By Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times
With conditions somewhat warmer and a little less breezy, Dewayne Armstrong and James Maddux of Eva spent their off-day from work Wednesday fishing from a bank at Sportsman Lake Park.
"It's nice out today," Maddux said while casting his reel.
In the past when the two have come to try and hook the big one, they've had to pay a $2 fee, but earlier this week, the Cullman County Parks and Recreation Department opened the lake for public fishing, free of charge until further notice.
According to Cullman County Park and Recreation manager Delitha Marchman, the county is trying to remove as many fish as possible before lowering the water level of the lake for observations.
A limit of 50 permits will be given out each day, beginning at 8 a.m. at the park concession stand. Only one per person, per week is allowed.
Cullman County Commission Chairman James Graves said the reason for the draining of the lake is to remove a large amount of silt that has built up at the bottom of the lake from past years. He added while drained, it would also allow for the opportunity to do maintenance work.
“We have some repair work that wasn’t holding up, so we’re taking that off and going to let the water drain out,” Graves said. “But before we do that, we’re wanting people to come out and fish so that we can get as many fished out as possible. We don’t want to have any dead fish lying around because that would leave a stench.”
Graves said there are a variety of fish in the lake, including catfish and bream, among others. If caught, the only requirement is they must be taken home. There is no limit on the number that can be caught.
Crews began draining some of the lake late Tuesday so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can come in and do an inspection. Graves said there is no timetable as to when the project may be completed, though he noted it would take a while.
“This process gives us a chance to look at the dam and review it and see if it’s satisfactory or if we need to do anything else to it,” Graves said.
Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org