Saturday, November 1, 2014, is going to be a big day for trout anglers in Georgia because that’s when fishing reopens on five delayed harvest trout streams.
The weather is going to be a bit nippy in the morning, but the fantastic scenery and the thrill of going after a trophy trout will make it a perfect day.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, trout streams are designated either seasonal or year-round.
“Five year-round streams are managed under special regulations called Delayed Harvest,” said John Lee Thomson, Wildlife Resources Division trout stocking coordinator. “The ‘DH’ streams have special catch-and-release regulations from November 1-May 14, and are stocked monthly by WRD and our partner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This combination of stocking and catch/release allows for good trout catch rates and high angler satisfaction.”
Georgia’s Five Delayed Harvest Trout Streams
- 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).
- Chattahoochee River in Atlanta (Sope Creek, downstream of Johnson Ferry Road, downstream to the Hwy 41 bridge).
- 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.
“Remember, during delayed harvest, anglers on these five streams also are restricted to artificial lures with one single hook,” Thomson adds. “When May 15 rolls around, the general regulations to designated trout water apply.”
In addition to the excellent fall fishing opportunities that these delayed harvest streams provide, other Georgia streams offer ample year-round trout fishing. These streams are:
- Noontootla Creek Watershed: This watershed offers high-quality, year-round fishing for wild brown and rainbow trout, with many of its tributaries offering a chance at a wild brook trout (a real plus since most other brook trout waters are closed to fishing after Oct. 31). 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 muddies the water.
- Chattahoochee River: For good trout fishing close to metro Atlanta, the Chattahoochee River downstream of Buford Dam offers family-friendly, year-round fishing for stocked rainbow and wild brown trout. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area parks offer good bank, wading and boating opportunities. The river will be stocked through the fall months to keep angler catches high. Year-round harvest is legal from Buford Dam to Sope Creek. Anglers should note that there is an artificial lure only section between Ga. Hwy 20 and the Medlock Bridge Boat Ramp. Best fishing is at low flow when the river is clear to slightly stained.
- Some additional notable year-round trout streams include 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 to fish for these beauties. By purchasing a license as well as fishing equipment and related items, you and your fellow anglers have helped fund sport fish restoration programs for years.
The Sport Fish Restoration Act allows funds accumulated from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment and related items to be directed to activities that benefit recreational anglers. A portion of these funds is provided to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources based on several factors, including the number of paid sporting licenses. Sport Fish 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 and fishing piers, and much more!
For free Georgia trout stream maps, trout fishing tips and other trout fishing information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout