New hiking trails open in N.C. mountains
Three new public hiking trails have been constructed off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina.
Each winds through designated Game Lands of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, which built them along with the Conservation Fund and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. Private citizens also contributed to the projects.
The three are:
• The Rose Creek Trail, a 1.3-mile loop that’s rated easy. It’s in the Pisgah Game Land near Spruce Pine and Gillespie Gap. It is now part of the Overmountain Trail that holds Revolutionary War significance. Patriotic mountain men took this route on their way to fight and defeat British-led forces at Kings Mountain in 1781.
• The Little Table Rock Mountain Trail measures 2.1 miles, also in the Pisgah Game Land, and is almost straight. It is rated a moderate challenge to hikers, especially those planning a round trip. It affords hikers views of the North Toe River Valley and Roan Mountain. During winter months Linville Mountain also is visible.
• The Saddle Mountain Trail lying within the Mitchell River Game Land and is a 2-mile loop with a moderate rating. At the trail’s summit hikers can see the Fisher and Mitchell River valleys, plus Hanging Rock and Pilot Mountain in the distance. Observer News Services
N.C. catfishermen end Virginia winning streak
For five straight years a team of invited N.C. catfishing enthusiasts had returned from Kerr Reservoir in defeat, beaten by their host Virginians.
The streak ended last Saturday in the annual event called “The Ice Bowl” at Clarksville, Va.
The North Carolinians finally won. Their 18 biggest fish, the allowable limit, outweighed the Virginians’ catch, 242 pounds to 240.
Thirty-three N.C. teams from across the Piedmont, including anglers from Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, competed against 55 teams from Virginia.
The largest catfish caught in the competition, weighing 39.8 pounds, was boated by the Tar Heels’ Todd Swaim of Walkertown. He was fishing with friend Adam Beane. All the catfish were released after being weighed.
“Ice Bowl sure was an appropriate name this year,” said Mac Byrum of Denver, N.C., a participant. “Conditions were miserable. The temperature ranged from 15 to 25 degrees. And their were wind gusts to 25 miles an hour, creating waves up to 3 feet on that big lake.
“For the first time in my life I had to dodge an ice floe to fish. Big pieces of ice were breaking off from frozen coves and floating into the lake.” Tom Higgins
• A 2.7-mile upper stretch of the North Mills River, a popular trout fishing stream in Henderson County, will not be stocked this spring. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been forced to cancel scheduled release of fish from March through May because of the U.S. Forest Service temporarily closing public access for a timber harvest. Stocking will continue lower in the North Mills. ONS
• With 43 minutes to go, David Lynn of Rockingham caught a 6-pound, 5-ounce spiny dogfish to win the ninth annual Johnnie Mercer’s Pier Dogfish Tournament last Saturday at Wrightsville Beach, taking home $310. Lynn’s fish was the only one caught in the seven-hour-long tournament that drew 100 anglers who fished 123 rods, according to tournament organizer Al Baird, a Charlotte business executive. Jack Horan
Catch of the week
• Limits of 20 crappie each at Lake Norman by Adam Yarborough, Bo and John Crutchfield, all of Denver, N.C. It’s the third straight weekend they’ve limited while fishing in the lake’s Mountain Creek Arm.
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