In July 1965, just over 50 years ago, former Governor Carl Sanders presided over the dedication ceremony for the first ever public fishing area in Georgia. The area, located near Thomson, was named the McDuffie County Public Fishing Area.
“What an amazing milestone to reach – 50 years – for our very first public fishing area,” said John Biagi, Chief of Fisheries Management for the Wildlife Resources Division. “In those 50 years, this area has seen more than one million fishing trips with over 600,000 fish caught.”
Georgia PFAs are managed for fishing by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, but also offer opportunities to entertain the whole family.
McDuffie County PFA, a 570-acre site open Wednesdays through Sundays, includes seven ponds ranging from five to 37 acres, a trophy bass catch and release pond, fish hatchery and an education center. Species available in area lakes include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish. The area is characterized by majestic longleaf pines and sandy soil, offering a beautiful landscape to enjoy a fun day of fishing.
Additional activities on the area could include wildlife viewing, bird watching, picnicking and camping (tent and full RV hookups available), dove hunting, waterfowl hunting, and two archery ranges. Visitors can stroll through the McDuffie Environmental Education Center to see some examples of local wildlife and pick up information about opportunities available on the area.
Now retired Area Superintendent and Hatchery Manager George Atnip shares the following memory, “One of my favorite stories that I cherish from my time at the McDuffie PFA is hearing from a long-time kids fishing event participant who consistently brought his children to the events and how being ‘hooked on fishing’ helped his son make good decisions for the rest of his life. It just reinforced that we were doing something very good for this community.”
A special video tribute to McDuffie, including photos past and present and with shared stories contributed by former staff, is available www.youtube.com/georgiawildlife, then select “McDuffie PFA 50th Anniversary.”
Need information about what type of license to have before visiting? Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/PFA/WhatToKnow . Licenses may be bought online or find a list of retail license vendors at www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.
For more information on PFAs in Georgia or for detailed PFA guides and maps, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/PFA/McDuffie