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Hickory Shad Breaks Georgia State Record

A 2-lb., 10-oz. Ogeechee River hickory shad tops a record set just last year in the same river.

DNR Press Release | March 2, 2022

In just over one year, the same Georgia river produced two state-record hickory shad. Timmy Woods, of Kite, was fishing on the Ogeechee River Feb. 20 when he reeled in the new state-record hickory shad. His catch weighed 2-lbs., 10-ozs., and broke a 1-year-old mark that weighed 2-lbs., 3-ozs.

“The Ogeechee River is the place to be if you are targeting record hickory shad,” says Scott Robinson, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division. “The great news is that there are amazing angling opportunities all over the state and plenty of fish to catch, but who will hold the next record? Don’t let someone else do it—it is time to get outdoors and Go Fish Georgia!”

Shad Fishing The Ogeechee River

Hickory shad (Alosa mediocris) are gray or green above with a silvery side. They have large prominent scales, a horizontal row of dark spots behind the gill cover and a deeply forked tail. They are most similar to American shad and blueback herring, which have a lower jaw that is equal or only slightly projecting beyond the upper jaw. Gizzard and threadfin shad both have an elongated ray in the dorsal fin.

Timmy Woods, of Kite, with the new state record hickory shad. Tim’s fish was certified at 2-lbs., 10-ozs., topping the previous mark by seven ounces that was set last year on the Ogeechee River.

American shad grow significantly larger than hickory shad. The Georgia state-record American shad weighed 8-lbs, 3-ozs., a mark that had stood since April 5, 1986 when angler Henry Baxley caught the fish in the Savannah River.

Both hickory and American shad are anadromous species that spend most of their life in the Atlantic Ocean, and then they return to their natal rivers to spawn once they reach sexual maturity. In Georgia, the shad spawning run usually begins in January in the southern rivers and fish can be found until May below the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam near Augusta. American and hickory shad are commercially harvested in the Altamaha and Savannah rivers. These fish can also be targeted by anglers utilizing recreational fishing gear in any of Georgia’s coastal rivers and are primarily caught on artificial lures, such as curly tail grubs. The Ogeechee River near the US Highway 80 Bridge and near the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam on the Savannah River are two of the more popular areas to target shad with recreational tackle.

Largemouth Bass 10-lbs., 14-ozs. Robert Attaway Jr. 05/08/06
Striped Bass 30-lbs. Ellis Arnold Phillips 02/27/89
Redbreast 1-lb., 5-ozs. Harley Morris 06/18/98
Shellcracker 2-lbs., 8-ozs. Linda Swan 11/04/05
Chain Pickerel 4-lbs., 15-ozs. Curt Sutton 06/24/96
Channel Catfish 23-lbs. Glenn Settles 06/21/14
Brown Bullhead 4-lbs., 1.04-ozs. Glenn Settles 04/06/21
Yellow Bullhead 4-lbs., 15-ozs. Glenn Settles 10/12/03
Hickory Shad 2-lbs., 10-ozs. Timmy Woods 02/20/22
American Shad 3-lbs., 2.88-ozs. Jason Cone 03/22/18
Bluegill 1-lb., 7.04-ozs. Chance DeLoach 06/30/19
Spotted Sunfish 7-ozs. Glenn Settles 05/23/21
Black Crappie 2-lbs., 3-ozs. Glenn Settles 12/11/21
Warmouth 1-lb., 4-ozs. Glenn Settles 06/21/22

Are you a recreational hook and line angler that targets shad? WRD would love to know! Reach out to our office at 912.285.6094 and share your experiences.

Georgia anglers support fisheries conservation! Did you know that your license purchase allows Georgia WRD to continue to do important research, maintain and operate public fishing areas and more? Purchase a Georgia license at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com.

For fishing tips, be sure to check out the weekly Fishing Blog post at https://georgiawildlife.blog/category/fishing/.

Information about state-record fish, including an application and rules, can be found at https://georgiawildlife.com/fishing/recordprogram/rules or in the current Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook.

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