Visiting one of Georgia’s Public Fishing Areas (PFAs) with the family is a great in-state way to entertain both the kids and adults this summer. Beginning on August 1, 2011, nine PFAs will have new days of operation, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division.
All PFAs will be open to the public five days each week (Wednesdays through Sundays), sunrise to sunset. The areas will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Rocky Mountain PFA will remain open seven days a week as this facility is operated under contract with Oglethorpe Power.
“Our goal has always been to provide our visitors with a quality angling experience in a family-friendly atmosphere. These changes will allow us to continue to offer the same level of experience while dealing with current staff reductions,” says WRD Fisheries Management Chief John Biagi.
With hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, PFAs offer a variety of fishing opportunities, from lakes several hundred acres in size to ponds less than one acre. Some are designated as kids-only fishing ponds while others are managed for trophy bass. Anglers can fish from a boat, along the shoreline or from a pier at most locations. Many areas have picnic tables, nature and wildlife observation trails, fish cleaning stations and restroom facilities. Some offer primitive campsites for those wishing to stay overnight on the area, and many facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.
Make plans to visit one of the following PFAs today:
McDuffie County PFA: Located eight miles east of Thomson on 570 acres in Georgia’s upper coastal plain. Includes 13 ponds ranging from one to 30 acres, a fish hatchery and an education center. Species: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish.
Big Lazer Creek PFA: Located ten miles east of Talbotton in west central Georgia. Includes a 195-acre lake. Species: bluegill, channel catfish, crappie and largemouth bass.
Marben Farms PFA: Offers 6,400 acres in central Georgia, three miles south of Mansfield in Jasper and Newton counties. Includes 22 ponds ranging from one to 95 acres, a wildlife management area and an education center. Species: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie and channel catfish.
Dodge County PFA: Located on 444 acres in Georgia’s middle coastal plain, four miles southeast of Eastman. Includes a 104-acre lake. Species: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and crappie.
Evans County PFA: Located on 372 acres, nine miles east of Claxton. Includes three lakes ranging from eight to 84 acres. Species: crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish.
Flat Creek PFA: Located in Perry, this 108-acre lake includes a concrete boat ramp. Species: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish.
Hugh M. Gillis PFA: Located on 640 acres in Laurens County, 12 miles east of Dublin. Includes a 109-acre lake. Species: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and crappie.
Paradise PFA: Located in south central Georgia, eight miles east of Tifton on 1,250 acres. Includes 60 lakes totaling 525 acres. Species: largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie and channel catfish.
Ocmulgee PFA: Nestled within the boundaries of the Ocmulgee wildlife management area, eight miles north of Cochran in Bleckley County. Offers a 106-acre lake. Species: trophy largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish.
Rocky Mountain PFA: Located 16 miles north of Rome on 5,000 acres in Floyd County. Offers two lakes totaling 559 acres. Species: largemouth bass, walleye, bluegill and redear sunfish, channel catfish, crappie and hybrid striped bass.
Anglers between the ages of 16 and 65 must possess a Georgia recreational fishing license and wildlife management area (WMA) license to fish on PFAs. A three-day hunting and fishing combo license, annual sportsman’s license or a lifetime license will serve in lieu of a WMA license on a PFA. Anglers at Rocky Mountain PFA are not required to have a WMA license.