It's easier than ever for anglers to fish at George Poston Park Lake in Gaston County now that a "universally accessible" fishing pier has been completed, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission announced today (Aug. 23).

The recently completed pier is a project of the NCWRC and Gaston County Parks and Recreation Department, and extends 91 feet from the shore.

The floating pier features a T-shaped section at the end that is 80 feet long and 11 feet wide, ensuring anglers will be within easy casting distance of the brush-filled creek channel in the middle of the lake, as well as a fish feeder that will also be installed.

The pier also includes alternating low and high handrails to make it easier for children and wheelchair-bound anglers to cast their lines into the 11-acre lake, which was impounded in June this year.

In addition to installing the new fishing pier, NCWRC workers also will help develop the park by stocking the lake with an assortment of popular fish species.

Fingerling bluegill and redear sunfish will be stocked in the Poston Park Lake this fall, followed by a stocking of fingerling largemouth bass in Spring 2012.

After the fingerlings have had at least one year to grow, catchable-sized channel catfish ranging from 7 to 12 inches will be stocked in the spring of 2013.

The staggered fish-stocking schedule will create a self-sustaining fishery in Poston Park Lake without incurring a great expense for Gaston County, according to NCWRC fisheries biologist Chris Wood.

"The sunfish and largemouth bass that we stock will be 2 to 3 inches long," Wood said. "They won't be big, but they will be stocked free of charge through our agency's warm-water stocking program.

"The channel catfish stocking will be done through our Community Fishing Program, which creates a put-and-take fishery through these catchable-sized catfish."

Gaston County Parks and Recreation Department Director Cathy Hart said the decision to stock the small fingerling fish in the new lake was easy.

"We could have purchased large bluegill and bass from a commercial fish hatchery, but getting the free fingerling fish and asking anglers to be patient for a year was more fiscally responsible to Gaston County citizens," Hart said. "It won't be long before people will be reeling in nice-sized fish from the new pier."

At Poston Park, the Commission will pay for 75 percent of the fishing pier, fish feeder, catfish stockings and fish feed through the Sport Fish Restoration Fund, while Gaston County Parks and Recreation will pay the remaining 25 percent.

Discover more about Poston Park on the Gaston County Parks and Recreation Department Web site or by calling 704.922.2160