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Outdoors report: Plenty of muddy water greets anglers on lakes in the area

Fishermen are finding high, muddy water in most portions of High Rock and Tuckertown lakes as recent heavy rains filled local reservoirs.
On High Rock Lake, stained water is in portions of Dutch Second Creek from Bringle Ferry Road Bridge upstream and the extreme upper end of Panther Creek. Flat Swamp Creek has the clearest water anywhere on High Rock, but travel under the railroad bridge generally is only available to smaller boats because of the high water.
Abbott’s, Buddle and parts of Crane creeks upstream from the Goodman Lake Road bridge offer fair conditions compared to main channel areas.
Crappie are biting, although muddy water makes it harder. Try fishing red/white jigs with a live minnow tipped , chartreuse, and red shad/clear tail and pearl colors. As days warm, fish shallow points and exposed structure. Often suspend your minnows or jigs under a float, fishing about 2 to 3 1/2 feet. By late March, crappie should be easily caught around piers and by boaters trolling throughout the major creeks of High Rock Lake.
Boaters should keep a sharp lookout while traveling in most portions of the lake since large logs, boards, sticks and assorted trash are floating in main channel areas and creek mouths.
On Tuckertown Lake, muddy water prevails on the main channel, although many of the feeder creeks are clear and fish are biting well. Lick, Cabin and Riles creeks have been producing some nice fish over one pound. Fish around submerged stumps, trees,and weed beds on drop-offs for best results.
Crappie roundup
The annual Hill’s Minnow Farm Crappie Roundup has begun and goes through May 12 on High Rock Lake.
Hundreds of fishermen have been purchasing tickets in the anticipation of bagging that big money fish. With hard times hitting the local economy, there is nothing better than to go fishing with the possibility of making some cash.
Prizes range from $25 to $4,000 this year as new sponsors have added more $500 fish to the more than 700 fish tagged and swimming throughout High Rock Lake.
Crappie tagged for this year’s tournament have a slender bright yellow tag behind the top dorsal fin. If you are fishing in the tournament, be sure to carefully examine your catch before the fillet knife starts to work. One lucky ó then unlucky ó fishermen found a winning tag after the fish was cleaned, which disqualified the catch. To be a winner, you must enter the tournament before catching a tagged crappie and it must be alive and.
For full tournament information, contact Hill’s Minnow Farm at 704-633-7413.
Hunting changes
The Wildlife Commission has changed some hunting and fishing regulations.
Among fishing regulations approved to be changed are:
– Reduce the number of grass carp that can be taken by bow and arrow from Lake James, Lookout Shoals, Lake Norman, Mountain Island, Lake Gaston, and Roanoke Rapids Lake from two to one fish per day.
– Add Lake Wylie to the list of reservoirs where possession of grass carp is prohibited, except that one fish per day may be taken by bow and arrow.
– Prohibit the possession of zebra mussels.
– Include members of the U.S. Armed Forces, military families on appreciation days, and those with physical or mental limitations among those qualified to receive fishing license exemptions during special fishing events.
– Include Community Fishing Program waters among those waters where fish size and creel limits that differ from statewide regulations are posted.
Approved hunting changes:
– Remove the daily bag limit for deer.
– Allow hunters to use archery equipment to harvest deer during the muzzleloading firearms season on game lands.
– Shorten the bow season by one week and open the muzzleloader season one week earlier to create a two week muzzleloader season.
– Deer seasons in the Northwestern Deer Season will be changed so that the regular gun season is extended through Jan. 1. Deer seasons in the Eastern, Central, and Western deer season structures are unchanged.
– Deer seasons on game lands in the Northwestern Deer Season will be changed so that the regular gun season is extended through Jan. 1. Deer seasons on game lands in the Eastern, Central, and Western deer season structures will remain unchanged.
– Open all private lands in the Eastern, Central, and Northwestern Deer seasons to the maximum either-sex deer season.
– Allow bear hunting on the Daniel Boone bear sanctuary by permit only.
– Eliminate the winter either-sex turkey season.
– Open wild boar season on the Monday on or nearest Sept. 10 and end it on the last day of February.
– Allow hunting wild boar with dogs only during open bear season and never on bear sanctuaries.
– Allow wild boar to be taken in the deer bow and arrow season, deer muzzleloading season, deer gun season and any small game season using only weapons and manner of take prescribed for that hunting season.
– Open bear sanctuaries to wild boar hunting during the entire wild boar season. Dogs may not used to hunt wild boar on bear sanctuaries.
– Set the season on red and gray squirrels to open Oct. 1 and close on the second Saturday of February.
– Allow the Commission to authorize the use of unplugged shotguns and electronic calls when allowed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for hunting migratory game birds.
– Allow raccoons to be trapped in and west of Madison, Buncombe, Henderson and Polk counties (District 9).
Controlled burns
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is notifying the public that wildlife biologists and technicians are beginning their routine prescribed burns .
These controlled fires are used as a tool on agency game lands to conserve habitat. Benefits of prescribed burns include:
– Reducing the risk of wildfire by clearing leaf litter and downed wood and brush.
– Allowing germination of desirable plants valuable to wildlife by clearing leaf litter
– Reducing chiggers and ticks
– Releasing nutrients into the soil, making it more fertile. Burning also makes soil less acidic, allowing it to produce more legumes. The seeds produced by these legumes are consumed by quail, turkey and songbirds.
– Controlling plants that compete with more advantageous species, such as trees.
Of the approximately 700 rare, threatened or endangered plant species in North Carolina, about 65 percent occur in habitats that need fire to thrive in the wild.
E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@aol.com.

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