You may have noticed that the drawdown on Lake Sinclair began in earnest this week. The lake will be drawn down some 4 feet and could be down as much as 51?2 feet during the lake's pumpback operation. According to Georgia Power, the lake will be back to normal levels on January 1, 2006.

If you were planning to remove your boat from your boathouse before the drawdown began you may not have sufficient water to do so now. Remember if you are planning to do any improvements during the drawdown to your seawall, dock or boathouse you need a permit from Georgia Power before work can begin. To obtain a permit for any planned improvements or other work call Georgia Power at 706-485-8704.

 The water level drop of from 4 - 51?2 feet will require that boat operators using the lake during this period be extremely careful as some underwater hazards will either be exposed or just under the surface of the lake. Vast areas of the lake bottom will be exposed during the drawdown and can provide a great opportunity for anglers to view shoreline areas that fish will utilize when the lake is again filled.

 Lake drawdowns are generally considered beneficial to any lake's overall general health and many lakes experience improved angling after drawdowns occur. The drawdowns that occur during the winter will not allow much in the way of any aquatic growth on newly exposed land but will allow normal shallow areas of sediment and muck to dry up.

 Once the lake is refilled this should create improved areas for fish nesting and bedding in the spring and give the lake some nutrient boost. Please do not remove shoreline and shallow water grasses during the drawdown. These shoreline grasses are very beneficial to the lake's fishery and their removal requires approval from Georgia Power.

 The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) has a project underway to introduce beneficial grasses to Lake Sinclair to improve fish habitat. A number of Maidencane plots were planted over the spring/summer in an attempt to introduce that beneficial plant to Lake Sinclair.

 "The Maidencane we planted is a native grass so it will go dormant during the winter just like other lake grasses," said Steve Schleiger, WRD Fisheries Biologist. "A hard freeze occurring during the drawdown will kill back shoreline grasses but it should survive and regenerate during the spring."

 During the drawdown, the DNR plans to construct some shoreline fish attractors made from PVC pipe around the lake. These fish attractors will be placed along shorelines in shallow water. Shallow water habitat and structures are disappearing from the lake as more and more houses are built. Less and less natural shoreline remains and this has had a detrimental impact on all fish.    

 Many boat ramps at several of the lake's marinas will be unusable during the drawdown. Ramps at Little River Park are now closed and will not reopen until the lake is brought back up. However the new public ramps at Dennis Station access will remain useable even when the lake reaches the maximum drawdown level.

 The combination of lower water temperatures and falling water levels may hasten the movement of many fish to their deeper water wintertime hangouts. Those deepwater locations will be unaffected by the lower water levels and if you can get your boat in the water during the drawdown the deepwater fishing should be good.

 The drawdown is a good time to ride around the lake and study shoreline locations that will likely hold largemouth during the spring. Many anglers use cameras to take pictures and movies of shorelines now with the water down and then will return to fish the better locations they recorded during the spring. If you're a shoreline angler you can learn much about where fish will likely locate by observing the now exposed shoreline.

 This morning with the water down, I discovered a hole in my seawall that was made by some type of animal. The 8 inch by 8 inch hole was made through a couple of pressured treated 2 by 6 boards and whatever animal chewed the hole it seemed to have dug a pretty good hole under my yard since there was a good pile of dirt removed from inside the seawall.

 Whatever it was, it has a short time to leave or it will be incased when I plug the hole. Sure hope he does not reverse his dig and chew back through once I have repaired the hole! Would anybody venture a guess as to what animal might have made the hole? I assumed a beaver likely made it. Good fishing and see you next week.

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