It’s Not Taboo
One of the first rules new anglers pick up in fly culture is harvesting trout from a wild trout stream is one of the most taboo things they can do. It’s believed that keeping trout is reserved for powerbait and corn chuckers waiting on the stocking truck. This attitude is shared all across the country with the one exception being extreme backcountry adventures, like exploring the Bob Marshall Wilderness. We at Alpharetta Outfitters do not want to encourage pillaging of our resources but we also want anglers to enjoy them while using them to their fullest.
Managing a fishery is no different than managing a deer population. Georgia has over 4,000 miles of water that are considered trout water. Georgia DNR has a daily limit of eight trout per angler. There is no size limit but anything under 6in isn’t worth the trouble of cleaning. Streams that considered wild have self sustaining populations and often have too many fish. Georgia’s water quality isn’t the best for supporting large trout populations, hence the large amount of stocking needed every year.
Of the three species of trout in our area, Brookies are our favorite to keep. Their meat resembles salmon with its pink, moist texture. Rainbows will be the fish you run into the most and they are great to eat as well as browns. Smaller browns and rainbows will taster better than larger ones due to the smaller ones consuming mostly insects while larger ones eat small fish giving the meat a fishy taste.
Cooking and Prepping
Cleaning is the first task to complete before cooking. Once cleaning is done there’s a loads of different ways to prepare fresh trout! A cast iron with some butter and blackening seasoning is always a crowd pleaser. If the trout are big enough, stuffing them with mushrooms and shallots is another option. Frying is an old stand by that old requires hot grease, flour/cornmeal, and some beaten eggs.
The next time you are out fishing and fish tacos pop into your mind don’t feel like a dirtbag. Harvesting fish helps manage our resource and provides a high quality protein packed meal. If you’re unsure of the regulations where you’re fishing, look them up before you head out of cell service so you can feel good about keeping your dinner.