By Valerie Baldowski
Fishing at two of Henry County's reservoirs is expected to be plentiful when this year's season begins Friday, Henry County Water and Sewerage Authority officials said.
Henry residents will be able to fish the authority's Tussahaw and Gardner reservoirs beginning March 5. The fishing schedule extends through the end of November.
The reservoirs have been open to anglers on some weekends this winter.
"Fishing is going great, and we have a healthy fishing population in both reservoirs, especially in the Tussahaw," said Chuck McCarter, manager of reservoirs for the authority. "We think Tussahaw will be even more popular this summer, once we have the public-use area open."
Ray Novotny, the authority's customer service manager, said the cost for a reservoir fishing permit is $45. Fishing permits are valid for one calendar year from the date of purchase, he said. Permits are available at the water authority's offices, located at 1695 Ga. Highway 20 West, McDonough.
The reservoirs will be open for fishing Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 7 a.m., to 7 p.m., according to Chris Wood, a spokesman for the Henry County Water and Sewerage Authority. The reservoirs close approximately one hour before dusk, so the times are subject to daylight saving time, which begins March 14, said Wood.
The reservoirs themselves are accessible to anglers by boat only, but public-use areas allow anglers to fish from the dock or the shore, said Mike Craig, a manager of the authority's reservoirs and grounds.
The 35-acre, public-use area at the Tussahaw Reservoir offers anglers an opportunity to fish without a boat, or bring their own watercraft, said Craig.
"We have a double boat dock and two fishing piers," he continued. "There's an island out in the water, with a causeway leading to it."
The Gardner Reservoir has no public-use fishing area, Craig said.
The reservoirs are stocked with catfish, bass and bream, and plans are to add striped bass as well, said Novotny. The reservoirs are popular with anglers, he added, because the authority opens them up to fishing only during certain times of the year, and rotates them regularly, to allow the fish population to grow between seasons.
"They're managed very well," said Novotny. "There's always plenty of fish [and] you don't fish your lakes out."
The water authority gets help from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to ensure its reservoirs continue to provide high-quality fishing, said McCarter. "They [the DNR] sample our fish population to make sure it's healthy," he said.