Georgia Freshwater Fishing
WRD uses special regulations (see below) and stocking to provide quality trout fishing in Georgia. More than one million rainbow trout and brown trout are stocked each year from March through mid-September. The number of trout stocked and the stocking frequency depend on a stream’s fishing pressure, public access, and water conditions. Streams with greater public access are stocked more often with more trout. General information about trout stocking and the Trout Streams of Georgia Map are available from WRD offices and at www.gofishgeorgia.com. The map includes Georgia’s trout streams, roads, and a list of recommended streams.
Trout need clean, cold water to survive. Georgians can be good trout managers by using proper land use practices. Trees and other vegetation left along stream banks provide shade to keep water cold and help prevent soil from washing into the stream.
Many trout streams are bounded by private property. It is your responsibility to know when you cross a property line. Obtain permission from the landowner before fishing on private property.
Note: While fishing any specially regulated waters with a minimum size limit, it is unlawful to possess a trout which is less than the specified minimum size regardless of where the fish was caught.
All designated trout waters are now open year round (see Trout Streams Destinations by County for stream listings).
Trout Fishing Hours
- Fishing 24 hours a day is allowed on all trout streams and all impoundments on trout streams except those in the next paragraph.
- Fishing hours on Dockery Lake, Rock Creek Lake, the Chattahoochee River from Buford Dam to Peachtree Creek, the Conasauga River watershed upstream of the Georgia-Tennessee state line and Smith Creek downstream of Unicoi dam are 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Night fishing is not allowed.
- See below for fishing hours of Waters Creek.
Trout Fishing Rules
- Trout anglers are restricted to the use of one pole and line which must be hand held. No other type of gear may be used in trout streams.
- It is unlawful to use live fish for bait in trout streams. Seining bait-fish is not allowed in any trout stream.
Impoundments On Trout Streams
- Fish for fish species other than trout without a trout license on Dockery and Rock Creek lakes.
- Fish at night, except on Dockery and Rock Creek lakes. See Trout Fishing Hours for details.
- If you fish for or possess trout, you must possess a trout license. If you catch a trout and do not possess a trout license you must release the trout immediately.
- State park visitors are not required to have a trout license to fish in the impounded waters of the Park. However, those visitors wishing to harvest trout will need to have a trout license in their possession.
Delayed Harvest Streams
Anglers fishing delayed harvest streams must release all trout immediately and use and possess only artificial lures with one single hook per lure from Nov. 1–May 14 annually. The use of additional “dropper” lures on one line is permitted as long as each lure contains one single hook. These restrictions do not apply from May 15–Oct. 31 of each year. The following streams are delayed harvest streams:
- Amicalola Creek from County Road 192 (Steele Bridge Road) downstream to GA Hwy 53.
- Chattahoochee River from Sope Creek (off Columns Drive) downstream to US Hwy 41 (Cobb Parkway).
- Chattooga River from GA Hwy 28 bridge upstream to the mouth of Reed Creek.
- Smith Creek on Unicoi State Park from Unicoi Dam downstream to the Unicoi State Park property boundary.
- Toccoa River on U.S. Forest Service land from 0.4 miles above the Shallowford Bridge upstream to a point 450 feet upstream of the Sandy Bottom Canoe Access.
Visit www.gofishgeorgia.com to see maps of Delayed Harvest Streams and learn more about this program.
Artificial Lures Only
In streams listed here only artificial lures may be used. It is unlawful to possess any other type bait on an “artificial lures only” stream (see 2016 Definitions).
- Chattahoochee River from GA Hwy 20 to the boat ramp at the National Park Service Medlock Bridge Park immediately upstream of GA Hwy 141.
- Coleman River and its tributaries from its junction with the Tallulah River upstream to Forest Service Bridge No. 54.
- Conasauga River and its tributaries (except Jacks River watershed) upstream of the Georgia-Tennessee state line are restricted to using only artificial lures from Nov. 1 through the last Saturday in March of each year. Natural baits may be used during trout season.
- Hoods Creek and its tributaries on the Warwoman WMA.
- Jones Creek and its tributaries on US Forest Service property.
- Mountaintown Creek and its tributaries upstream of Mountaintown Creek Watershed Structure No. 2 (Hills Lake).
- Noontootla Creek and its tributaries on Blue Ridge WMA. Note: All trout less than 16 inches in length caught from this section of Noontootla Creek must be released immediately.
- Stanley Creek and its tributaries on the Rich Mountain WMA.
- Walnut Fork Creek and its tributaries on the Warwoman WMA.
Other Trout Stream Regulations
That portion of Moccasin Creek between Lake Burton Hatchery water intake and a sign marking the approximate normal pool level of Lake Burton is restricted to anglers under 12 years of age and holders of Honorary Licenses.
Smithgall Woods-Dukes Creek Conservation Area
Dukes Creek and its tributaries within the Dukes Creek Conservation Area are open to fishing year round by reservation only. For reservations call 706-878-3087.
- Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used or possessed on the portion of Dukes Creek and its tributaries in White County on the Conservation Area, including the GA Hwy 75 Alternate right-of-way. Possession of any bait, lure, or gear not legal for use on the stream is unlawful.
- All fish caught from Dukes Creek and its tributaries in White County on the Conservation Area, including the GA Hwy 75 Alternate right-of-way, must be immediately released where caught.
- No trout may be possessed while fishing on any stream on the Conservation Area or the GA Hwy 75 Alternate right-of-way.
Waters Creek, located on the Chestatee WMA, is managed for trophy trout. Waters Creek and its tributaries are open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time) with the following restrictions:
- Artificial lures with a single barbless hook no larger than a #6 must be used. Only one lure can be used at a time. You cannot possess lures that do not meet these criteria while on the area.
- Landing nets may not exceed two (2) feet in length.
- Possession of any bait, lure, landing nets or gear not legal for use on the stream is unlawful.
- No night fishing.
License requirements for Waters Creek:
- Residents: Must have a Georgia resident fishing license, trout license, and WMA license. Lifetime, Senior (65+) Lifetime, Honorary and Sportsman’s license holders do not need a WMA license.
- Nonresidents: Nonresident Georgia fishing license, nonresident trout license and nonresident WMA license.
Size and possession limits:
Trout stocking lists, county stream maps, easily accessible sites, and NE and NW Georgia Fishing Guides are available at GoFishGeorgia.com.