Free Programs at NC Wildlife Education Centers in July

Source: NC Wildlife Resources Commission social media
Source: NC Wildlife Resources Commission social media

By Jodie B. Owen,

Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is offering free outdoor-related workshops for people of all ages and skill levels in July.

The workshops are open on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration is required and may be done online at…/Pisgah. The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is located at 1401 Fish Hatchery Road, Pisgah Forest NC (Transylvania County).

Introduction to Fly Fishing (July 15, 2017 @ 9am-3pm)

Open to participants 12 and up. Learn the basics of fly fishing, such as equipment, knots and casting, and then spend a couple of hours fishing on the Davidson River. All equipment and materials will be provided. Participants should bring a lunch and non-slip shoes or waders.

A Week in the Water (July 10-14, 2017 @ 9am-noon daily)

Open to participants ages 10 to 15. This week-long series of hands-on classes will focus on the art and skill of fly fishing. Participants will learn about equipment, knots, casting techniques and more.

Nature Nuts: Wild Woodlands (July 15 & 24, 2017 @ 9-11am)

Open to ages 4-7. Discover the animals that call the forest home. Learn about the similarities and differences between various groups of animals, and explore the forest in search of animals and their homes. Activities include story time, crafts and hikes through the forest.

Eco Explorers: Salamanders (July 15 & 24, 2017 @ 1-3pm)

Open to ages 8-13. Spend the afternoon with Pisgah Center staff learning about some of North Carolina’s most fascinating amphibians. Learn about local species of salamanders, their habitat requirements and why they are so important to North Carolina’s ecosystems.

A Week in the Creek (July 17-21, 2017 @ 9am-noon daily)

Open to participants ages 6 to 10. This week-long series of hands-on classes will focus on water quality and the fish and wildlife that depend on local water systems.

Introduction to Fly Fishing: Lake Fishing (July 18, 2017 @ 8am-1pm)

Open to ages 12 and up. Learn the basics of fly fishing for lakes. Topics covered include equipment, knots, casting techniques and aquatic entomology. Equipment and materials will be provided. Participants should bring a lunch and meet at High Falls parking area in DuPont State Recreational Forest. Limited to six participants who must have completed the Introduction to Fly Fishing class or have equivalent experience before taking this class.

Advanced WILD – Mountain Streams (July 20, 2017 @ 9am-4pm)

Open to formal and non-formal educators ages 18 and up. Spend the day with a Wildlife Commission fisheries biologist and Pisgah Center education staff as they share techniques used in the field to study mountain streams and the wildlife that inhabit them. Some of the questions discussed include: How healthy are North Carolina’s trout populations? What other animals live in or use the rivers and streams? What are the factors affecting mountain waterways? Participants also will learn activities they can take back to their classrooms and share with their students. Prepare to get wet and have fun in the Davidson River. CEU and EEC credits are available upon workshop completion.

Casting for Beginners: Level 1 (July 20, 2017 @ 10am-3pm)

Open to ages 12 and up. This is a perfect introductory workshop for beginners. Participants will learn various casting techniques at their own pace from experienced instructors. This class will be held at Lake Imaging in DuPont State Recreational Forest. All equipment and materials will be provided. Participants should bring a lunch.

On the Water: Looking Glass Creek (July 21, 2017 @ 8am-noon)

Open to ages 12 and up. Participants can practice their fly-fishing skills on Looking Glass Creek in Pisgah National Forest under the supervision of experienced fly-fishing instructors. Participants will learn about wild trout regulations, wading, reading the water, fly selection, presentation, casting, knots and stream entomology. Equipment and materials will be provided.

Snorkeling in the Stream (July 26, 2017 @ 10am-2pm)

Open to participants 8 and up. Come spend the afternoon with experienced Pisgah staff exploring a local stream in search of aquatic macroinvertebrates. Based on the aquatic organisms they find, participants can determine the water quality of the stream and learn how these little critters play such an important role in the ecosystem and to mountain trout. Snorkels and masks are available, so participants should come prepared to get wet. Swimwear and a towel are recommended.

For more information on July workshops, call 828.877.4423, or sign up online. The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is located near Brevard, just south of Asheville, by the Davidson River in Transylvania County. The center features nature trails and five large aquariums representing aquatic mountain habitats. The center is adjacent to the Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery, where trout are raised in 54 raceways. The center is open Monday through Friday from December through March, and Monday through Saturday from April through November. Hours are 8am to 4:45pm.

In addition to the open-enrollment programs listed above, the Commission offers group programs for 10 or more people who call to schedule a program. Groups can schedule the date, time and topic of the program. For more information on group programs or the open-enrollment programs listed below, call 828.877.4423.

For more information on the Wildlife Commission’s four wildlife education centers and other activities and events, visit

Pechmann Fishing Education Center

The NC Wildlife Resources Commission is offering fishing skills workshops and events at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center in Fayetteville NC (Cumberland County).

All workshops and events are free. Pre-registration is required and registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Many workshops fill up quickly; however, registrants can sign up online for waitlists, which are also on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center is located at 7489 Raeford Road, across from Lake Rim. Wildlife Commission staff at the Pechmann Center conducts fishing workshops, events, and clinics throughout the year. Most programs are free and open to the public.

For more information about the center, or to see a schedule of upcoming events, visit and click on the “Learning” link.

Beginning Fly Tying Course (July 15, 2017 @ 9am-5pm)

This Fly-tying Course is designed to provide the student with a basic knowledge of fly-tying tools, materials, patterns, and tying techniques. Trained instructors begin with simple fly patterns and steadily advance toward more complex flies, allowing the students to build on their skills. Students will complete six fly patterns over approximately eight hours of instruction.

To ensure each student receives proper instruction, this course is limited to 25 participants. All tools and materials are provided. In addition, participants will receive a Fly-tying Handbook that provides them with reference to the patterns tied in class.

This course is suitable for ages 12 years old and older. However, participants 12 to 15 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Introduction to Kayak Fishing Level III (July 22, 2017 @ 6:30-9pm)

This course, which is open to participants ages 16 and older, is the second in a series of three designed to give anglers and paddlers the skills to safely and successfully fish in sheltered waters from a kayak. Participants will meet at Lake Rim, which is directly across the street from the Pechmann Center, for instruction on launching and landing a kayak, paddle strokes, capsize recovery, anchoring, and basic fishing techniques. Participants should have completed Introduction to Kayak Fishing Level 1 before taking this workshop. All equipment and materials are provided. Limited to 12 participants. For questions about this course, contact Gerald Klauss, an educator with the center, at or 910.868.5003 x.12.

Monthly Fly-Tying Forum (July 27, 2017 @ 6:30-8:30pm)

This monthly fly-tying forum takes place the fourth Thursday of each month and provides participants with an opportunity to enhance their fly-tying skills. It is an extension of the Commission’s Beginning Fly-tying Course, and participants are given a handout for each pattern that includes the materials list and tying instructions so they can practice at home. The handout may be added to the fly-tying handbook that participants receive in the Beginning Fly-tying Course. While participants are encouraged to use their own equipment, equipment and materials are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. This forum is open to participants of all skill levels ages 10 and up; however, participants ages 15 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For additional information about any of the fishing skills workshops and events at the Pechmann Center, contact Thomas Carpenter, center director, at or 910.868.5003 x.11.

For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit

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