The Cape Fear River basin is one of the largest watersheds in North Carolina. The Cape Fear River is formed by the confluence of the Deep and Haw rivers below Jordan Lake. Along its path, the river receives the Black, Northeast Cape Fear, and Brunswick rivers before widening into an estuary and entering the Atlantic Ocean west of Cape Fear, North Carolina.
The Cape Fear River is a favorite destination for catfish enthusiasts, especially anglers in search of trophy-class flatheads. Large flathead catfish prefer structure such as submerged logs, drift piles, standing timber, and deep holes that occur downstream from river bends.
In June, 2013, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission completed construction of a fixed, universally accessible fishing pier along the Cape Fear River at Lock and Dam No. 1. The wooden pier extends 30 feet out and is 90 feet wide across the T-section.
Lock and Dam No.1 is located about 32 miles upriver from Wilmington, North Carolina. In the spring, the area near the dam receives spawning runs of American shad and striped bass. The area is also populated by resident striped bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, striped mullet, channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish.