Georgia has plenty of places for anglers to set catfish records

Thu, 06/15/2006 - 2:40pm
By: The Citizen

Many people have heard about the world record blue catfish caught from the Mississippi River that weighed in at a whopping 124 pounds – but what do you know of Georgia catfish records?

There is a new blue catfish state record (67 lbs. 8 oz.), caught in the Chattahoochee River in April 2006 by James Franklin Tyus, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). Is there a fish waiting in local waters near you that would rival either of these records? You won’t know unless you go out looking for it!

To help track down the right location to go fishing for “cats,” WRD has put together information on some recommended places to fish, 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 can be found in waters close to home, they require relatively simple gear and they taste great on the dinner table – all leading to good reasons to get out and fish!”

There are several kinds of catfish that can be found in the state, including flathead, channel, blue, bullheads and white. 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.

• 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 blue and flathead catfish over 20 pounds.

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

• Ocmulgee River – Dominant catfish species are flathead and channel catfish, on both upper and lower portions of this river.

• Altamaha River – Great location for flathead catfish – current state record (67 lbs. 8 oz.) flathead and the current state record channel catfish (44 lbs. 12 oz.) were caught on this river. An 85-pound flathead was caught on a line attached to a bush in late spring 2004 and while not eligible for record status, due to catch method, it is one of the biggest known flatheads caught in Georgia.

• 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.

• Lake Sinclair – This middle Georgia lake offers good numbers of channel and white catfish, large bullheads and an expanding blue catfish population.

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.

If you 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 on 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. The best time of the year to fish for various species of catfish is from early spring up to the peak of summer.
Following are catfish records for the State of Georgia: blue catfish (67 lbs 8 oz), channel catfish (44 lbs 12 oz), flathead catfish (67 lbs 8 oz), white catfish (8 lbs 10 oz), yellow bullhead (4 lbs 15 oz) and brown bullhead (5 lbs 8 oz).

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 fishing for catfish in Georgia, visit .

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