Flat Creek PFA Opens to Huge Crowds of Anglers
Anglers get first crack at bass, catfish and bream in new Houston County lake.
It was a day long awaited in Houston County, but it finally arrived. Flat Creek PFA is now open. Former Georgia Representative Larry Walker said at the opening ceremony that at one time he wondered if he would live long enough to see the PFA opened, since it was talked about, and then planned for at least 20 years. Then the drought hit, and the lake was slow to fill, but with good rainfall this year the lake is filling up. Right now it’s only 5 to 6 feet below full pool, and it is busting with nice-sized bream, bass and catfish.
The opening ceremony was held on Friday, June 5, at 10 a.m., and a distinguished group of local and state politicians blessed the event, including Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Word of the PFA opening traveled fast. Fishing began at noon, and there were 100 anglers in boats and 650 bank anglers who turned out, according to Ted Will, DNR region supervisor.
The turnout on Saturday, June 7, the first full day of fishing, was even bigger. There were 1,550 bank anglers and 350 anglers in boats. The lake presently covers about 80 acres and will be 102 acres at full pool. The lake has abundant bank fishing, but on that first Saturday, every available spot was taken. By June 17, Will estimated that 7,000 anglers had been fishing at Flat Creek.
Will said the popularity of the PFA was noticed at the Sports Center in Perry. They saw a jump from selling an average of 25 fishing licenses per week to selling 168 licenses just prior to the PFA opening.
“Fishing is big business in Georgia,” Gov. Perdue said at the ceremony. “Based on 18,000 annual fishing trips expected at Flat Creek PFA, the lake will generate about $645,000 annually in fishing-related expenditures, resulting in more than $1.3 million in economic activity each year.”
Despite the big opening crowd, the fishing pressure has leveled off, and anglers can expect a good angling experience, especially if they visit during a weekday.
According to Will, the lake was stocked with bass, channel catfish and bream. WRD Fisheries Biologist Joe Rydell said 8,000 catfish were stocked in January 2007, and an assessment will be completed in the fall of 2009 to see when additional catfish will be stocked.
Bluegills (42,000) and redear sunfish (11,000) were stocked at the same time.
There were 6,000 largemouths and 2,500 F1 bass stocked in May 2007. Some of those fish are up to 4 pounds right now.
WRD Fisheries Biologist Steve Schleiger said the lake will be intensely managed for good bream fishing, and crappie may be stocked later, after the bream and bass are firmly established.
Live minnows are not allowed. Worms and crickets are OK. The fish limits are five bass with a 14-inch minimum, five catfish and 15 bream.
Anglers should pay special attention to opening and closing time, which is legal sunrise and sunset, as available in your local paper or on the Internet.
Gov. Perdue announced at the opening-day ceremony that the lake would be named after former DNR Commissioner Lonice C. Barrett. Perdue credited all that Barrett has done for the natural resources of the state.
A lake map is available at the PFA information board and will soon be available at <www.georgiawildlife.com>. For questions, call (478) 825-6151.
Directions to Flat Creek PFA from Perry: From Interstate 75, take exit No. 134 (South Perry Parkway), and turn west. Travel about 0.25 miles, and turn left (south) on Hwy 41. Go approx 3 1/2 miles, and turn left into Flat Creek Public Fishing Area.
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