Outdoors report: Low water can make it tough for boaters to navigate

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2008

High Rock Lake water levels remain lower than usual for this time of the year. Averaging just under 5 feet below full, portions of the lake are difficult to navigate.
Boaters should use caution in the upper reaches of Dutch Second Creek, Crane Creek above the Goodman Lake Road bridge and the main stream portions of the lake upstream of Shriner’s Point. In the main channel area near the mouth of Crane Creek, several partially submerged logs are scattered across the area. Boaters and skiers should look out for these and other hazards if the water depth continues to decrease.
Fishing update
Fishing activity remains steady with catches of crappie, catfish and white perch found in most live wells.
Crappie remain deep, averaging 15-20 feet, with white perch being caught in good numbers on points and dropoffs. Minnows and jigs both work well, with live minnows being the best choice. Channel cats and blue catfish are being caught lake wide. Fish over 10 pounds are seen regularly with large flathead catfish over 30 pounds seen weekly.
Boating update
With summer officially here, more Tar Heel residents and visitors will be enjoying recreational boating, including after sunset.
Officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will be patrolling waterways across the state throughout the summer, with an emphasis on holiday traffic. They list the following areas of concern:
– Boating While Impaired: A blood-alcohol level of .08 is legally intoxicated for vessel operators. The law also allows an operator to be charged if appreciably impaired, regardless of blood-alcohol level. Exposure to wind and waves, combined with heat, motor noise and vibrations can create a condition known as boater fatigue, in which the effects of alcohol can be magnified up to three times.
– Night-Time Boating: Boating at night requires extra caution and observation. Visibility is reduced and special inland lighting rules are in effect for navigation. Water skiing is prohibited between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. Personal watercraft, also known as jet skis and wave runners, are prohibited on state waters between sunset and sunrise.
– Children Must Wear Life Vests: North Carolina law requires children younger than 13 to wear an appropriate life vest whenever they are on a recreational vessel that is under way. The life vest must be the proper size and have a U.S. Coast Guard approved label. It must be a correct fit also, with youth sizes corresponding to weight ranges. Make sure it is snug but comfortable.
Wildlife officer dies in accident
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission mourns the loss of Master Wildlife Officer Eddie Vaughan, 38, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in Vance County on June 30.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission flag was flown at half-staff on the day of his funeral.
He was buried at Sunset Gardens, with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission honor guard providing ceremonial escort and presenting the North Carolina flag to the family.
A 14-year-veteran wildlife officer, Vaughan is remembered by colleagues and fellow law enforcement officers not only as a consummate and dedicated professional, but also as personable with a love of the outdoors.
Vaughan began his career as a wildlife officer upon completion of the Wildlife Officer Academy in May 1994, with a training assignment in Onslow County, stationed in Jacksonville. In November 1994, he received his permanent duty station in Pender County, in Hampstead. In February 1998, he transferred to Vance County, in first Henderson and later to Middleburg where he had currently lived.
Vaughan is survived by his wife, Angie Pernell Vaughan and stepdaughter, Brittany Denise Pernell; his parents, Eddie Graham Vaughan Sr. and Candi M. Vaughan of Durham; and a brother, John Russ Vaughan of Timberlake.