Recreational Fishing

Recreational Fishing License

In order to fish the saltwaters of Georgia, individuals 16 years of age and older must have a current Georgia Fishing License and a free Saltwater Information Program Permit (SIP Permit). There are multiple ways you can obtain these:

Charter captains may or may not choose to purchase an annual license that covers all of their clients. For this reason, anglers booking a charter should inquire whether they will need a Georgia Fishing license and SIP Permit or if they will be covered under the charter fishing license.

 

The following is a list of clickable links to access the one-stop location Go Outdoors Georgia website:


Coastal Georgia Fishing Maps

Click here to visit the online Coastal Georgia Fishing Map, or for information about how to order a paper copy by mail. Paper copies are also available for free at DNR's Coastal Regional Headquarters, One Conservation Way, Brunswick, Georgia. The office is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.


Tide Chart

Click here to download the 2022 tide chart for Coastal Georgia.


Georgia Cooperative Angler Tagging Project

The Georgia Cooperative Angler Tagging Project is an effort to involve the recreational angling public in the conservation and management of marine finfish. Click here for more information about Georgia Cooperative Angler Tagging Program.  Anglers reporting tags from fish they have captured are eligible for a variety of awards, including hats, T-shirts, golf towels and more.


Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations

Click the image icon below to go to the website where you can view the regulations or download a copy of the regulation book.

 

2020 Georgia fishing regulations guide       SAFMC Fishing Regs book  

eRegulations.com/Georgia/fishing/        SAFMC.net/regulations

Printed copies of the Georgia Sport Fishing Regulation book are available at DNR offices and at participating fishing license vendor locations.

Click this link to learn about the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Regulations. This is a NOAA website with fishing regulation information concerning Billfish, Swordfish,Tunas and Sharks.


Recreational finfish season, limits, and sizes 

SPECIES OPEN SEASON DAILY LIMIT AND POSSESSION LIMIT MINIMUM SIZE (INCHES)
Amberjack* All year 1 28 FL
American Eel All year 25 9 TL
Atlantic Croaker All year 25 None
Atlantic Sturgeon No harvest    
Billfish (Blue marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish)   SEE FEDERAL GUIDELINES  
Black Drum All year 15 14 TL
Black Sea Bass* All year 15 12 TL
Bluefish All year 15 12 FL
Cobia Mar.1-Oct.31 1 per angler, max 6 per boat 36 FL
Dolphin* All year 10 (not to exceed 60 per boat, except headboats, which are allowed 10 per paying customer) 20 FL
Flounder All year 15 12 TL
Gag Grouper* All year 2 24 TL
King Mackerel* All year 3 24 FL
Red Drum** All year 5 14 TL (max. 23 TL)
Red Porgy All year 3 14 TL
Red Snapper* All year 2 20 TL
Sharks (other than hammerheads, SSC and prohibited sharks)^ All year 1 per angler or boat, whichever is less 54 FL (83 FL for Shortfin Mako Sharks)
Sharks: Hammerheads (Great, Scalloped, and Smooth)^ All year 1 per angler or boat, whichever is less 78 FL
Small Shark Composite (SSC) (Atlantic Sharpnose, Bonnethead, Spiny Dogfish)^ All year 1 per angler 30 FL
Prohibited Sharks^:   Sand tiger, Sandbar, Silky, Bigeye sand tiger, Whale, Basking, White, Dusky, Bignose, Galapagos, Night, Reef, Narrowtooth, Caribbean sharpnose, Smalltail, Atlantic angel, Longfin mako, Bigeye thresher, Sharpnose sevengill, Bluntnose sixgill, Oceanic Whitetip, and Bigeye sixgill  
Sheepshead All year 15 10 FL
Spanish Mackerel* All year 15 12 FL
Spot All year 25  
Spotted Seatrout All year 15 14 TL
Striped Bass (saltwater) All year 2 22 TL
Striped Bass (Savannah River) All year 2 27 TL
Tarpon All year 1 68 FL
Tripletail All year 2 18 TL
Weakfish All year 1 13 TL
       

* These species are also federally managed from 3 to 200 miles offshore. Go to https://safmc.net/regulations/ for federal regulations. 

** Red Drum are a gamefish in Georgia [O.C.G.A. 27-1-2 (36)(I)]. As gamefish, Red Drum may only be fished for with pole and line (rod/reel) [O.C.G.A. 27-4-5].

^ These species are also federally managed. Go to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/atlantic-highly-migratory-species/atlantic-highly-migratory-species-minimum-sizes-and-bag-limits for federal regulations.


Recreational Shellfish Harvesting

A Georgia fishing license is required to collect oysters and clams for recreational purposes. Oysters and clams can only be collected from approved recreational harvest areas.

Click here for more information and maps of Recreational Shellfish Harvest Areas

Click here for more information about CRD's Shellfish and Water Quality Monitoring Program

Click here for a map of the Shellfish Recycling Centers in coastal Georgia


Tarpon Tips

Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) is one of Georgia's most charismatic and sought-after gamefish species. These powerful fighters pose an exciting challenge for even the most experienced anglers, and following some simple tips will help keep them around for generations to come.

Click here to learn about how you can help conserve tarpon. 


State Saltwater Gamefish Records Program

Below is a list of clickable links for the various documents, forms, and information on Gamefish Records Programs:


Data Collection and Surveys

Division staff conduct a variety of regularly scheduled surveys to gather biological, distribution, habitat, catch and effort data on a number of recreationally important species.  Examples include the carcass recovery project, the cooperative angler tagging project, recreational angler surveys, red drum and shark longlining, seafood harvest reporting, and trawl surveys. This information is used by the Department and interstate organizations to make resource management decisions at both the state and regional level. Click this link to learn more about Data Collection and Surveys.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR) is promoting the use of descending devices by offshore anglers and short leader rigs for catch & release fishing for large adult red drum.  Click this link to learn more.


Fisheries Management

logo of Coastal Resources Division

State Management

The Coastal Resources Division (CRD) is responsible for managing fisheries in state waters (out to three miles offshore).

The following is a list of clickable links for species with State Fishery Management Plans: blue crab, cannonball jellyfish, red drum, sheepshead, shrimp, spotted seatrout, tripletail and whelk.

Click here to watch a narrated presentation on the status of Red Drum given during a CRD Finfish Advisory Panel meeting June 9, 2022.

Click here to access the report "Status of Research and Management of Red Drum Sciaenops ocellatus in Georgia" updated through 2021 data collection. 

-- -- --  

ASMFC logo

Interstate Management

In recognition that fish do not adhere to political boundaries, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) was formed. The ASMFC is a partnership of the 15 Atlantic coastal states working cooperatively for the conservation and management of shared near shore fishery resources. Examples of fish species managed by the SAFMC that are caught by anglers fishing off the Georgia Coast include: Atlantic croaker, black drum, red drum, spot, spotted seatrout, summer flounder, and weakfish.

-- -- --

SAFMC logo

Federal Management

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) is responsible for the conservation and management of fish stocks within the federal 3-mile to 200-mile waters of the Atlantic off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida to Key West. Examples of fish species managed by the SAFMC that are caught by anglers fishing off the Georgia Coast include: amberjack, black sea bass, cobia, dolphin, grouper, king mackerel, red porgy, snapper, Spanish mackerel, triggerfish, and wahoo.