Public Fishing Season Opens for 2020
With five drinking water reservoirs, which are protected natural resources totaling approximately 18 billion gallons of raw water storage, the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) is in the enviable position as a water utility able to offer a full season of public fishing.
The HCWA regular fishing season kicked off on Sunday March 1, when the utility’s Tussahaw and Upper Towaliga Reservoirs opened to local anglers. The 2020 fishing season schedule at these two HCWA reservoirs allows for public access on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., now thru Nov. 29, 2020.
To access the Tussahaw and Upper Towaliga Reservoirs for fishing, boating (with electric trolling motors only), canoeing and kayaking, citizens must purchase an HCWA Reservoir Use Permit for $45 – with discounts available for seniors age 62 and older, as well as citizens with disabilities – at the Authority Headquarters, located at 1695 Highway 20 West in McDonough, during normal office hours from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
HCWA Reservoir Use Permits are valid for one full calendar year from the date of purchase, and those with Permits can bring a guest with them for free. To qualify for an HCWA Reservoir Use Permit, citizens must either be an HCWA customer, a Henry County resident or Henry County property owner. The Authority currently has 1,328 active Permits sold to date.
In addition to having an active Reservoir Use Permit, customers also must sign the waiver/release form that accompanies their Permit, possess a Georgia Fishing License if fishing on the Tussahaw or Upper Towaliga Reservoirs, as well as adhere to all rules and regulations governing the use of HCWA reservoirs and Georgia public waters.
Public access to the Tussahaw Reservoir – which has a boat ramp and accommodations for citizens with disabilities – is available through the public use area on Tussahaw Island, which is located at the end of Collins Way off of Peeksville Road. Those with HCWA Reservoir Use Permits can access the Upper Towaliga Reservoir at 160 Hunter Road in Locust Grove, which is off of Weems Road, coming from Hampton-Locust Grove Road.
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. The 1,100-acre Upper Towaliga Reservoir, with 6 billion gallons of storage at full pool, also bears the name of former HCWA Board Member Ed Cole, since the Authority dedicated this reservoir in his honor.
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.
“Providing the public with access to select reservoirs for fishing is a way of giving back to the community by offering a convenient and popular avenue for outdoor recreation,” says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager. “We also view public fishing as an opportunity for our customers to see us as more than just a utility that provides them with water and sewer services, but as a steward of natural resources and advocate for environmental protection.”
For more information on HCWA Public Fishing, including maps of boat ramps and access points for these two reservoirs, contact the Cubihatcha Center staff at 678-583-3930, or refer to the HCWA website at www.hcwa.com/community-education/fishing-and-reservoir-use.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
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