The McDuffie Public Fishing Area in Dearing, Ga., will observe its 50th year of existence in 2015. I covered the 1965 opening for The Augusta Chronicle and I’m planning to be there on its golden anniversary, too.
It (almost) seems like yesterday when I arrived at the former McGahee Fish Hatchery to hear then-Gov. Carl Sanders, an Augustan, explain the benefits of having a public fishing area. I saw the governor cast a tiny Mepps Spinner into the large pond behind the hatchery office and catch a bass well under the legal size limit of 10 inches in length.
Months of hard work by then Supt. Edwin Henderson and his staff helped the property evolve into the first class facility it is today.
There are seven ponds open to the public on 570 acres, nature trails, picnic areas, camping, and an environmental education center as well as a warm water hatchery. The anglers target largemouth bass, bream (bluegill and redear, aka shellcrackers) and channel catfish.
All the ponds have concrete boat ramps with courtesy docks, with paddle power and electric motors the sole means of propulsion. If a gasoline-powered outboard is on a boat, it cannot be used.
For more information, including directions to the site, go to www.georgiawildlife.com.
• Subfreezing temperatures earlier this week prevented most professional guides and clients from stirring outside their warm homes. As air temperatures warm, fishing in Thurmond Lake and elsewhere should return to normal.