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Fishing with Andy, Opie and Barney around Mayberry

Jul 6

Written by:
7/6/2012 3:54 PM  RssIcon

MAYBERRY, N.C. — We were saddened to learn earlier this week of the passing Andy Griffith, whose iconic “Andy Taylor” character earned him a spot among North Carolina’s favorite sons.

Born in Mt. Airy, N.C., Griffith was said to have based the town of Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show on his home town located in Surry County. Griffith’s “Andy Taylor” character was well known — and loved —for his gentle good humor, parenting wisdom, and charming, but effective, good-ol’-boy approach to problem solving.

But Andy Taylor was also known for his love of fishing, and that’s where we’re going with today’s blog — the shores of Myers Lake near Mayberry. 

Turns out the Surry County Arts Council still holds an annual “Mayberry Days” festival in Mt. Airy. In nearby Fleetwood, N.C., we find the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s D-7 Assistant Fisheries Biologist Kevin Hining — a self-proclaimed fan of the Andy Griffith Show and excellent resource for fishing information around Mayberry (a.k.a., Mt. Airy)

Here’s what Kevin had to say about fishing holes and fishing techniques around Mayberry.


Q. – What’s the deal with Mayberry’s Myers Lake where Andy and Opie are always catching trout?  Does Myers Lake exist?  Where is the nearest lake with trout fishing?


A. –

No, there’s no Myers Lake that allows public trout-fishing opportunities around Mt. Airy. If I had to highlight one nearby lake where people could catch trout, I’d vote for Trout Lake on the Ashe / Alleghany county line.  It is a Delayed Harvest fishery.  There’s also Coffey Lake (another Delayed Harvest lake) and Buckeye Creek Reservoir (Hatchery Supported) in Beech Mountain. Price Lake is a Hatchery Supported lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock.  There are three very small ponds on the Thurmond Chatham Gameland in north Wilkes County that receive trout, but they are very small, and receive a very limited number of fish.  However, they might be worth mentioning: – Pike Creek Pond, Bell Branch Pond and Boundary Line Pond.


Q. – What are the best trout fishing streams that are closest to Mt. Airy?


A. – The Ararat River in downtown Mt. Airy is a great stocked trout fishing stream, and has a greenway alongside. The upper portion of the stream is Hatchery Supported, while the lower portion is Delayed Harvest.  The Dan River in northwest Stokes County is also a good one — only 20 or 30 minutes form Mt. Airy.  It’s Hatchery Supported.  Also, the Fisher River in Low Gap is worth mentioning — just 20 minutes west of Mt. Airy. It too is Hatchery Supported.  Finally, the Mitchell River near Dobson, which is Delayed Harvest, offers trout fishing opportunities.


Q. – Andy and Opie both fished baitcasting gear to go trout fishing. In fact, Andy’s rod-and-reel combo was nicknamed “Eagle-Eye Annie.”  What rod-and-reel recommendations would you make to go trout fishing? 


A. – I would suggest a 3-5 weight fly rod in the 7-8 foot range, or a 6-foot, light action spinning rod with 4-pound test.  Use a wide assortment of dry flies, nymphs and streamers for the fly rod. Use small spinners like Rooster tails or Panther Martins on the spinning rig. Small soft plastic attractors such as Trout magnets also work great on the spinning rod.  Natural baits such as night crawlers, red worms, meal worms, and corn work well on the spinning rod, as well as scented baits like Power Bait.


Q. – In a show about a vagrant named “Mr. Dave” played by Buddy Ebsen, the Mr. Dave character made a lure and gave it to Opie. His sure-fire lure was called a “Golly-Wobbler.”  What would you identify as the top three lures to fish for each of the following types of fish around Mayberry?


A. – I really wouldn’t want to touch this one with a 10-foot pole, but I’ll give it a try:

Trout: Roostertails, trout magnet brand lures, fly fishing with streamers such as a black wooly bugger.

Black bass: Soft plastic lizard patterns, tube jigs, fluke patterns.

Sunfish (bream):  Crickets, red worms, fly fishing with poppers.


Q. – How would you characterize Tumbling Rock Reservoir in Westwood Park in Mt. Airy, in comparison with what we know of Mayberry’s Myers Lake from the Andy Griffith Show?  In particular, what does Tumbling Rock offer that Myers Lake didn’t offer?


A. – Tumbling Rock receives routine stockings of catchable channel catfish once a month from May-October. It doesn’t have trout like Myers Lake, but it does have an ADA-compliant fishing pier, and it provides universal access from designated parking spaces to anglers with mobility issues. It also has a solar-powered fish feeder.  (Note from blogger: Can’t you imagine Gomer’s reaction upon seeing an automated fish feeder dispersing fish feed and watching the fish churn the water as they go after the feed? “Well, goooooooooolly, Andy. Ain’t that just the durndest contraption ever? Just the durndest!”)


Q. – Finally, is there anything else you want to add about fishing around fictional Mayberry versus real-life fishing opportunities around Mt. Airy?

A. – Just to note that all of the locations I mentioned above can be found on the new interactive angler access map that we have on the Wildlife Commission’s website.  There’s no telling how many great spots Opie and Andy could have fished if they had access to a tool like this!    The new map is on the left column of this webpage:

4 comment(s) so far...

Re: Fishing with Andy, Opie and Barney around Mayberry

Our State Magazine has a nice, related article:

By Count Istvan Teleky on   7/6/2012 9:42 PM

Re: Fishing with Andy, Opie and Barney around Mayberry

What was the nick name Andy gave to a fish that was his nemesis on the show and what type of fish was it?

By Johnnie Johnson on   8/22/2012 8:53 PM

Re: Fishing with Andy, Opie and Barney around Mayberry

It took several of our most devoted Andy fans to come up with an answer, but we believe the fish you are asking about is a carp named "Old Sam."

By NCWRC blogger on   8/24/2012 9:42 AM

Re: Fishing with Andy, Opie and Barney around Mayberry

It has been my resolution to change my vacation places this year. We planned to go for an adventure this time. We think that colorado ranch properties is the best part where we can go for an outdoor activity. Fishing, hiking and any other stuff that we'll finally enjoy the fine rays of sun and the scent of fresh air.

By Anna hayes on   10/5/2012 10:04 AM

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