Fisheries Management in Public Waters
Hatchery Production and Stocking
One method of enhancing the opportunities for recreational fishing statewide is through the stocking of fish. New lakes and ponds can be stocked with fish to establish a sport fish population. Depleted or threatened native populations may be replenished by stocking. New species can be introduced into lakes to create new fishing opportunities. The high demand for limited fish resources can be met by stocking; for example, the demand for trout fishing opportunities cannot be met by Georgia's native trout populations. To buffer pressure on the trout resource and maintain the quality of native trout fishing, trout are reared to a catchable size (about 9 inches) at state hatcheries. These fish are then stocked in selected streams or impoundments to provide a "put and take" trout fishery to help meet the demand for trout fishing opportunities. Hatchery production and stocking account for approximately 26% of the Section's annual expenditures.
There are two types of hatchery production in the state:
Warmwater Fish Production and Stocking
The Section produces warmwater fish at seven hatcheries statewide. About 40,000,000 fry, fingerlings and adult fish are raised each year in over 96 acres of hatchery ponds. One example is the production of striped bass for stocking in rivers to re-establish and/or maintain native stocks. Striped bass and striped bass hybrids are also raised for stocking in reservoirs to provide a unique, new fishery and to control forage fish populations. Bluegill, redear sunfish, largemouth bass and channel catfish are produced for stocking ponds, small lakes and new public fishing lakes to establish desirable fish populations. Channel catfish are also produced for Kids Fishing Events.
Trout Production and Stocking
Georgia is the southernmost state in the eastern United States containing significant trout habitat. Over 4,000 miles of trout streams exist in the northern third of the state, primarily in or near the Chattahoochee National Forest. Trout fishing is a very popular activity; however, these streams cannot support the current fishing pressure unless a stocking program is maintained. Three state fish hatcheries and two federal hatcheries work together to produce the trout needed. Through their efforts, approximately 1.1 million trout are stocked into north Georgia.
Learn more about Wildlife Resources Division hatcheries.
Warm Springs Regional Fisheries Center and Hatchery (warmwater species)
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