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Year-round trout fishing up for discussion
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Scoping meeting
What: Input on year-round trout fishing
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Fair Street Neighborhood Center, 715 Fair St., Gainesville
More info: 770-535-5498

On Thursday, anglers hooked on having a year-round trout season may have their voices heard.

A public scoping meeting for input on year-round trout fishing is set for Thursday at the Fair Street Neighborhood Center in Gainesville. After more requests from anglers and evaluations by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the department is hoping to test the waters with the public.

“We had an opportunity administratively to take on that challenge,” said Jeff Durniak, DNR regional fisheries supervisor.

While certain areas around Georgia already have year-round trout fishing, the question for DNR and its Wildlife Resources Division is whether to open up the season statewide. Populations of trout in the year-round streams, Durniak said, do not seem to have been affected by the designation.

“We don’t detect a negative impact on our year-round streams, but that is what we want to show to the public (this) week,” he said.

An opening day and other social aspects of trout fishing seem to be the primary concerns for the scoping sessions, Durniak said. This is balanced with requests for potentially five more months of trout fishing.

“We believe biologically we’re OK. Socially, it depends on what our anglers and other constituents want,” Durniak said.

Nature, Durniak said, has a stronger effect on trout populations than anything else.

“On a lot of our wild trout streams, the primary force that affects those populations is the water flow,” he said. “Droughts and especially floods have a tremendous impact on trout in the southern Appalachians.”

Following the meetings, anglers will be polled through an email system. After evaluating the results, a report will be presented to the Board of Natural Resources.

“If there’s strong support for the change to year-round, we would propose that to the board and most likely they would take action next spring,” Durniak said.

The change, if supported, would take effect next winter.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Fair Street Neighborhood Center, 715 Fair St., Gainesville. For more information, residents are asked to call the Gainesville Fisheries Management office at 770-535-5498.

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