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 29 – October 31, 2014 and from March 28 – October 31, 2015. Seasonal trout streams are CLOSED to fishing for all fish species at all other times. See Trout Stream Designations by County.
- 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: All fishing, including spear fishing, for any species in the marked areas around five fish refuges in Lake Seminole 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”). You must release all fish shorter than the minimum length indicated for that species.
12 inches statewide except:
- 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 Lindsey Grace: bass between 15 and 22 inches must be released immediately. All others may be kept. In addition, only one bass may be greater than 22 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
- 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
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.
- No more than 10 freshwater turtles (any combination of species) may be possessed without a commercial turtle permit (contact the Special Permit Unit — 770-761-3044). There is no closed season for the harvest of freshwater turtles, however, taking of species protected by federal or state law is prohibited (for a list of species access: www.georgiawildlife.com/node/2626#Common_Name).
For more information www.georgiawildlife.com/turtling.
Harmful toxins called PCBs are stored in the hepatopancreas (“the green gland” also known as the mustard, tomalley, or liver) found in the body section of blue crabs.
Recent studies have shown that crabs in the Middle Turtle River and Purvis and Gibson Creeks contain high levels of PCBs. While the crab meat may still be eaten in recommended amounts, the hepatopancreas should not be eaten because of the high PCB levels.
If crabs are cooked whole, the juice should not be consumed. Because PCBs are transferred to cooking liquid, crab cooking liquid should also be discarded.
Cleaning crabs before you cook them (“backing” the crabs and rinsing out the guts and the gills) reduces the risk of consuming PCBs.
Good Fishing Depends on Clean Water
Many of our rivers, lakes, and coastal areas are experiencing algae blooms that cover our favorite fishing spots with green slime and cause fish kills and “dead zones” where no aquatic life can survive. The cause is usually nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that comes from farm and lawn fertilizers, septic systems, animal waste, and sewage treatment plants. Here’s what you can do to keep the water clean:
- Take care not to over fertilize
- Pick up pet waste and properly manage waste from livestock
- Use green practices: rain barrels, rain gardens, and permeable pavements
- Maintain septic systems
- Encourage your community to invest
Supporting water quality protection supports great fishing!
Learn more at:
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.