Outdoors report: Fish are biting, even where water is muddy
Fishing has been great on High Rock and Tuckertown Lakes despite high and muddy water conditions.
Crappie are being caught in most locations on High Rock Lake, and recent warm weather has moved them into shallow water to spawn.
Places to try include Dutch Second Creek along Bringle Ferry Road near the bridge, Providence Church Road at the small bridge on Little Crane Creek, File/Price Road along the shoreline of the game lands that border Crane Creek and Tuckertown Lake at High Rock Dam. Minnows generally are the most effective, but jigs are working great. Try black/green and yellow/white.
High Rock Lake is stained to slightly muddy in main channel areas with most creeks clear to stained. Tuckertown Lake is stained with Riles Creek and Newsome Creek in the best condition.
Striped bass have begun the annual spawning run up the Yadkin River. Fishermen are catching them in the range of 5 to 20 pounds, with several being caught off the wall on the Davidson County side in the tail race of High Rock Dam. Live shad, buck-tails and sassy shad plastic lures work the best. Concentrate on early mornings and late evenings for the best results.
Largemouth bass also have been seen in fair numbers. Try fishing the rip-rap along St. Matthews Church Road. Bass ranging from 3 to 4 pounds have been seen caught by several fishermen in this area. Also shallow water portions of coves and creeks have been producing some good catches. Recently, a couple fishermen caught three weighing almost a total of 17 pounds on Tuckertown Lake near Cabin Creek.
Channel catfish are starting to bite near the tail race of High Rock Dam. Use cut shad, chicken livers, and worms to catch fish up to 10 pounds.
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Turkey season began Saturday, with hunters hitting the woods across the area and state in pursuit of a trophy long beard.
Many successful hunters were able to bag themselves a nice gobbler before 9 a.m. on opening day. Local state game lands offer plenty of hunting opportunities with good numbers of birds found in most all areas. For the easiest access, try using a boat to hit areas that would normally require over a mile walk in portions bordering Tuckertown Lake.
Be sure to review game land maps and be familiar with private land boundaries. Hunters are reminded that hunting by the aid of bait for turkeys is illegal. An area is considered baited for 10 days after the last of the bait is gone. There is no minimum or maximum distance a hunter can hunt near bait, such as the 300 yard rule indicated in waterfowl hunting regulations.
Don’t hunt near sites that were used to bait deer with corn during the past deer season if there is any possibility of corn remaining. Commonly found materials used to illegally bait turkeys include corn, wheat, millet, milo, rye and commercial bird seed.
Those charged and convicted lose their hunting privileges and hunting equipment in addition to fines and replacement cost for illegally taken turkeys.
Sportsmen are urged to report violations to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission at 1-800-662-7137. Locally, contact Sergeant Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Division of Enforcement at 704-239-0850.
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Doug File of Salisbury caught the first $500 tagged fish in Hill’s Crappie Round-up on High Rock Lake on April 2. The winning fish called “Geekfish,” which was sponsored by Adam Sewell, owner of MyGeek Computer Services.
Q&A in short form
To answer questions from local sportsmen who find the rules as written hard to understand here is the short form.
Question: Is deer gun season coming in earlier this year in Rowan County?
Answer: No, it will open the same as last year.
Q: Was the muzzle-loading deer season extended?
A: Yes, it was increased to two weeks.
Q: Are crossbows legal to hunt with this upcoming deer season?
Q: Can I archery hunt on Sunday this upcoming deer season?
A: Yes, but only on private land.
Q: Did the crappie size limit of 8 inches change to 10 inches on High Rock Lake?
Bird seed recall and salmonella
Wild Birds Unlimited Wildlife Blend and Wild Birds Unlimited Woodpecker Blend bird foods are subject to a recall over a salmonella contamination.
The bird food is sold exclusively at Wild Birds Unlimited Stores. A press release from Wild Birds Unlimited is available online at http://www.wbu.com.
Q: What do I do if I have bird seed that has been recalled?
A: Return unopened containers of recalled bird feed product to place of purchase for disposal. Opened containers of recalled product should be sealed, double-bagged and held until day of trash pickup for disposal in the normal manner. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is advising consumers to discard the product, avoid touching unsealed product with bare hands and wash their hands thoroughly after touching unsealed product.
Q: Why did the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services test bird seed?
A: Many residents of North Carolina have reported finding dead birds around their bird feeders. One of those birds was submitted to the NCDA&CS Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System to help determine cause of death. Cultures of tissue samples taken from the bird indicated salmonella was present and may have contributed to the bird’s death. NCDA&CS then obtained unopened samples of bird food from the original source, and these were tested to determine if contamination had occurred during production of the food. Of these samples, Wildlife Blend and Woodpecker Blends tested positive for salmonella.
Q: What did the testing reveal?
A: Test results of bird food from Wild Birds Unlimited with the specific manufacturing date code of 81132200 2916 08124 was positive for salmonella. Also, Wild Birds Unlimited Woodpecker blend sold in 5-pound bags at a North Carolina store was positive for salmonella. The bird seed Salmonella strain isolated during testing is different from the strain that is implicated in the current peanut product recall. These test results also indicated that the strain of salmonella in the bird seed is different from the strain found in dead wild birds that have been examined by the NCDA&CS Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to date.
Q: Are wild birds dying from salmonella in North Carolina?
A: Salmonella has been isolated from several wild birds tested by the NCDA&CS Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. It is important to know that wild birds die every day from a variety of causes. It should not be assumed that every dead bird found died from salmonella. Outbreaks of salmonella in wild birds have been documented in previous years throughout the United States. The last major outbreak of salmonella in North Carolina in wild birds was documented in April 2000.
Q: Are wild birds being infected at bird feeders?
A: To date, there is no clear evidence to suggest that the recalled bird seed is associated with wild birth deaths. However, Salmonella bacteria can be spread through contaminated seed and from other sources at bird feeders. The bird seed can become contaminated when infected birds leave droppings that are ingested by healthy birds. Platform bird feeders are the most common transmission sites. Tubular bird feeders are better at reducing transmission of the salmonella bacteria, but birds can also be infected by eating spilled seed on the ground that has been contaminated by droppings. Bird feeder maintenance can help to reduce the spread of disease in wild bird populations.
Q: What can I do to prevent birds from getting sick from eating at my bird feeders?
A: Take feeders down for a week if you have found dead birds. Disinfect them before putting them back up. Keep feeders clean. Clean feeders outside and not in your kitchen sink.
Bird feeders should be disinfected at least once a month under normal circumstances and once a week if sick or dead birds have been found. Disinfect feeders by immersion in a solution of one part liquid chlorine bleach in nine parts hot water for several minutes.
E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.