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CHATUGE LAKE, N.C. (Feb. 22) - In just a few months, anglers visiting Chatuge Lake will have three more choice spots from which to cast.

A joint effort led by N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's Division of Inland Fisheries is nearing completion of a new public access area on the Shooting Creek arm of Chatuge. Located in the northeastern corner of the lake, the area consists of a 'T'-shaped pier extending 56 feet into the lake and measuring 32 feet across at its widest point. This floating structure will provide year-round fishing access, even with a winter drawdown that can drop the lake's water level by nine feet.

In addition to the pier, two 12-by-24-foot raised fishing platforms have been created. Upon completion of a paved access trail this spring, the site will provide the angling public another universal-access site, according to Paul Pittman, the development crew coordinator for the area.

"We're trying to provide universal access to all the waters we can," he said, noting the structures are also handicap accessible. "We've done that on several lakes here in the mountains and on streams, too."

Similar projects have been completed on Laughter Pond, Lake Julian, Lake Imaging, Richland Creek and the French Broad River, among others.

The project was funded through contributions from the Tennessee Valley Authority, which completed damming of the 13-mile-long reservoir in 1942. Construction of the structure was provided by the Wildlife Resources Commission's Engineering Services and Inland Fisheries divisions and the US Forest Service.

Anglers routinely catch spotted, largemouth and smallmouth bass from the site, in addition to catfish and sunfish.

Pittman said several more access areas are currently in the preliminary stages, mentioning planned development on the Tuckasegee and Pigeon rivers.
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