Delayed Harvest Trout Regs Begin Nov. 1

Trout fishing is catch-and-release only from Nov. 1 to May 14 on these stretches of Georgia trout waters.

DNR Press Release | October 26, 2022

If you were looking for a reason to go trout fishing, we have just the ticket. Beginning 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 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 Nov. 1, 2022 to May 14, 2023 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-and-release regs allows for good trout catch rates and high angler satisfaction.

This year, all five delayed harvest streams will be stocked with trout. These streams include:

  • Chattahoochee River from Sope Creek to US Highway 41 (Cobb Parkway).
  • 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 Highway 53).
  • Smith Creek downstream of Unicoi Lake (Unicoi State Park).
  • A portion 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 stockings on the Chattahoochee River below Morgan Falls Dam this year thanks to excellent trout production in our state hatcheries, and the low, fishable flows we are seeing in the river currently,” said Georgia Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson. “With the Lake Burton Fish Hatchery renovation complete and trout inventories returned to historic levels, the Chattahoochee DH should provide a great trout fishing opportunity near Metro Atlanta.”

Between Nov. 1 and 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. Examples include:

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 to “recycle” the 8-12” trout that make up most of the population.

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.

Additional Suggested Streams: Notable fall trout fishing opportunities also 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!

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