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Outdoors report: Watch for trouble since rain has filled lakes

Fishing on High Rock Lake has been heavy despite high water levels and muddy water.
Recent rainfall has kept the Yadkin River and all the lakes downstream filled to capacity with flood gates in operation several days. Boaters have experienced some problems attempting to travel under bridges on High Rock Lake due to the increased water levels.
The following bridges pose a significant hazard to pontoon boats and other vessels with tops or high windshields:
– Abbott’s Creek N.C. 8 and railroad bridge. Only very low jon boats or bass boats without high windshields.
– Flat Swamp Creek railroad bridge. Only very low boats without windshields.
– Bringle Ferry Road bridge near Tamarac Marina. Most boats may pass unless they are equipped with a fixed t-top or high cabin.
– Stokes Ferry Road bridge near Liberty. Only very low small boats.
– Goodman Lake Road bridge, Crane Creek. Most boats may pass except fixed t-tops and high cabins.
– Linwood-Southmont Road Bridge, Swearing Creek. Most boats may pass except fixed tops.
Boaters traveling near and under bridges should maintain a no-wake speed. Wakes or waves can cause vessels passing under structures to bob on the surface and strike the support beams of the bridge.
Boaters should maintain a lookout for floating hazards such as logs, boards and other items that are being washed downstream.
Largemouth bass
Largemouth bass fishing had been excellent before the heavy rainfall last week. As the water begins to settle and clear, main channel areas should begin producing good catches on crank baits.
For the best conditions, try Flat Swamp Creek and portions of Abbott’s Creek.
Crappie have been active around and under the various bridges on High Rock Lake. Day and night fishermen are pulling in some slabs weighing in over a pound. Minnows and a variety of jig colors are working well.
Channel catfish are biting throughout the Yadkin chain lakes. Worms, cut-bait, chicken liver and processed stink bait are putting fish in coolers. For bank fishermen, try areas downstream of High Rock dam on Tuckertown Lake. Boat fishermen should drift fish main channel areas near Crane Creek and Swearing Creek.
Boating safety classes coming up
Several free boating safety classes are scheduled in Rowan County in the upcoming months.
– Saturday, at the Rowan County Rescue Squad on Julian Road. Start time is 9 a.m.Contact Master Officer J.S. Isley for information or sign up at 704-278-2236, or register at www.ncwildlife.org
– June 20, at the Liberty Volunteer Fire Department Located at the corner of Stokes Ferry and St. Matthews Church roads. Start time is 9 a.m. Contact Master Officer J.B Harrill at 704-637-0717 or sign up online.
– July 18, at the Rowan County Rescue Squad. Start time is 9 a.m. Contact Master Officer Harrill at 704-637-0717 to register.
Ensuring wildlife for generations
In 1981, wildlife enthusiasts started taking part in an innovative investment and conservation program called the N.C. Wildlife Endowment Fund.
The endowment fund was set up to create a lifetime fishing or hunting license and lifetime magazine subscription to Wildlife in North Carolina. With the license and subscription fees in a special fund, the accrued interest, not the principal, could go for programs and projects that benefit fish and wildlife.
Since 1981, the Wildlife Commission has spent more than $32 million in interest on programs and projects. Some projects include:
– Game land acquisitions
– Small-game and songbird habitat restorations
– Fish hatchery renovations
– Fishing outreach center construction
– Wildlife enforcement equipment purchases
– K-9 training
– CATCH and WILD Educator workshops
– Education outreach centers
– Computer and computer-related purchases
A $500 lifetime “sportsman” license is equivalent to about 12 annual “sportsman” licenses, which currently sell for $40. So, if you purchase a lifetime license, you are essentially fishing and hunting for free after the 12th year.
The $500 remains invested (and untouched), while the interest earned can be used for other expenses.
For more information on licenses go to www.ncwildlife.org.
Peregrine falcon meeting June 16
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is hosting a public-input meeting on a proposal to allow the take of migrant peregrine falcons from the wild for use in falconry at 7 p.m. June 16 in the auditorium of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission headquarters in Raleigh.
The Commission proposes a 2009 season within the framework established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Under the proposal, if adopted:
– Total allowable take will be three birds between Sept. 20 and Oct. 20.
– All birds taken must be juveniles.
– Take would be allowed only by permit from the Commission and only east of U.S. 17.
– No banded birds could be taken. Any banded birds captured must be immediately released at the site of capture.
– Permits will be issued through the Commission’s special hunts permitting system (random).
– Two permits will be issued to N.C. residents only; one permit will be open to residents or non-residents.
– All individuals issued a permit must have the proper state and federal falconry licenses/permits.
– Each person receiving a permit must complete a post-season survey provided by the Commission’s Division of Wildlife Management staff by Dec. 15.
$1.5 million going for conservation
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has received $1.5 million from Congress to help fund projects and programs that protect and manage nongame wildlife in the greatest need of conservation, as identified in the N.C. Wildlife Action Plan.
The money is awarded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the State Wildlife Grant Program. Since 2001, when North Carolina received its first State Wildlife Grant, the Commission and conservation partners have spent more than $11.5 million on programs and projects benefiting nongame wildlife and their habitats.
For more information on the programs that the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is conducting on behalf of nongame wildlife and their habitats in North Carolina, www.ncwildlife.org.
E-mail Sgt. Anthony Sharum of the N.C. Wildlife Resources at huntfishguy66@aol.com.

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