Info Provided by: Jeff Durniak, GA DNR North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor and North Georgia Region Fisheries staff
It’s transition time in the north Georgia mountains, as Mother Nature dances back and forth between spring and summer. The opportunities are many, but now the prime opportunities require a bit more flexibility and adaptation.
Ole Dredger calls it “46 Time.” He’s decked out in olive drab nylon, from head to wading shoe, to match that streamside rhodo bush and enhance his stealth technique. Slathered in sunscreen, he’s got two flashlights in his pockets and a cooler of icy drinks and change of dry clothes waiting in the car. The “46” is the code for his angling arsenal: four and six weight fly rods. He’s got a sparsely stocked vest and a four-weight rod tube tucked in the car trunk. Next to that setup is his sling pack and a six-weight tube. The vest has the late spring bugs of the yellow persuasion- stimulators, cahills, and sulfurs, along with the black and peacock of summer- ants and beetles. The heavier sling pack’s loaded with black leeches, brown Craig’s Hairy Fodders, chartreuse clousers, a few black/yellow DP sliders, a couple white stealth bombers, and some home-cooked Hipps soft-bodied poppers in various flavors. He’ll check the USGS gauges for rain history and water levels, look at the weather report, then figure out what flavor of the day is most appealing. Sometimes he’ll even grab two scoops of fun on one trip: river bass and bream during the afternoon, a short road trip “upstream,” and then some dry fly-flinging at dark-thirty.
Be flexible and enjoy these long evenings that aren’t yet full of the heat and humidity of the coming dog days. Chase these river fish while the flows are good, the aquatic groceries are still abundant, and sport fish appetites reflect some lingering, acceptable water temperatures. Carry a trout rod and a river bass rod and adapt to the conditions of the day. Kids are out of school and wet-wading is a just a code word for swimming with a fishing pole! And with a little taste of spring still around, you’ll enjoy the variety on the menu, too!
Here we go…
Hooch Tailwater – “ Looking Up”
“Last Sunday an old friend called saying he was in Highlands and wanted to fish with me on Tuesday. We planned to meet at the “28 bridge” on the Chattooga this morning at 9 a.m. I felt like a “Dr Pepper”… arrive at 10; fish til 2; home by 4. It was the day after Memorial Day. It was less than 2 weeks after the closing of the Delayed Harvest. The water was low and, even though we recently had some showers, it was “gin clear”. The sun was bright overhead as we rigged up in the parking lot where there were only two cars besides ours.
We arrived at the “honey hole” to find it empty. There were no bugs and no rises. However, we both caught fish on top…mostly on Caddis. We moved on up to the run above the fallen white pine and…same thing…fish on top with no sign. Go figure!!!
Fishing the Chattooga with a friend is always good but even better when the fish hit a dry when all conditions say they won’t. The DH section is alive and well for a little while longer.” – Georgia TU Kids Trout Camp Leader Charlie Breithaupt
Trouter 23 and Dredger waded many miles above Charlie B on Sunday evening, and T23 experienced his first few “trout on top.” Bugs and risers were scarce, even at dark-thirty, but the dedicated duo still managed about a dozen hookups between them on cahill dry/hare’s ear dropper combos fished in the shadows. The scenery compensated for the slowing bite, as the mountain laurels were in full bloom and the Chattooga fairies came to dance in the fern fields after dark.
Fairies? See page 8.
Important to Toccoa Tailwater Fans – The Trout Hatchery Funding Stakeholder Working Group’s recommendations are available for review. An overview of this issue and your opportunity to provide feedback can be found here. I believe the public comment period will be about two weeks. Take advantage of this opportunity. You can also view and listen to Tuesday night’s webinar in Knoxville here: www.tva.gov/trout
Young Guns Teach Old Trouting Dawgs – You, too, can learn a lot from a comp dude. I have. Thanks Landon.
Stocker Best Bets – Folks wanting fresh trout for supper should try: Lanier and Blue Ridge tailwaters, Holly, Cooper, Rock, Dicks, Sarahs, Warwoman, Tallulah, and Middle Broad.
More Great Reports and Tips – Have you picked up a copy of one of these free fishing newspapers yet? The Angler Magazine features an all-star lineup of north Georgia fishing guides and their monthly columns on their home waters. The publication also displays a “Wall of Fame.” Here’s your chance to get your kid’s picture in the newspaper with his/her trophy catch. Also, check out Coastal Angler Magazine. Send a photo: BobR@ anglermagazine.com
Gotta Have – Here’s a very timely conversation on the need for and benefits of sun protection. Many of us fishing vets grew up in the sun and are now suffering some of its consequences. This is a great reminder, especially to younger folks, about the value of some easy sun protection.
Kids Fishing Events on the Horizon – Some of the best northeast Georgia kids fishing events are on June 7 at: the Hooch at Jones Bridge, Tallulah River, and Lake Winfield Scott. More details and the KFE calendar at http://www.georgiawildlife.com/fishing/kids-fishing.
Volunteers Needed, June 14 – We could use a hand at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Georgia State Parks Interpretive Specialist Ellen Graham has designed a “GO” day there. It’s basically an Outdoor Adventure Day. Ellen and I are looking for a handful (12-16) of kind volunteers to help with the following activities:
a) Fly tying
b) Casting (fly rod, Zebco)
c) Lakeside fishing helpers.
This is another great chance to promote the outdoor sports to our increasingly urbanized society. A dozen of you would really help us to ensure event success. If you’re interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Enjoy your start to the summer. Carry a couple of different rods and tackle bags to take full advantage of the opportunities before you. Toss a bottle of sunscreen in there, too. And consider donating a Saturday to help some kids catch their first fish. Tight lines to all.