The Delayed Harvest and Trophy Streams


The “D.H.” as most seasoned veterans refer to it as, does not have any relation to “keeping things on the D.L.” (That’s the “down-low” for those of us who aren’t antiquated to the urban dictionary).

Here in Georgia and in many other states, trout streams are designated as seasonal, year-round or delayed harvest.   Delayed harvest streams have special regulations from November 1 – May 14. The streams are generally stocked in November and afford us the opportunity to fish streams that have large quantities of fish.

I’m thankful for any fishing regulation the state puts in place that furthers my enjoyment and the quality and quantity of fish in our rivers and streams.  But I’m of the opinion that this is a program that could be improved on.

I realize there is an “us and them” mentality.  There are those who admire and put them back to catch them again, and those who admire them on their plates and depend on the states hatchery’s to put another on the table (of course this is a highly opinionated debate for another rant).  The state tries to appeal to both sides.  But why do we not have more rivers and streams here in Georgia that have special regulations in place?  Real regulations, similar to those of the year round fishing allowed at Duke’s Creek in Smithgall Woods?  If you have ever tried to reserve a spot to fish at Duke’s Creek, you will understand just how popular it is.  And if you’ve ever fished Duke’s Creek, you understand why it’s so popular.

I think it’s wonderful that the state funds this public fly fishing paradise and manages it quite well.  So well that I’m suspicious that one day funding will get cut.  In the world of fishing and clean streams, it seems like nothing good ever lasts.  But myself and everyone I’ve told about Duke’s Creek is amazed it’s free.  Not even a parking fee.  Truth be told, I’d gladly fork out a Hamilton or two to fish there.  I think maybe the Georgia’s DNR should take some notes from its neighbors like North Carolina.

It’s really a shame that the average Georgia Joe or Jane has very few public places to enjoy what stream fishing should or could be.  Clean streams that are not overcrowded and hold trophy fish.

I just finished a trip this week to one of Georgia’s DH streams with some special folks.  I came away from the day wishing this creek was a year round catch and release fishery.  It’s a beautiful area and challenging fishing.  I’ll post the details of the trip soon!

If you’re new to the area, want to make a special trip or are just curious about any of the Georgia trophy or DH streams.  Send me a note and I can give you some ideas where to start.  Here is a link to more information from the GA DNR website: