All the fish you can take! Well, not quite, but for anglers at Evans County Public Fishing Area, the limit on what they can take will increase significantly as preparations are made for an upcoming improvements project on the area. Due to construction needs, this PFA will temporarily close on June 1, 2012 and re-open in 2013.
“During the renovation, multiple improvements will be made, including the reconstruction of Bidd Sands Lake Dam,” says John Biagi, fisheries chief of the Wildlife Resources Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “The decision to completely close the area is difficult. However, to ensure visitor safety and to avoid construction delays, we decided that the people of the area are better served by temporarily closing it.”
The impoundment was constructed nearly 50 years ago and currently has multiple issues and needs. Trees, that began growing on the dam prior to WRD’s acquisition, have reduced the integrity of the structure. Additionally, the dam’s front face has suffered from wave erosion.
Bond funding will support tree and stump removal, slope rebuilding and grading for structural integrity and improved maintenance, and rip-rap installation to prevent further wave damage. Fisheries Management plans to rebuild the fish population with restocking and add lake enhancements, such as fish attractors.
“Once completed, the PFA will provide a much improved experience for years to come. In the meantime, since the lake must be drained, we want all local anglers to take advantage of the adjustment of fish limits during the next few months,” says Biagi. “We are increasing the take limits on all species and encourage anglers to take what they can prior to the area closing.”
The “take” limit on most fish species has been increased as preparations are made to begin draining Bidd Sands Lake. Bream limit is 50 per person (formerly 15); largemouth bass is 10 per person with a 12 inch minimum length (formerly five per person with a 14 inch minimum length); channel catfish has no limit (formerly five per person); and crappie is 30 per person (no change).
Alternative Fishing Locations
Anglers needing an alternative location to fish during the construction period have several options:
Fort Stewart and Hunter Military Installations: This area offers nearly 20 managed ponds, lakes and numerous access points on the Canoochee River. An additional license is required and rules/regulations are different from state regulations. More info at: http://www.stewart.army.mil/dpw/fish/FS%20MAP.htm 
Canoochee, Ogeechee, Savannah and Altamaha rivers: Up-to-date fishing prospects for many rivers is available at http://georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Rivers 
City of Savannah community ponds: Good fishing is available at several community ponds within the city limits of Savannah. More info available at http://tinyurl.com/7wejqzu  .
Georgia Public Fishing Areas: There are nine other PFAs in the State of Georgia that offer managed and family-friendly areas for anglers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. More info at www.georgiawildlife.com/fishing/public-fishing-areas  .
Evans County PFA, located east of Claxton, Georgia, is a 372-acre area that includes three separate impoundments. Lakes Longleaf, Woody and Bidd Sands attract more than 5,000 anglers each year with an additional almost 4,000 guests visiting the area. The area boasts concrete boat ramps with courtesy docks, fishing piers, primitive camp sites, boardwalk nature trail, restrooms and picnic tables.
This PFA also is home to hunting activities, such as alligator and waterfowl hunts. Sportsmen drawn for these quota hunts will be able to participate in the hunts during renovation (September 2012-January 2013). Fishing is expected to resume in June 2013.
For more information on public fishing areas in Georgia, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/fishing/public-fishing-areas .