Conservation Law Enforcement Corner – June 2024

GON Staff | June 1, 2024

Fishing at Dukes Creek is limited to only a few anglers each day who secure a reservation, and only artificial, barbless lures are allowed. And it’s illegal to keep a trout! Pretty sure cast netting is a bit frowned upon by stream managers and trout anglers…

White County: During the height of the COVID lockdown madness in May of 2020, poachers might have thought it was a good time to get away with some shenanigans. Bad thought. By May of that year, most Georgians were over everything COVID, and hunting and fishing were all the rage. And game wardens were certainly not working from home.

An incident on one of Georgia’s premier trout streams was far from simple shenanigans—it was enough to make a trout angler’s blood boil.

Georgia’s trout streams are managed under a wide variety of regulations that range from pretty standard to extremely regulated. No stream is more restrictive and regulated than Duke’s Creek.

GON has inquired to no avail about the details of this case—specifically the disposition and names of the offenders—since seeing the photo and narrative on DNR’s Facebook page in May of 2020.

The 2020 post with the photo said, “Cpl. Anne Wiley responded to a complaint at Dukes Creek on Smithgall Woods in White County Saturday where an individual was cast netting fish from the creek. She discovered three individuals along the creek, and one of them was in possession of a cast net and 34 fish. None of them possessed a fishing rod or a license. This stretch of the creek also requires a permit to fish, and none of them had that either. Citations were issued in the incident and the fish were confiscated.”

Here are the specific regulations that lawful trout anglers must abide by when they draw a coveted reservation to fish Dukes Creek:

• Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used or possessed.

• Possession of any bait, lure or gear not legal for use on the stream is unlawful.

• All fish caught from Dukes Creek and its tributaries in White County on the Conservation Area, including the GA Highway 75 Alternate right-of-way, must be immediately released where caught.

• No trout may be possessed while fishing on any Conservation Area stream or the GA Highway 75 Alternate right-of-way.


SCI Recognizes DNR Standouts

The Georgia Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI) held its annual Sportsman’s Banquet and Auction at Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna on April 27.

Georgia SCI was proud to again recognize outstanding individuals from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources during the organization’s annual event.

The Investigative Game Warden of the Year award was presented to Corporal Eric White.

Theron Menken was named the Biologist of the Year. Ryan Merkel, who could not be present, was named the Wildlife Technician of the Year. Deputy Commissioner Thomas Barnard accepted the award for Merkel.

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