Bear Creek Reservoir is one of our favorite close-in getaways. We love it because of it’s proximity to Athens, (only 20 minutes or so!) and the fantastic bass fishing. It tends to be less crowded than some of the other lakes in the region, and we’ve found there’s nothing quite like settling in with a good book and dangling your feet in the water on a warm day.

Bear Creek Reservoir: A little background

The reservoir is among the newest reservoirs in the state, and was created to provide water to Barrow, Jackson, Oconee and Athens-Clarke counties. Bear Creek was completed in 2002 with a public boat ramp finished in August 2009. While it may be new, Bear Creek’s 505 acres, lined with trees and greenery, gives you the sense it’s always been there. The lake is stocked with bass, catfish, crappie, and bream, so if you like catching some of the bigger guys – this is your spot!


Bear Creek is located along Highway 330 and the boat launch is run by the city of Jefferson. From Athens it’s only a 20-minute drive, and from Atlanta approximately an hour and a half. Plan ahead and get a tee time at Jennings Mill Country Club while you’re nearby.


Bear Creek is a trolling-only boat lake. That means no gas or diesel-powered water craft are allowed, and all crafts must we 20 feet or less in length. It’s truly a fishing lake, as no swimming is allowed, either.  If you are a bird watcher, this is a lovely spot to catch some views of American Pipits and Sparrows in the winter, yellowthroats in the summer, and of course, ducks and other waterfowl year-round. Don’t forget your binoculars! There are hiking trails as well, so it’s a place you can be both active AND relax.

Make use of the picnic facilities, and if you don’t have access to a boat for fishing, the Bear Creek Reservoir Public Bank fishing spot is where you can go to catch your daily limit from the banks. Both the fishing bank and the boat ramp are managed by the Jackson County Parks & Recreation district.

Gemstone Realty - Jerald Zwak: Bear Creek Reservoir

Ahh, I’m relaxed already…..

Vacation Rentals:

The area has been opened for development and houses/vacation rentals are popping up. If you want a quick getaway to the reservoir, take a look at Lakes Online to get an idea of what’s available and price ranges. There are also homes and land available for sale if you think the area could be your forever home. We’re happy to help you find what you’re looking for!