SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — While sampling the Ogeechee River, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) captured a non-native flathead catfish.

The flathead catfish are native to Northwest Georgia but have now been seen in several Atlantic waterways in Georgia including the Satilla, Altahama and Savannah Rivers. They are large, olive-colored fish that pose a serious threat to native species by reducing the amount of resources and preying on native fish.

The first flathead was captured by a commercial fisherman in December 2021. Until that commercial catch, WRD says no flathead had been reported in the Ogeechee River. Officials had initially hoped it was an isolated fish that had possibly traveled from the Savannah River.

In August 2023, WRD staff caught the first flathead in directed sampling efforts. Over a dozen fish had been removed from their non-native waterway. WRD staff are already conducting extensive sampling efforts throughout this portion of the Ogeechee River.

Anglers are encouraged to capture and report flathead catfish caught in the Ogeechee River. To report one of these fish click here.

For more information, you can also reach out to the local WRD office here.