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The Modern Angler

Fish Identification In Georgia
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Fish Identification


LARGEMOUTH BASS
upper jaw extends
beyond eye
spiny & soft dorsal fin
separate or nearly so

tongue normally smooth,
tooth patch rare

WHITE BASS

tongue with one
tooth patch
stripes often faint

2nd anal spine 2/3 or more
the length of 3rd anal spine

SMALLMOUTH BASS

upper jaw extends to
about middle of eye
usually has vertical
stripes along body

3 short spines on anal fin

HYBRID STRIPED X WHITE BASS

back arched
body deep
stripes distinct &
usually broken

tongue with two tooth patches 2nd anal spine 2/3 or more
the length of 3rd anal spine

SPOTTED BASS

upper jaw not past
rear of eye
spiny & soft dorsal fin
clearly connected

tooth patch
on tongue

STRIPED BASS

body slender stripes distinct
occassionally broken

tongue with two
tooth patches
2nd anal spine 1/2 or less
the length of 3rd anal spine

CHANNEL CATFISH

tail deeply forked

body spots usually
present on young

FLATHEAD CATFISH

head wide & flat body dark in color

large mouth; lower jaw extends past upper jaw tail not forked

BLACK CRAPPIE

7-8 dorsal spines

body color pattern
irregular arranged spots

RAINBOW TROUT

small black dots throughout
the body that extend into the tail

red stripe along side on silvery body

BLUEGILL

black spot on soft dorsal fin

vertical bars on body

BROWN TROUT

black & red-orange spots inside light
circles on brown body

caudal fin (tail) square

REDEAR SUNFISH (SHELLCRACKER)

red edge on
operculum ear flap

spotted body

BROOK TROUT

light, wormlike markings
on dark upper body

white leading edge on lower fins (pectoral, pelvic & anal)

CHAIN PICKEREL (JACKFISH)

elongated body with chain-like markings

sharp needle
like teeth

WALLEYE

no spots on dorsal fin
eyes with
milky corneas
dark area at base of dorsal fin

sharp teeth white spot at bottom of tail

Black Sea Bass, Blackfish

Description: Georgia's most abundant offshore bottomfish. Black-green to light brown. Average under 1 lb. but may reach 5 lbs. Matures at 8-9" (3 yrs)
Season: Year-round, nearshore (inshore of Navy Towers) and offshore.
Methods: 2-hook bottom rig baited with almost anything.

Spanish Mackerel

Description: Streamlined body, greenish above to silver below with gold spots along the sides. A distinctive black patch on the first dorsal fin and a gently sloping lateral line distinguishes "Spanish" from similarly marked young king mackerel. Average 1-2 lbs, may exceed 7 lbs. Matures at 16-18" (2 yrs.)
Season: Form large schools off inlets, outer bars, and jetties during spring and summer. April-November, nearshore and offshore.
Methods: Casting or fast trolling with spoons for schooling fish. Slow trolling or live-lining for larger Spanish.

Gag Grouper

Description: One of many species of grouper found off Georgia, gag are light brown to olive-gray overall with numerous dark wavy body markings. The tail is concave and plain. Common up to 20 lbs. Mature at 30-43" (6-11 yrs.)
Season: May-December, nearshore. Year-round, offshore
Methods: Bottom or grouper rig baited with cigar minnows, live fish, cut bait, or squid.

Sheepshead, Convict Fish

Description: Deep-bodied. Silver-gray with 5-6 dark vertical bars. Distinctive teeth for crushing barnacles and shells. Average 3-5 lbs, can reach 15 lbs. offshore. Matures at 16" (5 yrs.).
Season: Year-round, nearshore and offshore
Methods: Sheepshead rig baited with fiddler crabs.

Cobia

Description: Chocolate-brown above with white belly. Broad, somewhat flattened head. Often mistaken at first sight for a small shark. Average 30-40 lbs, often much larger. Matures at 24-36" (2-3 yrs.)
Season: April-November, nearshore. Year-round, well offshore.
Methods: Slow trolling by buoys and over wrecks or casting live eels, shrimp, crabs, and jigs when sighted.

Spotted Seatrout

Description: Long slender body, back dark silvery gray with bluish tint, sides silver. Round black spots on back, upper sides, and the second dorsal fin. Average 1-2 lbs ., larger "gator" trout exceed 5 lbs. Mature at 12" (2 yrs.).
Season: Found in estuaries throughout year, with peak angling in spring and fall.
Methods: Live shrimp under float rig. Artificials (jigs, crankbaits) during colder months. Live-line baitfish for larger trout.

King Mackerel, Kingfish

Description: Elongate, greenish-silver with a slate-colored dorsal fin and sharply dropping lateral line. Average 10-20 lbs., often exceed 30 lbs.
Season: April-December, nearshore. Year-round, well offshore.
Methods: Slow-trolling and live-lining menhaden, cigar minnow, or mullet over wrecks, artificial reefs, and live bottom works best for "smoker" kings. Fast-trolling lures and dead baits (such as ballyhoo) produces more, smaller fish.

Red Drum, Redfish, Spottail Bass, Channel Bass

Description: Silvery-gray with a coppery cast on back and upper sides. Cream colored belly. One or more black spots at base of tail. Immature fish 2-15 lbs., while adults can exceed 40 lbs. Mature at 27-30" (4 yrs.).
Season: Immature fish found in estuary throughout year. Adults, offshore year-round, occur seasonally in surf.
Methods: Shrimp or live fish fished under a float rig. Cut bait on fish-finder rig with circle hooks.

Information taken from North Georgia Trout Online
                                    Fish Identification, 2003
                                    Online, 2003

A BIG thanks to NGTO!