HCWA Kicks off 2021 Fishing Season
While the pandemic shut down businesses, facilities, and many events for long stretches this past year, one of the few safe, socially distanced activities that tried to offer recreational stress release to the public was the regular fishing season at select reservoirs of the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA).
The HCWA kicks off its 2021 fishing season this week, as the Authority offers two reservoirs for public access beginning March 3 and extending thru Nov. 28. The HCWA Tussahaw and Upper Towaliga Reservoirs will be open weekly on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during those months, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (daylight saving time).
In addition, public fishing will be open on Memorial Day (Monday, May 31), Father’s Day (Sunday, June 20), Independence Day (Saturday, July 4), and Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 6). However, the reservoirs will be closed on Easter Sunday (April 4) and Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 9).
The reservoirs offer HCWA Customers, Henry County Residents and Property Owners opportunities for outdoor recreation that include fishing, boating (with electric powered trolling motors), canoeing and kayaking.
Access requires a Reservoir Use Permit, available for $45 (or $25 for senior citizens, citizens with disabilities, military active duty, retired or veterans) at the HCWA Headquarters, located at 1695 Highway 20 West in McDonough, during normal Customer Service hours of 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 permit holders can bring one guest with them for free. According to HCWA officials, nearly 1,700 Reservoir Use Permits were sold during 2020, an increase of approximately 300 over the previous year.
In addition to having an active Reservoir Use Permit, citizens also must sign a release form/waiver that accompanies their Permit, in addition to possessing a Georgia Fishing License when accessing the reservoirs for fishing. All guests, whether fishing, boating, canoeing or kayaking, must 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. The public can access the Upper Towaliga Reservoir at 160 Hunter Road in Locust Grove, which is off of Weems Road, from Hampton-Locust Grove Road.
The Tussahaw and Upper Towaliga Reservoirs are the two largest HCWA reservoirs, accounting for 85 percent of the Authority’s raw water storage capacity. The 1,466-acre Tussahaw Reservoir opened in 2007, with 9.78 billion gallons at full pool. The 1,100-acre Upper Towaliga Reservoir, also known as the Ed Cole Reservoir since being dedicated in honor of this former HCWA Board Member, has 6 billion gallons of storage at full pool.
“We hope our reservoirs continue to serve as bright spots in the community, providing our citizens enjoyment through recreation in the outdoors, especially during a pandemic when so many of these types of opportunities have been limited,” says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager. “While spending time on the water, citizens also can see the importance of protecting these natural resources, which provide the highest quality drinking water for more than 60,000 customers.”
More information on HCWA Public Fishing, including Rules, Regulations, and Release Forms/Waivers, is available on the Authority’s website at www.hcwa.com.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
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