SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. –Fall hunting opportunities kick off in a popular way with the beginning of dove hunting season, with opening day scheduled for noon on Sat. Sept.  5.

“The opening day of dove hunting season is a fantastic time to introduce someone new to hunting,” says Tina Brunjes, Programs Operation Manager with the Wildlife Resources Division.  “There is a fun-filled ‘tailgate’ like atmosphere to the day and with all the work that has been done on Georgia fields, on public and private properties, you are sure to have a wonderful experience.”

Preparation work is almost complete on approximately 40 state public dove fields, and countless private fields, so be sure you have a plan in place.

This year there are six new dove field properties ready for the public.  These properties are privately owned but made available through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program called the Voluntary Public Access (VPA)/Habitat Incentive Program.  This program provides grants to states and federally recognized Indian tribes that help increase public access to private lands for recreation activities, such as hunting, fishing or hiking.

Want a shot at a quota hunt? Hurry and make sure your quota application is in by midnight on Aug. 15! Those interested can apply at

Want to know what a field is expected to look like before you commit a quota application?  You are in luck!  Each year, Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division personnel prepare a dove field forecast for wildlife management areas and some additional fields identifying available crops and anticipates the conditions for opening day.  This forecast notes if fields are in excellent, good, fair or poor condition and is now available at

For more information on dove hunting rules and regulations, hunters should review the 2015-2016 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide, available at .


SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. –Fishing for catfish is a summertime tradition and a great way to put some delicious meals on the table. Whether you are an experienced angler, a newbie or just a casual fisherman, you can find fantastic catfishing opportunities in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“There are places to catfish all over the state of Georgia,” says John Biagi, chief with the Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Management Section.  “They require relatively simple gear and are a great way to introduce someone new to fishing, especially kids, so get out and go fish!”

Georgia’s public waterways are home to several species of catfish, including channel, white, blue, flathead and bullheads (consisting of several similar species – yellow, brown, snail, spotted and flat). The larger species, blue catfish and flathead catfish, can grow to exceed 100 pounds.

With summertime getting closer to its peak, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division highlights hot weather hot spots and offers tips on technique and equipment for anglers of all skill levels:

  • Lake Nottely, near Blairsville – Contains good populations of channel catfish (averaging one pound or less) and fewer, but larger flathead catfish (weighing up to 40 pounds).
  • Lake Marbury (Fort Yargo State Park), near Winder – Supports an excellent population of channel catfish.
  • Carters Lake-Home to good numbers of keeper-size channel catfish. Blue and flathead catfish are present in lower numbers, but can exceed 20 pounds.  Rocky areas in the Coosawattee River arm of the lake are best.
  • Lake Oconee, near Madison – Supports high numbers of channel, blue, flathead, white and bullhead species of catfish.
  • Flint River – Great location for catching five to 30-pound flathead catfish or channel catfish, though most channel cats will weigh between two and five pounds.
  • Chattahoochee River above West Point Lake – in the last few years, the number and size of flathead catfish caught above West Point has increased significantly.
  • Goat Rock Lake – this lake constantly produces good numbers of harvestable-size channel cats.
  • Big Lazer PFA – staff are seeing many large channel cats currently being caught at the dam area.
  • Andrews Lock and Dam (Chattahoochee River) – Best location in southwest Georgia for catching a flathead or blue catfish exceeding 20 pounds.
  • Lower Chattahoochee River near GA Hwy. 91 southwest of Donalsonville – Recent surveys conducted during summer months indicate that channel, blue and flathead catfish can be found here in abundance.
  • Lake Seminole, near Donalsonville – Good catches of channel catfish available throughout the summer.
  • Lake Blackshear, near Cordele – Excellent channel catfish spot. Best places are the main lake and below Warwick Dam.
  • Lake Walter F. George, near Columbus – Excellent fishing for channel catfish in the main lake and in the upper end (above Florence Marina) for both channel and blue catfish.  The state record blue catfish (80 pounds, 4 ounces) was caught in the tailrace of this lake by Ernest Timpson in February 2010.
  • Altamaha River – Great location for several species of catfish, including flathead, channel and an expanding population of blue catfish.  The Altamaha boasts two state record fish: flathead (83 pounds) caught by Carl Sawyer in 2006; and channel cat (44 pounds, 12 ounces) caught by Bobby Smithwick in 1972.
  • Satilla River – Excellent fishing available for channel catfish, white catfish and several species of bullheads.
  • Southeast Georgia public fishing areas (including Evans County PFA, Paradise PFA, Hugh M. Gillis PFA and Dodge County PFA) – Some of the best locations for channel catfish in southeast Georgia. Medium weight rod with either a spincasting or spinning reel recommended.
  • St. Marys River – Healthy populations of channel and white catfish are available.

