Trout Fishing in Georgia

Trout fishing in Georgia is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). WRD uses special regulations and stocking programs to provide quality trout fishing opportunities throughout the state.

Stocking and Season

About one million rainbow trout and brown trout are stocked each year in Georgia's trout waters. Stocking typically occurs from March through mid-September. The number of trout stocked and the stocking frequency depend on various factors, including a stream's fishing pressure, public access, and water conditions. Streams with greater public access are often stocked more frequently with more trout.

Information Resources

General information about trout stocking and detailed information on Georgia's trout streams can be obtained from WRD offices and the official website, GoFishGeorgia.com. The "Trout Streams of Georgia Map" is a valuable resource for anglers and includes information about Georgia's trout streams, road access, and a list of recommended streams.

Conservation and Responsible Fishing

Trout require clean and cold water to thrive. It is essential for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to practice responsible land use to protect these fragile ecosystems. Preserving trees and other vegetation along stream banks provides shade, keeps water temperatures cool, and helps prevent soil erosion into the streams.

Fishing on Private Property

Many trout streams in Georgia are bordered by private property. It is crucial for anglers to respect private property rights and boundaries. Always be aware of property lines, and obtain permission from landowners before fishing on private property.

Minimum Size Limits

When fishing in specially regulated waters with minimum size limits, it is unlawful to possess a trout that is less than the specified minimum size, regardless of where the fish was caught. Anglers should familiarize themselves with specific regulations for the waters they plan to fish to ensure compliance with size limits and other regulations.

Trout Season in Georgia

As of now, all designated trout waters in Georgia are open year-round for trout fishing. For specific stream listings, you can refer to the "Trout Streams Destinations by County."

Trout Fishing Hours

General Fishing Hours

  • Fishing 24 hours a day is allowed on all trout streams and impoundments on trout streams, except as noted below.

Specific Fishing Hours

  • Dockery Lake

    • Fishing hours: 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Night fishing is not permitted.
  • Rock Creek Lake

    • Fishing hours: 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Night fishing is not allowed.
  • Chattahoochee River from Buford Dam to Peachtree Creek

    • Fishing hours: 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Night fishing is not permitted.
  • Conasauga River Watershed Upstream of Georgia-Tennessee State Line

    • Fishing hours: 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Night fishing is not allowed.
  • Smith Creek Downstream of Unicoi Dam

    • Fishing hours: 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Night fishing is not permitted.

Trout Fishing Rules

  • Trout anglers in Georgia are restricted to using one pole and line, and this gear must be hand-held. No other types of gear may be used in trout streams.

  • It is unlawful to use live fish as bait in trout streams.

  • Seining bait-fish is not allowed in any trout stream.

Impoundments On Trout Streams

Anglers Can:

  • Fish for fish species other than trout without a trout license on Dockery and Rock Creek lakes.
  • Fish at night, except on Dockery and Rock Creek lakes. Refer to Trout Fishing Hours for details.

Impoundment Notes:

  • If you fish for or possess trout, you must possess a trout license. If you catch a trout and do not possess a trout license, you must release the trout immediately.

  • State park visitors are not required to have a trout license to fish in the impounded waters of the Park. However, those visitors wishing to harvest trout will need to have a trout license in their possession.

Delayed Harvest Streams

Anglers fishing delayed harvest streams must follow specific regulations:

  • Release all trout immediately.

  • Use and possess only artificial lures with one single hook per lure from Nov. 1 to May 14 annually.

  • The use of additional “dropper” lures on one line is permitted as long as each lure contains one single hook.

  • These restrictions do not apply from May 15 to Oct. 31 of each year.

The following streams are delayed harvest streams:

  1. Amicalola Creek from County Road 192 (Steele Bridge Road) downstream to GA Hwy 53.
  2. Chattahoochee River from Sope Creek (off Columns Drive) downstream to US Hwy 41 (Cobb Parkway).
  3. Chattooga River from GA Hwy 28 bridge upstream to the mouth of Reed Creek.
  4. Smith Creek on Unicoi State Park from Unicoi Dam downstream to the Unicoi State Park property boundary.
  5. Toccoa River on U.S. Forest Service land from 0.4 miles above the Shallowford Bridge upstream to a point 450 feet upstream of the Sandy Bottom Canoe Access.

For maps of Delayed Harvest Streams and more information about this program, you can visit GoFishGeorgia.com.

Artificial Lures Only

In streams listed here, only artificial lures may be used. It is unlawful to possess any other type of bait on an "artificial lures only" stream (see Definitions).

The following streams are designated as "artificial lures only":

  1. Chattahoochee River from GA Hwy 20 to the boat ramp at the National Park Service Medlock Bridge Park immediately upstream of GA Hwy 141.
  2. Coleman River and its tributaries from its junction with the Tallulah River upstream to Forest Service Bridge No. 54.
  3. Conasauga River and its tributaries (except Jacks River watershed) upstream of the Georgia-Tennessee state line, restricted to using only artificial lures from Nov. 1 through the last Saturday in March of each year.
  4. Hoods Creek and its tributaries on the Warwoman WMA.
  5. Jones Creek and its tributaries on US Forest Service property.
  6. Mountaintown Creek and its tributaries upstream of Mountaintown Creek Watershed Structure No. 2 (Hills Lake).
  7. Noontootla Creek and its tributaries on Blue Ridge WMA. Note: All trout less than 16 inches in length caught from this section of Noontootla Creek must be released immediately.
  8. Stanley Creek and its tributaries on the Rich Mountain WMA.
  9. Walnut Fork Creek and its tributaries on the Warwoman WMA.

Moccasin Creek

  • That portion of Moccasin Creek between Lake Burton Hatchery water intake and a sign marking the approximate normal pool level of Lake Burton is restricted to:

    • Anglers under 12 years of age.
    • Holders of Honorary Licenses.

Smithgall Woods-Dukes Creek Conservation Area

  • Dukes Creek and its tributaries within the Dukes Creek Conservation Area are open to fishing year-round by reservation only. For reservations, call 706-878-3087.

  • Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used or possessed on the portion of Dukes Creek and its tributaries in White County on the Conservation Area, including the GA Hwy 75 Alternate right-of-way. 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 Hwy 75 Alternate right-of-way, must be immediately released where caught.

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

Waters Creek

  • Size limits:
    • 22 inches for brown and rainbow trout.
    • 18 inches for brook trout.
    It is a violation to possess a trout smaller than these limits while fishing on Waters Creek.

Noontootla Creek and its tributaries on Blue Ridge WMA

  • Size limit: 16 inches for all mountain trout.

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Disclaimer:

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.