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More fish in the stream
Helpers stock Amicalola trout
3 Trout pic2
Volunteers lined up Feb. 3 near Steele Bridge to help stock the Amicalola River with Rainbow and Brook trout during DNR's delayed harvest. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Sometimes it’s better to give than to receive.


Local fisherman and sporting organizations were in a giving mood last week as they tagged along with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to put trout in the Amicalola River.


As part of DNR’s statewide delayed harvest, sportsmen from Dawson and surrounding counties toted bucket after bucket of live trout Feb. 3, releasing the fish into the river.


By day’s end, they’d put about 1,000 trout — mostly Rainbow, some Brook — in the Amicalola.


Perry Thompson, trout stocking coordinator with the DNR, said there were about 25 volunteers following the agency to several stocking points along the river.


“A lot of our volunteers are fishermen, and fishermen put in a lot of hours on the stream,” Thompson said. “They’re really involved. They care about the resource and are always willing to help out where they can.”


That’s what drew Dawson County resident Nick West.


“I wanted to be a part of this,” said West, who was volunteering for the first time. “I fish the Amicalola a pretty good bit, so I wanted to get involved.”


Fisherman Bill Egeland of Cumming also wanted to participate.


“It’s a beautiful area,” Egeland said. “I think a lot of these people want to help and make sure it’s stocked. It’s really an honor to help out.”


Thompson said volunteers have been assisting with the delayed harvest across North Georgia. Waterways like Smith Creek in White County and the Toccoa River in Fannin County were also stocked last week.


The fish released into the Amicalola came from the DNR’s trout hatchery on Lake Burton in northeast Georgia.


By delaying harvest of trout stocked in certain bodies of water, DNR provides anglers with catch-and-release fishing opportunities Nov. 1-May 14.


“We stock those rivers and try to spread the fish out as best we can,” Thompson said.


“One way we can do that is to solicit volunteers and have fishing and environmental organizations come out and help us bucket fish.”


Added Thompson: “Typically, [DNR] may only have one person working the stocking truck, and it makes it kind of difficult to tote 25 or 30 buckets of fish down the stream. We’re thankful for our volunteers. They’re a big help.”