After a little over two years of being closed for maintenance and repair one of the county’s most popular parks, Edward Medard Park and Reservoir is now open for boating and catch and release fishing. 

The start of the New Year began on a high note for many who enjoy fishing and boating in the area’s county and state parks after a recent announcement by Hillsborough County Parks Department officials that the 1,284-acre Edward Medard Park, located at 6140 Turkey Creek Rd. in Plant City, is now open. 

The park’s 700-acre reservoir has been closed to boating and fishing since November 2009 due to a reservoir maintenance and repair project under the direction of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which required the water to be drained down.

With the project reaching completion, and giving visitors a chance to once again enjoy all that the park has to offer, the county held a public meeting attended by close to 30 residents,\ for proposed fish management area for Edward Medard Park in mid-November at the Turkey Creek Recreation Center, 5936 Connell Road in Plant City.

Jeff Mauch, of the Hillsborough County Parks Department, explained that the Fish Management Area (FMA) status is a designation the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission assigns to a publicly accessible water body to improve its populations of game fish. 

“One of the benefits of an FMA designation is increased enforcement of fisheries and wildlife conservation measures,” Mauch said.

“The FWC will be monitoring the fish population, as well as health and size,” Mauch said adding that the reservoir is currently at full or 60 percent capacity, which is where it will remain.

Located on what was once a phosphate mining site, the Park also offers unique topography with elevation changes that have become very popular for children’s play.

For overnight stays, the Park has 40 campsites to accommodate both RV and primitive camping. Park entry fee is $2 per vehicle carrying up to eight people, while the boat launching fee is $5 per boat per day. Annual passes are also available.

For additional information, contact Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation at 757-3802.

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