10 Metro Atlanta Bream Fisheries

Live in the Metro Atlanta area? There’s no excuse for not enjoying summertime bream fishing.

Mike Bolton | June 1, 2022

When you try to pinpoint regions in Georgia that offer the best bream fishing opportunities, you are likely to overlook Metro Atlanta.

When WRD Fisheries Biologist Keith Weaver started looking closer at Metro Atlanta as part of the agency’s Gateway to Fishing program, even he was surprised at what he found. He discovered dozens and dozens of lakes and ponds filled with bream that were open to the public. Some attract serious bream fishermen. Others are perfect for those who just want to spend a leisurely afternoon with the kids drowning a few worms.

There’s even great bream fishing within sight of downtown Atlanta. This is the view from Lake Clara Meer.

No matter what your bream fishing goals are, Metro Atlanta’s many offerings are enticing. It’s a place where residents can get home from work, cut some grass and then still have time to get to a fishing hole and catch several types of sunfish.

“There are all kinds of public-access places that I didn’t know existed,” Weaver said. “They are not places where you are going to catch a world-record bream, but they are places where you can catch some fish.”

DNR focuses heavily on taking kids fishing, and there are plenty of lakes and ponds in the Metro Atlanta area that have been well-stocked to benefit kids’ fishing programs, Weaver said. That benefits the fishermen that come along afterward. 

GON looked at more than 50 bream-fishing spots, both public and private, in and around Atlanta where the public can find bream fishing. Here’s 10 you may want to check out. The addresses are included so you can punch them into your GPS, and the phone numbers are included so you may call and ask any questions. The requirements for a Georgia fishing license apply to all.

G.B.’s Lake: This is a privately owned fishing spot that is actually two lakes. One is 25 acres and the other just 1 acre. Both lakes are restocked frequently, and bluegill and shellcracker are the predominant sunfish species.

Both lakes have open, well-manicured banks that makes them a great place for fly-fishing, or to take kids fishing. 

It should be noted that the 60-year-old lakes are open only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. There is a $10 fee to fish and only cash is accepted.

Lake caretaker Danny Williams said the lake no longer rents boats, but fishermen are allowed to bring small aluminum boats with no gasoline outboards. Electric trolling motors are allowed. There is no boat ramp, but smaller, lightweight boats cans easily be launched from the bank.

There is a building that offers bait, fishing tackle and snacks. 

Location: On Hurt Road between Smyrna and Austell in Cobb County.

Address: 448 Hurt Road, Smyrna, Ga. 30082.

Phone number: 770.435.8396.

George H. Sparks Reservoir: This 215-acre lake located within the Sweetwater Creek State Park in Douglas County is one recommendation from Weaver. This lake offers about anything a bream fisherman could want, he says. It is known for excellent populations of both bluegill and shellcracker. The lake is full of brush-type fish attractors placed in the lake by DNR and volunteers. Many of those fish attractors are in casting distance from the bank.

Personal boats without outboards (electric trolling motors only) are allowed, and the park has boats that may be rented. There is a boat launch fee. There is a bait and tackle shop where snacks and fishing information may be obtained, and there are restrooms.

Fishing is free, but there is a $5 park parking fee. The lake is open for fishing year-round from 7 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. each day.

Location: Off Mount Vernon Road 2 miles south of Austell.

Address: 1750 Mount Vernon Road, Lithia Springs, Ga. 30122.

Phone: 770.732.5871.

Lake Clara Meer: It might be hard for many to believe that it is possible to catch bream with the downtown Atlanta skyline as a backdrop, but a small lake in Piedmont Park offers that unique opportunity.

Lake Clara Meer is a small lake located inside the historic park. The 187-acre park is located about 1 mile northeast of downtown Atlanta. The small lake is in the southeast corner of the park.

There is a mix of bluegill and shellcracker. The bream population is maintained by stockings from DNR and the lake’s policy of being catch-and-release only.

“The bream fishing there is pretty good, much better than I thought,” said Matthew Bagshaw of the Piedmont Park Conservancy who oversees the lake. “It is pretty much all bank fishing, but  there is a gazebo and a dock you can fish from.

“We have a few dedicated fishermen who come often, but we only have a few people fishing each day. It’s a wonderful place to fish. There is a view of the mid-town skyline and woods from the lake.”

Fishing is free. No boats are allowed.

Location: Inside Piedmont Park.

