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Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge
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General Information

Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Copyright: - US Fish and Wildlife Service
Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Description - Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge covers 4,049 acres, with 1,000 acres of open water and 3,049 acres of marsh, hardwood swamp, upland. The lake is a natural Pocosin or Mill Pond probably created by tidal action of the ocean and shaped by a more temperate climate thousands of years ago. Joshua Lee built a low-level dam across the drainge creek on his property and utilized the impounded running water to power a grist mill to grind corn, wheat, and rice. The impounded lake and accompanying mill established the area as a trade center along the early stagecoach route between Waycross and Thomasville, GA. In the 1920's, the E.D. Rivers family attempted to develop the area around the lake for electric power and home development. In the 1970's , the E.D. Rivers Estate threatened to drain the lake and harvest the "lightered stumps" and cypress trees. The Nature Conservancy purchased the land from the E.D. Rivers Estate on March 14, 1980. In April, 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service entered into a lease agreement with The Nature Conservancy for management and operation of Banks Lake. On February 22, 1985, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased Banks Lake from The Nature Conservancy.

Attractions - Banks Lake covers about 1,000 acres of open water. There is a triple wide concrete launch ramp. No launch fee is currently charged. The refuge offers both hiking and boating trails. One of the refuge objectives is to provide a showcase outdoor recreational opportunity for the physically challenged.

Recreation - Public use opportunities at Banks Lake include hiking, boating, freshwater fishing, wildlife observation and photography. Sportfish most caught include largemouth bass, chain pickerel, crappie, bluegill, warmouth perch, flier, and catfish. There is no horsepower limitation for boats on the refuge. However, due to the extensive amount of stumps and logs both floating and anchored to the bottom of the lake, idle speed or exclusive use of an electric trolling motor is suggested.

Climate - The climate in South Georgia is generally mild and moist in the winter with summers that can be quite hot and humid. Precipitation is fairly well distributed throughout the year; there are no wet or dry seasons inland. Weather on the coast may be milder and windy.

Location - Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge is found in the western half of Lanier County in southern Georgia, 2 miles west of Lakeland along State Highway 122.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Luv2Fish (Homerville, GA)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My recent fishing trips to Bank's Lake were incredible! The bass were on the creek openings,but you could occasionally catch them in other places as well. Being that the water is now cooler,I have found that using smaller baits and fishing slow produces better bites. During the summer 03', the warmouth, crappie, and bream were very decent sized. Lowering the water level definitely decreased vegetation, yet increased fishing opportunities.

Filed By: Peggy Mac Dougall
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Banks Lake WR is a wonderful place to enjoy fantastic scenery, take great pictures and view many bird species. The endangered sandhill crane winters there and what a treat that is to see. It is quiet and brings you in touch with nature. The alligators swim lazily by, staying away from people for the most part except at the fishing dock where they hope for a free meal. I feel this refuge helps many increase their respect for our Mother Earth. Seeing animals in their natural habitat has a way of doing that. There was no place to rent canoes or boats so I suggest you bring your own. The small town of Lakeland has a few resturants and there is one motel, A small one.

More Information

Contact Information:
Banks Lake NWR, Route 2, Box 3330 , Folkston, GA, 31537, Phone: 912-496-7399

Additional Information:
Coastal Region - The coastal area of Georgia includes the southeastern corner of the state reaching the Atlantic Ocean. Savannah is the major city of the region and is accessible by Interstate 16 from Atlanta.
Georgia's National Wildlife Refuges - There are nine Wildlife Refuges in Georgia. Many of the refuges lie along the coast. Recreation opportunities include hiking, saltwater fishing, hunting, photography, bicycling, and wildlife observation.
Plains Region - This area is located at the western edge of Georgia along the Alabama state line and south to the Florida line. Columbus is the major city in the area. These areas include lakes and rivers as well as historic home sites.

Banks Lake NWR - Official agency website


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