Water-Related News

Fishing to Open at Edward Medard Reservoir on Dec. 31

PLANT CITY — Closed for the past two years, Edward Medard Reservoir will open again to boaters and fishermen at the end of the year. The only catch: the fish have to stay.

The reservoir will open Dec. 31 for catch-and-release fishing only, biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or FFWCC, announced Tuesday night at a community meeting.

The decision was made based on the size of the fish currently in the water, said Bill Pouder, a biologist with the FFWCC Fisheries Division. Most of them were added to the reservoir last fall and spring and need time to mature, he said.

"Our recommendation initially was to wait two years to open up fishing," Pouder said. "But there was a large outcry."

The popular fishing spot was closed two years ago by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, or Swiftmud, which owns the property, to make repairs on the reclaimed phosphate mine.

Swiftmud also built a new dock and observation tower.