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Guide to North Georgia Fishing & 2000-2001 Georgia State Fishing Regulations

Information and content provided by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division


Fishing Methods:

* There is no restriction on the number of poles and lines to fish for game fish except: fishing for trout - one pole; fishing on Public Fishing Areas - two poles; and sport Shad fishing - two poles.
* Dip nets and cast nets may be used to take threadfin shad, gizzard shad, and blueback herring for bait.
* Landing nets may be used to land fish legally caught.
* Anglers using more than two poles and lines to fish for Shad must follow commercial shad fishing regulations. Bow nets are considered sport Shad fishing gear and shall have a minimum legal size of 3 inches stretched mesh.
* Seines, nets, and chemicals may be used in a private pond if all owners agree and a two hour notice is given to the local DNR Conservation Ranger.


* Use live blueback herring for bait or possess live blueback herring in all freshwaters except the following: lakes Juliette, Lanier, Chatuge, and Nottely; the Altamaha River watershed downstream of the following: Lake Tobesofkee dam on Tobesofkee Creek, Lake Sinclair dam on the Oconee River; and watersheds of all other streams that flow directly into the Atlantic Ocean. For a color map showing where live blueback herring are legal and illegal, click here Blueback Herring Map (you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0 or more current to view this map).
* Fish for game fish, except American shad, Hickory shad, Channel catfish, or Flathead catfish, by any means other than pole and line.
* Take any fish from freshwater by any method other than pole and line, set hooks, jugs, and Sport Trotlines, Spear Fishing, Minnow Seines, and Bow Fishing as listed in Alternate Fishing Methods.
* Use electronic devices, explosives, poisons, or firearms to take fish.
* Snag any fish.

Alternate Fishing Methods:


* The following fish may be taken using sport trotlines: American and/or Hickory shad during shad season only and catfish and nongame fish year-round.
* Sport trotline is one line or a combination of lines using less than 51 hooks. Sport trotlines must be marked with the owner's name and address, with visible buoys, and must be submerged at least three (3) feet below the surface of the water. Sport trotlines must be attended regularly and removed after the completed fishing trip. Unmarked or unattended trotlines will be confiscated by DNR personnel. It is unlawful to use any sport trotline within one-half mile below any lock or dam on any of the freshwaters of Georgia.


* Only nongame fish may be speared in freshwater and are not to be sold or used for commercial purposes.
* It is illegal to spear game fish and all species of catfish.
* Possession of a sport fishing license is required to spear fish in freshwater.
* You must be completely submerged when in the act of spearing fish.
* "Spearing" is the use of a handheld spear or similar device and the use of a weapon, other than a firearm, which propels a projectile to which a wire, rope, line, or other means of recovering the projectile is attached and secured to the weapon or the person using the weapon.
* Spear fishing for any species is prohibited in the marked areas around five fish refuges in Lake Seminole and three fish refuges in Lake Blackshear from May 1 - October 31.


* Nongame fish, except American eels and protected species, may be taken using a minnow seine when the fish are five (5) inches long or less and are not to be sold or otherwise used for commercial purposes.
* All game fish and American eels taken in minnow seines must be released immediately and unharmed into the waters they were taken in.
* A minnow seine must be less than 20 feet long and have a square mesh of 3/8 inches or less or in diameter if the mesh is not square.
* Minnow seines may not be used in designated trout waters.


* Nongame fish only may be taken by bow and arrow from freshwater under the following conditions:
* Any individual using a bow and arrow must have a valid sport fishing license on their person.
* Arrows must be equipped with barbs, or contain devices on the point to act as a harpoon, for recovering fish and must be attached to the person or bow by a rope, line, or cord sufficient for recovering the arrow and fish.
* Arrows with poisonous or exploding heads are illegal.
* Arrows cannot be discharged into the water closer than 150 feet of anyone engaged in another type of recreation.
* Legal hours for fishing with bow and arrow are from sunrise to sunset, except nongame fish may be taken any time during the day or night while using a light in the impounded waters of lakes over 500 acres in size.
* Any game fish with an open wound found in the possession of a person fishing with bow and arrow will be used as evidence of taking and possessing fish illegally.

Mr. Micah Story
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