Georgia Fishing Report: December 2, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Lake Russell (down 2.1 feet, clear 60’s) – Bass fishing is good.  Any wind will be an angler’s best friend as the water cools down.  The fishing pressure has lessened and should continue as Christmas approaches.  Now is the time to get out and catch some Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: December 2, 2016”


5 Tips for Waterfowl Season

#1. Make sure you are properly licensed

No matter your level of experience, it is always a good idea to review the requirements for any kind of hunting. Regulations and requirements can change season to season, leaving you in the dark and with a possible fine. Just a few minutes looking over what licenses you need can save you some headache and some money. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources calls for hunters to have a Georgia Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program, also known as a HIP License. There is also the Federal Duck Stamp that all duck hunters sixteen years of age and older must have. These are in addition to a standard hunting license and a Georgia Waterfowl Conservation license.

#2. Know your limits and the species

Different species of waterfowl have different limits per day, and even Continue reading “5 Tips for Waterfowl Season”


Georgia Fishing Report: November 18, 2016

Fishing Reports: November 18, 2016

  • Central Georgia
  • North Georgia

Central Georgia

Mark your calendars for some post-Thanksgiving Day fishing fun! While most anglers go-fish-edu-centerknow that you will not find a trout in natural habitat below the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, the stocking of approximately 800 catchable trout in the Go Fish Education Center fishing pond provides a special wintertime treat to those that visit this Middle Georgia destination.  Visitors to the Center will be able to start catching trout on Fri. Nov. 25. For more information, visit

North Georgia

 (Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)

The big story up here continues to be wildfires and especially their smoke  (Tallulah copter video:  A contingent of WRD staff was dispatched yesterday to assist the Georgia Forestry Commission with wildfire fighting and mop-up operations in far northwest Georgia.  We wish safe travels and timely returns for all of north Georgia’s federal, state, and local firefighters this fall.

While we have several active fires in Georgia (, North Carolina has it worse right now  (    Details on each fire can be read by clicking on the individual incident name within these websites.    Both sets of fires can deliver some very aggravating smoke levels across north Georgia.  Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: November 18, 2016”


Beck Casts for Bass Nation Title

Tony Beck, manager of the Walton Fish Hatchery, not only knows how to raise fish, he’s really good at catching them!

Tony competes in bass tournaments throughout the Southeast as a member of the B.A.S.S. Nation and Lake Oconee Bassmasters. He has posted some exceptional tournament results this past year and has qualified to compete in the 2016 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Lake Conroe, Texas this week — Nov. 17-19. Qualifying for this event is no small task, as only one boating angler is chosen from each state.

Fishing has always been a part of Tony’s life. When he was 12, he started entering fishing tournaments with his brother and thrived off the competition. His competitive streak led him to take up baseball, but when his baseball career ended after high school, he returned to fishing tournaments as a way to continue competing in a sport he loves.

Tony also has long been interested in working with wildlife. During his studies at the University of Georgia, he realized he wanted to work specifically in fisheries management. He’s been with DNR for 15 years. As manager of the Walton Fish Hatchery near Social Circle, by day Tony raises fish that are distributed to lakes and rivers across Georgia. On the weekends, he’s competing in tournaments across the state and Southeast to reel in the biggest catch!

The 2016 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship will have more than 100 anglers competing from 47 states and nine nations. The pressure is high: The top three finishers will earn a spot to fish in the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic, set for March 24-26 at Lake Conroe. The Classic is the pinnacle of competitive bass fishing and the dream of every bass tournament angler.

Congratulations to Tony on this great accomplishment! Georgia will be cheering for you as you chase your life-long dream!

Tournament updates and angler profiles at


Georgia Fishing Report: November 10, 2016

Fishing Reports: November 10, 2016

  • East-West Central Georgia
  • Southwest Georgia
  • Southeast Georgia
  • North Georgia
  • BONUS North Georgia

East and West-Central Georgia

 (Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger)

Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.  See  ( for most recent updates. 


Bass fishing is good and seems to get getting better and better as the water cools down.  The bass are feeding and most of these spots are very fat.  Top-water baits are catching bass during the day way up in the Savannah River.  The water is very clear so scale down your lines and use some fluorocarbon line as it is all but invisible to the fish.  The bass will move up to feed on the shad and other bait fish that are still moving up to the warmer water.  The spotted bass are being caught all over the lake where wood and rock are present.  Catch a limit on everything from Shad Raps to finesse worms.  The bigger bass are still playing a little hard to catch.  A slower and persistent presentation will be necessary to coax that bigger bite.  Several casts with that crank bait and a slower presentation of that soft plastic is your best chance on catching those larger fish.  Submerged deep-water brush piles or stumps left as the lake was built is where the bigger fish are feeding.  Watch the Fish and Game Forecaster on Ken’s site and use the bigger baits when the peaks occur.


Bass fishing is fair.  The bass are aggressive and feeding heavily on Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: November 10, 2016”

Tommy Davis of Baxley holds up one of a limit of crappie he caught while fishing with a friend on Friday evening at Lake Mayers. This one ate a tan shad-colored “Speck”tacular Jig.

Georgia Fishing Report: November 4, 2016


Coastal Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Coastal Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries Biologists Tim Barrett and Joel Fleming, and region Fisheries staff)

Savannah River:

Striped bass:  Late fall and early winter is a great time to go out and catch a few stripers in the lower Savannah River.  These fish, particular the large ones, over-summer in the upriver sections of the Savannah during the summer in order to find cooler waters during the summer’s heat.  As temperatures start falling, Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: November 4, 2016”


Sinister Seduction: Pitcherplants and Their Prey

Svelte and stately or squat and trollish, pitcherplants beguile not only bugs but humans. Their carnivorous habit fascinates, especially since they have no moving traps. More than 100 species of pitcherplants occur on four continents – Asia, Australia and the Americas. Each species has tubular leaf traps that collect rainwater and Continue reading “Sinister Seduction: Pitcherplants and Their Prey”

A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Public Lands — Part 3

By: Charlie Killmaster, State Deer Biologist

How to Hunt – Hunting Etiquette for Public Lands

Step 7– Head to the check station and read all available signs. This is where you will find current information about any issues that have come up since the Guide was printed.

Step 8– Public Land Etiquette. There are no designated spots on public land, with only a few exceptions (such as blind areas on some waterfowl hunts or the island deer hunts). Because everything is “first come, first serve,” you need to do plenty of scouting in advance of a hunt and pick out several good spots (5 or more, preferably). This will save you a heap of heartache in the wee hours of the morning when there’s a truck parked in your only spot. It should be widely known, and accepted, that if someone beats you to an area, you gracefully bow out and move on. But that doesn’t mean walk another 100 yards and start climbing a tree. If you can still see another hunter from the stand, you’re probably too close.

Likewise, always expect the possibility that another hunter will walk in on you. In this case, politely flash your light—or whistle if it’s daylight—and the other will likely move on. There will sometimes be the occasion that someone is not aware of these common courtesies or simply doesn’t care; just remember that you have access to hunt 1 million acres of prime land for the nominal fee of $19. If it’s daylight and someone walks past you, don’t get discouraged, I’ve seen tons of huge bucks killed because a late hunter arriving in the woods jumped the buck out of cover, and he ran past the next guy that was already set up.

A good rule of thumb for avoiding other hunters is to stay away from trucks. Unless it’s a large parking area that is a single access point for hundreds of acres, you shouldn’t park next to anyone else and risk disturbing them.

Here are a few other little “Dos and Don’ts”:

Don’t skybust (shooting at high-flying, distant birds). You will not kill a duck or dove from 100 yards away. Wait until you think you could hit it with a rock.

Do sight in your rifle.

Do bring a deer cart. It will make your life much easier—unless you’re Paul Bunyan or a glutton for punishment. Hand trucks and dragging tarps make adequate substitutes for the budget conscious like myself.

Do bring a climbing stand (w/ harness). Mobility is key to being successful, and your risk of having a stand stolen is higher if you leave it in the woods.

Don’t cordon off spots with signs and tons of flagging tape that you have no intention of picking up when you leave. This is litter, and there are no designated spots. In fact, some hunters will target those spots thinking they are better and try to beat you there.

Don’t gut your deer and throw the guts or carcass on the roadside or campground. Gut it where it drops, or drag any unusable parts into the woods 30 or 40 yards away from other hunters.

Don’t knowingly try to cut someone off to a bird when turkey hunting. There’s nothing worse than working a bird and have someone run in and spook him. If you hear 5 owl tooters and crow cackles all honking at the same gobbler, it’s best to move on to another spot.

A few other little odds and ends.

-Dove dates are typically only listed for WMAs that have dove fields. You can still hunt doves on other WMAs when small game dates and state dove season coincide.

-For small game animals not specifically listed, they may be hunted when WMA small game dates for the area you are hunting and state season for that animal coincide, unless otherwise specified. This generally applies to rabbits, quail, squirrels, woodcock, snipe, grouse, waterfowl, foxes, bobcats, crows, alligators (quota only), marsh hens, and raccoons.

-You can only kill bears on WMAs that specifically list a season for them.

-Coyotes and feral hogs can be taken during any open season only with the legal weapons for that season, unless otherwise specified.

-Nongame, unprotected species may only be taken during small game dates. This generally includes armadillos, groundhogs, beavers, starlings, English sparrows, and pigeons. You’ll have to resist the temptation to blast an armadillo with your 30-06 during deer season.

-Bicycles are great tools for accessing remote areas for turkey and small game seasons.

-You can’t take ATVs off-road, so they don’t do you much good even where they are allowed.

You should already know all the information in Step 8 since you read the General WMA Regulations 3 times.

A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Public Lands — Part 2

By: Charlie Killmaster, State Deer Biologist

What to Hunt – Choosing the Species


Step 4– Choose a species or group of species to hunt (deer, turkey, bear, small game, waterfowl, etc.) and choose a weapon type (archery, firearms, or primitive weapons). Under the WMA heading, you will see the available dates for each species—or group of species—and weapon, along with some additional and very important information. Most areas have far more restrictive dates than state seasons. You’ll probably notice a lot of terms and symbols that you aren’t familiar with, so I’ll define some of those now:legend

Quota (Q)- This means you have to apply online by a certain deadline and be selected in order to attend the hunt. The number indicates the number of slots available. There are no “stand-by” programs for most hunts, the number of selected hunters is already adjusted for “no-shows.”

Check-in (C)- All hunters must first visit the check station and sign up for the hunt prior to hunting. For deer, you have to bring any deer you kill back to the check station to be weighed and measured by DNR personnel. DO NOT mark deer on your harvest record or Game Check your deer on Check-in hunts; you will be given bonus tags. Unless otherwise specified, there is a limit of 2 deer on Check-in hunts; only one of them may be a buck if there are antler restrictions on the particular WMA.

Sign-in (S) – All hunters must visit the check station and sign up for the hunt prior to hunting and you must sign out any game you kill yourself at the check station. Your deer harvest record and season bag limit applies on these hunts. All deer and turkey taken during a sign-in hunt must be marked on your Harvest Record and checked. You may kill only 2 deer on hunts lasting fewer than 7 days.

Buck Only – Hunters can only shoot antlered bucks. Button-heads will get you a ticket.

Buck Only/Either Sex Last Day – Hunters cannot kill an antlerless deer until the last day of the hunt. There may be several variations to this such as either sex last 2 days or last 3 days.

Quality Buck – The area has antler restrictions, so you need to check the special regulations for that area to see what they are. Some have a minimum of 4 points on one side, others must have a 15” spread or 16” main beam length to be legal. Typically you will have a one-buck limit on these hunts.

Either Sex – This means you can kill any type of deer for the duration of the hunt, but you are still subject to the bag limit.

Step 5– Read the special regulations. This section under each area heading will include site-specific rules that may not apply to other areas, such as antler restrictions on bucks.

Step 6- Purchase all required licenses at You will need a hunting license, WMA license (if hunting a WMA), Big Game license outdoors-ga(if hunting Big Game), HIP permit (if hunting migratory birds), Federal and State Duck Stamp (if hunting Waterfowl), and any additional permits required for land outside of WMAs (some USACOE land requires a permit). A Sportsman’s or Lifetime License will cover all these except for the federal duck stamp, other federal permits, and state park quota hunt fees.

Every hunter must also have a Harvest Record, which is available at This can be printed or stored in the GA Outdoor Georgia App.

A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Public Lands — Part 1

By: Charlie Killmaster, State Deer Biologist

Where to Hunt – Choosing a Public Area

hunting-regs-coverStep 1– Pick up a copy of the current Guide to Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations. The Guide is also available at

Step 2- In the Guide, find the General WMA Regulations. Read this whole section 3 times. Even experienced hunters may realize there are several things they may not be aware of about hunting on public land.

Step 3– Choose an area you would like to hunt. There are several different types of public hunting land available including state managed Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), National Forest (Federal), National Wildlife Refuges (Federal), State Parks (State), National Parks (Federal), and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE, Federal).

There is a locator map in the Guide, or you can visit our interactive Georgia Outdoor Map to help you choose areas near you. After you’ve decided on the property you’d like to hunt, look up the chosen area in the Guide to see the specific regulations for that area. Georgia has many public hunting areas around the state, and regulations differ widely from area to area. Federal areas are typically listed in a separate section after WMAs in the Guide.

All WMAs are partly or wholly managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, but the ownership of the land can vary and includes state-owned land, private land leased by the state, and federal land. For example, Cedar Creek is a WMA, but the majority is owned by the Forest Service, so some Forest Service rules also apply—such as No ATVs.