Trout Fishing on the Hooch

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Good news: metro area anglers looking to hook and harvest trout soon can worry less about the gas prices and more about their luck. May 14 marks the end of harvest restrictions on Georgia’s delayed harvest trout streams, and that means the Fulton County section of the Chattahoochee River (between Sope Creek and the Hwy. 41 bridge) will be open for harvest beginning May 15. Just a short drive for most metro area residents, the Chattahoochee is home to an abundance of rainbow and brown trout.

The section of the Hooch between Sope Creek and the Hwy. 41 bridge has been protected by delayed harvest regulations since Nov. 1, 2007, which requires anglers to release, rather than harvest, trout caught in this section. This catch-and-release regulation has created a trout-filled stream, so the chances of hooking a beautiful brown or rainbow trout are high.

Anglers can start harvesting trout beginning May 15 through Oct. 31, utilizing natural bait (worms, crickets, salmon eggs, power bait, corn) and lures with multiple hooks.

In addition to the opening of the delayed harvest section, the section of the river from Buford Dam to Peachtree Creek remains open to year-round trout fishing. There are great family-friendly spots open to the public in this section thanks to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and various city and county governments.

In fact, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) stocks this section of the river between Buford Dam and the Chattahoochee River Park off of Azalea Drive with approximately 159,000 catchable (nine-inch) rainbow trout. Plus, this section also supports wild brown trout, which can test even the most experienced angler.

The river downstream of Morgan Falls Dam has been stocked with approximately 50,000 rainbow and brown trout since November 1, 2007. More than 5 percent of these fish are 12 in. or longer, so the potential of catching a big trout is a real possibility!

“Most people may not guess there is such an abundance of trout fishing opportunities so close to Atlanta,” says WRD Chief of Fisheries Management John Biagi. “But thanks to trout stocking, these sections of the river offer excellent trout harvesting opportunities, and all within easy driving distance of many Georgians, particularly those in metro Atlanta.

Remember, a fishing license and trout license are required to fish the Chattahoochee River from Buford Dam to Peachtree Creek. Licenses can be purchased online at www.gofishgeorgia.com and at many sporting goods and bait and tackle businesses.

For more information on trout fishing or to download a free Georgia trout stream map and trout fishing tips, visit www.gofishgeorgia.com or call (770) 918-6418 for additional trout fishing information. In addition, a map of the Chattahoochee River can be downloaded from the National Park Service website, www.nps.gov/chat/planyourvisit/maps.htm.

Take Me Fishing! ™ A recent national survey indicated that 87 percent of Americans believe fishing and boating have a positive effect on family relationships. So, take your family fishing and you will always have something in common.