Are you ready to Go TROUT Fish Georgia? Beautiful weather and fantastic scenery await you in the northern part of the state, and beginning in November, trout fishing on Georgia’s delayed harvest trout streams will be in full swing, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
While trout fishing can be found year-round in Georgia, there are five trout streams that are seasonally managed under special regulations called Delayed Harvest (DH) to increase angler success. These streams have catch-and-release regulations from November 1-May 14 and are stocked monthly by WRD and other partner agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and South Carolina DNR. This combination of stocking and catch/release allows for good trout catch rates and high angler satisfaction.
This year, four delayed harvest streams will be stocked with trout. These streams include:
- Toccoa River located on U.S. Forest Service land upstream of Lake Blue Ridge in Fannin County (from 0.4 miles above Shallowford Bridge to 450 feet above the Sandy Bottom Canoe Access).
- Amicalola Creek on the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area (from Steele Bridge Road downstream to Georgia Hwy. 53).
- Smith Creek downstream of Unicoi Lake (Unicoi State Park).
- A portion of the Chattooga River (from Ga. Hwy. 28 upstream to the mouth of Reed Creek) on U.S. Forest Service land bordering South Carolina.
Georgia Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson commented, “In an effort to provide excellent opportunities at the other DH sections, and due to current low trout inventories, anglers should note that stocking the delayed harvest section of the Chattahoochee River below the Morgan Falls dam will not be able to take place this year.”
Between November 1 – May 14, anglers on all traditional delayed harvest streams are restricted to single hook, artificial lures. Beginning May 15, the general regulations to designated trout waters then apply to those streams.
In addition to the excellent fall fishing opportunities that delayed harvest streams provide, other Georgia streams offer ample year-round trout fishing. These streams are:
- Noontootla Creek Watershed: This watershed offers high-quality fishing for wild brown and rainbow trout, with many of its tributaries offering a chance at a wild brook trout. Both Noontootla and its tributaries are managed under an artificial lure only regulation and have a 16” minimum size limit in order to “recycle” the 8”-12” trout that make up most of the population.
- Dukes Creek: This stream, located on the Smithgall Woods-Dukes Creek Conservation Area, offers year-round trout fishing by reservation (706-878-3087). All fish caught here must be released immediately and anglers can only use artificial lures with barbless hooks. The stream offers a great chance at a trout over 20 inches, so bring your camera for a quick shot before release. Best time to fish is after a rain, which reduces water clarity and increases trout feeding activity.
- Chattahoochee River: For trout fishing close to metro Atlanta, the Chattahoochee River downstream of Buford Dam offers diverse fishing opportunities, from stocked rainbow trout to trophy wild brown trout. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area parks offer good bank, wading and boating opportunities. An artificial-only section exists from Buford Hwy (Hwy 20) to Medlock Bridge. The best fishing conditions are low flow when the river is clear to slightly stained.
- Some additional and notable fall trout fishing opportunities exist in the Toccoa River downstream of Lake Blue Ridge, Tallulah River, and the Chattooga River.
Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license as well as a trout license. By purchasing a license, fishing equipment, and other related items, you help fund sport fish restoration programs thanks to the Sport Fish Restoration Act. The Sport Fish Restoration Act and Trout Unlimited license plate 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, fishing piers, and much more!
Where can you get a fishing license? Buy it online or find a list of retail license vendors at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.
For free Georgia trout stream maps, stocking lists, trout fishing tips and other trout fishing information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout .