Fishing ban at Jack’s Creek lifted

Published 4:47 pm Friday, September 17, 2010

Staff Writer

The short-lived fishing ban at Jack’s Creek has been lifted, at least for now.
The “No fishing” signs erected on the banks of Jack’s Creek were scheduled to be removed Thursday, according to Allen Lewis, the city’s public-works director. The signs were erected earlier this month, mostly as a safety precaution, according to city officials.
Teresa Hamilton, supervisor of waterfront docks for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the main reason the fishing ban was imposed is because the creek’s banks are not stable.
“The banks at Jack’s Creek are not reinforced by a bulkhead,” Hamilton said. “So, when public-works employees see people fishing at the creek, they will ask them to stop for their own safety.”
Hamilton said when people are on the creek’s banks, the banks sometimes cave in because they are not reinforced by a bulkhead. For that reason, standing and/or fishing from the banks is not safe, she said.
Lewis said the ban on fishing at Jack’s Creek was imposed because some fishermen dug holes in the banks to find worms and left litter, including bait containers, on the banks. Lewis asked anybody fishing at Jack’s Creek not to dig holes to find worms or leave bait containers and other litter on the creek’s banks.
City Manager James C. Smith, during a brief interview Thursday, said the “No fishing” signs will be replaced with signs asking people not to dig holes along the creek or litter there.
“We’re going to put some signs up and see how that works,” he said.
The ban was not well-received by some people. Several submissions to the Sound Off column in the Washington Daily News had expressed that opinion.
Councilman Ed Moultrie would prefer that fishing be allowed to continue at the creek, but he said he could understand the need for the city to prohibit fishing there for safety reasons.
“I wouldn’t like it,” Moultrie said of a prohibition on fishing at Jack’s Creek. “I go down there sometimes to fish and relax my mind. … I’d hate to see a ban on fishing.”
As for safety concerns related to the creek’s banks caving in, Moultrie said people who visit Jack’s Creek to fish or for recreational purposes may need to be made “more aware of their surroundings to keep an accident form occurring.” He also said those people should also be made more aware of the need to clean up after themselves during visits to the creek and adjacent land.
Fishing is banned in other places in the city, including the boardwalk that runs by the manmade wetlands east of the N.C. Estuarium, the promenade that runs from the west end of Stewart Parkway to the boardwalk at the Estuarium and from the city-owned docks.
Fishing is banned on the boardwalk because it is too narrow to accommodate fishermen and passersby, Hamilton explained. The same reason applies to the ban on fishing from the promenade. The docks are for boaters who dock their vessels there, not for fishermen, Hamilton noted.
“The dock attendants make sure the rules are applied down there,” Hamilton said. “Because the area is very narrow, it is not meant for fishing. The boardwalk is really meant for walking, running and for traffic to be moving.”