As the peak of the summer fishing season draws near, anglers across Northwest Georgia have a number of unique opportunities to land one of the best the filet fish for the campfire frying pan or the oven at home.
Personnel at the Summerville Hatchery have been out stocking over 200,000 walleye fingerlings in the lake at the Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area and Carters Lake near Chatsworth.
The lakes at the Rocky Mountain PFA are probably better known for trophy largemouth bass, crappie, bream and catfish, but they are also the only PFA waters in the state to get walleye.
Regional Fisheries Biologist Jim Hakala said the walleye, which are historically native to this region, have been known to grow up to the five pound range in the area lakes. Anglers are not likely to catch them from the rivers anymore, unless they are able to slip through dams at Carters Lake and get into the Coosawattee River.
The Summerville Hatchery received fry from the Go Fish Center in Perry Georgia and raised them to stockable size over the winter. About 20,200 have been released into Antioch Lake at the Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area.
“It’s really a unique opportunity in the PFA system to have a chance to land one, Hakala said.” The rest of the fingerlings were sent to Carters Lake.
Walleye have been stocked annually at the Rocky Mountain PFA since the mid 2000s to diversify the sportfish opportunities.
Walleye are part of the perch family of fish and Hakala said it isn’t unusual at all to retrieve five-pounders during sampling collections each year.
“But it is likely that there are larger individuals out there,” Hakala said.
When they are stocked, the walleye are barely two inches long but by this time next spring they’re expected to grow to nearly a foot in length.
Hakala said the walleye are not known for putting up a fight when hooked, but that when they do get caught, anglers need to be very careful about taking them off the hook because of their teeth.
“Don’t lip them like you would a largemouth bass,” Hakala said.