Local Duck River Reservoir opens for recreational use | The Cullman Tribune

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Duck River Reservoir opens for recreational use

Within minutes of hitting the water, Benton and Ray Buchmann were already catching their first fish. (W.C. Mann for The Tribune)

CULLMAN - On Tuesday morning, the City of Cullman officially opened the Duck River Reservoir to boats and fishers and opened the 22 miles of interconnected bicycle and hiking trails that encircle the lake.

Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer told the assembled crowd, “Today we celebrate the aspects that have been created other than the drinking water supply.  Having the drinking water supply was really, really important, but if you didn’t do something with the recreation potential on this reservoir, that really, really would’ve been a shame.  It was part of the Corps of Engineers plan that we had to do that, but what we have prepared and done as a community is much beyond what was required of us, and I really, really am proud of what’s here.”

The lake covers approximately 650 acres, and contains (naturally or by stocking) the following fish species, listed with their current catch limits:

--Florida and Alabama Bass - catch and release only
--Bluegill and Redear Bream - maximum 20 fish of any size
--Black Crappie - maximum 30 fish which must be 9 inches or longer
--Channel Catfish - no limit.  This is a young population that is considered not large enough to catch, yet.

Reservoir Manager Tim Scott insisted that, because the lake and its fish populations are still maturing, fishing limits will be strictly enforced.  Fishing piers are located at certain points around the lake, and fishing is allowed from boats. Motorized watercraft are limited to engines of 25 horsepower or less.

Fishing requires a permit, which is available in a box near the boat launch, or which can be downloaded via link from www.cullmanal.gov or from the Duck River Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Duck-River-Reservoir-Project-134002529946659).

Greer also spoke about the reservoir trail system, saying, “The trails are really a special feature, managed by the Cullman City Parks and Recreation department, Nathan Anderson and his team.  They took on a huge responsibility with 20 miles of trail. You just imagine the maintenance and upkeep on that, around that scenic reservoir. But it is going to be special. I think it will generate a lot of traffic here, and really will be meaningful for us.”

According to the trail plan drawn up by St. John and Associates, “Trail construction would utilize native materials exclusively and follow sustainable International Mountain Bicycling Association and Appalachian Trail Conservancy guidelines that minimize erosion and required trail maintenance.”

After the ribbon cutting, Ray Buchmann and his wife Benton set out into the lake in the first (legally!) launched boat, for a morning of fishing.  Even while the launch ceremony was still underway, other fishermen were lining up for their turns on the ramp. Spectators on shore noticed that, within minutes of hitting the water, both of the Buchmanns had already begun reeling in fish.

For more information on the Duck River Reservoir, including the current status of the pipeline project and plans for water service to the city of Cullman, see The Tribune’s previous story at www.cullmantribune.com/articles/2018/07/07/duck-river-reservoir-set-open....

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  • Ray and Benton Buchmann had the honor of taking the first boat out on the Duck River Reservoir (W.C. Mann for The Tribune)
  • W.C. Mann
    The ribbon is cut on the Duck River Reservoir on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.