State lake reopens for fishing

Published 2:35 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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Sun-up couldn’t come fast enough for some happy anglers Monday morning.
The Brooks-Hines State Lake re-opened — at least for a while.
County Commission Chairman Raymond Wiggins had been in talks for sometime with state officials to see if the lake could be reopened for those who enjoy using the lakes offerings for fishing.
“The lake closed last fall when the manager for the facility left,” Wiggins said. “I have been approached by many people who were hoping the lake could be reopened. And, after months of talking with everyone we could talk to about it, the lake has been approved to re-open, at least for a while.”
Previously the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced that the lake would remain closed approximately two years for infrastructure improvement and restocking.
However, due to efforts of local leaders, led by Wiggins, state officials were convinced to allow the lake to reopen and permit local anglers to fish the lake until drainage and maintenance reach the point that safety becomes an issue as determined by ADCNR.
Wiggins said the final approval to open the lake was made on Friday with posting at the lake going up almost immediately.
“When we found out we could get the lake open, we began on some work that would be needed to accommodate fishing,” Wiggins said. “Our sheriff, Heath Jackson, got to work with us on getting some grass cut, bathrooms cleaned and some serious clean-up done out there.”
Fishing at the lake will be available from sun up to sun down seven days a week until further notice.
The lake has been closed since last fall and is on the list for cleaning, repairs and restocking at some point in the near future.
“When we found out they would just be draining the lake and discarding the fish, we wanted to see if there was any way we could let our people catch those fish and get some use out of them. We are happy that things have worked out to allow that to happen.”
Officials say fishermen will be required to possess a fishing permit that will be provided at no cost and available at a convenient location at the front of the store. In addition, anglers are required to have a valid Alabama State Freshwater fishing license.
The bait shop will not be open. The creel and size limit will be unlimited during this time at this lake only.
Wiggins offered thanks to those who worked to allow the opening of the lake including Congressman Jerry Carl; Governor Kay Ivey; State Senator Greg Albritton; State Representative Alan Baker; State Representative Matthew Hammett; Chris Blankenship – director of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Matthew Marshall – assistant chief of fisheries for ADCNR; Jonathan Brown – Public Fishing Lake Coordinator with ADCNR and Anthony Jay Edwards – District Ranger with USDA.

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