Trip Report – Raven Rock State Park

July 2nd, 2014

We were running some errands near Apex, NC today, and decided to make a run a bit further south to see what fishes we could come across. Our first stop on this trip was at a small creek we found along the way. Google names the creek Neills Creek, with the following GPS numbers:

Neills Creek
35.428179, -78.823866

There is a small dirt road running along side the highway that gives access to the creek. The road was fine to drive, but I would avoid it in the rain. The water was tannin stained, but very clear. This made dipnetting difficult as all of the fish could see us before we could see them. Seining wasn’t much easier as the number of rocks and submerged branches was a problem. We had to resort to hook and line fishing, which did produce some results.

Name Count
Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus) 3


We decided next to head down to sample the Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park near Lillington, NC.


We managed to sample a few creeks throughout the park which, despite recent rainfall, were quite low. We finally found a park ranger at the visitor’s center, who explained to us that Campbell’s Creek would be our best bet, as it holds more water than the other creeks. He said it was about a half mile walk down to the creek following the Campbell’s Creek Trail, and told us to look for a bridge that marked the spot. It was a much longer walk than I expected in the heat of the summer, but really was only about a half mile downhill.


Raven Rock Visitors Center
Raven Rock Visitor’s Center


Campbell's Creek
The bridge – Campbell’s Creek


The fishing was great here, dipnets produced the most, followed by microfishing. Once again seining the pools didn’t produce any fish, as there were too many obstructions.

Campbell's Creek
Campbell’s Creek – A mixture of pools and riffles.


Name Count
Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus) 1
Tessellated Darter (Etheostoma olmstedi ) 2
Creek Chub (Semotilus atromaculatus) 6

Unfortunately, I started not feeling well and we had to end the trip right when the fishing was starting to pick up. The hike back was miserable, in the heat, carrying gear, not feeling well, and uphill the whole way, but was still definitely worth the trip.


Creek Chub - Semotilus atromaculatus
Creek Chub – Semotilus atromaculatus





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