We’ve found it—the perfect fishing experience for families—and it’s only a short drive from Atlanta and doable in a day. The Buford Trout Hatchery rears brown trout and rainbow trout to be stocked in Georgia waterways, ranging in size from just a few inches long to more than 10 pounds. A weekly guided tour turns this exciting adventure into an educational one, and the family fishing pond rounds out the fun for junior fishermen who want to cast their luck at catching a keeper (but not really, because it’s catch-and-release). Sound like a perfect day for your awesome anglers? Read on for everything you need to know before you go.

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Photo: S. Massey

The Nursery

What exactly does a trout nursery look like, you might ask? Imagine a field with rows of low concrete pools where fish are separated by size, and with large bubblers at one end. The pools are the perfect height for little lookers, and with relatively shallow water—about two feet in each one—there’s no chance you’ll pay a visit to the hatchery without seeing hundreds of fish. The bubblers run continuously to oxygenate the water used to grow trout, which is brought in from the tailwater area of the Chattahoochee River immediately below Lake Lanier. And if you go between March and August, you may get to watch them load the fish into the transport trucks as they head out to stocking sites.

Insider Info: While the hatchery is open to visitors throughout the week, we recommend going on a Saturday as part of the weekly group tour. Not only can you touch the fish (as directed and supervised by the ranger), but you can also feed them, and feed them, and feed them!

Fishing with the Kids

Photo: Anthony Crider via flickr 

The Family Fishing Pond

After learning all about the life cycle of a fish, the stocking of Georgia’s waterways, and feeding more fish than you’ve ever seen in one spot in your life, the Family Fishing Pond—with small bluegill and catfish—awaits. A short hike from the hatchery, the fishing pond is a serene spot with picnic tables and a small number of poles and equipment on hand for anyone who doesn’t bring their own. But if you’ve got your own gear, you’ll want to bring it. And before you make the hike to the pond, be sure to inquire about the pond’s current aquatic vegetation status. It varies throughout the year and may impact your chances of catching a big one.

Inside Info: The trail from the Hatchery to the pond is flat and easy, but unless you have a durable all-terrain stroller, plan for the kids to have a bit of a hike. Translation: don’t forget the hats, sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of snacks!

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Photo: S. Massey

The Tour

A free 45 minute to 1 hour guided hatchery tour is open to the public at 1 p.m. each Saturday—no reservations required—and visitors tour the facilities, learn about the life cycle of trout, the stocking program through GWRD, and get to feed the fish.

Insider Info: If a trip to the hatchery lights your little angler’s fire for fishing, check out these places to fish with kids in Georgia for your next trip.

Buford Trout Hatchery
3204 Trout Place Rd.
Cumming, Ga
770-781-6888
Online: georgiawildlife.com/hatcheries/buford

Where do you like to fish with kids? Tell us in the comments section below? 

—Shelley Massey