Learn To Fish At Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

The Arabia Alliance recently received a $23,000-grant to develop a Junior Ranger Angler Program, which teaches parents and kids the basics of fishing and fishing safety. 

What better summer pastime is there than going down to the creek or lake for a couple of hours to do some fishing? With more than 40,000 acres and 16 parks and trailheads, including lots of access to the South River, Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is full of fishing opportunities and events. So grab your rod and reel and let’s explore all the fishing fun in the National Heritage Area.

Junior Ranger Angler Program

While fishing has long been an option at various parks in the Heritage Area, back in February the Arabia Alliance was awarded a grant from the National Parks Foundation in the amount of $23,950 to develop a Junior Ranger Angler Program.

The Junior Ranger Angler program connects young people with the wonders of national parks through fishing, water exploration, and waterway stewardship. Building community connections around meaningful experiences outdoors, Junior Ranger Angler welcomes and introduces youth to national parks through meaningful engagements. Through Junior Ranger Angler, fishing is the catalyst for people and communities to be inspired, experience joy, and build lasting relationships while connecting with nature and the bodies of water in and around national parks.”

-NPS Junior Ranger Angler Program

The Junior Ranger Angler events in the National Heritage Area teach children and their adults Fishing 101, including:

  • Rod and reel basics
  • Bait and how to use it
  • How to cast
  • Fishing and water safety
  • Basic fish anatomy
  • Care for wildlife and local waterways

The program uses the National Park Service’s Let’s Go Fishing book to learn about fish and fishing with a focus on safety and care for the natural environment. Fishing equipment is provided at every event or you can bring your own to use or learn to use. Junior Rangers who complete these fishing basics earn a special Junior Ranger Angler badge too! 

A Big Catch For The NHA

So far, these Junior Angler classes have proven popular. The NHA’s first Junior Ranger Angler Fishing with Friends on 5/18 and Father’s Day Fishing 6/15 were both fully registered with 25 participants each! And at the Great American Campout and Environmental Career Day at Hairston Park on 6/22, 50 people registered and even more showed up for the Arabia Alliance’s Fishing 101 with our Junior Ranger Angler Coordinator, Ranger Evonne Blythers.

Junior Ranger Angler Coordinator Blythers, center, teaches children from NPS’ “Let’s Go Fishin” book.

“Teaching children and families to fish offers a doorway into the natural world,” said Arabia Alliance Program Manager Jennifer Dickie, who’s spearheaded this new fishing education initiative at Arabia Mountain NHA. “The experience of fishing on a pond or river connects people directly to stewarding that waterway for the health and wellbeing of the fish and humans who use it.”

Expect more Junior Ranger Angler happenings in the fall when temperatures cool down a little including a Junior Ranger Angler Fishing with Friends day, an Introduction to Fly Fishing, and a Fishing Derby! When visiting these sensitive environments, please pick up after yourself and remember the principles of Leave No Trace. DAMNP Naturalist Ranger Shaundon explains Leave No Trace in this cool video: 

Other Arabia Fishing Holes

For those with fishing skills and Junior Ranger Angler badges, check out our Events Calendar for future fishing offerings. Or head to one of these great fishing hotspots in the Heritage Area where they’re biting. And remember, if you’re older than 15, please purchase a Georgia Fishing License

  • Mountain Lake and Arabia Lake at Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve: These two medium-sized lakes are centrally located in the NHA. Mountain Lake is the larger of the two with beautiful views of the monadnock. It’s best accessed from the AWARE Parking Lot. Arabia Lake can be reached by a short hike via the Forest Trail and contains a nice memorial bench and plenty of bank for casting.
  • Alexander Lake at Panola Mountain State Park: The largest lakes in the Heritage Area are at Panola Mountain. Fishing is provided by two bodies of water, Upper and Lower Alexander Lake, totaling 35 acres and separated by a spillway. Non-motorized vessels and boats are allowed on these bodies of water. Upper Alexander Lake is the larger, with more accessible bank angling. A path follows around it, though some portions are back in the woods.
  • South River at Everett Park: Stonecrest’s largest public park includes not just great hikes and views of the South River but also plenty of shoreline from which to fish. Did we also mention a spot to put-in your kayak or canoe? Yes, please!