Trout Fishing

Georgia's trout streams are either open to fishing Year-round or during Trout Season depending on their designation.

Trout Season (for seasonal streams):  opens March 28, 2009 - closes October 31, 2009

(Note: trout season is open from the last Saturday in March through October 31 each year)

You can get a printable map and see the seasonal and year-round trout streams listed by county here.

License Requirements

To fish in designated trout waters and to fish for or to possess trout you need:

Georgia Residents:

  • Ages 16 - 64: Georgia resident fishing license and trout license.
  • Resident Senior (65+) lifetime and Honorary license holders: not required to possess a trout license.
  • Landowners and their immediate families: may fish on their premises without a trout license.

Nonresidents:

  • All nonresidents, 16 years and older, regardless of physical condition: must possess a nonresident fishing license and nonresident trout license.
  • Florida residents 16-65 years: nonresident fishing license and a nonresident trout license.
  • Florida residents 65 years and older: not required to possess a nonresident fishing license (proof of age required), but must possess a trout license.

Georgia State Park Visitors: not required to possess a trout license to fish in the impounded waters of the park.

Minimum Length Limits

No minimum length limit except the following streams:

  • Waters Creek - brown and rainbow trout - 22 inches; brook trout - 18 inches.
  • Noontootla Creek and its tributaries on Blue Ridge WMA - 16 inches.
Daily Creel and Possession Limit
  • Brook, Brown, and/or Rainbow trout statewide - 8
  • Amicalola Creek, Chattahoochee River, Smith Creek, Chatooga River, Toccoa River - see Delayed Harvest Streams below.
  • Waters Creek - 1 (you can harvest no more than three (3) trout per season).
Trout Fishing Hours
  • Fishing hours on seasonal trout streams, except Waters Creek, are from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset (see sunrise/sunset tables at start of Fishing on this web site). Night fishing is not allowed.
  • Fishing 24 hours a day is allowed on year-round trout streams, except those in the paragraph below, and on all impoundments on trout streams, except Dockery and Rock Creek lakes.
  • Fishing hours on the Chattahoochee River from 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 from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Night fishing is not allowed.
Trout Fishing Rules
  • Trout anglers are restricted to the use of one (1) pole and line which must be hand held.  No other type of gear may be used in trout waters.
  • Live bait-fish may not be used in any trout stream, except live bait-fish may be used on the Chattahoochee River downstream of the Roswell Road bridge (Georgia Highway 9). Seining bait-fish is not allowed in any trout stream.
  • Only artificial lures may be used on streams designated as "artificial lures only". It is unlawful to possess any other type bait on an "artificial only" stream.
  • It is unlawful to fish for any fish species in a seasonal trout stream when the season is closed.
Impoundments on Trout Streams

Anglers can:

  • Fish for fish species other than trout without a trout license, except on Dockery and Rock Creek lakes.
  • Fish year-round, except on Dockery Lake.
  • Fish at night, except on Dockery and Rock Creek lakes.
  • 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.
  • Visitors fishing impoundments on State Parks can fish for and possess trout without a trout license. State Park visitors fishing trout streams must possess a trout license.
Special Trout Stream Regulations

While fishing specially regulated waters with a minimum size limit, it is a violation for an angler to possess a trout which is less than the specified minimum size regardless of where the fish was caught (tips on releasing fish). The following trout streams and portions of trout streams have special management programs and regulations to provide anglers a variety of trout fishing opportunities:

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 November 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 - October 31 of each year. The following streams are delayed harvest streams:

  • Amicalola Creek from County Road 192 (Steele Bridge Road) downstream to Georgia Highway 53.
  • Chattahoochee River from Sope Creek downstream to Highway 41
  • Chattooga River in Rabun County from Georgia Highway 28 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 from 0.4 miles above Shallowford Bridge upstream to a point 450 feet upstream of the Sandy Bottom Canoe Access.

A  Delayed Harvest Program information sheet has been developed to help explain the program and offer some tips for enjoying the DH streams.