Fishing in strange places-North Carolina’s Prison Fishery

This sign at a fishing hole will make you keep your eyes open!

I am very addicted to fly fishing and can never really get enough time on the water to satisfy my addiction. I often find myself “jonesing” to cast a fly. Sometimes I can spend a day with friends floating an abundant tail water fishery. However, since I can rarely devote an entire day to fishing without spending a lot of time getting it set up, I am always on the look out for places to catch fish on a fly.

Recently while visiting my parents who live in Morganton, NC. My Dad mentioned to me that he knew of an interesting place to do a little casting for bass and pan fish. I jumped at the chance and grabbed my vest and rod and we were off. 

Dad told me that the ponds we would be visiting were on a tract of land that was part of the South Mountains Game Lands. Broughton Pond with the Juvenile Hall High rise in the backgroundThe area known as Broughton Pond is actually two ponds that are sandwiched between two correctional facilities. One is Foothills Correctional Institute, a traditional looking prison with the razor wire, searchlights, and guys with shotguns etc. The other is a high rise building that holds juvenile offenders. Apparently the hunters in the area are not the only ones required to wear blaze orange.

  Both ponds are very easy to access with one having a canoe launch and a fishing pier.  The second pond is not developed but accessible none the less.  The ponds have a fair population of large mouth bass and blue gill. There are a lot of branches and stumps out in the water that should provide good cover for fish.  A personal pontoon or canoe would probably be of help getting you into better position than is possible when fishing from the bank.

We fished for about two hours without incident.  Although I did hear someone yelling, “Help me, help me!” once and had a pretty good view of some inmates “out on the yard”.  I did not catch any bass that day but did manage to have good luck on the pan fish.  They seemed rather intrigued by the small hare’s ear nymph I was casting. Everyone else I saw fishing that day appeared to be using bait.

Every angler that I know enjoys gearing up and spending a day on their favorite trout stream. Sometimes the time and effort that it takes to make that happen just isn’t possible.  When our busy schedules prevent us from taking that dream trip, it is nice to have places we can go that are easy to get to and er...somewhat pristine. prsion sunsetAs we left the “Prison Ponds” that day we saw a sunset that would rival any I have seen on the finest trout stream. I guess it’s just the Big Guy Upstairs’ way of saying that he had a hand in putting good fishing in strange places.

Broughton Pond is located in Burke County, North Carolina near the town of Morganton.  From I-40 take US 64 South .8 mile and turn left onto Salem Rd.  Go one mile and turn left on to Burkemont Rd.  Go one mile on Burkemont and turn left on to State Road 2002 and go 1.1 miles to the end of the road. Turn right on a gravel road which leads to the parking areas for the pond.

Flies to Consider when visiting the Prison Pond:

Small nymphs like bead head hare’s ear and pheasant tail.

Poppers in various colors. Dry flies can also tempt pan fish.

Try stripping a streamer or zonker for bass.

  Photos and accounts copyright 2005 - all rights reserved





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