By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Perry likely site for Go Fish Center
Lake Lanier may be in line for super boat ramp
Placeholder Image
MACON — Perry officials say their city is the likely site of a new $22 million hatchery and visitor center — part of a plan by state officials to promote fishing tourism in Georgia.

Mayor Jim Worrall said Perry has been in contact with state officials in the past three weeks about the Go Fish Georgia Center being built at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry.

John Biagi, chief of fisheries for the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, wouldn’t say Wednesday whether the fairgrounds in Perry has been selected as the center’s site.

But he said today’s announcement is related to the center and to another part of the state plan that seeks to make state reservoirs more attractive to major bass tournaments.

That part of the plan would use state money and private donations to expand boat ramps at reservoirs so they can be used for professional tournaments that can lure up to 400 boats. Georgia officials would like to have 15 state lakes and rivers as possible venues for professional fishing tournaments.

The governor is also expected to announce the 10 sites for "super-ramps" for handling large numbers of boats for fishing tournaments.

While his office declined to give specifics, it is likely that Lake Lanier, the largest lake in the state and home to a number of major tournaments, would be selected for a "super-ramp."

Worrall said no one has told the him that the decision has been made. But Worrall told The Telegraph of Macon he expects state officials to make the announcement today.

"I think you can put two and two together on that," he said.

A news release issued Wednesday by Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office said the city of Perry and the Houston County Development Authority would be participating in the announcement.

State officials have said the proposed 30,000-square-foot fishing center could draw 200,000 visitors a year if placed in a central, easily accessible location.

It is the centerpiece of the Go Fish Georgia initiative, a program that will use $30 million in state funds and private donations to boost local economies through fishing and boating tourism.

"We anticipate it will be worth a considerable amount of tourism," Worrall said. "Fishermen in this state spend a lot of money going here and yonder for fish."

A goal of the proposed hatchery would be to provide more trophy largemouth bass for the state’s lakes. Georgia officials would ask anglers to donate to the hatchery live trophy bass. Offspring of the donated fish would be returned to state lakes.

Tourism revenue that could come from bass tournaments would more than make up for the program’s costs, Biagi said, as state estimates say a single large tournament can provide a local economy with a boost of several million dollars.

Regional events