Angler Wes Carlton knows his walleye, and is awfully glad that he took time to go fish last week! Carlton, age 42, of Gainesville hooked the new state record walleye at Lake Rabun on Feb. 19.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, this 14 lb, 2 oz, 31 ½” inch catch beat the existing state record, established in 1995, by almost 3 pounds! A new state record has to be at least one ounce greater.
“Based on sampling efforts by fisheries staff, we have just been waiting on the day that a new state record walleye was pulled from Lake Rabun,” says John Biagi, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division. ”Hearing about a new state record is a great start to 2016 and I hope it encourages all new and experienced anglers to get outdoors and go fish Georgia!”
Walleye are considered part of the perch fish family. They typically have a golden-brown colored body with a white belly. The name derives from their large, glassy marble-like eyes, and they have a spiny dorsal fin and long, sharp teeth. Up to 1-2 lb walleye are typical, but found up to 15 lb. They live in large, cold water rivers and lakes and are frequently found near boulders, points and humps. Recommended bait or lures include minnows, nightcrawlers, jigs, crankbait and spinner combos.
Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license to fish in public waters. Where can you get a license? Buy it online, find a list of retail license vendors at www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.
By purchasing a license as well as fishing equipment and related items, you and your fellow anglers help fund sport fish restoration programs, thanks to the Sport Fish Restoration Act. This Act allows funds accumulated from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment and related items to be directed to activities that benefit recreational anglers. A portion of these funds is provided to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources based on several factors, including the number of paid sporting licenses. Sport Fish funds make the following activities possible: managing sport fish populations, raising freshwater fish in hatcheries and stocking them in public waters, maintaining and operating public fishing areas and building boat ramps, and much more!
Information about state-record fish, including an application and rules, can be found at www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/RecordProgramor in the current Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook.