Category Archives: Fishing

All WWALS water trails navigable according to GA HB 1397 2024-02-22

Update 2024-02-25: Need to add Sugar Creek, as well as Cat Creek and Franks Creek.

Following up on the December 2023 report of the Fishing Rights Study Committee, that Committee’s Chair, Rep. Burchett of Waycross, who is also the House Majority Whip, this Thursday introduced HB 1397, which defines navigable streams in Georgia.

[Warrior Creek, Okapilco Creek, Deep Creek, Bird Wing Run]
Warrior Creek, Okapilco Creek, Deep Creek, Bird Wing Run

The bill’s list appears to include all of Georgia parts of the WWALS water trails, plus some creeks and an upstream reach of the Alapaha River.

However, the entire Alapahoochee River is missing, https://wwals.net/maps/alapaha-water-trail/arwt-map/arwt-points/#ga-376-bridge, as is the East Fork of the Suwannee River in the Okefenokee Swamp. The North Fork of the Suwannee River is missing, but it’s so overgrown that’s not surprising.

Considering the inclusion of Okapilco Creek, the bill needs to add Sugar Creek below Baytree Road, which is a nice urban creek with a beach and shoals, https://wwals.net/?p=56221 with the WaterGoat trash trap, https://wwals.net/?p=63876 and will be used this coming Saturday, March 2, as the early takeout for the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle. https://wwals.net/?p=64095

Similarly, the bill could add add Cat Creek below GA 37 and Franks Creek below GA 122. That would help with finding and fixing E. coli problems seen at bridges on those creeks. WWALS has already started investigating those creek problems and has applied for a testing grant. https://wwals.net/?p=58982

These are the bill’s items in the Suwannee River Basin. If I’ve missed any, somebody let me know. Continue reading

Fishing Access in Georgia: House Committee Report 2023-12-01

Here is the Final Report with Recommendations after four public input meetings and a decision meeting of the Georgia House Study Committee on Fishing Access to Freshwater Resources.

[Chair Rep. James Burchett and GA House Fishing Access Study Committee 2023-11-30, plus fishing, fish, boating, and trash]
Chair Rep. James Burchett and GA House Fishing Access Study Committee 2023-11-30, plus fishing, fish, boating, and trash

Basically, they want to preserve both fishing rights (and private property rights) while preserving boating right of passage. The Study Committee found right of passage tied to navigability, so its key recommendations are to determine and delineate which parts of which rivers and streams are navigable.

If you know Committee Chair Rep. James Burchett or any of the committee members, please contact them asking for maximum navigability while preserving private property rights. Or contact your Georgia state house member.
http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ Continue reading

Ockolocoochee, Little River 1889-01-29

Who knows the Ockolocoochee River? No, not the Ochlockonee River; that’s a bit to the west.

[Withlacoochee River labeled Suwanee R. in 1823 Irwin and 1834 Lowndes County maps; current WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail map]
Withlacoochee River labeled Suwanee R. in 1823 Irwin and 1834 Lowndes County maps; current WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail map

You do know the Ockolocoochee River as the Little River, of the Withlacoochee, of the Suwannee.

Here is news from 1889 that also includes the boat that didn’t survive from Troupville to Ellaville, which was apparently not a paddlewheel steamer. Continue reading

Rainbow shiners 2023-10-14

This story is amusing enough to publish (with permission), even though it is about goings-on outside the Suwannee River Basin.

Various Notropis species form unusual spawning aggregations. For example, here is a spawning aggregation of the noble Notropis chrosomus AKA the Rainbow shiner, arguably the most colorful fish in North America. This aggregation was photographed in Marshall creek near Monroeville Alabama north of Mobile.

[Rainbow shiners spawning in the air]
Rainbow shiners spawning in the air

What? Fish that spawn upside down in the air above waterfalls in a part of the country that can’t possible have waterfalls? OK, I owe you an explanation.

Once upon a time, and a long ago time it was, I was Continue reading

Fishing, boating passage, and navigability in Georgia waters 2023-10-12

Update 2023-12-31: Fishing Access in Georgia: House Committee Report 2023-12-01.

What waterways are navigable? How does navigability apply to fishing rights and private ownership of waterways? What about right of passage? How does the Georgia state constitutional Right to Hunt and Fish apply? And what about GA-DNR boat ramps?

[Access, Navigable, Boat Ramps]
Access, Navigable, Boat Ramps

This controversy started with a lawsuit about the Flint River, but it has already spread to other rivers and creeks, and sooner or later will affect the Suwannee River Basin.

The Chair of the Georgia House Study Committee on the subject is Rep. James Burchett, District 176, which includes southwest Coffee, Atkinson, Lanier, and northeast Lowndes Counties, all in the Suwannee River Basin. Plus he is the County Attorney for Brooks County.

If you know him, maybe you’d like to talk to him about the importance of river passage and public fishing rights. As he is reported to have said, “The intention is to find clarity. The property owners and fishermen all want to know, where can we fish and where can we not?”

Continue reading

OVL ED around Troupville River Park 2023-05-31

Mary Beth Brownlee, new Executive Director of One Valdosta-Lowndes (OVL), got to see the site of the future Troupville River Camp and Nature Park.

[Around Troupville River Camp and Nature Park --jsq]
Around Troupville River Camp and Nature Park –jsq

She and Georgia Power Southwest Regional Director Joe Brownlee and their daughter Elizabeth are only about the third party who have followed me around the entire river circumference of the site, down the Little River to its Confluence, and then up the Withlacoochee River back to GA 133.

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman took many of these pictures. WWALS provided the visitors information about Troupville Nature Park and Troupville River Camp including letters of support from Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia, the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber, Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida, the Suwannee River Water Management District, and others.

Troupville River Camp is top of the project list for OVL, which is an economic development and well being organization. Continue reading

Rivers and mining: WWALS comments on Suwannee-Satilla Draft Regional Water Plan 2023-05-15

Sent yesterday as PDF, in response to the invitation to comment and before the May 24, 2023 meeting in Tifton of the Georgia Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council.

[The WWALS letter and rivers and mines in and near the Suwannee River Basin]
The WWALS letter and rivers and mines in and near the Suwannee River Basin

May 15, 2023

To: Water Planning

Georgia Department of Natural Resources
water.planning@dnr.ga.gov

RE: WWALS Comments on SSRWPC Draft Regional Water Plan

Dear DNR,

Responding to your invitation to comment on the draft Regional Water Plans, I write to mention some omissions in the Suwannee-Satilla Regional Draft Water Plan of March 2023.

Continue reading

Infected fish caught on the Alapaha River, Berrien County, Georgia 2023-04-19

Where to report:
https://wwals.net/report/

Update 2023-04-27: Name of the fisherman and the original poster, with link.

These fish pictures are getting shared around, and keep getting sent to Suwannee Riverkeeper. Here’s what the fish disease might be. If you see a fish like this, please stick it on ice and get it biopsied so you can know. Call us, so we can know, and we can help you find a lab.

I have provided some eye bleach for after you look at this picture.

[Infected fish 2023-04-19]
Infected fish 2023-04-19

The fish was caught in the Alapaha River in Berrien County, Georgia.

I’ve heard at least five theories for what is the problem with this fish, from most likely to least: Continue reading

Georgia National Hunting and Fishing Day at Paradise PFA 2022-09-24

This is not a WWALS event, but it sounds fun and we support it. Of the many specific events by GA-DNR Wildlife Resources Division, one is at Paradise Public Fishing Area in our Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. That’s east of Tifton on US 82, near Enigma, in Berrien County, Georgia.

[Logo, Map]
Logo, Map

Since the voters approved it in 2006, Georgia has a right of hunting and fishing, in the state Bill of Rights, up there with freedom of speech:

Georgia Constitution, Article I, Section 1, Paragraph XXVIII, The tradition of fishing and hunting and the taking of fish and wildlife shall be preserved for the people and shall be managed by law and regulation for the public good.

Now we can add a Right to Clean Water so fish and wildlife (and people) will have a healthy environment in which to live.


NATIONAL HUNTING AND FISHING DAY IN GEORGIA
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2022
Continue reading

More than 30 groups organize to save Okefenokee Swamp 2020-07-14

See also Suwannee Riverkeeper’s call last month for people to contact the Georgia governor and other elected officials.

[Okefenokee Protection Alliance (OPA)]
Okefenokee Protection Alliance (OPA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (see also )

MORE THAN 30 GROUPS ORGANIZE TO SAVE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

[OPA Logo]
OPA Logo

GEORGIA (July 14, 2020) More than 30 national, state, and local organizations have joined forces in the fight to protect the Okefenokee Swamp. The new coalition, known as the Okefenokee Protection Alliance (OPA), recently formed in response to a new and alarming threat to the Okefenokee in the form of proposed heavy mineral sands mining adjacent to the swamp.

In July 2019, Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, submitted a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) seeking authorization to mine the first phase of what would eventually become a 12,000-acre project abutting the southeast corner of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

After the Corps was deluged with letters opposing the project, Twin Pines withdrew that application and submitted a second application to excavate a roughly 900-acre first phase of the mine. The Corps is now weighing whether to approve that second application. Twin Pines must also secure permission from the state of Georgia.

“The new Okefenokee Protection Alliance is the first collaborative effort to have an exclusive focus on the protection of what is arguably our country’s healthiest remaining wetland of significance,” says Christian Hunt, Southeast Program Representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “Everyone came together because of Twin Pines’ permit application, but by design we intend to be active over the long-term and address the present threat that we are dealing with today, as well as future threats that stand to compromise the Okefenokee.”

This week, the Okefenokee Protection Alliance introduced a new website and began urging citizens to write Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, asking him to protect Southeast Georgia’s international natural treasure.

“Just as we have reached out to folks to call on the Corps, we are reaching out to folks to call on Governor Kemp because it is not just the Corps that has a say,” says Rena Peck, Executive Director of the Georgia River Network. “We want Governor Kemp to stand with his constituents and all the citizens in Georgia who are concerned about the mine and ask the Corps for an Environmental Impact Statement.”

The Okefenokee has a long history of support from Georgia leaders. A similar proposal to mine near the Swamp in the 1990s was stopped when Gov. Zell Miller and others spoke out against it; in the 1970s, W.S. “Bill” Stuckey, Jr. who represented the 8th District of Georgia in Congress, successfully fought to designate portions of the swamp as a National Wilderness Area.

Stuckey, now a resident of the Georgia coast, said recently, “I’m hopeful that Governor Kemp will step in to protect the Okefenokee Wilderness and stop the mine.”

OPA member organizations and federal agencies have expressed concerns that the mine could alter the hydrology of the area and impair the movement and storage of water within the swamp, the St. Marys and Suwannee rivers and the Floridan Aquifer.

This could lead to an increased risk of uncontrollable wildfires and impact access to the swamp for boating, fishing, birding, hunting and photography. Pollution from the mining operation could also impact the health of groundwater and surface water.

The Floridan Aquifer, which lies beneath the swamp, is the water source for all of south Georgia and most of Florida, and feeds many springs in the region, which are already adversely affected by overpumping. Thus, anything that affects the swamp or the aquifer could have far-reaching consequences.

Continue reading