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Entries in Oak Hollow (2)

Monday
Jan082018

Thom-A-Lex Fishing Trail Opens In North Carolina

With B.A.S.S. as a key partner, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) recently opened its third educational fishing trail in two years on a state fishery. The new Lake Thom-A-Lex trail follows closely Cane Creek, which was completed in the spring, and Oak Hollow in 2016.

"The singular difference in the Thom-A-Lex trail is that the lake was part of a select group of reservoirs managed as a North Carolina trophy fishery for many years," said Bill Frazier, North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation conservation director and a guiding force for these innovative habitat projects.

"Until recently, it had special creel limits to help it produce exceptional quality fish, and it is not very well known so it did not get much pressure," he added. "It has been a long-guarded secret that we've now let out of the bag.

"I expect it to do great things once the enhancements have some time to acclimate."

Frazier is particularly pleased that the Boy Scouts of America organization was a key player in the project, as was the Lake-Thom-A-Lex Lake Authority.

 "I’ve always wanted to reach out and partner with  other traditional, youth-based organizations like the Scouts," he said. "By not doing it, we are missing an unprecedented opportunity to build on multiple strengths we both share.

"Daniel Pell, our Eagle Scout candidate who led the project, finally opened that door and I hope it is more like a flood gate," he continued. "We now have a second candidate who has stepped up to do a fishing trail in 2018. I believe this is a real coup for expanding the project and B.A.S.S. youth options in many positive ways."

A member of Troop 328, Pell found local sponsors to provide the materials for the fish attractors, helped survey the lake and select site locations, solicited volunteers to build the attractors, and helped deploy the attractors as part of his Eagle Scout Service Award project, according to WRC.

The trail consists of 13 sites scattered around the 650-acre impoundment. As with attractors on the earlier trails, they will help anglers learn about habitat needs of bass as they fish a variety of cover placed sequentially according to season.

"We hope this is the next level of reservoir habitat management and a new avenue to building the sport with younger anglers," Frazier said.

WRC's Mark Fowlkes added, "Largemouth bass and other sport fish use different habitats throughout the year. These seasonal movements and habitat patterns are instinctive and triggered by changes in water temperature, daylight hours, spawning and feeding.”

Buoy markers pinpoint the sites and a pamphlet created with funding assistance from the Sport Fish Restoration program explains these seasonal movements.

"In the spring, prior to the spawning season, largemouth bass congregate in areas such as in river and creek channels near shallow flats," WRC said.

Next, they move into shallow coves, onto flats and around points, in about 1 to 7 feet of water to spawn. Afterward, they move slowly into areas with cover or that have access to deeper waters to reside during the heat of the summer.

"As water temperatures decline in the fall, largemouth bass often move to the same creeks where they were found in the spring, searching for food. In the winter, they move to deeper water because of the short days and cold water temperatures," the agency added.

“Teaching anglers about seasonal movements of fish can help increase their angling success and make fishing more enjoyable,” Frazier concluded. “These principles can be used on other reservoirs, but it is important to remember that each reservoir is unique.”

Monday
Jun122017

North Carolina Adds More Fishing Trails

North Carolina now has its second Educational Fishing Trail, with a third on its way to completion.

In March, volunteers worked with staffers from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to build fish attractors for installation in Union County's Cane Creek Reservoir. By April 9, the trail should have been "unofficially ready to fish," according to Bill Frazier, North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation (NCBN) conservation director. He added that completion of the trail at Thom-a-Lex in Davidson County should not be far behind.

Starting with the Oak Hollow trail, which opened last year, Frazier has been the guiding force those these unique projects that allow anglers to learn about habitat needs of bass as they fish a variety of cover placed sequentially according to season.

"We hope this is the next level of reservoir habitat enhancement and a new avenue to building the sport with younger anglers," said the member of the Archdale Bass Club who also is a regulatory manager for environmental programs in a regional water utility.

NCBN teams up with the commission and local governments to plan and place the trails, with a special emphasis on youth involvement.

"Youth members of N.C. B.A.S.S. played a huge role in the creation of the Oak Hollow Educational Fishing Trail by helping us design, build and install the structures for each fishing site, using leftover materials from a previous Boy Scout fish attractor project,” said Mark Fowlkes, a NCWRC aquatic habitat coordinator. “Likewise, youth from Riley’s Catch (a B.A.S.S. affiliate youth club in the Charlotte area) have helped design the Cane Creek Fishing Trail and will be there to help build and install structures."

Youth anglers also raised funds to purchase materials and the commission used money from the Sport Fish Restoration Program to purchase buoys, he added.

Frazier pointed out that the trails, thus far, have involved no cost to local communities. "We want them to see this as a huge asset for them," he said. "We need the tourism folks at the state level to step up and share the vision of how big this can really be."

Small, municipal lakes are "hugely underutilized resources that need just a little help to be stellar resources," he added.

Meanwhile, anglers like what they see at Oak Hollow. Following a March competition there, marina manager Lamar Lee said, "This was the best tournament we'd had in years, both in number of participants and fish caught. Now that the word has gotten out, it should be a busy season for us."