The Health Benefits of Eating Fish

Sport fish caught in Georgia are generally of good quality and safe to eat. Eating fish provides a diet high in protein and low in fat and saturated fats, offering substantial health benefits, especially when replacing high-fat protein sources.

What are the Guidelines?

Georgia's Department of Natural Resources samples fish annually for contaminants like PCBs, chlordane, and mercury. Most fish tested are safe to eat, but some waters contain fish with contaminants, leading to consumption restrictions. Eating guidelines are based on long-term exposure and suggest limiting consumption from certain sources to once per week or month, considering a meal to be 4 to 8 ounces.

Special Notice for Pregnant Women, Nursing Mothers, and Children

Pregnant or nursing women, those planning to become pregnant, and children under six are more sensitive to contaminants. It is advised that these groups eat fish less frequently than the general recommendations.

How to Reduce Your Health Risk

To minimize health risks, eat smaller, younger fish, and vary your fish intake. Cleaning fish thoroughly by removing skin and trimming fat can significantly reduce contaminants. Cooking methods like broiling, baking, or grilling let fat drip away, further reducing potential contaminants.

Guidelines for Georgia

Georgia provides specific guidelines for fish consumption based on testing of lakes and rivers. Lakes and streams listed have been found to have little or no contamination. If a body of water is listed in the guidelines, it specifies safe consumption amounts for particular species from that water body. These are arranged alphabetically for reference.

“These guidelines are non-binding recommendations EPD determines based on the body of water a fish comes from, the species of fish and the amount of fish a person consumes. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide detailed information in an understandable format for people who eat fish. Waters listed in the fish consumption guidelines are not necessarily assessed as impaired using USEPA guidelines for Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act.”

More details and most recent results from fish contaminant testing are available in the publication “Guidelines for Eating Fish from Georgia Waters” available at:

Call for a copy or more information:

Environmental Protection Division: 404-656-4713 | Coastal Resources Division: 912-264-7218 | Wildlife Resources Division: 770-918-6406

No Consumption Restrictions


Fish from the following lakes have been tested and are recommended for consumption without restrictions:

  • City of Adairsville pond
  • Allen Creek WMA Ponds A and B
  • Brasstown Valley Kid Fish Pond
  • Bowles C. Ford Lake (Savannah)
  • Clayton Co. Water Auth. lakes
  • Dodge Co. PFA
  • Fort Yargo State Park
  • Hard Labor Cr. State Park (Rutledge)
  • High Falls Lake
  • Mayer (City of Savannah)
  • McDuffie PFA (East)
  • Nancy Town Lake
  • Olmstead
  • Paradise PFA (Patrick and Horseshoe 4)
  • Payton Park Pond (Valdosta)
  • Rocky Mountain PFA Lakes Antioch (East and West)
  • Seed
  • Marben PFA (CEWC) Lakes Shepard, Margery, and Bennett
  • Walter F. George
  • Silver Lake WMA

Rivers and Creeks

Fish from the following rivers and creeks have been tested and are recommended for consumption without restrictions:

  • Alcovy River
  • Boen Creek (Rabun Co.)
  • Brasstown Creek (Towns Co.)
  • Broad River
  • Buffalo Creek (Carroll Co.)
  • Butternut Creek (Union Co.)
  • Cane Creek (Lumpkin Co.)
  • Chattanooga Creek
  • Chattooga River (NW Ga.)
  • Chickasawhatchee Creek
  • Coleman River
  • Conasauga River in Cohutta Forest
  • Dukes Creek
  • Daniels Creek (Cloudland Canyon State Park)
  • East/South Chickamauga Creek
  • Goldmine Branch
  • Jacks River
  • Jones Creek
  • Little Dry Creek (Floyd Co.)
  • Little Tallapoosa River
  • Little Tennessee River
  • Mill Creek (Whitfield Co.)
  • Moccasin Creek (Lake Burton Trout Hatchery)
  • Mud Creek (Cobb Co.)
  • Nickajack Creek
  • Noonday Creek (Cobb Co.)
  • Ocmulgee River (Butts, Monroe and Pulaski Cos.)
  • Oconee River (below Barnett Shoals to Lake Oconee, Laurens Co. and Milledgeville to Dublin)
  • North and Middle Oconee Rivers
  • Olley Creek
  • Ponder Branch (Walker Co.)
  • Proctor Creek (Cobb Co.)
  • Slab Camp Creek (Oconee Co.)
  • South River (Hwy 36, Butts Co.)
  • Spirit Creek
  • Stamp Creek (Pine Log WMA)
  • Stekoa Creek
  • Yahoola Creek
  • Yellow River
  • Sewell Mill Creek (Cobb Co)
  • Tallulah River
  • Upatoi Creek
  • Tributary to Cedar Creek (Hart County WMA)
  • Headwaters of Chestatee River (Turner’s Corner)
  • Hayner’s Creek (Savannah)


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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.