Info Provided by: Jeff Durniak, GA DNR North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor and North Georgia Region Fisheries staff

Santa FishingMerry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

It’s been a very good year. Thanks so much for contributing to our agency’s fish and wildlife programs via your purchases of licenses and equipment. Also, thanks to our thousands of volunteer for the hours you’ve contributed to conservation and education projects.   Here’s a bit of news to send everyone toward the year-end holidays in great spirits.

Call for Volunteers – Dec. 20, 2013:

Grab a bucket, some warm clothes and come help us stock the Chattahoochee tailwater at Whitewater Creek!  Flows may be too high to get into the river on Friday, but stocking will still take place (just safely from the riverbank). More information and details on the stocking can be found on the North Georgia Trout Online forum.

Reservoir Fishing Reports:

It’s hard to beat Ken’s lineup of experts. Check out his reservoir fishing reports at Southern Fishing.

Here are some good reports on other boards, too, including tips for bass.

If you’re still not catching fish, join a club in the new year and learn from a veteran or two!

Trout Stream Reports:

We’re now in full winter mode, and that means water temperature will be your primary key to success.  Fish are cold-blooded critters, so scrutinize the USGS river flow gauges that also monitor water temperatures.

Water temps under 40 degrees (F) usually mean fairly slow trout catching times.  A warming trend of several days following an arctic blast usually means an upward trend in the graph and an awakening of trout appetites.  During winter, tailwaters below big dams usually run a few degrees warmer than freestone streams high in the mountains.  Check out the five-day forecast from WSB-TV.

The 11 a.m-4 p.m. daily window of highest temperatures usually produces the best bites, and sometimes a bit of surface action on hatching winter stoneflies and blue winged olives (BWOs).  The thermometers on those river gauges are more important strike indicators than the ones on your line!

Wade Safely!   

Winter’s cold, high flows can be very dangerous, so review these safe wading tips before getting into the water and into trouble.

Finned Gifts:

Other Georgia Delayed Harvest streams will get a pre-holiday dose of stockers too, courtesy of state and federal trout hatchery staffs. 

You folks on this list now know that the U.S. Forest Service helicopter delivered some of our fish to the backcountry areas of the Chattooga’s main stream and the west fork last week.  It was a very late fall stocking, but foul weather kept the U.S. Forest Service helicopter from delivering any DNR airmail earlier this season (we typically stock in early November).  Adventuresome trout anglers now have a few new targets to aim for, thanks to the partnership between Wildlife Resources Division, U.S. Forest Service and Trout Unlimited.

A Rod Needs a Home

To end this note, how about a really nice story of “giving” to remind us of the true spirit of the holiday season.  This one is worth the read. Thank you Steve and all of your elves!

May we all appreciate the spirit of the season.  Have a happy and safe holiday break!