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Out-of-stater having trouble understanding trout regulations
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   Fishing Fishing Discussion

Posted by GAwoolybugger
10/13/2021 12:54 PM
Hi everybody, new to the forum and I joined specifically for questions like this: what is and isn't considered a trout stream in TN? Specifically I was thinking about fishing Big Soddy Creek. I can't really afford a TN trout license- I do have my valid standard out-of-state license- and am really just looking for sunfish and smallies for catch-and-release. It's the Old Lady and her Gal Palls' favorite hiking spot, so if I can make it a fishing spot too then everyone is happy. I ask because N Chick is stocked and therefore obviously a trout stream, and while I would imagine Big Soddy would also sustain trout there's nothing I can find in the State literature on it. Do I need a trout license to fish this creek? To make matters worse I mostly (well, only) fly fish on creeks like that, so the uninitiated may assume I'm targeting trout despite the fact I'm using an 8wt to throw 1/0 to size 2 streamers with tungsten beads. Mainly, I'm just trying to be a good outdoorsman and trying my best to follow the host-state's regs. Any insight is greatly appreciated, as is this awesome resource. Tight lines!!!
Posted by FlippinManiac
10/13/2021 4:48 PM
There are two types of out of state licenses, one for all species ($99.00) and one for all species minus trout. If you bought the all species one, you should be covered. Similar to GA, the “all species” is a fishing licenses with a trout stamp.
Posted by rsimms
10/13/2021 4:50 PM
You ONLY need a trout stamp if you intend to KEEP trout. If you are fishing a stream/creek that might contain trout as well as warmwater species (bass, bluegill, etc.), no problem. Simply be sure and release any trout you might happen to catch immediately. And honestly, your odds of catching trout in the streams you names are somewhat unlikely, unless you happen to be there right after a spring stocking (mainly North Chickamauga). Otherwise there are relatively few holdover trout once the water warms up. But again, unless you're keeping trout, no need for a trout stamp.

Now if you happen to go and fish a stream which is primarily a trout fishery.... the upper Hiwassee River near Reliance, for instance... a game warden might look at you real funny if you didn't have a trout stamp. Especially if you're using a lure a trout might eat. The majority of anglers in that body of water are trout fishing.

But in warmwater streams which clearly contain bass, bluegill, etc., you should have no problem foregoing the trout stamp - again, provided you don't keep any unlikely incidental trout catches.
Posted by GAwoolybugger
10/13/2021 6:22 PM
Thank you both for your responses. I went with the TN warm water-only license because I have an all-species license in GA, and the Toccoa isn't much farther from me than the Hiwassee is. And that's awesome news! I'm so excited to head down there then. And good to finally have some clarification on that. TN seems much more lax than GA. I asked this same question, but for GA streams once when I was having my license checked by a warden. He said in GA that you have to possess a trout license if you are fishing in any water that holds trout, stocked or non-stocked and regardless of how unlikely it is to come across a trout. I'm super stoked about this spot now, especially after seeing old posts on here about a line class record smallie caught nearby a while ago. I might be new here but I know to check old posts before asking a question!
Posted by FlippinManiac
10/13/2021 7:36 PM
GAwoolybugger - 10/13/2021 6:22 PM

He said in GA that you have to possess a trout license if you are fishing in any water that holds trout, stocked or non-stocked and regardless of how unlikely it is to come across a trout.


I used to live in north GA and find this hard to believe. Not saying you are wrong, just seems crazy to require a person to have a trout stamp fishing rivers that may or may not contain trout. I always assumed GA operated the same way TN does as Richard mentioned above (i.e. you need a trout stamp of you are keeping trout). I might would check with others who are familiar on those regs.
Posted by GAwoolybugger
10/14/2021 11:43 AM
The DNR website is really vague on that, which is why I took advantage of the opportunity to ask the guy who writes the tickets. On the GA Outdoors app it said "All resident anglers ages 16 and older must have a trout license and Georgia fishing license to fish in designated trout waters and to fish for or to possess trout." Its the "to fish in designated trout waters" part that was worrisome to me. I wanted to fish on the Conasauga in the Chattahoochee Nat'l Forrest since we were going on a hiking trip over there. I noticed it hadn't been stocked in a few years, and I figured it would be a situation like TN- if you accidentally catch a trout throw it back but otherwise you're good. But Agent Green Jeans said that since it was a designated trout water and despite the fact they hadn't stocked it for years you're required to have a trout license. South of the TN state line where the river is outside of the NF you don't need one. I just paid the extra 15 bucks or whatever, it was fine with me. Since I'm in-state in GA the trout license wasn't a deal breaker. But the 50 extra bucks for a out-of-state trout in TN would have been. I'm happy that is not the case. Its about an hour and sometimes more to those creeks in the Chattahoocee NF, Big Soddy and N Chick are more like 40-45 minutes from me.
Posted by GAwoolybugger
10/14/2021 12:00 PM
But I eventually will have an all-species for TN too, Probably when the 22-23 licenses are available
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