Fish Notes:

Species Identification Characteristics and Information
Largemouth Bass - Upper jaw extends beyond eye - Spiny and soft dorsal fin separate or nearly so - Tongue normally smooth, tooth patch rare - World Record: 22 lb. 4 oz.
Smallmouth Bass - Upper jaw extends to about the middle of the eye - Usually has vertical stripes along the body - 3 short spines on the anal fin - State Record: 7 lb. 2 oz.
Spotted Bass - Upper jaw not past the rear of the eye - Spiny and soft dorsal fin clearly connected - Tooth patch on tongue - State Record: 8 lb. 2 oz.
Shoal Bass - Found in Chattahoochee, Flint, and Ocmulgee Rivers - Vertical bars on fish of all sizes - No tooth patch on tongue - Light golden color - World Record: 8 lb. 3 oz.
Redeye Bass - Small tooth patch found on tongue - Sides olive to brown in coloring; dark vertical bars; prominent dark spot on the gill cover - White margin on tail - State Record: 3 lb. 7 oz.
White Bass - Seldom exceeds 3 pounds - Tongue with one tooth patch - Stripes often faint - 2nd anal spine 2⁄3 or more the length of 3rd anal spine - State Record: 5 lb. 1 oz.
Hybrid White-Striped Bass - Back arched, body deep - Stripes distinct and usually broken - Tongue with two tooth patches - 2nd anal spine 2⁄3 or more the length of 3rd anal spine - State Record: 25 lb. 8 oz.
Striped Bass - Body slender - Stripes distinct, occasionally broken - Tongue with two tooth patches - 2nd anal spine ½ or less the length of 3rd anal spine - State Record: 63 lb.
Channel Catfish - Numerous small, black spots present - Deeply forked tail fin - State Record: 44 lb. 12 oz.
Flathead Catfish - Head wide and flat - Body dark in color - Tail not forked - State Record: 83 lb.
Walleye - Sharp teeth - No spots on dorsal fin - Dark area at the base of dorsal fin - White spot at the bottom of the tail - State Record: 14 lb. 2 oz.
Black Crappie - 7–8 dorsal spines - Body color pattern irregularly arranged spots - State Record: 4 lb. 4 oz.
Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker) - Red edge on operculum ear flap - Spotted body - State Record: 4 lb. 2 oz.
Redbreast Sunfish - Long, dark ear flap - Blue lines on the head - Ear flap (operculum) not wider than the eye - State Record: 1 lb. 11 oz.
Bluegill - Black spot on the soft dorsal fin - Vertical bars on the body - State Record: 3 lb. 5 oz.
Gizzard Shad - Mouth below the end of the snout - Elongated dorsal fin ray - Deep body - Blunt snout
Rainbow Trout - Small black dots throughout the body that extend into the tail - Red stripe along the side on a silvery body - State Record: 17 lb. 8 oz.
Brown Trout - Black and red-orange spots inside light circles on brown body - Caudal fin (tail) square - State Record: 18 lb. 6 oz.
Brook Trout - Light, wormlike markings on a dark upper body - White leading edge on lower fins (pectoral, pelvic, and anal) - State Record: 5 lb. 10 oz.
Chain Pickerel (Jackfish) - Elongated body with chain-like markings - Sharp needle-like teeth - World Record: 9 lb. 6 oz.
American Shad - Bluish or green above with a silvery side - Deeply forked tail - State Record: 8 lb. 3 oz.
Threadfin Shad - Mouth at the end of the snout - Elongated dorsal fin ray - Pointed snout - Yellow tail fin
Redhorse Sucker - Protected species, easily confused with common carp - For more information on sport fish and carp identification, visit
Altamaha Shiner - A state-protected minnow common in rocky sections of large rivers and streams in the Oconee and Ocmulgee river systems
Map Turtle - Aquatic turtle with a prominent spiny keel on the midline of the shell - Found in large streams and rivers in the northwest and southwest portions of the state
Alligator Snapping Turtle - Huge aquatic turtle that may weigh more than 100 lbs. - Occurs in large streams, rivers, and reservoirs in the southwest corner of the state - Jaws are powerful; keep a safe distance!
Eastern Hellbender - Large, harmless salamander found in clear, rocky mountain streams, such as trout streams - Up to 29” in length, 11–20” typical

Please note that this chart provides information for identification purposes, and it's important to follow fishing regulations and conservation guidelines when fishing in Georgia's waters. Additionally, protected species should not be captured, harmed, or killed, and anglers should release them unharmed if encountered accidentally.

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