July 4th, 2017 is Free Fishing Day in North Carolina. Everyone in North Carolina, including visitors, can fish in any public body of water without the need for a license. Other regulations, such as size limitations and lure restrictions, still apply. Use this fishing map to find public fishing spots. There are many public fishing areas in the Charlotte area, including Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, McAlpine Creek Park, Spencer Park, and a whole slew of them along Lake Norman.
If you don’t own fishing gear, you can still participate. Many fishing sites across the state participate in the Tackle Loaner Program, in which you can check out a rod and reel. Charlotte area sites are the Latta Plantation, Reedy Creek and McDowell Nature Preserves, as well as Matthews Community Center (for use on Squirrel Lake), and Frank Liske Park in Concord. Kids under age 16 participating in the Tackle Loaner Program for the first time will receive a free mini-tackle box containing hooks, bobbers, sinkers, and a stringer when they return the gear.