Originally created 08/17/00

Good fishing holes easy to find



Fishing opportunities in Augusta are almost as plentiful as air.

Thurmond Lake, with 70,000 acres of water and 1,200 miles of meandering, public shoreline, offers some of the region's best fishing for hybrid and striped bass.

The reservoir also has flathead catfish that can top 40 pounds; excellent winter crappie fishing around deep structure and rip-rap; bluegill fishing in the shallows and coves; and of course the ever-popular largemouth.

For information about Thurmond Lake fishing opportunities, or to acquire maps, visit the Resource Manager's Office on the South Carolina side of the dam or contact the Army Corps of Engineers at 1-800-533-3478.

Closer to Augusta, several public ponds offer easy-access and close-in fishing. The mayor's Fishing Hole, a pond off Lock and Dam Road near Augusta Regional Airport, was opened for public fishing just last year after being off limits for more than a decade.

New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam offers quality fishing -- and boat access to the Savannah River. Spring fishing for American Shad that migrate from the sea is popular from April to June.

Several ponds within the Phinizy Swamp Wildlife Management Area are open for public fishing, too, but you must park at the entrance and walk in -- less than a half-mile. The ponds are former sand quarries created long ago.

In McDuffie County, four ponds at the McDuffie Public Fishing Area near Dearing re-opened Aug. 15 after having been restocked with largemouth bass, catfish and bream.

The four re-opened lakes bring to 12 the number of ponds at the 600-acre public fishing area, said state fisheries chief Mike Gennings. The area also includes boat ramps, picnic areas and other amenities. There is a 14-inch minimum size limit on largemouths.

For information about the Georgia Department of Natural Resources McDuffie Public Fishing Areas, contact the manager's office at (706) 595-1684.

Commercial fishing opportunities in Augusta include the Merry Brickyard Ponds near downtown Augusta. For directions and information, contact Bill Gibson, 722-2980; and the Sears Lakes in Richmond County, 722-8263.