Dearing, Ga., fishing area celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2015

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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.

Fishing report

NORTH GEORGIA MOUNTAIN STREAMS

Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 (www.flyfishingnorthgeorgia.com) (facebook.com/flyfishingnorth georgia) – Fishing was slow this past week (due, in large part, to the fact we stayed inside where it was warm), but the temperature is on the rise and should get into the high 50s in North Georgia by this weekend. This should really get the trout going after so many days of sub-freezing temperatures. Specifically, the Toccoa River should see some fairly significant black caddis hatches in the next couple of weeks, so it’s possible that the warmer temps will get that started this weekend.

SAVANNAH, GA.

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Extreme cold temperatures have kept most fishermen off the water. However, here’s a tip to use inshore: Fishing with live or dead bait, when you get a strike, delay setting the hook quickly. The fish are moving in slow motion. If you’re pitching artificial lures, I suggest slowing down the retrieve. And, opt to fish during sunny days when low tides fall at mid-day, giving mud and shallow water areas a chance to warm up.

Fishing schools start Feb. 8. Here’s your chance to learn from the very best professional guides. Give Capt. Judy a ring for details.


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