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Cape Fear Locks and Dams

The Wilmington District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you to the locks and dams on the Cape Fear River in North Carolina.  Built between 1915 and 1935, the three locks and dams historically passed commercial traffic up and down the river. Today, the locks and dams rarely lock large vessels through but instead help protect water intakes for cities and industries along the river by backing up the water and they have become popular recreation spots.

There are a variety of recreational facilities and opportunities at each lock including a boat ramp, restrooms, picnic tables, charcoal grills, and large picnic shelters.  Fishing is a favorite activity along the Cape Fear River. Visitors of all ages will enjoy fishing from the shoreline or the fishing pier completed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission at Lock and Dam #1. The river contains a variety of fish species but the most closely associated with these projects is the American or white shad, striped bass, and very large catfish.  The American shad is primarily an ocean fish that enters fresh water and moves upstream to spawn.  The spawning run usually occurs in spring.

Visitors of all ages will also enjoy viewing the rock arch rapids at Lock and Dam 1. This project allows migratory fish to swim over the Lock and Dam and is the first one of its kind on the east coast.