The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has partnered with Alleghany and Surry counties to provide anglers with two new public fishing areas on the New River and Ararat River.
Farmers Fish Camp Public Fishing Area (PFA), a joint partnership between the Commission and Alleghany County, provides access to the New River northwest of Sparta. The PFA has access stairs with a handrail and a slide for canoe, kayaks and other paddlecraft. GPS coordinates are 36.551317, -81.182612
The Commission previously had a public fishing area at this site but it was closed in 2013 when the bridge adjacent to the launch site was destroyed by a flood. Although the bridge was eventually replaced, alterations to the former access site made during construction of the new bridge prevented the area from being used as a fishing access again, until now.
“While the design of the new bridge made it more difficult to provide fishing access, we were able to restore fishing access to this location thanks to the cooperation we received from the N.C. Department of Transportation and neighboring landowners,” said Kin Hodges, the Commission’s fisheries biologist in the region. “Anglers launching from Farmers Fish Camp PFA can fish for smallmouth bass, rock bass, redbreast sunfish and muskellunge.”
The Commission constructed Farmers Fish Camp PFA using money from the Sport Fish Restoration Program, as well as fishing license sales receipts. Alleghany County will maintain the area.
On the Ararat River west of Pilot Mountain is the new 268 East PFA, a joint partnership with Surry County, where Commission staff provided engineering and survey work using money from the Sport Fish Restoration Program, as well as fishing license sales receipts. Surry County paid to have the site built by a private contractor using funds provided by the Duke Energy Water Resources Fund. GPS coordinates for the PFA are: 36.366652, -80.543216.
The PFA has a hand launch for canoes, kayaks and other paddlecraft and anglers can fish for smallmouth bass, redbreast sunfish and bullhead catfishes. It can be used as a take-out point for anglers launching at formal, public accesses in Mt. Airy or as a put-in point for anglers taking out at the Pilot Mountain State Park Shoals Access on the Yadkin River, although the distances of both floats may be longer than what is normally considered ideal for float trips, according to Hodges.
“We are working with Surry County to develop additional access points that would reduce float times to and from the 268 East access, but in the meantime, there are several informal access points above and below the 268 East access that can be used by anglers looking for shorter floats,” Hodge said.
To find one of more than 500 public fishing areas throughout the state, visit the Commission’s interactive fishing map. For a list of all boating access areas open to the public in North Carolina, visit www.ncwildlife.org/boating.