For the first time in more than 5 years, Clarks Hill Lake is at full pool. That means more than 20,000 extra acres of fishing real estate. But, it doesn't mean it's easier to catch anything.
Darryl Wise, of Aiken, says, "I love the lake the way it is. Just give it a couple years at this height and the fishing is gonna be outstanding."
Wise has been coming here his entire life and even though it's peak fishing season, the fish aren't biting…
Wise says, "Right now, how high the water level is, it's tougher to catch the fish because you got fresh ground for the fish to go up in."
The fish population shrank to survive during the drought these last few years, now finding those fish is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Wise says, "You got new territory for the fish to explore right now, ya know, and once they explore that territory, then the fishermen can start pinpointing where the fish are gonna go."
Ed Bettross is the Fisheries Biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and he says a population boom is coming.
Bettross says, "As the lake fills and utilizes this new ground and new habitat it's washing in nutrients, really, the base of the food chain. That's whats gonna allow the population to expand and really be what we call a boom for the next two to three, maybe four years."
Small fish feed on plankton. Bigger fish feed on smaller fish. It's all part of the ecosystem that makes up the food chain.
Bettross says, "So yeah, the populations did shrink and went down. But now that they're back up, they're gonna expand again."
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