If you’ve been looking for a reason to go trout fishing, we’ve got you covered. Starting Nov. 1, 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 enjoyed 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, 2022 through May 14, 2023 and are stocked monthly by WRD and other partner agencies like the US Fish and Wildlife Service and South Carolina DNR. This combination of stocking and catch-and-release rules results in good trout catch rates and high angler satisfaction.
This year, the five deferred harvest streams will be stocked with trout. These flows include:
- Chattahoochee River from Sope Creek to US Highway 41 (Cobb Parkway).
- Toccoa River located on U.S. Forest Service land above Blue Ridge Lake in Fannin County (0.4 mile above Shallowford Bridge to 450 feet above canoe access at Sandy Bottom).
- Amicalola Creek in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area (from Steele Bridge Road downstream to Georgia Highway 53).
- Smith Creek below Lake Unicoi (Unicoi State Park).
- Part of the Chattooga River (from GA Highway 28 upstream to the mouth of Reed Creek) on U.S. Forest Service land bordering South Carolina.
“We are excited to resume delayed harvest stocks on the Chattahoochee River below Morgan Falls Dam this year due to excellent trout production at our state hatcheries and the low fishable flows we are currently seeing in the river. “said Georgia Trout Stocking Coordinator John. Lee Thompson. “With the Lake Burton Hatchery fully renovated and trout stocks back to historic levels, the Chattahoochee DH should provide an excellent trout fishing opportunity near the Atlanta metro area.”
Between November 1 and May 14, anglers on all traditional delayed-harvest streams are restricted to single-hook artificial lures. As of May 15, the general regulations for waters designated for trout will then apply to these waterways.
In addition to the excellent fall fishing opportunities offered by delayed-harvest streams, other Georgia streams offer bountiful trout fishing year-round. Examples include:
Noontootla Creek Watershed: This watershed offers quality fishing for wild brown and rainbow trout, with many of its tributaries offering a chance for wild brook trout. Noontootla and its tributaries are managed under an artificial lure-only regulation and have a minimum size limit of 16 inches to “recycle” the 8-12 inch trout that make up the bulk of the population.
Chattahoochee River: For trout fishing near metro Atlanta, the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam offers a variety of fishing opportunities, from stocked rainbow trout to wild trophy brown trout. The parks in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area offer good riverbanking, wading, and boating opportunities. A man-made only section exists from Buford Hwy (Hwy 20) to Medlock Bridge. The best fishing conditions are at low flow when the river is clear to slightly stained.
Suggested additional feeds: Notable fall trout fishing opportunities also exist in the Toccoa River below Blue Ridge Lake, Tallulah River, and Chattooga River.
Anglers must have a Georgia fishing license as well as a trout fishing license. By purchasing a license, fishing gear and other related items, you help fund sport fish restoration programs through the Sport Fish Restoration Act. The Sport Fish Restoration Act and Trout Unlimited license plate funds enable the following activities: managing sport fish populations, raising freshwater fish in hatcheries and stocking them in public waters, maintaining and exploit public fishing areas and build boat ramps, fishing piers and much more!