2 area waterways benefit from grants
Projects are planned for Wilson Creek in Caldwell County and the Reddies River in Wilkes through a donation from the N.C. Wildlife Habitat Foundation.
The work will be undertaken by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
At Wilson Creek, one of the most popular mountain streams in the state, efforts are to be made to control invasive non-native plants.
Improved access is the goal at Reddies River.
The Habitat Foundation, which has wide-ranging conservation and outdoor recreation goals, is providing $8,000 for the two projects. Some federal and state funds also will be used.
The emphasis at the Wilson Creek watershed will be controlling Japanese knotweed and honeysuckle, coltsfoot, kudzu and others. According to a statement from the commission, “these have become widespread and threaten the ecological integrity of the river.”
The agency will use herbicides on the Lutz Tract of the watershed in the Pisgah Game Land and erect informational kiosks about the plants and the eradication attempt.
Four sets of steps providing angler access are planned for a one-mile stretch of Reddies River, classified as Delayed Harvest Trout Water. The section extends from the North Wilkesboro water supply dam to the Yadkin River.
It is bordered by a paved walking trail that is part of the Yadkin River Greenway. However, the height and steepness of the bank prevents many anglers from reaching the river.
“The steps will have a low profile, which should minimize damage from flooding and require only minor bank grading,” said Bob Curry, chief of the commission’s inland fisheries division. “They should reduce erosion problems caused by anglers walking on other sections of the river bank.”
The improvements are expected to reduce the amount of sediment swept into the river and improve water quality and habitat for trout. Observer News Services
Hearing on decline of blue catfish
For almost half a century, big blue catfish have been targeted by anglers at Santee Cooper Reservoir in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.
Blue “cats” weighing up to 136 pounds have been boated by fishermen at Lakes Marion and Moultrie, and in the Diversion Canal connecting the two big impoundments.
However, in recent years the catch has dwindled.
This decline is to be the purpose of a public hearing next Thursday in Moncks Corner, near Lake Moultrie. It is to be held starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Santee Cooper Auditorium.
Dieter Melhorn of Gaston County, president of the Carolina Catfish Club, is urging members and other avid catfish anglers to attend.
“It’s a chance to turn this great fishery around,” said Melhorn.
Blue catfish from the Mississippi River were stocked at Santee Cooper by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources almost 50 years ago. Those waters proved almost perfect for them and the species thrived.
Officials of the DNR indicate that a stricter catch limit may be needed to help the blue catfish population in the two sprawling lakes recover.
“It has gotten to the point where we feel like we may need to do something to reduce the harvest,” Ross Self, the agency’s chief of freshwater fisheries, told the Columbia State.
Melhorn blames part of the decline on commercial fishermen, who set hundreds of hooks on “trot lines” and ship their catch alive to other states, where sport anglers pay a fee to catch them in private ponds and lakes. Tom Higgins
Catches Of The Week
• A sailfish by Chapel Miller, 7, of Georgtown, S.C. The youngster was fishing off Georgetown with skipper Mark Rogers aboard the Rascal.
• Eighteen white marlin during a single trip offshore of Oregon Inlet by a party trolling from the Qualifier with skipper Fin Gaddy.
• A 48-inch red drum in the surf at Corolla by Danny Fletcher of Elizabeth City.
• A mix of 10 smallmouth and spotted bass at Fontana Lake by Ronnie Crisp, one of which weighed 5½ pounds. Crisp, of Bryson City, was casting a lure named the Popping Frog and he released most of the fish.
• A 60-pound cobia by Geo “Cowboy” Craig of Elizabeth City while fishing at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. His dad, George, then caught a 40-pounder.
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