Address: 400 Park Drive, Atlanta, Ga. 30306

Phone: 404.875.7275.

Lenora Lake: Serious bream fishermen will want to skip this small Gwinnett County Lake, but if your goal is to take a kid fishing and catch some fish, this should be on your list. 

What is so special about this 2-acre lake found inside Lenora Park? It just received a huge stocking of fish for a kid’s fishing event, Weaver said.

Keep in mind that an excellent fishing trip for an adult and a young child are two different things. Kids want to catch fish—any size of fish—and there are plenty of other factors that can come into play.

Lenora Lake has plenty of shade. There are nearby restrooms. Does your child get bored easily? The park has an incredible playground. The park also offers snacks and drinks, Park Supervisor Tyler Ratchford says.

And, oh yeah, the fishing is free.

Location: East of Stone Mountain in Gwinnett County.

Address: 4515 Lenora Church Road, Snellville, Ga. 30058.

Phone:  770.978.5271.

Marben Public Fishing Area: This oasis on the east side of metro Atlanta offers 20 different lakes ranging in size from 1 to 95 acres. It is easy to tell that this is one of DNR showcases as it is intensively managed and well-stocked with bluegill and shellcracker.

PVC fish attractors are in casting distance of the banks and fishing piers. There are even two kids-only fishing lakes. There are also two lakes where only kids fishing events are held each month this time of the year.

There is no fee to fish. The only requirement is a Georgia fishing license for those who are required to have one.

WRD Fisheries Biologist Jamie Dowd says the bluegill and shellcracker are relatively easy to catch for those who know what they are doing.

“You are not going to catch as much fishing the same technique year-round,” he said. “When it’s 20 degrees outside, or when the water temperature is 90 degrees, the fish will behave differently, but those who understand bream catch them.”

Personally, he likes Fox Lake and Lower Raleigh lakes for bream fishing.

The bluegill can be found on places with a sandy bottom, in flooded timber and around fish attractors. The prime time now and in upcoming months is when the bluegill spawn on a full moon. Bluegill aggressively defend their nest during this time and will attack crickets and worms. When the bluegill aren’t on bed, small jigs and spinners are effective. For those who prefer to fly fish, small cork topwater poppers are best in the shady areas in late afternoon.

There are six boat ramps on the lakes, and boats with outboards can only be used on the Fox and Bennett lakes and then at idle speed only.

Location: within the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center and Clybel WMA in Newton and Jasper counties.

Address: 543 Elliott Trail, Mansfield, Ga. 30055.

Phone number: 770.784.3063. 

Randy Poynter Lake: This 650-acre lake located in Black Shoals Creek Park serves as the community’s drinking water supply for Rockdale County. It is highly recommended by Keith Weaver for its easy access to good bream fishing.

The bluegill there are typically not huge, but the shellcrackers there are legendary. They average more than 6 inches long with 12-inch fish being caught on occasion.

Most bream fishermen there use wigglers and nightcrawlers fished under floats, but the more successful fishermen use 1/8-or 1/16-oz. spinners like Rooster Tails or Panther Martins to catch the bigger fish. The shellcrackers there have already spawned for the year, but the bluegill will continue to spawn every month on the full moon throughout the summer. It’s best to target their spawning beds, which look like moon craters.

The lake has two excellent fishing piers, but the most successful fishermen find the best fishing spots using boats outfitted with electronics. By being a water-supply lake, no outboards are allowed, but boats equipped with electric trolling motors can be used.  

There is a boat ramp and there is a $2 boat launch fee. There is a $4 per person park admission fee for non-county residents and a $2 fee for Rockdale County residents.

The lake is open for fishing six days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in summer months and closed on Wednesdays. Boats must be off the water by 6:30 p.m.

Location: East of downtown Atlanta in Rockdale County.

Address: 3001 Black Shoals Road, Conyers, Ga.  30012.

Phone: 770.761.1611.

Red Top Mountain State Park: This state park offers plenty of bream fishing access to bream-rich 12,000-acre Lake Allatoona. There is a small fishing pier located behind the park office, but fishing is allowed anywhere along the 1,776-acre park’s banks. The bank behind the visitor’s center is one popular fishing spot, as are any of the bank locations where marked fishing attractors can be seen.

Bream anglers may also bring their own boat and launch at the park’s boat ramp, or at the privately owned Park Marina located within the park and across the lake from Allatoona Dam. That marina rents boats, but it does not have tackle or bait.

