Last edit : 12-31:21 I plan on returning to this location and each visit will get noted on this posting. These 2021 trips were made possible by the support of Energycoil 2021.
BANKS LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE was established in 1985, Banks Lake has more than 4,000 acres of freshwater wetland made up of open water, marsh, hardwood swamp and uplands. Visitors may enjoy sport fishing for largemouth bass, wildlife observation and nature photography. They have an Annual Youth Fishing Derby and CastingKids Contest held the first Saturday in June.
- Fish Species (reported by GA) Large and Small mouth Bass, Black Crappie, White Crappie, Blue Gill, and Red Breasted Sunfish. Chain Pickerel <- Got one of these myself.
- Free Parking and it has plenty of parking
- Boat Launch: small launch really big boats won’t do well here. Jet-skis and similar water craft are prohibited
- Boat Launching: There is only one launch point for this lake and it supports one craft at a time.
- Concessions: yes and the dude is super cool. (Bagged ice on site)
- Weeds: come on folks this is South Georgia, there is a butt load of them, and not far below the surface. It is not so bad out in the center of the lake, but still use caution with under water cypress stumps and broken trees.
- RV and Camping spots; NO
- Restrooms: yes but only open during day when store is open.
- Equipment Rentals: Available which includes Kayak and canoes
- Suitable for all all ages, has a beautiful large fishing pier with rod holders. Easy access even for disable or elderly people and some nice BBQ grills if you want to do some cooking out.
- Free Admission:
- Open Year ‘Round: The night time hours are for hunting and fishing use only and keep your permits handy.
- Walking trail: … yeah but not much to it.
- Biking: NOPE don’t even bother unless you want to ride it around the parking lot.
- Canoe / Kayak for rent but no guided tours, but you don’t need it, because it’s a pretty straight forward place to paddle.
- Local Store access: yes but when you exit BLWR turn right and that will take you into Lakeland. No big chain stores but has enough local stores and some good local food places to take care of ya’ll.
JT’s Two Cents:
I stumbled across this place in April of 2021 while coming from AHDRA South Carolina on Saturday to ManCup Adel, Georgia SGMP on Sunday. I passed by the location and saw some awesome cypress trees shooting up out of the water. I thought it would make for a great sunrise or even sunset photos. I did not stop because I was on a time crunch, but did pin the location on GPS to come back to it later.
Once home I did some research and it seemed like a cool place. Most of my traveling kept me more up and down the eastern USA. South Georgia was on my schedule, but not until later in the year. For the 1 st and 2nd run, I was coming back from Tennessee after weather cancelled the final SDBA event. So I made sure to stop and check this one out. I also came to realized I had not done any kayaking runs in Georgia yet, so it would give me one and complete my southern states for kayaking trips.
Added note: Toward the close of the race season I picked up fishing. I can legally fish Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. I will pick up Tennessee and North Carolina after the first of the year.
Visit 1 and 2: 10-31- and the afternoon of 11-01-21: out for fishing not for photos
Late on 10-30-21, I got into town and swung by the park for a quick look around. Afternoon a brief stay, shot over to Wally World to get my Georgia fishing license. There is an option for a multi-day visitor permit but knew I’d be back so just went ahead and got a full year.
After some rest I was back to BLWR for some paddling and casting. Now I was only out here to practice casting and was not expecting to catch anything because I suck at this. Got several hits but did not managed to reel anything in. I spent the day here and then headed out to get some dinner and rest. I decided to add a second Georgia kayak location to my list and hit Bingham Lake on 11-01-21. It was a great kayaking but sucked turtle turds in regards to fishing. I would not get a single hit here, and again I don’t blame the lake I blame my fishing skills.
After a poor fishing experience at Bingham Lake I headed back over to BLWR for a few hours. I still did not catch a damn thing but it made me feel a bit better about myself getting some hits before heading home. I’m not blaming either location because my suckage rating is really high as a fisherman. When my experience builds and know what I’m doing there should be some better results. This trip was cloudy at first and cleared up and turned into a gorgeous day. I also got a cool Georgia Gator photo too, and it’s my first non-Florida gator pic.
Visit Three: 11-17-2021 fishing not photos
I was heading back up to Georgia for ManCup at South Georgia Motorsports Park and once again had my sights set on Banks Lake. My oldest brother is a life long fisherman and after explaining my experiences and troubles, he gave me some pointers and a new rod and reel set up that worked out a lot better from my kayak.
I got into the area and used a local rest stop to get some shut eye before headed into Banks Lakes to get some casting and paddling done. I was on the water at 530am. It was a great day of paddling and fishing which lasted up to around 2pm. I still suck at this but was still getting some hits here and there. I finally managed to bag my first fish on my GA license. People are saying its a Pike so I will go with that until I learn what the hell I’m looking at. Don’t know much about fish yet, but give me time I will figure it out.
There were some A-10 wart hogs out doing training, which was way fracking cool. They were clearly training and getting flight time BUT IT WAS live fire because early on they would swoop down to area I could not see and you could here the cannons go off. Sound like a tractor trailer doing a Jake Brake but A LOT louder
*** Some stuff I found in case you have no idea what the hell I’m taking about. The A-10 was intended to improve on the performance and firepower of the Douglas A-1 Skyraider. The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon. Its airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb damage and continue flying. Its ability to take off and land from relatively short runways permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines, and its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities. Dubbed Warthog, Hog or just Hawg, the A-10 Thunderbolt II is, basically, an airplane built around the GAU-8 Avenger 30-mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-type cannon. The Avenger cannon is the Hog primary weapon and is able to fire 3,900 bullets per minute.
Additional 2022 trips are coming for this location.