Bear Lake employee Chase Pearson looks over the five catfish Cody Shedd caught while fishing at Bear’s Pay Lake. BONNIE FUSSELL

For many, a nice day of fishing is a calm and relaxing way to spend a day off.

Bear’s Pay Lake recently held its grand opening. James “Bear” Stanley and his wife Janet Seay, leased the lake from Sue Clinard and plan to enjoy running the business during their retirement years.

Seay said, “We love it. He and I are retired, and we were looking for something really to do and it just fell in his lap; and we took it over. We thank God that we could afford the overhead and so it just got started. The Chamber of Commerce helped us out tremendously.”

Formerly known as Jonjon’s Pay Lake the business is now named after Stanley’s nickname, Bear. The three-acre lake is located at 199 Parks Road off Old Highway 31.

The pay lake is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The bait shop carries a wide variety of bait such as worms, crickets, shrimp, chicken breast, goldfish, and shiners.

They do not rent equipment. The largest number of people fishing on one day was 110 on a recent Saturday.

According to Tennessee Wildlife Resources, you do not need a fishing license to fish in a pay lake in Tennessee.

The lake is stocked each Thursday and Saturday with 300 pounds of catfish. There are other varieties of fish in the lake. The cost is $15 for five fish or $10 for catch and release. The largest fish that has been there was a 45-pound flathead catfish.

Seay said they are making plans for the lake, and hope to create activities for children soon. In addition, there is a possibility they may add tournaments.

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