The old saying goes, “a bad day fishing beats a good day at work”. Well, no matter how your day on the water turns out, there’s fun to be had fishing at Mecklenburg County Parks, and fall is a great time for it! Old anglers will tell you that fish know when the cooler days finally come, the cold ones won’t be far behind. This “fall feed” is when those fish will be storing up the calories for the less active and food-scarce winter months.
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation maintains 27 miles of shoreline at Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake, and Lake Wylie, along with multiple ponds and smaller lakes that are stocked for public fishing. But whether the fish are biting or not, fishing is fantastic family time!
“Fishing is great ‘outside time’ with the kids,” said Bill Bartee, host of the Carolina Outdoors podcast and owner of Jesse Brown’s Outdoors. “We’re lucky here that we have a mix of classic, in-town parks like Freedom and Park Road, and ‘newer’ spots like McDowell and Francis Beatty.”
True, you don’t generally share your secret fishing spot, but we’re here to tell you no matter where you live in Mecklenburg County, chances are there’s a fishing hole close by. Here are some of our favorites for fall!
Yes, just a couple of minutes from uptown Charlotte, you’d be surprised what you can pull from the lake at Freedom Park! You’ll find largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill here. A great place for bank fishing with the little ones, and easy access to the playground when their patience fades.
On the shores of Lake Wylie, McDowell Nature Preserve and Copperhead Island have boat launches for fishing further out, and seven piers for fishing, too! Bass, catfish, and other panfish are plentiful here. Plus, a fantastic shelter, volleyball pit, and fire ring for group outings!
Latta Plantation Nature Preserve:
So much history here, plus kayak and bank access to Mountain Island Lake. You can literally spend all day here, between the Nature Center, hiking and horseback trails, Raptor Center, and historic Latta Plantation home, but you’re here to fish! You can get loaner tackle here, and buy bait.
McAlpine Creek Park:
Renowned by runners, walkers, and cyclists for its Greenway, McAlpine Creek Park is home to a 3-acre lake stocked with catfish, bass, and bluegill. There’s a small pier, and several bank-side bences. Accessible from all sides, there’s plenty of elbow room here to practice your fly-casting!
This may be one of the hottest ‘in town’ fishing spots. Colonel Francis Beatty Park is 265-acre park. It’s by no means massive, but it has plenty of amenities. The 20-acre pond is deeper than most at 18 feet, and is stocked with largemouth bass and bluegill. Open every day from dawn until dusk.
“The best part about family fishing at Mecklenburg County Park and Rec spots is that your day doesn’t have to be all about angling,” added Bartee. “With playgrounds, trails, and picnic shelters, there are lots of ways to enjoy the outdoors!”
If you’re new to the whole fishing thing, you can borrow a rod and reel at a participating Mecklenburg County Park and Rec Nature Center, including Latta Plantation, McDowell, or Reedy Creek. Latta Plantation even sells bait, so you’ll have everything you need. Call in advance to check for availability, then enjoy the fishing!
Before you go:
Don’t forget! A North Carolina Fishing License is required for all anglers ages 16 and older. You can buy your fishing license online at this link, or call 1-888-248-6834 for more information.