Lake Jacksonville ending successful 2016 season

By Ryne Turke on October 18, 2016 at 7:01am

An exciting year at Lake Jacksonville is coming to a close.

Jacksonville Community Development and Recreational Facilities Director Kelly Hall made the announcement this week that the final day of camping and fishing at Lake Jacksonville is Wednesday. All gates and points will be locked that night at 8 p.m.

Lake Jacksonville Caretaker Brett Gilbreth says it takes about a week for his staff to cut off the water lines and cable off the points, protecting the property campers leave behind over the winter.

Gilbreth says Lake Jacksonville typically shuts down this time of year because Mother Nature can be unpredictable in October.

Gilbreth says 2016 was “one of the most used years at Lake Jacksonville in the last five to six years.”

“We put in some additional camping spots and there was a lot of weekends we were full. Boating was phenomenal this year and fishing was better than it has been in recent years. The lake was actually used for what is was intended for. A lot of people utilized the public bank fishing areas, because not everybody has boats or the time to fish out of boats.”

According to Gilbreth, Lake Jacksonville’s waiting list for camping was “a mile long.” Last year Gilbreth was showing lots to people who had been on the waiting list for ten years, but that list has recently been bumped up to applicants from 2013.

Gilbreth hopes that number continues to improve so everyone has a chance at property surrounding Lake Jacksonville.

Looking into 2017, Gilbreth hopes to make Lake Jacksonville a must see location in Morgan County.

“We are hoping by this time next year to have 17 public bank fishing areas. We want to make the lake more accessible for people to fish. We are also looking into getting some walking trails reclaimed. We are going to work hard on getting that cleaned up so people can come out and walk the dog and experience the whole lake, not just what is on the roadway. We are trying to make the lake available for everybody.”

In recent years the Department of Natural Resources has played a big role in the improvement of Lake Mauivisterre. Gilbreth hopes to see the Lake Mauivisterre fully stocked with quality large mouth bass, blue gill and catfish so people can continue fishing, even after Lake Jacksonville is closed.

Lake Jacksonville is scheduled to reopen the first weekend in April.