The virus pandemic is causing problems across our nation. Many have lost family and friends to the virus. Many individuals are looking for activities that are safe and the outdoors seem to be the best choice for many. The upcoming fall season offers numerous outdoor events including many hunting and fishing opportunities. Archery season for deer began on Sept. 12, followed by the primitive weapons season beginning Oct. 10, and then the firearms season will begin on Oct. 17.
If you are a hunter and also fish, or if you spend the fall season only fishing, there are numerous fishing opportunities available on area lakes during the fall season. Probably the largest fall event will occur with the five-year drawdown on Lake Sinclair. The drawdown begins on Oct. 26, and will begin refilling on Nov. 29. After the drawdown, the lake will range between 337 and 335 feet. Due to the daily operation at the Wallace Dam, the lower elevation will normally occur in the mornings.
Folks that own homes and properties on Lake Sinclair are looking forward to the drawdown to repair/replace seawalls and docks. Some look forward to removing clutter that may have accumulated around or under their docks.
That clutter could include the removal of grasses that have recently grown in many areas of the lake. It’s understandable if non-native grasses have grown anywhere on your shoreline, removing it would be likely OK with Georgia Power. However, removing native grasses like water willow requires a permit from Georgia Power and is discouraged.
Other repairs on docks or any construction project requires a permit from Georgia Power. Many contractors that do docks and seawalls are already booked during the drawdown. Even if you plan to do repairs yourself, you still need a Georgia Power permit, and if you do not yet have a permit you need to get it quickly. You can call Georgia Power at 706-484-7500 to discuss your project and get a permit. Georgia Power says that the dates for the drawdown will not be changed or extended unless the weather changes the planned dates.
The drawdown will impact fishing in numerous ways. If you live on the lake and keep your boat in a boathouse but plan to use the boat on the lake during the drawdown, make sure you have sufficient water to drop your boat into the water. If you have your boat on a trailer and plan to fish Lake Sinclair during the drawdown, some public ramps like the Dennis Station Access will have adequate water so that you can launch a boat during the drawdown. For plans to launch at one of the lake’s marinas, you will need to check with the marina to see if they have adequate water to launch at their ramps.
Since most tournaments now launch at the Dennis Station Access, launching during the tournaments will not be impacted. One of the Berry’s Fall Tournament dates will be impacted. The last tournament in the Berry’s Fall schedule is at Lake Sinclair on Nov. 21, when the lake should be about at its lowest level.
Fishing the lake during the drawdown offers anglers the opportunity to test their skills at finding the fish and finding a pattern that works. It can be a challenge on a daily basis as the lake begins to drop and throughout the entire drawdown. Anglers can also use the time to locate shoreline structures that might help later when the lake returns to normal depths. Observing and even taking videos and photos for later reference is a good idea. The drawdown is also a good time to replenish or place structures around your dock for later fishing for example during the spring crappie season.
On Saturday, Oct. 31, the first-ever Casting in Pink fishing tournament will take place on Lake Sinclair at the Dennis Station Access. You can register at the ramp at 5 a.m. The tournament mission is presented by the “Men in Pink” to increase awareness and funding for programs that recognize the impact on spouses after a breast cancer diagnosis.
The original event began as a tribute to Ashley Wimberly by her husband Roy for initially surviving breast cancer after treatment. Unfortunately, before the originally planned event could be held, Ashley’s cancer returned with a vengeance and at the age of 33, she lost her battle.
Another member of the Casting in Pink committee, Chris King, an avid fisherman, also saw his wife Chris survive her battle with breast cancer but died in a tragic boating accident. The tournament will be held in Ashley Wimberly’s and Chris King’s memory.
The proceeds from the tournament will be used to provide physical, psychological, educational, financial, and relational support to families like the Wimberlys and Kings throughout Central Georgia. For information about the tournament visit the organization's website at www.unitedinpink.prg/fishing.
The virus has got everyone anxious about the future but the outdoors is one place that is relatively safe but you still need to do it safely. Stay safe, God Bless each of you who read this column and God Bless our great country.
See you next week.
—Outdoors columnist Bobby Peoples can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.