NC conservation director receives American Fisheries Society award

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(L to R): Corey Oakley, NC Wildlife Resources Commission Piedmont Fisheries Supervisor; Bill Frazier; Tyler Black, President of NC chapter of American Fisheries Society

The North Carolina Chapter of the American Fisheries Society presents the Fred A. Harris Fisheries Conservation Award to recognize non-Chapter members who have distinguished themselves by service or commitment to the Chapter or to the fisheries resources of North Carolina. The 2019 award was presented to Bill Frazier, North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Director at the Chapter's recent annual meeting.

Frazier has worked with water quality and reservoir management for most of his career. He is the laboratory manager at the City of High Point’s Water Filtration Plant. As the NC B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Director, Frazier is dedication to the preservation of the sport’s natural resources and mentoring young anglers to become skilled fisherman. Frazier doesn’t shy away from potentially controversial projects and encourages anglers not to stock or plant aquatic nuisance species like spotted bass and hydrilla in North Carolina reservoirs.

He participated in the Lake Gaston stakeholder process to develop and implement the vegetation management plan. The plan’s goal was to control hydrilla while maintaining enough native vegetation for sport fish habitat. Through projects like this, Frazier tries to bridge the relationship gap between the angler community and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (Commission).   

More recently, Frazier was instrumental in developing and implementing the Commission’s Educational Fishing Trails in North Carolina. There are currently four fishing trails in the state. The fishing trail’s goal is to develop unique fishing opportunities in small reservoirs that teaches anglers about the seasonal patterns of largemouth bass and other sport fish by enhancing existing features used seasonally in the reservoir with fish attractors. The basic principles learned by anglers can be used on other reservoirs and provides the necessary skills to enjoy fishing for a lifetime.

Each fishing trail was built in partnership with a youth leadership group, like Boy Scouts. Frazier took the kids on his boat to help map each reservoir’s habitat features, guided them in selecting areas to enhance habitat, helped them raise funds for artificial structure materials and ultimately helped build and install all the habitat structures. Angler feedback from the existing fishing trails has been very positive and there are plans to build another one in 2019.   

Frazier was instrumental in getting NC B.A.S.S. Nation to partner with the Commission to improve habitat on Harris Lake. Triploid grass carp are being stocked to control hydrilla and the Commission is trying to mitigate any loss of habitat by installing 30 acres of fish attractors and establishing one acre for native vegetation. This partnership includes assisting with grant writing, helping develop a habitat enhancement plan, and most importantly recruiting anglers and other volunteers to help plant native vegetation and install artificial structures.

Frazier works tirelessly to promote conservation and fishing in North Carolina. His expertise as a scientist and avid angler offers him a unique perspective in resource management. His dedication to educating the public and specifically youth will help ensure future generation of anglers.