• 68°

Outdoors report: Heat isn’t slowing fishing

Crappie fishing continues to be the hot ticket on High Rock Lake.
Fishermen are finding fish suspended from 14 to 18 feet, with catches over a pound common.
Tight lining minnows is proving to be an excellent method to catch a limit of nice fish in short order.
Six dozen minnows don’t last long when fishing in this manner. By positioning the boat over schools of fish and slowly drifting or trolling back and forth, you can pull in numerous fish. A good depth finder will take a lot of guesswork out of where to try by showing dropoffs, structure and suspended fish.
Places that are producing good fish include:
– The mouth of Dutch Second Creek, off the submerged sandbar and the rock pile marked by danger buoys.
– Crane Creek on the southwest side of the entrance marked by the danger buoy and the submerged sandbar on the northwest side of the mouth.
– Panther Creek in the channel and Abbott’s Creek at the narrow creek mouth.
Night fishing is also paying off with 12 dozen minnows usually not lasting a full trip. Bringle Ferry Road bridge, Flat Swamp Creek railroad bridge and Abbott’s Creek bridge are all producing good numbers and sizes.
Largemouth bass fishing is great with soft plastics working great along with the normal crank baits. Structure and dropoffs are holding good bass throughout the day, with shallow water a good place to try early in the morning and late in the evening.
Some top water action has been seen in the shallow flats of the back portions of Dutch Second Creek and Abbott’s Creek. Fish up to 7 pounds have been seen taken by fishermen on High Rock Lake.
Catfish are biting well lake wide with channel cats weighing up to 5 pounds commonly seen. Use worms, cut bait, chicken liver or stink bait for best results. Flathead catfish are being caught with one of the largest a 47-pounder taken the past week.
Live bait is the best choice for a trophy flathead. Use bluegill, white perch, goldfish, shad and live shiners. Fishermen are reminded that when collecting bait fish in a cast net, no game fish can be kept or harmed, and the game fish must be immediately released.
To use a live crappie for bait, it must have been caught legally, be the minimum size (8 inches or larger on the Yadkin River lakes) and it would be included in the daily creel limit for that species.
Rules update
New regulations for catfishing begin July 1.
Jug fishermen are limited to a total of 75 jugs per boat, and each jug must have the name and address of the owner.
On Badin Lake and Lake Norman, you can only have one blue catfish over 32 inches per day.
As in the past, live bait is prohibited on set-hooks, trot-lines and jugs.
Lake Conditions
High Rock Lake: Water is stained to clear in most areas with water temperatures in the low to mid 70s. Water level is 2.1 feet below full with generally good access in all portions of the lake.
Tuckertown Lake: Water is clear in most portions with water temperatures in the 70s. Water level is 2 feet below full, resulting in shallow difficult navigation in upstream portions of the lake.
Badin Lake: Water is clear with temperatures in the 70s. Water level is 2.2 feet below full.
Boating accidents
In the past several weeks, three serious boating accidents have been reported on High Rock Lake. Speed and operator inattention have contributed to the accidents. Alcohol use also has been involved.
Recent accidents include two bass boats colliding, which injured two people and totaled both boats. Two personal watercraft have collided with slower moving boats in separate incidents. In each case, operator inexperience or inattention was a major cause of the accident.
Safety tips for all boaters include wearing a life jacket, having proper lookouts (especially at night) and using a designated non-drinking driver when others are consuming alcohol.
Boating Safety Classes
A free boating safety class will be held June 28 at the Rowan County Rescue Squad, 1140 Julian Road. It is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To sign up, contact Wildlife Officer J. S. Isley at 704-278-2236 or visit www.ncwildlife.org
Personal watercraft safety
Propelled by jets of water, personal watercraft are fast and easy to maneuver, which is a large part of their appeal ó and their potential danger.
“You need to know how your personal watercraft works and the regulations that apply to its ownership and operation before you get on it,” said Capt. Chris Huebner, the state’s boating safety coordinator. “Any maneuver that endangers people or property constitutes reckless operation and is breaking the law.”
Reckless operation, lack of proper safety equipment and exceeding capacity are the most frequently cited violations for personal watercraft operators in North Carolina. Another common violation is underage operators. State law restricts anyone younger than 16 from operating a personal watercraft unless:
– They are at least 14 and riding with someone who is at least 18.
– They are at least 14 and have successfully completed an approved boating safety education course, and have proof of age and safety course completion with them while operating the personal watercraft.
“It is also against the law to knowingly let anyone younger than 16 operate a personal watercraft who doesn’t meet those qualifications,” Capt. Huebner added.
Leave fawns alone
A tiny deer might look cute and very much alone, but the N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission is urging people not to approach, touch or remove any white-tailed fawns lying in the brush.
At the peak of fawning season in May and June, people might see fawns left alone and assume they have been abandoned by the doe, but this is usually not the case.
Whitetails are a “hider” species, which means the female will hide her fawn in vegetation during the first two or three weeks of its life as she feeds.
Dappled and lacking scent, fawns are well-camouflaged and usually remain undetected by predators. The doe will return to the fawn several times a day to nurse and clean it, staying only a few minutes each time before leaving again to seek food. The doe also will consume the fawn’s excrement to eliminate odor that might attract a predator.
The fawn is also well-equipped to protect itself. By the time a fawn is 5 days old, it can outrun a human. At 3 to 6 weeks of age, fawns can escape most predators. Typically, fawns are functionally weaned by about 10 weeks and are eating vegetation and other browse, although they may continue to nurse for another 4 to 6 months.
Unless a fawn is in imminent danger ó for example, being attacked by dogs or injured in a tractor mowing accident ó the best decision always is to leave it alone. If you are concerned about the fawn, leave the area and check on the fawn the next day. Do not remain in the area. Does are very cautious and will not approach a fawn if she senses danger.
If a fawn is in the exact location when you check on it the following day and bleating loudly, or if a fawn is lying beside a dead doe (likely at the side of a highway), do not take the fawn into your possession.
Contact the Wildlife Resources Commission at 919-707-0040 for the telephone number of a local permitted fawn rehabilitator or see a list of fawn rehabilitators at www. ncwildlife.org.
It is illegal to remove a fawn from the wild. Only fawn rehabilitators with a permit from the Commission may keep white-tailed fawns in captivity for eventual release. With the exception of trained wildlife rehabilitators, most people are ill-equipped to care for one and typically do more harm than good.
E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@aol.com.

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