Numerous fishing spots dot the landscape of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, offering urban anglers a chance to wet a line without having to set aside a whole day for it.
Thanks to a joint effort between the local department of parks and recreation and the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission, anglers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area will find not just fishing spots, but fishing spots that are stocked, well-maintained and contain fish-attracting structures, all of which can mean the difference between a day of fruitless casting and a day of catching fish.
While anglers of all ages are welcome at these fishing holes, they are especially good for introducing young anglers to the sport of fishing.
"Hiring a guide or taking a boat out to spend a full day of fishing might be too much for my girls to handle right now," said Charlotte's Tina Johnson, who has two pre-teen daughters. "I'd like to work them up to that, and fishing in the parks is a good starting place."
Col. Francis Beatty Park is one of six North Carolina Community Fishing Program parks with fishing ponds. Located in Matthews, the 265-acre park features a 20-acre pond that is stocked with bass and bream and is open daily from dawn until dusk.
Freedom Park, Hornet's Nest Park, McAlpine Creek Park, Park Road Park and Reedy Creek Park are parks with ponds similar to the on at Beaty Park. All the parks have bathrooms, and most have picnic shelters as well as other amenities.
Five other Mecklenburg County parks that are part of the Community Fishing Program are located on Lakes Wylie, Norman, and Mountain Island.
McDowell Nature Preserve, located on the shores of Lake Wylie, is an 1,107-acre park with a spacious waterfront deck for fishing, as well as a dozen piers that give anglers access to bass, bream, catfish, crappie and white perch. Johnson took her daughters fishing there recently.
"The fish like crickets and worms," said 7-year old Anna Johnson, who was catching bream around the fish attractors from one of the fishing piers, "but they bite crickets a little better."
Other parks include Latta Plantation on MountainIslandLake, and Blythe Landing, JettonPark, and Ramsey Creek – all on Lake Norman. Like the smaller parks with ponds, these also have fish-attracting structures placed within easy casting distance of the fishing piers and other likely fishing spots. They also have bathrooms, picnic shelters, and other amenities like kayak rentals and hiking trails.
For more information on these parks, visit http://charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/parkandrec/Pages/default.aspx.