A man waist deep in water holding a silver fish and his fishing rod

Fishing in canals is popular during spring and summer months. The primary species caught include black fish, black crappie, several species of sunfish, and catfish.

Refuge lands include 4.5 miles of shoreline along Lake Phelps, a 16,500-acre lake that is part of Pettigrew State Park, and half of the shoreline at Frying Pan Lake, a 2,000-acre bay on the Alligator River.

All waters on the refuge are open to fishing year-round except the following: 

  • Canals on the Pungo Unit September through February 
  • In Pungo Lake November through February. Pungo Lake itself is closed to entry year-round, but bank fishing is permitted March through October.
  • In the refuge portion of New Lake November through February; note that while fishing is allowed March through October, access is difficult

All Federal/State regulations and licensing requirements apply. In addition, you must carry a current, signed Refuge Hunting and Fishing Permit when fishing on the refuge. The permit is on the front cover of the Pocosin Lakes NWR Hunting and Fishing Regulations brochure available below. 

Laws, rules, and regulations