Some people go to the market for their fish.
But, anglers go to the water.
Fort Bragg has fishing opportunities stocked to the gills.
J.D. Hodges, a former Marine, said he fishes three times a week, if not more.
“I use my sportsman’s license,” Hodges said. “It’s in the blood; I’ve been fishing all my life, so this is absolutely a way of life.”
Hodges said he once caught a 10-pound bass at Wyatt Lake. When March rolled around, he turned to Lower McKellar’s Lake for catfish.
Staff Sgt. David Duncan, 82nd Brigade Support Battalion, grew up fishing as a child in Kentucky. Having been stationed at Fort Bragg for 15 years, he said the lakes at Fort Bragg are managed very well and provide opportunity for relaxing.
There are 18 lakes for anglers to use, said Joe Heisinger, fisheries biologist, Fort Bragg Wildlife Branch, Directorate of Public Works. However, because of damage from Hurricane Matthew, Overhills and Smith lakes are currently closed.
Fishermen aged 16 and above are authorized to fish in any body of water at Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall as long as they hold a valid Fort Bragg Fishing Permit, as well as a North Carolina State Fishing License, Heisinger said. They must also possess a permit to access Fort Bragg.
Anglers who are younger than 16 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The price varies depending on the type of permit needed, from $5 daily, $15 weekly to $25 annually. A combination fishing/hunting permit costs $40.
Exceptions, said Heisinger, are made for seniors, disabled veterans and totally disabled (those who cannot be gainfully employed) and others. For hours of permit sales and associated costs, visit https://bragg.isportsman.net/availablepermits.aspx (isportsman is an interactive system that allows one to purchase permits online). Or, stop by the Hunting and Fishing Center, located at 5094 McKellar’s Road.
“There are different regulations for places on the installation but we’re trying to make sure the fishermen have all the information they need before they go out,” Heisinger said.
Popular fish caught in waters on the installation include catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish. The two most popular lakes are those used for catching catfish — Wyatt Lake and Lower McKellar’s Lake, he added. The lakes are stocked as needed through private vendors to ensure that a diverse fishing population exists.
Per XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg Regulation 200-1-1, which provides hunting and fishing oversight, areas off-limits to fisherman are training areas, firebreaks and unpaved roads.
Additionally, the Fort Bragg Garrison Commander maintains the authority to bar someone from fishing at the installation.
The regulation also specifies the types of watercraft permitted and in which bodies of water. Review guidelines online at https://bragg.isportsman.net/files/PDF%2FREG%20200-1-1.pdf.
For more information about fishing opportunities at Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall, stop by the Hunting and Fishing Center, visit https://bragg.isportsman.net/default.aspx, like Fort Bragg Wildlife on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fortbraggwildlife/ or call 432-5427.