(Pictures are from Sunday 10-8)
I recently posted my experience in trying to get into Lake Poinsett to fish with my grandson. We encountered so much difficulty in getting the boat to the water, I decided to contact someone with the AGFC.
Since he is working on the draining process, I contacted Brett Timmons with the AGFC about the expectations they have for people that want to take advantage of fishing the lake as the water level drops.
The first question for Brett was about the sign that the AGFC has posted to keep people off of the lake bed. I told him about the difficulty my grandson and I had when trying to get a boat into the lake Monday (10/2). Brett told me that the sign was there to prevent people from riding around on the exposed lake bed in four-wheel drive vehicles and on four-wheelers. He said they have already experienced that problem, and the sign gives them the legal ability to fine anyone caught doing that. He said the sign was not intended to keep fishermen from going across the lake bed to unload and slide a boat into the water.
Brett did want me to inform people that if they do get on the lake bed to launch a boat, they need to be very careful and that they are doing it “at their own risk.” From what I encountered in trying to get a boat into the water, it would be very easy for someone to mistakenly think that the drier looking area next to the muddy bank would be firm enough to back onto with a four-wheel drive vehicle. The problem is that you can’t determine what is underneath, and the lake bed could give away, and you would find your trailer or vehicle buried above the axle. I will be posting a video as soon as I can get it edited, showing that it has already come close to happening a couple of times. I guarantee you that if you go too far, it is probably going to cost you dearly for a tow truck to come and pull you out, especially if it is not firm enough for them to get to your vehicle.
Getting stuck in the mud is not the only thing you will have to be cautious of. There is a lot of metal debris and broken bottles strewn across the lake bed. You don’t always see them on top of the ground, but you could easily puncture a tire or have a sharp shard of glass cut through your shoe and pierce into your foot. I can’t imagine how bad the infection developed from that could be.
I have heard a lot of rumors about how you are allowed to harvest the fish from the lake as the pool shrinks in size. Brett told me that the fish can be taken by using recreational sportfishing gear. No seines, trammel nets, or gill nets will be allowed. From what I’ve seen, you wouldn’t be able to walk the lake with a seine anyway. What looks like a few feet of water turns out to be a few feet of water and a few feet of silt to sink into. So a five-foot person stepping into five feet of water will find out that the water is going to be at least a foot above their head. That may not sound so bad until you consider that you may not be able to pull your foot out of that clay mud on the bottom.
When Brett mentioned that nets will not be allowed, I asked him if the AGFC had considered harvesting the fish and moving them to another AGFC controlled lake. Brett said that it had been discussed, but it would take too much manpower and expense to make it a feasible alternative. He said the main reason for not doing so was the possibility of moving diseased fish to another lake, which would be disastrous for the fish in the other lake.
When I inquired how the progress of draining the lake was going, Brett said that the lake is going down approximately 6-7 inches each day. He estimates that the lake will be concentrated in one pool near the gate structure within a few weeks.
In addition to having to fix the inside and outside gates in the water control structure, the project includes a lot of work around the banks to prevent future erosion of the property owners’ shoreline.
If you do decide to fish the lake from a boat instead of the bank, I urge you to be very careful and expect it to take a lot of effort to reach the water with your boat and gear.