The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, working cooperatively with Gaston County Parks and Recreation, recently constructed a universally accessible fishing pier on Dallas Park’s large pond, in Dallas.
The pier is 43-feet long with a 48-foot T-shaped end, benches and alternating high/low hand rails. Commission and parks staffs also created an accessible paved path from the parking lot to the pier and a kiosk that provides information on fishing regulations, such as size and creel limits, as well as information about the local fisheries.
Dallas Park’s large pond is one of three ponds located in the park. It was recently drained for repairs, and then refilled. Commission staff stocked the pond with bluegill in March. Plans have been made for stockings of largemouth bass in 2014 and channel catfish in 2015, according to Chris Wood, a fisheries biologist with the Wildlife Commission.
“As we work with Gaston County Parks and Rec to re-establish the fishery in Dallas Park’s recently refilled large pond, we’re staggering the fish stockings,” Wood said. “By stocking fingerling bluegill this year and delaying the bass stocking until 2014, we are giving the bluegill time to spawn before the largemouth bass are stocked to ensure the bass have a good food base when they arrive. The monthly stockings of catchable sized channel catfish will begin in 2015 after the fingerling bluegill and bass have had time to grow too large for the catfish to eat.”
Because the refilled pond only has fingerling bluegill now, Wood suggested that Dallas Park visitors fish in one of the other two ponds that have good numbers of bluegill, largemouth bass, carp and channel catfish.
“In addition, Poston Park and Rankin Lake are both located nearby in the same county,” Wood said. “Collectively, these public fishing areas offer a variety of excellent, new fishing opportunities in Gaston County.”
Dallas Park is also part of the Commission’s Tackle Loaner Program, which allows park visitors to “check out” a free loaner rod and reel for the day. Anglers register for the Tackle Loaner Program at the Gaston County Parks and Recreation office located in the Gaston County Citizens Resource Center in Dallas Park. Park staff gives registrants tackle loaner identification cards that let them check out rods and reels for the day on a first-come, first-served basis. Anglers under 16 must have a parent or guardian complete the registration form.
After returning the loaner rods and reels to the park office, first-time participants under 16 receive a free mini-tackle box containing jigs, a small spinnerbait, hooks, bobbers, sinkers and a stringer. Anglers can use the tackle loaner identification cards at any Tackle Loaner Program site in North Carolina, but they must return the rods and reels to the original loaner site.
In addition to constructing the fishing pier on Dallas Park’s large pond, Commission staff this spring also constructed universally accessible fishing piers on two nearby public fishing areas — Broughton Pond Public Fishing Area in Burke County and Wildcat Lake in Avery County.
Gaston County Parks and Recreation paid for Dallas Park’s pier, kiosk and accessible path while the Commission provided the manpower and equipment, which were funded through the Sport Fish Restoration Program utilizing state fishing license money and funds generated from taxes on fishing tackle and other fishing-related expenditures.
For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, including an interactive map of more than 500 public fishing access areas throughout the state, visit www.ncwildlife.org/fishing. For a list of all boating access areas open to the public in North Carolina, visit www.ncwildlife.org/boating.
Logo courtesy North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission