Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Fishing

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a vast network of interconnecting habitats that support a large number of plant and animal species. This primordial landscape depends upon water to exist and within the tea stained waters rest dozens of species of fish. These masters of elusion offer a great opportunity for anglers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the thrill of fishing in a unique and beautiful landscape.

Areas to Fish

East Entrance – The habitats at this entrance consist primarily of shallow water prairies littered with dense and low vegetation. This entrance also contains the Suwannee Canal which offers deeper water than is traditionally found in many other places in the swamp. Fishing here is best from a boat or along the Cane Pole Trail, which parallels the canal. Exploring the east entrance by boat provides access to many different natural lakes and prairies to fish among; including Chesser Prairie, Mizell Prairie, Grand Prairie, Gannet Lake, Monkey Lake, and Buzzard’s Roost Lake. Refuge concession Okefenokee Adventures rents motor boats, canoes, and kayaks that can be used to travel into the swamp to find the perfect fishing hole.

West Entrance – At this entrance one can fish in open water lakes and down winding water trails that are bordered by massive Cypress trees. The fishing here can take you into areas with deep pools filled with many worthy catches. This entrance also features Stephen C. Foster State Park, where fishing is also allowed from the dockside. The staff also rent motor boats, canoes, and kayaks that can be taken into the swamp for fishing and recreation. The west entrance offers some of the larger open areas to fish in the swamp. This entrance is home to Billy’s Lake, Minnie’s Lake, Big Water Lake, and the Suwannee River Recreation Area. These places characterize the best places to fish on the west side of the Okefenokee.

Kingfisher – This entrance is characterized by a mixture of open prairie lakes and water trails that can be explored by boat. The Kingfisher entrance offers access to many different lakes including; Flag, Elder, Duck, Trout, Double, Pond, and Maul Hammock. This string of lakes affords the angler a very nice experience. This entrance also offers the opportunity for bank fishing.

Guidelines

Fishing is permitted year round at our various locations in accordance with Georgia State regulations. The refuge also necessitates the following conditions:

  • Outboard boat motors are limited to 10 hp or less
  • We only allow the use of pole and line or rod and reel
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  • We prohibit possession of live bait fish (to prevent the introduction of non-native species to the waters of the Okefenokee)
  • We prohibit the use of trot lines, brush hooks or other similar line sets

Suwannee Canal Unit

  • We prohibit fishing in the boat basin
  • We prohibit fishing in ponds and canals along Swamp Island Drive
  • The patio behind the visitor center is reserved for the physically disabled

WARNING: Alligators are found throughout the waters of the refuge. Exercise extreme caution and leave the immediate area when fishing in their presence. Use of stringers to keep fish is strongly discouraged.

Motor Boat Caution: Watch motors cooling system closely as loose peat can be sucked into and block the filter screens near the propeller.

These guidelines are in place for the protection of the visitors and the fragile swamp ecosystem.

What the Angler Can Expect to Catch

The Okefenokee is home to 39 species of fish. The angler can expect to hook a few of the most common species in the swamp. These catches afford any angler of any age an experience worthy of remembering. Click Fish to view the most common species of the Okefenokee Swamp.

Popular lures and bait include: artificial baits such as yellow-sallies, spinners, minnow plugs, spoons, and jigs; while natural bait usually consists of red worms, earthworms, crickets, or other natural invertebrates found in the general vicinity.

The Okefenokee is home to the Georgia State record for the largest Bowfin (Amia calva) ever caught. At 16 pounds, this is quite a mudfish to match!

 

For a complete list of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals please refer to this pdf file.

Last updated: March 2, 2012