Boating and Fishing

NO CASH ACCEPTED - Credit and Debit Cards ONLY

Current Lake Office Hours of Operation:

    • Season Opening Weekend: Saturday, March 16, 2024
    • Weekend Office Hours 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM (Saturday & Sunday)
    • Boat rentals available on weekends from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM.

We reserve the right to cease operations due to inclement weather.  Boat rentals are available when the combined water and air temperature meets, or exceeds, 100 degrees (ex: if water temperature is 44 degrees, the air temperature must be 56 degrees or greater for boats to be made available for rental).

Possession of a valid North Carolina Wildlife fishing license is required for all anglers of age 16 and older.  North Carolina Wildlife fishing licenses ARE NOT sold on-site.  We recommend catch-and-release, but anglers may choose to keep fish.
If you would like to purchase a North Carolina Wildlife fishing license online, you may do so at the North Carolina Wildlife website.  
DAILY FISHING FEES (Rankin Lake Daily Permit):
  • City Resident, 15 & under             $1
  •  70 & older                                    $1
  • City Resident, 16 & older              $2
  • Non-City Resident, 15 & under     $2
  • Non-City Resident, 16 & older      $3
BOAT RENTALS (weather permitting):
4 Seater Pedalboats- $8 per half hour or $12 per hour (2-seater and 4-seater) 
Kayaks - $5 per hour
Jon boat/canoe - $5/hour or $25/day without motor
        $11/hour or $40/day with motor
Launch Fee for personal vessel - $5 per day

A valid ID must be presented to rent any boat, kayak or canoe. 
*One daily Rankin Lake Fishing Fee included with a full-day boat rental.

    1. A person must be at least 18 years of age to rent a boat.  Sixteen and seventeen year-olds may take a boat out, but a parent or legal guardian must be present to sign the rental/release form. 
    2. A child between the ages of 11 and 15 may be in their own kayak/canoe, but only with adult supervision in another kayak/canoe, within 100 feet, on the water.
    3.  Children 10 years old and younger must ride, in the same vessel, with someone 18 years of age or older.
    4. The renter’s Drivers’ License or valid state ID is required as a deposit for each boat.  It is the RENTER’S responsibility to pick up his/her license after the rental.
    5. No pets allowed.
    6. A U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket/personal flotation device (PFD) must be worn at all times while on the water, regardless of weather conditions and swimming abilities. PFDs are available for persons weighing 30 lbs and greater.  Failure to wear a PFD will result in the loss of fees, and the violator will be ordered to dock the boat.  Boat capacities (weight and number aboard) are strictly enforced.
    7. ALL boats must dock at the first sign of thunder or lightning, and boat rentals will be stopped until 30 minutes after the last sign of thunder or lightning.
    8. Rankin Lake Staff has the right to cease boat rentals at any time deemed necessary due to unacceptable weather conditions such as extreme cold, high winds, storm threats, or any other weather related issues.
    9. Deposit trash, recyclables and used fishing line in appropriate receptacles.
    10. Boats must be off the water 30 minutes prior to the posted closing time of the Lake Office.


    1. Private boats (canoes & kayaks only) may be launched only during boat rental hours, and after the owner has signed in at the office. Stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) are not allowed on the lake.
    2. Before launching, Lake Staff must spray the watercraft and/or propeller (if applicable), with a sanitizing/decontaminating agent.
    3. Boats must launch from the designated launch beach, ramp or dock.
    4. ALL other lake rules apply, e.g., PFDs must be worn, passenger limits, no pets, weather restrictions, etc.


    1. Fishing anywhere except in designated fishing areas.
    2. Cleaning fish or cutting bait in a rental craft or anywhere in Rankin Lake Park.
    3. Swimming or wading anywhere on the lake.
    4. Alcoholic beverages of any type.  Persons consuming alcohol will be denied use of the lake.
    5. No smoking while on the lake or wooden piers.
    6. Contacting the lake bank or beaching a boat at any location other than the designated beach launch site.
    7. Boating or fishing beyond the buoy line at the pump station.
    8. Disturbing or feeding any wild animal or bird, or damaging any plant or tree, COG Code of Ordinances Section 7-50.  For additional information regarding the impact of feeding geese and ducks, please visit our Feeding Waterfowl page.

Tackle Loaner Program
In a partnership with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the Gastonia Parks and Recreation Department has rods and reels to loan free of charge, and encourages first-time and novice anglers to borrow the tackle to join in the fishing fun.

Here's how it works:
The Tackle Loaner Program operates just like a library. Anglers of all ages register to receive a tackle loaner ID card, which allows them to check out a rod and reel. Anglers under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian complete the registration form. After returning the loaner rods and reels to the Lake Office, first-time participants under 16 years of age will receive a free mini-tackle box (when supplies are available) containing hooks, bobbers, sinkers, and a stringer. Tackle loaner ID cards can be used at other participating sites in North Carolina, but rods and reels must be returned to the original loaner site.

Contact Information:

Lake Office: 704.866.6849 (during Boathouse hours)

Special Facilities Office: 704.869.1984 (Mon-Fri 8:00AM - 4:30PM)

Staff Contact: Wes Wood


Gastonia, N.C., just minutes west of Charlotte, is one of the area’s best places to live and work with an ideal combination of location, size and livability. Gastonia is the largest of Gaston County’s 13 municipalities and one of the largest cities in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Selected as an All-America City three times, Gastonia’s desirable quality of life is the result of its beautiful natural surroundings, friendly neighborhoods, responsive government and vibrant business environment.


✆ 704-866-6714

⟟ 181 S. South Street
Gastonia, NC 28052