving trail is complete, it will link birding sites from the coast to the mountains. The May 15 celebration in Durant Nature Park marked the completion of the Piedmont region between Interstates 95 and 77. The coastal region was completed last year, and the mountain region is slated for next year.
“This is an endeavor we are very proud to be a part of,” said Fred Harris, interim executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. “It is important in the larger context of promoting wildlife conservation in our state. One of the greater challenges we face is how do we get people out to where the pavement ends ó and beyond ó and interacting with wildlife in an increasingly urbanized society. This does that.”
For a list of approved sites or for more information, visit www.ncbirdingtrail.org.
E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@aol.com.

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