Typical bream tackle and crickets and worms is most popular. Ultra-light spinning tackle outfitted with 4-lb. test line and spinners such as Rooster Tails cover more territory, provide the most action and typically catch the bigger fish. They also catch plenty of small bass.

There is no gated entrance to the park. Visitors are required to pay a $5 per-vehicle day use fee. 

Location: Bordering Lake Allatoona in Bartow County.

Address: 50 Lodge Road SE, Cartersville, Ga. 30121.

Phone: 770.975.005.

Rhodes Jordan Park: The 20-acre lake inside of Rhodes Jordan Park is officially called Lawrenceville Lake, but all you really need to know that the lake is known for one thing—plenty of bream.

The lake, and the park, are owned and operated by Gwinnett County and the county takes no shortcuts with the lake or any other of the park’s amenities.

Weaver says the lake is a must-fish for all bream fishermen in the Metro Atlanta area. It is well-stocked with bluegill and shellcracker and maintained by DNR. A drawback is that no boats are allowed in the relatively clear lake, but that is offset by the fact that bream anglers have clean access from the bank all around the lake.

If you are looking for quiet solitude, Rhodes Jordan Park is probably not the place for you. The 162-acre park is always a beehive of activity. It boasts a community recreation center, a pool, a double gym, eight tennis courts, a football field, a basketball court, seven baseball/softball fields, a 1.9-mile trail and a soccer complex.

The lake also receives heavy fishing pressure on weekends, but much less pressure during the week. Regardless, Weaver says if you are a bream fisherman, it is worth the crowds.

Fishing is allowed seven days a week from sunrise to 11 p.m. and fishing is free.

Location: In Lawrenceville in Gwinnett County off of U.S. 29.

Address: 100 East Crogan Street, Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046

Phone: 678.277.0890. 

Shamrock Lake: It has been 45 years since this 68-acre lake operated by the Clayton County Water Authority produced the current state-record 3-lb., 5-oz. bluegill. There are no bluegill of that size in the lake now, but there are still plenty of good-sized ones.

Jeff Palmer, the recreation area supervisor for the lake, says the lake is well-stocked with bluegill and shellcracker and well-maintained. There are a number of fish-attracting spots with sunken Christmas trees marked with metal poles. There are others made of PVC pipe. The area around the lake is kept mowed all the way to the lake to provide comfortable bank fishing.

The lake management has lifted an old policy that required an adult fisherman to be accompanied by a youth 12-year- old or younger. Fishing is $5 for a Clayton County resident or $10 for a non-resident. The lake is open for fishing Wednesday through Sunday only. Fishing is allowed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Boats of 16 feet or less are allowed, but only those without outboards. Electric trolling motors are allowed. There is a boat ramp.

“Crickets, red worms, wigglers and wax worms will all catch bream here,” Palmer said.

Location: South of Jonesboro on Shamrock Lake Road off Freeman Road and U.S. Highway 19-41.

Address: 2688 Shamrock Road, Jonesboro, Ga. 30236.

Phone: 770.603.5605.

Stone Mountain Park Lake: It seems most everyone in Georgia has visited this historic rock dome. It is one of the most visited tourist sites in the state. The eye-catching quartz and granite monstrosity is 5 miles in circumference at its base.

While everyone in Georgia is familiar with Stone Mountain, not everyone realizes that the park has a 350-acre lake that is open to the public for fishing. The lake has a good population of bluegill and various other sunfish.

There is good news and bad news about this lake. The good news is that fishing there is free. The bad news is that there is a $20 parking fee to enter Stone Mountain Park, and that it the only access to the lake. They do offer more expensive packages that allow for unlimited parking access in the park.

Fishing is permitted in the lake from 6 a.m. until midnight. There are plenty of places to fish from the bank, including the areas around the boat ramps and underneath the bridges around the lake.

Private boats are allowed on the lake, but any with outboards must be 10 horsepower or less. There is no fee to launch a boat, but they must be launched at the ramp near the Evergreen Pavilion. Boats may be on the lake only during daylight hours.

Fishing bait including wigglers is available at the park campground, as is some fishing tackle.

Red worms and small jigs are popular baits with the regulars, as is small topwater popping bugs with those fly fishing.

Location: Located 16 miles east of downtown Atlanta off of U.S. 78 (Stone Mountain Freeway) in DeKalb County.

Address: 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA.

Phone number: 800.401.2407. 

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