I definitely would like to thank all the anglers who fished with us these past few weeks, making it our busiest January ever. Many savvy SE Georgia anglers know that the winter months, although cold at times, offers some of the best fishing of the year for trout and red fish. We got a fairly good dose of cold weather, including snow, in many parts of Georgia. Many folks were concerned with the health of trout and shrimp, as water temps dipped below 45 degrees. Thankfully we were very fortunate as our population of shrimp and trout appeared not to sustain any discernable damage. In fact, we had one of our very best months for both reds and trout, following the freezes. Reports from Darien, Richmond Hill, and Savannah confirmed this as well.
The most encouraging news, was the amount of juvenile trout being caught, as these are the fish that are usually at higher risk during harsh conditions. It needs to be noted, that since the DNR raised the minimum size of trout from 13” to 14”, anglers have unanimously agreed that larger trout are being caught. Combine that with many anglers voluntarily releasing trout over 18”, and this amazing fishery will continue to thrive. It is fairly common knowledge that redfish will school up and feed heavy on midday low tides in the cooler months, but this month was exceptionally productive. We caught and released a lot of redfish not only during low tide periods, but throughout the marsh, on all tides, and in places that we don’t usually encounter them.
This has been another success story with the Georgia DNR. The extensive tagging programs, and general good health and numbers of our breeding stock, combined with some obviously very successful spawning, has provided somewhat of a population explosion these past 2 years. Many of our trips have been catch and release, but we’ve also enjoyed cleaning and cooking our catches. Fortunately, we have some great stewards in the industry who have done a great job releasing fish in healthy condition, keeping only what they plan to eat, and observing size and creel limits. Let’s hope the fishing in February remains strong, as the entire month has some fairly favorable tides!