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Delayed harvest helping restock Amicalola Creek
Volunteer Fred Ruppel releases rainbow trout into Amicalola Creek last week during the Department of Natural Resources delayed harvest. - photo by Frank Reddy

Trout fishing enthusiasts and officials with the Department of Natural Resources were busy last week releasing rainbow trout into Amicalola Creek.

On Dec. 8, volunteers toted bucket after bucket of live trout into the stream, one of five that is part of DNR's statewide delayed harvest.

Helpers like Fred Ruppel were eager to lend a hand.

"It really works to our advantage as fishermen to do everything we can to keep our streams healthy and clean and to keep the fish population as high as we possibly can," said Ruppel, a member of the Gold Rush Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

By day's end, Ruppel and about a dozen other volunteers had put 7,500 trout in the river.

Perry Thompson, trout stocking coordinator with the DNR, said volunteers are "our reason for being."

"There's a good, core group of folks out there that support the program," Thompson said. "There's a lot of support for the trout program in Georgia."

In total, more than 70,000 trout were stocked in five Georgia waterways last week, including Smith Creek and the Chattahoochee, Chattooga and Toccoa rivers.

The fish were a mixture of 9- to 10-inch trout, as well as some 12-inch or larger fish.

Thompson said the fish may come from any of the DNR's trout hatcheries: Burton, Buford or Summerville.

By delaying harvest of trout stocked in certain bodies of water, Thompson said, the DNR provides anglers with more catch-and-release opportunities between Nov. 1 and May 4.