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Buffalo Pay Lake reopens

CHESAPEAKE — After nearly a decade hiatus, the Buffalo Pay Lake has reopened to anglers wanting to snag one or two of the many fish it has to offer.

The 3-acre lake is nestled between the hills of Buffalo Creek, less than a mile from U.S. 52. The water is stocked frequently with crappie, bass, blue gill and a variety of catfish.

In the winter, it will be filled with trout. The lake also offers a full bait and tackle shop on-site, as well as snacks and shelters.

Allie Smith, of Huntington, W.Va., owns the business with her husband, Jason. Her mother had previously owned it and still lives next to the lake.

Smith said the newlyweds jumped into the business head first last year and weren’t really aware of how difficult the venture would be.

What started out as a hobby on the side, turned into quite an undertaking. So far, Smith said, they have put in many long hours of work and continue to do so to get the lake in tip-top shape.

“There is still a lot of things we want to do, improvements that we want to make,” said Smith, whose full-time job is as manager of Advance Auto Parts. Her husband works as a police officer with the Huntington Police Department.

Before its closure in 1998, the lake was a hot spot for anglers. For years, it was the only pay lake around, Smith said. She hopes that it will once again become popular.

Two of the lake’s patrons — Brandon and Ryan Hatfield, brothers from Chesapeake — have come to the lake on a couple of occasions, all of which they say have been fun and successful.

“It’s nice out here,” Brandon said. “We’ve done OK. We just like to come out here and relax, I guess.”

The boys are both experienced anglers and fish at other local lakes as well as the Ohio River. Their secret to catching fish is the bait they use — items ranging from wieners soaked in Kool-Aid to garlic bread smothered in peanut butter.

The lake is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 24 hours a day Friday and Saturday.

Prices are $9 for two poles and $2 each additional pole.

On Tuesdays, customers can pay for one person to fish and a second person fishes free. There are also discounts to senior citizens, veterans and emergency personnel.