Trout Fishing Opportunities; Apply for an Angler Award!



SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (October 20, 2016) – The north Georgia mountains make a great fall destination, and what better excuse to plan a trip than to take advantage of the many available trout streams, including five delayed harvest trout streams that open Nov. 1?

“You can find great trout fishing opportunities here in Georgia, whether on a delayed harvest stream or otherwise,” said John Lee Thomson, Wildlife Resources Division trout stocking coordinator. “The advantage of the five designated delayed harvest streams, open November 1 through May 14, is that they have special catch-and-release regulations and are stocked monthly by Wildlife Resources Division and our partner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This combination of stocking and catch/release allows for good trout catch rates and high angler satisfaction. Furthermore, the current low flow conditions we are experiencing in North Georgia will make wading easier than in past years.”

The five trout streams managed under delayed harvest regulations are:

  • 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 Hwy. 53).
  • Smith Creek downstream of Unicoi Lake (Unicoi State Park).
  • Chattahoochee River in Atlanta (Sope Creek, downstream of Johnson Ferry Road, downstream to the Hwy 41 bridge).
  • A portion of the Chattooga River (from Ga. Hwy. 28 upstream to the mouth of Reed Creek) on U.S. Forest Service land bordering South Carolina.

“Anglers fishing these delayed harvest streams should remember that these five streams are restricted to artificial lures with one single hook,” Thomson adds. “When May 15rolls around, the general regulations to designated trout water apply.”

In addition to the excellent fall fishing opportunities that these delayed harvest streams provide, other Georgia streams offer ample trout fishing opportunities. These streams are:

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

 Dukes Creek: This stream, located on the Smithgall Woods-Dukes Creek Conservation Area, offers trout fishing by reservation (706-878-3087). All fish caught here must be released immediately and anglers can only use artificial lures with barbless hooks. The stream offers a great chance at a trout over 20 inches, so bring your camera for a quick shot before release. Best time to fish is after a rain muddies the water.

  • Chattahoochee River: For good trout fishing close to metro Atlanta, the Chattahoochee River downstream of Buford Dam offers family-friendly fishing for stocked rainbow and wild brown trout. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area parks offer good bank, wading and boating opportunities.  The river will be stocked through the fall months to keep angler catches high. Year-round harvest is legal from Buford Dam to Sope Creek. Anglers should note that there is an artificial lure only section between Ga. Hwy 20 and the Medlock Bridge Boat Ramp.  Best fishing is at low flow when the river is clear to slightly stained.
  • Some additional notable trout streams include 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 to fish for these beauties.  By purchasing a license as well as fishing equipment and related items, you and your fellow anglers have helped fund sport fish restoration programs for years, thanks to the Sport Fish Restoration Act.  This Act allows funds accumulated from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment and related items to be directed to activities that benefit recreational anglers.  A portion of these funds is provided to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources based on several factors, including the number of paid sporting licenses.  Sport Fish 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 and fishing piers, and much more!

Where can you get a fishing license? Buy it online or find a list of retail license vendors at or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.

For free Georgia trout stream maps, trout fishing tips and other trout fishing information, visit .

Support the streams that you love to fish! Each purchase or renewal of a Trout Unlimited license plate supports Georgia’s trout conservation and management programs.  These efforts affect trout production, stocking and stream restoration throughout North Georgia. More information here .



SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (October 20, 2016) – Each year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division recognizes anglers for outstanding catches. Anglers who catch a fish that meets or beats a specific weight or length limit for that species are eligible for a free Angler Award.

“The purpose of the Angler Award program is to celebrate and recognize great catches,” said John Biagi, chief of Fisheries Management. “Every fish you reel in might not be a state record, but it might still be a fish to recognize, so we encourage all anglers to check out this program and get rewarded for fishing!”

Fish must be caught in Georgia during the legal angling season for the species, caught on sporting tackle (bush hooks, trot lines, jugs, baskets, nets, etc. are not considered sporting tackle) and be hooked and landed by the entrant. Additionally, the fish must meet either minimum weight OR length requirements for that particular species, as noted on the minimum eligible weights and length chart available online at

In order for a harvested catch to be recognized as an angler award, follow these steps:

  • Do not clean or freeze the fish.
  • Keep the fish cool, preferably on ice.
  • Weigh the fish as soon as possible on scales certified accurate to the nearest ounce by the Georgia Department of Agriculture in the presence of two witnesses who are over the age of 18 (witnesses must provide names/addresses and telephone numbers and may not be members of the anglers immediate family). Scales that meet these requirements typically are found at grocery stores, WRD offices, some marinas, etc.
  • If fish identification is needed, take the fish to a division fisheries management office (locations list available at as soon as possible and have it positively identified by a fisheries biologist or technician.
  • Complete an Angler Award application ( and submit with a clear side view photo of the whole fish. Applications must be received by Jan. 15, 2017 for fish caught in 2016.

In order for a catch and release fish to be recognized, anglers should follow these steps:

  • Measure the fish to the nearest inch with a standard, English-unit ruler or measuring tape.
  • Submit a clear photograph of the fish for proper identification and length verification (the photo should at least show the entire length of the fish and the ruler or tape used to measure the fish). In addition, a photo of the angler with the fish is also required.
  • Complete an application and submit with photos. Angler award applications must be received by Jan. 15, 2017 for fish caught in 2016.

Anglers must possess appropriate Georgia fishing licenses to be eligible for recognition.  Where can you get a license? Buy it online or find a list of retail license vendors at or buy it by phone at 1.800.366.2661.

Information regarding angler awards and state record fish can be found at


Leave a comment

Back to Top