By Johnny Jackson
The crowds of winter anglers casting out onto the lake can be hefty, depending on the weather. The warmer it is, the better, according to Chuck McCarter, reservoir manager for the Henry County Water & Sewerage Authority (HCWSA).
The water authority plans to begin the winter fishing season this weekend, Dec. 17-19, at its Tussahaw and Gardner (Indian Creek) reservoirs.
HCWSA spokesman Chris Wood said the water authority's winter fishing season will continue through February, with weekend dates on Jan. 7-9, and Jan. 21-23, as well as Feb. 4-6, and Feb. 18-20. The 2011 regular fishing season begins March 2.
The Tussahaw and Gardner reservoirs were available for public fishing during this past regular season, which ended on Nov. 28.
Wood said the 209-acre Gardner Reservoir is accessible by boat ramp, off of Indian Creek Road in Locust Grove, south of Exit 212, along Interstate 75.
The Tussahaw Reservoir is accessible via Tussahaw Island, a nearly 35-acre facility located on Collins Way, off of Peeksville Road in Jackson. Wood noted the 1,466-acre Tussahaw Reservoir is not accessible at the Tussahaw Water Treatment Facility, and only boats with trolling motors, are allowed on any of the authority's reservoirs.
Both the Tussahaw and Gardner reservoirs are stocked with bream, bass, and catfish, as well as other native species of fish, according to Reservoir Manager McCarter. The larger of the two holds approximately 9.78 billion gallons of raw water for treatment, while the smaller Gardner Reservoir has a capacity of 717 million gallons.
Wood added that anglers wanting to fish the reservoirs must have an active permit, available for $45 at the HCWSA headquarters, located at 1695 Ga. Highway 20 West, in McDonough. He said permits are available during normal business hours, from 8 a.m., until 4:30 p.m., and are valid for one calendar year from the date of purchase.
"Permit holders also must sign a release form and adhere to all rules and regulations governing the use of HCWSA reservoirs and Georgia water," said Wood. "The authority had approximately 2,000 active reservoir use permit-holders during the 2010 regular fishing season."
For more information on public fishing at HCWSA Reservoirs, contact the HCWSA Reservoirs Department at (678) 583-3930, or log onto the authority's web site at www.hcwsa.com.