LAKE REOPENS: Dam repairs, new dock and conference center enhance Pike County Lake

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 2, 2016

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A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the reopening of the Pike County Lake on Wednesday, June 1. Troy City officials and representatives of the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and community representatives were present for the event. The lake was reopened following a three year $850,000 renovation project with the City of Troy and the WFF, as project partners.

The Pike County Lake reopened with fanfare Wednesday morning with state, Troy city and county dignitaries cutting the ribbon on a new conference center and bait shop and fishermen waiting in the wings for the signal to “go fishing.”

Pike County Lake closed in 2013 for repairs to its dam and valve system. After a three-year renovation project by the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) and the City of Troy, the lake is now open for business.

The $850,000 renovation project was a partnership between the WFF and the City of Troy with each assuming half of the project cost.

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Dan Smith, Troy Parks and Recreation director, said had it not been for a conversation between Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves and state officials, Wednesday’s event would not have happened.

“Mayor Reeves realized the importance of this lake to Pike County,” Smith said.

Reeves said the reopening of Pike County Lake is the culmination and tangible example of the city’s dedication to the quality of life from its youngest citizens to its valued senior adults. He thanked all of those, from all levels, who have worked so diligently to return the lake to the people.

“Today is the beginning of a special place for families and friends,” Reeves said. “Long after we’re gone, people will continue to enjoy God’s creation.”

Ken Weathers, State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources District IV Fisheries supervisor, said Pike County Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in the state.

“And, it has not reached its potential,” Weathers said. “It is one of the most beautiful places in the state.”

Matthew Marshall, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources State Lakes coordinator, Matthew Marshall, said the partnership between the state and the City of Troy improves the quality of life for, not only the people of Troy and Pike County, but also for the surrounding areas.

“This renovation project is the fruit of the labor of this partnership,” he said.

Even though Pike County Lake is not a state park, it has the makings of one – a looking glass, 45-acre lake; beautiful woodlands 10 times the size of the lake; picnic areas and conference center; public restrooms; and a bait and tackle shop.

Melissa Sanders and Mike Davis, who were the city’s “point people” for the renovation project, said a lot of planning and work went into the reopening of Pike County Lake, and it is now something for which Troy and all Pike County can be proud.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony and reception at the lake’s Conference Center, Pike County Lake officially opened for fishing at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Fishermen had their rods and reels in hand with their lucky bait dangling in wait. When the clock struck 1 p.m. the fishing began.

Many of those, who were the first to fish, were veterans of Pike County Lake and could not wait to get their hooks wet again.

Lovell Martin, a longtime fisherman of the lake, was there because he loves to fish and he loves the outdoors. “This is a great lake and it’s just a pretty place,” he said. “I haven’t caught anything yet but catching fish is not a big thing to me. Fishing’s the big thing. I’ve pulled a boat all the way to Mobile and not caught a thing. I’ll be out here whether I catch anything or not.”

Jessie Youngblood had fished Pike County Lake for 40 years before it closed. He’s a seasoned fisherman. “If there’s anything in here, I’ll catch it,” he said with a smile.

Curtis Green made the drive from Luverne to be one of the first to fish the lake.

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Lovell Martin and Jessie Youngblood are both veteran fisherman at Pike County Lake and were anxious to return and put a worm in the water.

“I love to fish and I love to fish here,” he said. “You won’t be able to keep me away. People will come from all around to fish this lake.”

Pike County Lake, at 200 Pike County Lake Road, will be open from dawn to dusk six days a week and closed on Wednesday.

A daily fishing permit of $3.75 is required of all anglers, ages 12 to 65. A fishing license is required for anglers ages 16 to 64. Alabama residents 65 and up are exempt from fishing license requirements. Fishing licenses are available for purchase at the lake’s bait shop.

For more information, contact lake manager, Bart Pettus at 334-674-2480.