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Get Outside Georgia

Opinion: Here’s where to find trout

Like that heading? I thought it might catch your eye!

I always enjoy hearing from folks who read this column each week. It’s great to know that people are getting outside and enjoying Georgia’s great out-of-doors!

Last week, for example, I enjoyed a nice exchange of emails about finding good barbecue up in Rabun County. This reader was planning a hiking trip to check out some waterfalls and was wondering about a good place to go for some barbecue for lunch or dinner. I offered a couple of suggestions, and in exchange I got a few tips on some places I have never tried. Ahh…exchanging intel via email on the lay of the barbecue landscape. Now that’s a good use of technology.

Another question I get a lot, in one form or another, has to do with good places to hike. What’s a good trail for hiking with kids? Where are trails that lead to really good scenic overlooks? When is the best time to hike and see blooming wildflowers? I love questions like that, for they always get me thinking in a “hiking” sort of way and often help me decide where to go next time I’m out and about.

Folks often have questions about fishing, too. Getting me started on fishing is like getting me started on grandkids, and I love to talk with folks about both of those grand topics.

In fact, come to think of it, the question that I get most is a fishing-related question that usually goes something like this:

“Where,” somebody will ask, “are the trout?”

What they’re asking, of course, is where has the state recently stocked trout into Georgia streams? And that’s a good question. If you’re going fishing on stocked water, it’s always nice to know that the particular stocked water in question has recently received some fresh trout!

The good news is that the answer to that one is easy to find. In fact, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) publishes a weekly stocking report that tells you exactly what streams have been stocked in the previous week. It doesn’t pinpoint the exact stocking locations — finding those is up to you, and exploring with a fishing rod is actually a big part of the fun. But knowing which streams have been stocked can be a big confidence booster if, say, you’re taking the kids out and want to catch a few trout for supper.

“So how,” you ask, “do we find this most valuable information?”

I’m glad you asked.

To find the weekly stocking report, visit georgiawildlife.com, the Georgia DNR website. Click on the fishing tab in the bar near the top of the screen. Then click on “Trout Fishing.” That will take you to a whole lot of info on trout fishing in Georgia, some of which we’ve talked about before.

To locate the trout stocking report, look at the bottom of the bulleted list for the “Weekly Stocking Report.” Selecting that option brings up a page that identifies the streams (and lakes) which received some stocked trout the previous week. It’s broken down by stocking date, by county and by specific water.

Let’s say I’m considering a trip to Lumpkin County to fish in (for example) Boggs Creek. That is where I caught my very first trout many years ago, so it’s always the first one I look for. Just for old time’s sake, you know.

Anyway, the stocking report tells me exactly when Boggs Creek was last stocked. It also gives me stocking intel on a page and a half worth of other waters too. Wow. That’s enough to get any angler’s pulse rate up a couple of notches.

But (as they say) wait! There’s more! You can even sign up to receive a weekly email with the latest stocking data. Imagine that — up-to-date stocking info delivered right to your in-box. Now how neat is that?

So many trout…so little time…

Unfortunately, there is no warning on the site that this kind of info can have a negative impact on things like to-do lists, particularly if there are chores to be done. The fact is that I’d rather be thinking about fishing than about, say, cutting the grass or weeding the front flower bed. You understand that, don’t you? Of course you do. I just hope my bride will be equally empathetic.

Besides, the weeds will still be there tomorrow.

Now where did I put that tackle box?