Freshwater Game Species Daily Limits
- It is unlawful to take in one day or to possess at any one time, except at a residence or commercial storage facility, more than the daily limit for each species. It is unlawful to possess more than a total of 50 individuals of all the game fish listed in this section, except channel and flathead catfish.
- Once the daily limit for a particular species is taken, it is unlawful to continue to fish for that species.
Exception: Daily limits differ on certain waters shared by Georgia and South Carolina. See Agreements with Bordering States.
There is no closed season for fishing in freshwater in Georgia except for the following:
- Trout Season: Trout streams that are designated as seasonal trout streams are OPEN to fishing for any species from March 30–October 31, 2013 and from March 29–October 31, 2014. Seasonal trout streams are CLOSED to fishing for all fish species at all other times. See Trout Fishing and Trout Streams by County for trout stream designations.
- Flint, Chattahoochee and Spring Creeks: The Flint River and its tributaries from the Georgia Power Co. dams at Albany to the US Hwy 84 bridge; the Chattahoochee River and its tributaries from the Columbia Lock and Dam to the GA Hwy 91 bridge; and Spring Creek and its tributaries downstream to GA Hwy 253 are CLOSED to striped bass fishing and spear fishing from May 1–October 31 each year.
- Lakes Seminole and Blackshear: All fishing, including spear fishing, for any species in the marked areas around five fish refuges in Lake Seminole and in three fish refuges in Lake Blackshear is prohibited from May 1–October 31 each year.
- Coosa River: The season for taking lake sturgeon from the Coosa River and its tributaries is CLOSED. See www.gofishgeorgia.com for more information on this closure and how to identify this fish.
- Noodling or Grabbling: The season is open March 1–July 15 statewide in freshwater.
Note: There are no minimum length limits on freshwater game fish unless they are listed below. All lengths are Total Length (see “How to Measure Fish,” under Handling & Releasing Fish). You must release all fish shorter than the minimum length indicated for that species.
12 inches statewide except:
- Bear Creek Reservoir (Jackson County): bass between 16 and 22 inches must be released immediately. All others may be kept.
- Lake Blackshear: 14 inches
- Lake Blue Ridge: no minimum (0 inches)
- Lake Burton: no minimum (0 inches)
- Lake Juliette: no minimum (0 inches)
- Lake Lanier: 14 inches
- Lake Oconee: bass between 11 and 14 inches must be released immediately. All others may be kept.
- Ocmulgee River from the Spring Street bridge crossing in Macon downstream to the confluence of the Ocmulgee River and the Oconee River: 14 inches
- Lake Walter F. George: 14 inches
- West Point Reservoir: 14 inches
- Public Fishing Area lakes operated by the Department of Natural Resources: 14 inches. This limit will not apply to lakes which have been posted as having a different length limit for largemouth bass.
- Lake Lanier: 14 inches
- Flint River and its tributaries: 12 inches
Striped Bass, White Bass, & Hybrid White-striped Bass
You may only keep two fish of the total limit that are 22 inches or longer, except:
- See agreement with South Carolina (under Agreements with Bordering States)
- The minimum length for all fish is 22 inches on the North Newport River, Medway River including Mount Hope Creek, Little Ogeechee River, Ogeechee River; Oconee River downstream of GA Hwy 22 in Milledgeville; Ocmulgee River downstream of GA Hwy 96 bridge between Houston and Twiggs counties; Altamaha River, Saint Mary’s River, Satilla River, and the tributaries to these river sections; and from saltwater.
- The minimum length is 27 inches on the Savannah River and its tributaries downstream of J. Strom Thurmond Dam (2 fish limit).
No minimum length limit for trout except:
- Waters Creek:
- – Brown and rainbow trout: 22 inches
- – Brook trout: 18 inches
- Noontootla Creek and its tributaries on Blue Ridge WMA
- – All trout: 16 inches
Fishing Gear Must Be Regularly Checked
- Attend to gear such as limb lines. (Anglers are encouraged to check all gear within 24 hours)
- Make every reasonable effort to retrieve lost gear (including hooks, line and lead sinkers).
- Recycle used fishing line.
- For more information, contact: Fisheries Section – (770) 918-6406
Creel and Possession Note to Anglers
Creel and possession limits are per person. For Conservation Rangers to correctly determine compliance with these limits, each individual should keep trout or other fish on separate stringers or in separate creels. It is unlawful for one individual to possess more than the legal limit of any fish species.
In Georgia It Is Unlawful To:
- Possess or use live blueback herring for bait in all fresh waters except the following: Lakes Bartlett’s Ferry, Blue Ridge, Chatuge, Goat Rock, Juliette, Lanier, Nottely, Oliver, and West Point; and the Altamaha River watershed downstream of the following: Juliette dam on the Ocmulgee River, Lake Juliette dam on Rum Creek, Lake Tobesofkee dam on Tobesofkee Creek, Lake Sinclair dam on the Oconee River; and watersheds of all other streams that flow directly into the Atlantic Ocean (this drainage includes Lakes Hartwell, Russell, Clarks Hill, Burton, Tugaloo, and Raburn). For maps of restricted waters go to www.gofishgeorgia.com and see “Freshwater Regulations” section.
- It is illegal to possess and fish with live blueback herring in Alabama waters.
- Fish for game fish, except American shad, hickory shad, channel catfish, blue catfish, or flathead catfish, by any means other than pole and line.
- Take any fish from public freshwater by any method other than the methods listed on this page. Snagging fish is illegal.
- Use electronic devices, explosives, poisons, or firearms to take fish.
- Stock or release fish or bait into any public waters except the water from which it was taken.
- Discard fish caught in public waters.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.