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Georgia Gar & Pickerel Fishing


Wherever you are in Georgia - there probably is a great catfishing opportunity located near you! Angling for catfish has a broad appeal because there are elements that can attract and hook a novice or an expert, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). In order to attract those who are unfamiliar with catfish or to give those experienced anglers a new view WRD has put together information on where to fish, recommended equipment, techniques and more.

Trying to reel in a catfish is a favorite pastime of many anglers in Georgia, and we are fortunate that we have so many locations where this experience can be enjoyed, says WRD Chief of Fisheries Management Chuck Coomer. Catfish typically are found in waters close to home, require relatively simple gear and taste great on the dinner table all leading to good reasons to get out and fish!

Georgia is home to several species of catfish, including channel, white, blue, flathead and bullheads (consisting of several similar species yellow, brown, snail, spotted and flat). Following is a breakdown of some catfish hot spots in Georgia:

Lake Nottely Contains good populations of channel and white catfish (averaging one pound or less) and fewer (but larger) flathead catfish (weighing up to 40 pounds).

Lake Tugalo Contains an abundant population of white catfish.

Lake Marbury (Fort Yargo State Park) Supports an excellent population of channel catfish.

Lake Oconee Supports high numbers of channel, blue, flathead, white and bullhead species of catfish.

Flint River Great location for flathead (5-30 pounds) or channel catfish.

Andrews Lock and Dam (Chattahoochee River) Best location in southwest Georgia for catching a flathead catfish over 20 pounds.

Lake Seminole Good catches of channel catfish available throughout the summer.

Lake Blackshear Excellent channel catfish spot. Best places are the main lake and below Warwick Dam.

Altamaha River Great location for flathead catfish current state record (67 lbs. 8 oz.) caught here. The current state record channel catfish (44 lbs. 12 oz.) also caught on this river.

Satilla River Excellent fishing available for channel catfish, white catfish and several species of bullheads.

Southeast Georgia Public Fishing Areas (including Evans Co. PFA, Paradise PFA, Hugh M. Gillis PFA and Dodge Co. PFA) Some of the best locations for channel catfish in southeast Georgia.

WRD recommends that anglers use a medium weight rod with either a spincasting or a spinning reel. The species and the size of catfish should dictate the fishing line used. For example if channel and white catfish are your species of choice, WRD recommends 8-14 pound test line and medium size hooks (6 or 8) under a bobber and fished on the bottom. For anglers who are trying to land a large flathead, heavy tackle is a must - large spinning or casting tackle with at least 20-50 pound test line with weights to keep bait on the bottom. Baits that work best for channel, bullheads and white catfish include: worms, liver, live minnows, cut bait and stink bait. Recommended flathead bait includes: live goldfish, bream and shiners.

Anglers who fish in rivers should target deep holes that contain rock or woody structures during the day and shallow sandbars and shoals near these deep holes at dusk, dawn and night. They are active most of the time but the best summer fishing is going to be at dusk and during the night. The best time of the year to fish for all catfish species is from early spring until the peak of summer.

Take Me Fishing A recent national survey indicated that 87 percent of Americans believe fishing and boating have a positive effect on family relationships. So take your family fishing and you will always have something in common.

For more information on catfish fishing in Georgia, visit


Questions, answers and tips about fishing for catfish can be found in our Fishing Discussion Forums.

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