Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir opens for public fishing tomorrow, March 9 at 12 p.m. Fishing will commence immediately after a grand-open ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m.
The lake will supply drinking water for residents of Walton and Oconee counties, so the lake will only allow boats equipped with electric motors or self-propelled watercraft, like kayaks and canoes. Boats with gas motors are not allowed to be launched into the reservoir.
The lake began filling in 2015, and once it reaches full pool, it will be 1,367 acres. The reservoir is currently 2 feet from reaching full pool.
Fishing stockings from WRD included largemouth bass, bluegill, shellcracker, channel catfish, black crappie and threadfin shad. Stockings began in the fall of 2015 and finished in the spring of 2016 with a total of 1.4 million fish.
“The 2- to 3-pound range would be a good, common average bass. There will be some above that and some below that,” said Chris Nelson, WRD fisheries biologist.
“It should be some fantastic fishing. There’s a lot of flooded vegetation as the lake begins to fill up. There should be plenty of shoreline grasses for anglers to target, which is where the fish are right now.
“Any kind of soft plastics (for bass) would be good. Right now spinnerbaits would work really good coming through there. As it warms up, some kind of topwater-type frog or fluke would work really well.”
Size and creel limits on all fish will mirror Georgia state fishing regulations.
The price to fish is $10 per vehicle per day. There is no additional charge for vehicles pulling trailers. There is a kiosk onsite with daily parking pass envelopes like you see at state parks.
Annual parking permits are available. For those who live in Walton or Oconee counties, the price is $60/year. Non-residents will pay $75. All annual parking permits must be purchased through the Walton County Water Department Office, 2171 Highway 81 SW, Loganville, GA 30052. The office is open from 8-5 Monday-Friday. You can download an application online if you would like to print and complete the form prior to your arrival.
The public access boat ramp is located on Social Circle-Fairplay Road at 33°41’31.6″N 83°37’53.1″W.
There is one public dock and very minimal bank fishing access available, although plans are for additional bank fishing areas to likely be added in the future.
If you’re fishing during tomorrow’s grand opening, email a photo and caption to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir for more information.