With its temperate climate Georgia provides year round fishing options, but is best known for trout, bass and crappie. To encourage fishing the state not only has free days to fish, but the Fishing Tackle Loaner Program. Even if you lack equipment you can still fish in Georgia at participating state parks!
Given that four thousand of Georgia’s streams are known for trout specifically it is no surprise that trout are both popular and plentiful. Waters Creek is a record breaking trout spot that boasts all three types of trout available in Georgia: rainbow, brown and speckled. The Conasauga River is another noted trout stream and well worth the hike to get to it, especially the section within Cohutta Wilderness. If you are nearer to the South Carolina bordering section of the state try the Chattooga River for excellent brown trout fishing and amazing scenery.
A popular location for fishermen and fisherwomen is Oconee Lake. Oconee’s waters are busy with the darting movements of catfish, crappie, panfish, and the ever popular bass. Two-way current keeps the water active. A perfect year-round lake for making good catches!
Lake Sinclair is a fantastic option for fall fishing. By a connection to Lake Oconee it has a teaming array of both quantity and quality. Visit Clark’s Hill lake for another fine example of species variety, as well as a lake so vast almost any sized boat could get lost on it.
Bass are a popular fish in Georgia as they are found throughout the state all year. On every lake in Georgia someone boasts of catching the finest bass! Unsurprisingly, Georgia is the world record holder for bass fishing (Montgomery Lake for largemouth and Lake Chatuge for smallmouth).
Georgia is inhabited by many kinds of bass such as: both small and largemouth, shoal, rock, spotted, white, striped, Suwannee, Coosa, and others. Try Lake Seminole for a likelihood of impressive largemouth bass. Lake Varner is a place to visit for trophy bass, especially the largemouth. Eufaula and West Point Lake are known to be prime bass fishing locations as well.
Georgia has an array of species to cast for! Lake Burton, Chattahoochee River, and Suwannee River are worth noting for those angling for chain pickerel. Altamaha River has striped mullet, as well as an array of other species, like red drum and bluegill.
Stamp Creek is worth noting for the fly fisherman. Also, another adventurous fishing opportunity is swamp fishing for catfish, bluegill and warmouth. You can even sail along the coast and pit yourself against a shark. The options are endless in Georgia!
Coastal fishing is a chance to come face to face with saltwater species that also include the seatrout, striped bass, tarpon, red porgy, sheepshead, red drum, and flounder. The eastern coast of Georgia is a popular location for king mackerel. Around Jekyll Island you can creep up on a tripletail. For more marsh fishing consider visiting St. Simons Island or Sea Island.
With varying minimum length requirements, saltwater demarcation lines to note, and over fifty species of fish prohibited by law to catch it is best to keep a guidebook on hand. The use of troutlines, eel traps, and fishing baskets, are all subject to various state laws, so it is best to check with regulations before planning your excursion.
To acquire a fishing license you can apply online, by telephone (800-366-2661), or at a local licensing agent. You will be required to give your social security number to obtain a Georgia fishing license. Annual licenses are available, but the cost for non-residents is higher, and only residents can opt into a cheaper two year license. An extra trout license is required, but can be purchased for three day use.
An additional license is required for salt water fishing but at no additional cost (Saltwater Information Program – valid for a season). Both residents and vacationers alike may buy single day licenses for coastal fishing. Lifetime fishing licenses are available for all ages of residential Georgians, and even non-residents if they are grandchildren of a resident.
With year-round fishing opportunities, many kinds of waterways, and heavy variety, Georgia is a must visit for any angler!
Note: Beware of manatees while boating near Georgia’s coast.
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.