Outdoor Journal

Pier review: If the specter of losing your prized Fred Arbogast Hula Popper to overhanging trees has kept you away from Chatuge Reservoir near Hayesville, take heart: Soon anglers will have three choice, snag-free spots to cast from. At the Shooting Creek arm of Chatuge’s northeastern corner, engineers have built a floating pier 56 feet long and 32 feet wide, providing year-round fishing access, even during epic draw-downs. Additionally, two 12-by-24-foot fishing platforms have been built at the lake.

The fishing spots come courtesy of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Forest Service.

Anglers routinely catch spotted, largemouth and smallmouth bass at Chatuge, as well as catfish and sunfish. Rumor has it there are even bigger creatures lurking beneath its dark waters. Go see for yourself.

For a complete list of existing access points, visit www.ncwildlife.org.

Like Woodstock with lugged soles: The American Hiking Society will host a four-day “Great Southeastern Hiking Festival” beginning May 3 and dividing time between Black Mountain and Montreat.

Most of the goings-on will take place at the Montreat Conference Center, but on Saturday, May 5, events will move to Black Mountain and feature vendors, entertainers, outdoor-education opportunities and abundant food. Saturday’s portion is free.

Along with the requisite seminars and schmoozing, the festival will include a slew of hikes to local beauty spots, led by representatives from the American Hiking Society, Carolina Mountain Club, Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail, North Carolina Bartram Trail Society, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Nantahala Hiking Club and Montreat Trail Club. Put it on your schedule. Last one there is a freeze-dried egg.

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