HCWA wrapping up successful fishing and hunting seasons for 2016
(McDonough, GA – Dec. 9, 2016) The Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) is wrapping up yet another successful year for fishing and hunting in 2016, as the public continues to enjoy the outdoors thanks to the utility’s land management practices that include public access to facilities.
The first indication of the growing popularity of convenient, quality fishing on HCWA property is the number of permits sold to date. Currently, the Authority has more than 1,400 reservoir use permit holders who enjoyed a full fishing season that ended on Nov. 30, and who may continue to enjoy limited fishing during the winter.
The Authority’s Tussahaw Reservoir will remain open for the seventh consecutive year on select weekends this winter. The HCWA winter fishing dates are Dec. 16-17, 2016; Jan. 17-19, 2017, and Feb. 10-12, 2017. The full fishing season at designated HCWA reservoirs will resume on March 1, 2017.
On these specific fishing weekends during the winter, the HCWA Tussahaw Reservoir will be open from 7:00 a.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m. Anglers can access the reservoir through the Tussahaw Island Public Use Area – located on Collins Way off Peeksville Road. (Note: the reservoir is not accessible via the Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant.) Tussahaw Island, which opened in 2010 as the Authority’s latest designated public use area, has outdoor pavilions, restrooms, plentiful parking, and boat ramps, one of which is accessible to citizens with disabilities.
Fishing at HCWA reservoirs is permitted from the banks or from a boat powered by an electric/trolling motor. The reservoir also is available for canoeing or kayaking. Public drinking water reservoirs adhere to stricter rules for use, with oversight provided by state and federal regulatory agencies. Many HCWA fishing customers have said they prefer fishing on these protected, exclusive water bodies rather than recreational lakes, since gas powered boats and watercraft are prohibited.
The HCWA owns and operates five drinking water reservoirs within its raw water supply network. Collectively, these water resources provide up to 18 billion gallons of raw water for drinking water production at either of the Authority’s two water treatment plants.
In addition to owning and operating five reservoirs that account for a large portion of the Authority’s 8,000-plus acres of protected green space, the utility has land application sites (LAS) and the Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center to provide opportunities for public recreation, including hunting.
The Authority’s 2016-17 hunting season included six public hunts, each with more applicants than spots available through a blind draw. A Waterfowl Fundraiser on Jan. 20-21, 2017, benefitting the Henry County Outdoor Education Partnership, concludes the current HCWA hunting season.
All hunters must be licensed and must complete a safety orientation prior to their respective hunt. Hunting on HCWA property is allowed only during these special events. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) oversees the HCWA public hunts, while monitoring the health of animal habitats. Thus, the events serve as a strategy within the HCWA land management program to aid the Authority’s efforts to maintain a quality, healthy deer population according to DNR guidelines.
“This is an awesome opportunity the Water Authority provides local hunters,” says Locust Grove resident Travis Toole, who took part in the Youth Deer Hunt with his sons Casey, 12, and Brayden, 9. “These events serve the community, help manage the deer population, and they’re convenient for us, too.”
To enjoy fishing or recreation on HCWA properties, HCWA customers and Henry County residents or property owners must have a reservoir use permit, available for $45 at the Authority headquarters located at 1695 Highway 20 West in McDonough. Permits are valid for one calendar from the date of purchase. For more information, citizens can log onto the Authority’s website at www.hcwa.com, or contact the HCWA Cubihatcha Center staff at 678-583-3930.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.