As a rule, the species and size of catfish dictate the fishing line used. If targeting channel and white catfish, fisheries biologists recommend eight to 14-pound test line and medium-sized hooks (two to 1/0) under a bobber or fished on the bottom.

For anglers trying to land a large flathead, heavy tackle is a must – large spinning or casting tackle with at least 20 to 50-pound test line, large hooks (3/0 to 7/0), and heavy weights to keep bait on the bottom.

Best baits for channel, bullheads and white catfish are worms, liver, live minnows, cut bait and stink bait. Recommended flathead baits are live goldfish, bream and shiners.

In general, anglers should target rocky shorelines, rip-rap areas and points. When fishing rivers during the day, anglers should look to deep holes containing rocky or woody cover. During dusk, dawn and at night, anglers should concentrate on shallow sandbars and shoals nearby the deep holes fished during the day, as catfish frequently move shallow to feed during low light conditions.

Though most species of catfish are active throughout the day, the best summer fishing is at dusk and during the night, and while catfish can be caught year-round, the peak bite typically is from early spring through the peak of summer.

Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license to fish in public waters.  Where can you get a license? Buy it online or find a list of retail license vendors at or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.

For more information on fishing in Georgia, visit the .


SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga.  – Summer would not be complete without a family and friends fishing trip, so plan a visit to one of Georgia’s available public fishing areas (PFA) to make that happen!  PFAs are managed for fishing by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, but also offer opportunities to entertain the whole family.

“There is a public fishing area located closer to you than you might think, easily within a reasonable drive for most residents,” says John Biagi, chief of the Fisheries Management Section of the Wildlife Resources Division. “Fishing is the main attraction for most visitors, but Georgia’s PFAs also offer other family-friendly activities such as hiking, bird watching, picnicking and camping.”

Waters on PFAs vary from lakes several hundred acres in size to ponds less than one acre with some designated as kids-only fishing ponds. Anglers can fish from a boat, along the shoreline or from a pier at most locations. Many areas have picnic tables, nature and wildlife observation trails, fish cleaning stations and restroom facilities. Some offer primitive campsites for those wishing to stay overnight on the area, and many facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Make plans to visit one of the following PFAs today:

  • Rocky Mountain PFA (Floyd County). Includes two lakes totaling 559 acres. Species:  largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish, channel catfish, crappie and walleye.
  • McDuffie County PFA (McDuffie County):  Includes seven ponds ranging from five to 37 acres, a trophy bass catch and release pond, fish hatchery and an education center. Species:  largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish.
  • Big Lazer Creek PFA (Talbot County):  Includes a 195-acre lake. Species:  largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, and crappie.
  • Marben Farms PFA (Jasper/Newton counties):  Includes 22 ponds ranging from one to 95 acres, a wildlife management area and an education center. Species:  largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie and channel catfish.
  • Dodge County PFA (Dodge County):  Includes a 104-acre lake. Species:  largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and crappie.
  • Evans County PFA (Evans County):  Includes three lakes ranging from eight to 84 acres. Species:  largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish.
  • Flat Creek PFA (Houston County):  Includes a 108-acre lake. Species:  largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie and channel catfish.
  • Hugh M. Gillis PFA (Laurens County):  Includes a 109-acre lake. Species:  largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and crappie.
  • Paradise PFA (Berrien County):  Includes 60 lakes totaling 525 acres. Species:  largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie and channel catfish.
  • Ocmulgee PFA (Bleckley County):  This PFA currently is closed for renovation.  Keep an eye out for information about it re-opening in the future.

Need information about what type of license to have before visiting? Visit .  Licenses may be bought online or find a list of retail license vendors at or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.

For more information on PFAs in Georgia or for detailed PFA guides and maps, visit .