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General Regulations

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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. New: See page 13 for actual creel limts.

  • 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 (Agreement With Bordering States).

Seasons

There is no closed season for fishing in freshwater in Georgia except for the following:

  • Trout Seasons: All designated trout waters are now open year round.
  • 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.

Length Limits

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,” on Finfish Seasons, Limits, Sizes). You must release all fish shorter than the minimum length indicated for that species.

Largemouth Bass

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: 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.

Shoal bass

  • Lake Lanier: 14 inches
  • Flint River and its tributaries (below Warwick Dam): 12 inches
  • Flint River and its tributaries (above Warwick Dam): 15 inches

Spotted bass

  • Lake Lanier: 14 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 (Agreement 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).
  • See table on Game Species Daily Limits for full details

Trout

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.

Freshwater Turtles

  • 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.

Trout Waters

Trout Waters are now open year-round, see Trout Fishing and Trout Streams Destinations by Counties for a listing of designated trout waters.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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