Catching a big fish is awesome, how about if the first fish you catch that day is a new state record? Chad Doughty, age 27, of Winder hooked and “battled” the new state record brown trout for about 45 minutes while kayak fishing on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam on July 27. Doughty, using a rooster tail with spinning tackle on 6 lb line, even had to abandon his kayak to “run down” the fish as his spinning reel almost ran out of line.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, this 20 lb, 14 oz, 31 ½” catch beat the existing state record, established in 2001 by 2 lb, 8 oz. A new state record has to be at least one ounce greater.
Being that it was his first fish of the day, Mr. Doughty wanted to keep fishing. His co-anglers convinced him that he might have a new state record, so off they went to seek certified scales (scales certified by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, often found in marinas, grocery stores and at Georgia DNR Fisheries Offices).
“Congratulations to Mr. Doughty! What a tremendous catch and it just goes to show you never know what a day of fishing will get you until you get out on the water,” says John Biagi, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division. ”That is two new state records and one record tied this summer – what are you waiting for folks, get outdoors and go fish Georgia!”
The brown trout is golden brown to olive brown with yellowish sides. Its back and sides have dark spots encircled with light yellow or white. Some brown trout also have orange or red spots on their sides.
You can catch good numbers of browns on small lures and flies, but for the big ones it is best to use larger lures or streamers. Research by DNR biologists show that brown trout in the Chattahoochee grow rapidly after they become large enough to eat other fish. The big ones are usually found in deep holes near rocks or downed trees. Use 6-10 pound test monofilament on spinning gear or 3-5x tippet on fly rods.
Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license to fish in public waters. And, for trout fishing, you will also need a trout license. Where can you get a license? Buy it online, find a list of retail license vendors at www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.
By purchasing a license as well as fishing equipment and related items, you and your fellow anglers help fund sport fish restoration programs, thanks to the Sport Fish Restoration Act. This Act allows funds accumulated from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment and related items to be directed to activities that benefit recreational anglers. A portion of these funds is provided to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources based on several factors, including the number of paid sporting licenses. Sport Fish funds make the following activities possible: managing sport fish populations, raising freshwater fish in hatcheries and stocking them in public waters, maintaining and operating public fishing areas and building boat ramps, and much more!
Information about state-record fish, including an application and rules, can be found at www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/RecordProgram or in the current Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook.