SOCIAL CIRCLE — Each year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division recognizes anglers for outstanding and state record catches. Anglers who catch state records or those who catch a fish that meets or beats a specific weight or length limit for that species (angler award) are eligible for recognition.
“Georgia has tremendous opportunities for anglers, making it a great place whether you are just wetting a hook or trying to reel in a new state record,” division Fisheries Management Chief John Biagi said.
Fish must be caught in Georgia during the legal angling season for the species taken in accordance with all fishing laws and regulations. Fish must be caught on sporting tackle and be hooked and landed by the entrant (bush hooks, trotlines, jugs, baskets, nets, etc. are not considered sporting tackle). The fish must meet either minimum weight or length requirements for that particular species, as noted on the minimum eligible weights chart available online or in print at any division fisheries office in the state.
In order for a harvested catch to be recognized, anglers should follow these steps:
• Do not clean or freeze the fish
• Keep the fish cool, preferably on ice.
• Weigh the fish as soon as possible on scales certified accurate to the nearest ounce by the Georgia Department of Agriculture in the presence of two witnesses who are older than 18. Witnesses must provide names, addresses and telephone numbers and may not be members of the angler’s immediate family. Scales that meet these requirements typically are found at grocery stores, WRD offices and some marinas.
• Take the fish to a division fisheries management office as soon as possible and have it positively identified by a fisheries biologist or technician.
• Complete an application and submit with a clear side-view photo of the whole fish. State record applications must be received within 90 days of the catch. Angler award applications must be received by Jan. 15, 2012, for fish caught in 2011.
In order for a catch and release fish to be recognized, anglers should follow these steps:
• Measure the fish to the nearest inch with a standard, English-unit ruler or measuring tape.
• Submit a clear photograph of the fish for proper identification and length verification. The photo should at least show the entire length of the fish and the ruler or tape used to measure the fish. In addition, a photo of the angler with the fish also is required.
• Complete an application and submit with photos.
Anglers must possess appropriate Georgia fishing licenses to fish in Georgia. If fishing for trout, anglers need trout licenses. If fishing on a PFA, anglers also need to have WMA licenses.
Information regarding angler awards and state record fish can be found on the division’s website at www.gofishgeorgia.com or in the Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook available at all division offices and license agents.
For more information about fishing opportunities in Georgia, go to www.gofishgeorgia.com or call a regional fisheries management office.