SOCIAL CIRCLE — Commercial fishermen can take to the water beginning at 6 a.m. Jan. 1 for the opening day of shad season, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
The season runs through midnight March 31.
In addition to their commercial fishing licenses, fishermen are required to have a free letter of authorization to commercially fish for shad with them when they fish. Applications for an LOA can be obtained by contacting Julie Califf at 912-264-7218.
The season includes the following regulations for rivers:
• The Altamaha River downstream from the Seaboard Coastline Railroad Bridge is open for commercial shad fishing Monday-Friday. Waters of the Altamaha River system upstream of the Seaboard Bridge and below the Highway 1 bridge are open Tuesday–Saturday, including the Ohoopee River downstream of Highway 1. All waters of the Altamaha river system above the Highway 1 bridge, including the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers, are closed.
• The Savannah River is open for commercial shad fishing downstream from the Interstate 95 bridge Tuesday-Friday. Waters upstream of I-95 and below the Highway 301 bridge are open Wednesday-Saturday. All waters of the Savannah River above the Highway 301 bridge are closed. Only drift nets may be used downstream of a line between the mouth of Knoxboro Creek and McCoys Cut at Deadman’s Point.
• The Ogeechee, Satilla and the St. Marys rivers are not open to shad fishing.
Guidelines to ensure shad nets are legal include a minimum mesh size for legal set or drift shad nets is 4½ inches stretched.
Sturgeon, game fish other than American shad or hickory shad, and all species of catfish taken in set or drift nets must be released unharmed where they were taken.
Commercial licenses and LOAs can be obtained at the Coastal Resources Division office in Brunswick. Applications for commercial licenses also available at www.georgia wildlife.com/commercial-li censes or Wildlife Resources Division offices.
Vessel registration information is available at www.georgiawildlife.com/boating/registration. Boats used below the saltwater demarcation line for need additional registration. Visit www.coastalgadnr.org/fb/cf/lics for information.
Georgia’s commercial fishing regulations require that fishermen must report the harvest of American shad to the Georgia DNR’s Coastal Resources Division via tickets. Get tickets by calling CRD’s Julie Califf at 912-264-7218.
For a complete set of commercial fishing regulations, visit www.coastalgadnr.org/fb/cf/lics or contact any WRD law enforcement offices, including Brunswick at 912-264-7237.