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Commissioner's Message

Photo of Mark Williams, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Creating More Fishing Opportunities

With Department of Natural Resources properties spread throughout the state, I know firsthand how blessed we are to have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and natural resources our state offers.

It is more crucial now than ever to share our knowledge of wildlife conservation through fishing and hunting with our neighbors and others who have never had the opportunity to be exposed to this valued lifestyle. That is why I am very excited to share that the Wildlife Resources Division has launched a new effort focused on providing these opportunities through The Gateway to Fishing program. This program is dedicated to providing more fishing opportunities and learning experiences for those who want to learn to fish or help a neighbor or loved one learn to fish. I am very much looking forward to tracking this program’s growth and most of all seeing the smiling faces on Georgians whom the program helps to catch their first fish.

Our more than 1 million resident anglers bring so much to this state through their love of fishing. Fishing in Georgia is responsible for more than 14,000 jobs, $635 million in salaries, and over $250 million in state, local and federal tax revenues. Anglers also generate $1.4 billion in retail sales.

If you’ve picked up a copy of our Fishing Regulations guide before, you already know that I am a proud Georgia native. Of the many reasons I love this state, the abundance of natural resources available to everyone is at the top of the list. If this is your first time, thank you, we are glad you are here. I am confident that you will soon share my love for fishing in Georgia.

I have a few favorite fishing holes as I am sure many of you do, but in Georgia, a short drive in any direction can put you on a great spot to fish. Whether in a pond catching bluegill with crickets, fishing for catfish or shoal bass in our pristine rivers, enjoying the beauty of north Georgia while catching rainbow trout in cold-water streams, fishing for bass or crappie in our reservoirs, or the multitude of saltwater fish species found along our amazing coast you are always only a short drive from great fishing. If you forget your gear, our Wildlife Resources and State Parks Divisions can help. These divisions coordinate to provide fishing equipment loaner stations and stock fish in our state park lakes across Georgia. Come for great fishing and stay a while at one of the many camp sites or cabins. So, this year, I encourage you to cast a line somewhere new and enjoy all the recreational opportunities this great state has to offer.

Mark Williams
Commissioner, Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program Graphic