Commercial fishermen can take to the water beginning at 6 a.m. Jan, 1 to take advantage of the opening day of shad season, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). Shad season runs through midnight on Monday, March 31.
Fishermen need to be aware that, due to a recent change in the commercial shad fishing regulations, the Ogeechee River is no longer open to commercial shad fishing.
The 2014 shad season includes the following specific 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 Coastline Railroad Bridge and below the U.S. Highway 1 Bridge are open Tuesday–Saturday, including the Ohoopee River downstream of the U.S. Highway 1 Bridge.
All waters of the Altamaha river system above the U.S. Highway 1 Bridge, including the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers, are closed to commercial fishing.
• The Savannah River is open for commercial shad fishing downstream from the I-95 Bridge Tuesday–Friday. Waters upstream of the I-95 Bridge and below the U.S. Highway 301 Bridge are open Wednesday-Saturday. All waters of the Savannah River above the U.S. Highway 301 Bridge are closed to commercial fishing. 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 commercial shad fishing.
Commercial shad fishermen must have a valid Georgia commercial fishing license. Commercial licenses can be obtained at the Coastal Resources Division office in Brunswick. Applications for commercial licenses are also available at www.georgiawildlife.com/commercial-licenses or WRD offices.
Vessels must be registered for use on Georgia waters. Vessel registration information is available at www.georgiawildlife.com/boating/registration. Boats used below the saltwater demarcation line for commercial fishing need additional registration. Visit www.coastalgadnr.org/fb/cf/lics for information.