HCWA Kicks Off 2017 Public Fishing Season
The Henry County Water Authority’s (HCWA) regular fishing season is off to a good start, as local anglers enjoy the opportunity to fish two of the utility’s five reservoirs this year.
The 2017 HCWA Fishing Season, which opened March 1 and runs through the last weekend of November, offers the public an opportunity to fish the Tussahaw and Upper Towaliga Reservoirs, which are accessible on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
To access HCWA reservoirs, citizens must have a Reservoir Use Permit, which is available for $45 at the HCWA headquarters to any HCWA customer, Henry County resident or property owner. HCWA Reservoir Use Permits are valid for one calendar year from the date of purchase. Permit sales increased in 2016, reflecting the growing popularity of fishing on HCWA property. Discounts are available for seniors (62 and older) and citizens with disabilities. This HCWA permit provides access for fishing, boating (with non-gas motors), canoeing and kayaking, for the permit holder and one guest (who may be admitted free).
In addition to having an active Reservoir Use Permit, those using the reservoirs must sign the waiver/release form that accompanies their permit, possess a Georgia Fishing License, as well as adhere to all rules and regulations governing the use of HCWA reservoirs and Georgia public waters.
The HCWA owns and operates five drinking water reservoirs, which collectively provide raw water storage of approximately 18 billion gallons for drinking water production and distribution to more than 55,000 customers.
The Tussahaw and Upper Towaliga are the two largest of the five HCWA reservoirs, accounting for more than 85 percent of the Authority’s raw water storage capacity.
The 1,466-acre Tussahaw Reservoir, with 9.78 billion gallons of storage at full pool, is the newest of the HCWA reservoirs, opening in 2007. It is accessible to the public via “Tussahaw Island,” which is the Authority’s public use area located at 1000 Collins Way, which is off Peeksville Road.
The 1,100-acre Upper Towaliga Reservoir, with 6 billion gallons of storage at full pool, was dedicated in honor of former HCWA board member Ed Cole. The public boat ramp for the Upper Towaliga/Ed Cole Reservoir is located at 160 Hunter Road in Locust Grove.
These HCWA reservoirs are protected natural resources, operating according to more stringent regulatory standards than recreational lakes. However, that makes for ideal fishing conditions, according to Authority officials.
“Those who spend time on our reservoirs enjoy a pristine setting for fishing,” says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager. “Our water quality is such that it provides an ideal habitat for a variety of fish, and our reservoirs are conveniently located so people don’t have to travel far to experience quality fishing, locally.”
A highlight of this year’s HCWA fishing season is a community fishing tournament the Authority is hosting for families on April 29. More information on fishing at HCWA reservoirs is available on the Authority’s website at www.hcwa.com, or by calling the Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center at 678-583-3930.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.