Beginning on November 1, anglers should head to north Georgia for fishing in one of the five
delayed harvest trout streams, according to the Georgia Department of
Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“Trout streams are designated as seasonal, year-round or delayed
harvest, with different streams offering varying populations of rainbow,
brown and brook trout,” said John Lee Thomson, Wildlife Resources
Division trout stocking coordinator. “The delayed harvest streams,
which have special regulations from November 1-May 14, are regularly
stocked from Wildlife Resources Division and from our partners in
conservation U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Trout are catch and
release, which makes for high-catch rates and angler satisfaction.”
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
“Remember, during delayed harvest, these streams are catch and
release only and are restricted to artificial lures with one single
hook,” Thomson adds. “When May 15 rolls 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
year-round trout fishing. These streams are:
● Noontootla Creek Watershed: This watershed offers high-quality,
year-round fishing for wild brown and rainbow trout, with many of its
tributaries offering a chance at a wild brook trout (a real plus since
most other brook trout waters are closed to fishing after Oct. 31). 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 year-round 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
discolors the water.
● Chattahoochee River: For good trout fishing close to metro
Atlanta, the Chattahoochee River downstream of Buford Dam offers
family-friendly, year-round fishing for stocked rainbow, brown trout 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. Best fishing is at low
flow when the river is clear to slightly stained.
● Some additional notable year-round trout streams include the
Toccoa River downstream of Lake Blue Ridge, Tallulah River and the
Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license and a trout
license to fish in designated trout waters. Where can you get a
license? Buy it online or find a list of retail license vendors at
www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes or buy it by phone at
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 boats and fishing piers, and much
For free Georgia trout stream maps, trout fishing tips and other trout
fishing information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout .