What does that mean for the fish currently in the lake? Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division personnel plan to collect remaining fish and move them to other state public fishing areas.
Ocmulgee PFA has an existing outstanding fishery, with many trophy bass caught earlier in 2012. To allow anglers to continue to enjoy the benefits of these fish, fish will be collected upon lake closure. Bass that are in the eight to 12 pound range will be moved to other public fishing areas, such as Paradise PFA near Tifton. Younger, smaller bass will be held at hatcheries to stock back into Ocmulgee PFA after the lake is repaired.
“Closing the area so that we can drain the lake and fully assess needed repairs is the only solution available in this situation,” said Bert Deener, Fisheries region supervisor. “While we have been able to identify and begin working on one significant leak already, the reality is that the lake continues to drop and we are likely looking at additional needs for repair.”
The lake was last at full pool in April 2011, but due to low water levels, the boat ramps were closed in August at the PFA. Since that time, pool levels have continued to drop and now the lake sits at more than 17 feet below pool.
The remaining lake pool will be drained and an engineering firm will provide an assessment with repair options. Regardless of the repair needs, the area is expected to re-open by Spring 2014.
Alternative Fishing Locations
Anglers needing other places to fish during the construction period have several options (www.georgiawildlife.com/fishing/public-fishing-areas):
• Dodge County PFA: This area, located near Eastman, has a 104-acre lake with opportunities to catch largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and crappie.
• Flat Creek PFA: This area, located near Perry, has a 102-acre lake with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish.
• Hugh Gillis PFA: This area, located near East Dublin, has a 109-acre lake with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and crappie.
Ocmulgee PFA also is home to deer, turkey and small game hunts. Sportsmen will be able to access the area to hunt.
To keep tabs on the repair progress at Ocmulgee PFA, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/PFA/Ocmulgee and click on “Receive Updates” (look for the red envelope).