Drought conditions causing drastically low water levels at Ocmulgee Public Fishing Area and throughout Middle Georgia, combined with a suspected leak in the deepest part of the main lake, create a tough situation for fisheries personnel with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“We have made the decision to close the boat ramps at the main lake,” said Bert Deener, Fisheries region supervisor. “Trucks are having a tough time navigating the muddy parts of the ramp, and launching a boat is proving difficult.”
The lake was last at full pool in April 2011, but since that time the level has continued to drop. In the spring of this year, the lake was already 7 feet below full pool, and now is more than 12 feet low.
What will be done about the leak? A private engineering will investigate the dropping lake levels. The suspected leak area is at one of the deepest portions of the lake, which likely means that the lake will need to be drained to evaluate and potentially repair the area.
Can people still fish at Ocmulgee? Absolutely! However, angling opportunities will be somewhat limited as ramps will be closed. Small crafts, including canoes, kayaks, gheenoes and jon boats, can be portaged from the shore and used to fish the main lake.
“Big bass and crappie are still here to catch, so we definitely want to encourage anglers to continue to come out and enjoy the fishing, despite the current circumstance,” said Deener. “Anglers can fish for bass, crappie and bream, walk the nature trail, and enjoy this beautiful area.”
Bonus fishing! Anglers that catch a bream with a colorful tag can turn that tag in for a prize! One hundred bream have been tagged for the Georgia Bobberthon. Catching a tagged fish allows anglers to win a prize plus one free admission to the Go Fish Education Center, as well as a chance at one of four grand prizes. More information can be found at www.georgiabobberthon.com .
Ocmulgee PFA is open from sunrise to sunset, Wednesday through Sunday, all year long. Anglers 16 and older must possess a current Georgia fishing license and a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) stamp in order to fish. Anglers in possession of a three-day fishing license, sportsman’s, lifetime, senior (65+) or honorary license do not have to possess a WMA stamp. Anglers may use up to two fishing poles, and any size outboard motor may be used at idle speed. Non-angling visitors to the area will need to have a Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP).
For more information on Ocmulgee PFA, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/PFA/Ocmulgee .