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Hot Hole a hot spot for fishing

By Alan Hodge

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“There’s monsters in there.”

That’s what Sam Duncan of Gastonia said as he baited his hook and then pointed to the greenish waters of the famed Hot Hole fishing spot near Belmont.

The Hot Hole, or more formally, the Allen Fishing Area is located  in just off Canal Rd. which is on South Point Rd. The Duke Energy owned Project Recreation Site consists of two fishing piers and  a bank fishing trail. The site has a paved parking lot. The Project Recreation Site is managed through a partnership with the NCWRC for operation and maintenance activities. 

The monsters that Duncan referred to are the large catfish that are often caught at the Hot Hole by anglers. Other species that are regularly snagged include largemouth bass, crappie, carp, and bream. 

So, what the heck is the Hot Hole and what makes it so popular with anglers?

The Hot Hole is actually the warm water discharge canal for Duke’s Allen Steam Station. What happens is the station draws water from the Catawba River, heats it, uses the steam to turn power generating turbines, the releases the warmed up water into the canal which flows under South Point Rd. then into the South Fork River just to the west. 

It’s the warm water that draws fish- big fish- especially in cooler months- and in turn, folks who like to fish.

The Hot Hole attracts anglers from all over the area. Last Thursday morning, several of them were trying their luck. In addition to Duncan, Jason Poole had driven all the way from Harrisburg for some Hot Hole hoots. He was fishing for big catfish using a whole bream as bait.

“I read about the Hot Hole online and decided to come give it a try,” Poole said. “It’s my first time here and I like it so far.”

Another person on the Hot Hole shore was Greg Ingram from Gastonia. He had four or five rods ready for action. Tayzha Allen from Charlotte was on the scene with her dog Rozae. Even though the fishing action was slow, everyone was having a  great time in the great outdoors.

Besides the Belmont Hot Hole, Duke Energy has similar fishing setups at McGuire Nuclear Station and Marshall Steam Station. In both places it’s the same deal- warm water and a park like place where anglers can wet a hook in hopes of catching dinner or a thrill or both.

Carolina Sportsman Magazine has these Hot Hole tips -  Tackle and lures used around warm-water discharges vary from lake to lake. The South Fork River on Lake Wylie where the Allen Steam Station’s warm-water discharge is located is often dingy to muddy, offering great spinnerbait fishing. However, most of the warm-water discharges are on relatively clear lakes, which should point fishermen to lighter tackle, including shakey head rigs, tailspinners and blade baits and topwaters and jerkbaits.