By Johnny Jackson
Fishing season will come early for anglers who don't mind fishing at local reservoirs in cooler weather.
The Clayton County Water Authority (CCWA) will begin its 2008 fishing season today by opening three of its reservoirs to anglers -- novices and professionals alike.
The Henry County Water and Sewerage Authority (HCWSA) will open two of its reservoirs today, a month earlier than normal.
The popularity of fishing on the reservoirs, HCWSA officials say, has continued to increase to the point that they were encouraged to consider expanding the reservoirs' fishing seasons to include March and November, which is also a month later than normal.
Participation on the waters has steadily increased, according to Chuck McCarter, HCWSA manager of the reservoirs and land management department. Nearly 1,000 fishing permits were sold last year through HCWSA.
"We had been getting requests from some of our repeat customers to open the reservoirs earlier, so they could take advantage of some of the season's ideal conditions," McCarter said. "We hope the extra two months we've added to the season will help draw even more customers to the reservoirs this year."
The openings will coincide with the beginning of daylight saving time, which begins on March 9. Officials say, springing forward one hour should afford anglers more daylight hours on the lakes.
This year, public fishing in Henry County will be available on the HCWSA Longbranch and Upper Towaliga Reservoirs in Locust Grove.
The reservoirs will be open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 7 a.m., to 7 p.m., during the season, in addition to July 4, and the Mondays of Memorial Day and Labor Day. Fishing is not presently available on the Tussahaw Reservoir in Locust Grove.
Public fishing will be available on a limited basis during the winter months, following the regular, nine-month fishing season. Fishing will be available on Dec. 12-14; Jan. 9-11, 2009; Jan. 23-25, 2009; Feb. 6-8, 2009; and Feb. 20-22, 2009.
Fishing will also be available on Clayton County's Shamrock-Blalock, Shoal Creek, and J.W. Smith reservoirs. The Shamrock-Blalock and J.W. Smith reservoirs will be open from 7 a.m., - 7 p.m. , Wednesdays - Sundays, in March and September. Each reservoir will, otherwise, be open from 7 a.m., - 8 p.m., through October on those same days.
Clayton's reservoirs, located in Jonesboro and Hampton, have been increasingly popular spots for recreational fishing since they opened several years ago, according to CCWA spokeswoman Suzanne Brown.
To access Henry reservoirs, anglers can obtain permits for $40 at the water authority's headquarters, located at 1695 Ga. Highway 20 West in McDonough, from 8 a.m., to 4:30 p.m. Permits are good for an entire calendar year from the date of purchase.
To access Clayton reservoirs, anglers can pay $5 for a day's parking permit or $25 for a season pass at each reservoir.
Directions and information on the rules and regulations on fishing the reservoirs is available at the authorities' web sites.
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